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June 11
SharePoint Saturday Baton Rouge!

SharePointSat_196x60Next Saturday, June 21st is the first ever SharePoint Saturday in Baton Rouge, and I’ll be there!  Unfortunately, it’s the same day as SharePoint Saturday Atlanta, which I usually go to, but since Baton Rouge is my hometown, I simply can’t miss it!

I’ll be presenting two sessions.  Here’s the detailed info.  Can’t wait to see you there!

Making the Most of the Out-Of-Box Web Parts

Level: 100
Track: Business

There are more than 50 out-of-the-box Web Parts in the enterprise version of SharePoint! In this class, you will learn just how flexible and useful these Web Parts are. Not only will you get a detailed look at the Filter, Excel, Social, Rollup and Media Web Parts, but you will also learn about a few new ones in SharePoint 2013, such as the Content Search Web Part. You will then learn how to customize some of these Web Parts, see examples and demonstrations, and learn about new features. All of this is done without writing any code. Push SharePoint as far as you can using out-of-box functionality! This class is a mixture of 2010 and new 2013 Web Parts, most of them are only available in the Enterprise version of SharePoint

Seven Pro Tips to Become a Workflow Rock Star

Level: 200
Track: IT Pro, Developer, Business

In SharePoint workflows, there are several tricks of the trade when it comes to creating successful workflow solutions. In this SharePoint 2010/2013 session, Laura Rogers will teach you the seven main things to know when working with workflows. One of the most important skills to have will be the ability to troubleshoot and track your workflow. In addition, you will learn how to insert logging and even receive email notifications when something goes wrong with your workflow, as well as how to create beautiful workflow emails…and much more.  This session is geared toward people who already have experience with workflows, and would like to hone their skills.

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June 09
Workflow–Extracting Date Information

Someone recently had a question on one of my workflow blog posts.  The goal is to set a deadline of the 14th of the month for one document type, and the 29th of the month for another type.  This is going to entail using a workflow to figure out what the create date is, and then assign a due date relative to that.  This can be accomplished using some really useful actions in a workflow, and it applies to 2010, 2013, and Office 365.

What do I need for this example? A list or library with a due date field added, and a choice field called document type, where the options are “Policy” or “Contract”.

It all starts with obtaining an ISO formatted date, and using it as a variable…

  1. Add the action: Set Workflow Variable
  2. Click the blue words workflow variable, and click Create a new variable…
  3. I’m going to base mine off of the Created date field, so I’m going to name the variable Created ISO.  Make sure you select String as the Type.  Click OK.
  4. Click the blue word value, and then click the function (fx) button.  Leave the data source as current item, pick your date field as the field from source, and for Return field as, be sure and pick ISO Formatted.  Click OK.
  5. Now you need to see what this format looks like, so you can work with it and get what you need out of it.  For the next action in your workflow, do a Log to history list.  Click the blue word message, and then click the function (fx) button.
  6. We can just look at this value as a string in our log, to use it as a reference, so we will know what the syntax is. Data source is Workflow Variables and Parameters, field is the Created ISO variable, and return field as String.
  7. We’re going to publish it next, to see what the result looks like.  If you’re using SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint Online, you’ll see a Transition to Stage section in your workflow.  Put GoTo End of Workflow in there.  Here’s what your whole workflow looks like so far:
  8. Publish the workflow, and run it on an item in your list or library that you created the workflow on.  Click the Workflow Settings button in the ribbon, click Open Associated list, and then hit the F12 key to quickly get there.  On my status page, this is the information that was logged by the workflow.
    If you’re new to SharePoint, here’s some basic info on how to get to the workflow status screen for an item, in addition to a ton of other workflow beginner basics.
  9. The syntax of the ISO formatted date is as follows:
    Just break it down to where all of the important parts are. The first character is considered 0.
    Year: characters 0 through 3
    Month: characters 5-6
    Day: characters 8-9
    If you live in a different country, your date may have a different syntax than mine.  Obviously you can see that the time is here as well, if you need to extract that info for any reason.
  10. We need to get the month.  Go back to your workflow in SharePoint Designer.  After your Log action, add the action called Extract Substring of String from Index with Length. 
  11. Click the blue word string.  Click the fx (function) button and choose the data source of Workflow Variables and Parameters, the Field is Variable: Created ISO, and return field as string.  Click OK.
  12. Where you see Starting at 0 for 0 characters, click on the first zero.  Type a 5.  Click on the second zero, and type 2
  13. Where it says Output to Variable:substring, click the name of that substring.  Choose Create a new variable…  Name it Created Month, and click OK
  14. Repeat step 11.  Where you see Starting at 0 for 0 characters, click on the first zero.  Type a 8.  Click on the second zero, and type 2. Create a new variable again, name it Created Day, and click OK.
  15. Repeat step 11 again.  Where you see Starting at 0 for 0 characters, click on the first zero.  Type a 0.  Click on the second zero, and type 4. Create a new variable again, name it Created Year, and click OK.
  16. We are going to need to be able to do math on these numbers that have been extracted from the created date.  Right now they are string variables. Next, we will convert each one to an integer variable.  Put your cursor after the action that you created at step 13.  Add the action called Set Workflow Variable
  17. Click on the blue words workflow variable, and click Create new variable… Name it MonthInt, and the type is Integer.  Click OK.
  18. Click on the blue word value, and click the fx (function) button.  The data source is Workflow variables, field is Created Month, and return field as integer.  This basically takes the text value that we already stored in the Created Month variable, and converts it to an integer.  Click OK.
  19. Do the same thing after each of the other two portions of the date, the day and the year, adding two more variables also.  The workflow should look like this so far:
  20. Since the type of document called “Policy” is due on the 14th of the month, we need to look at the created date and see if it’s before or after the 14th of the month.  If it’s before, then we can set the due date to this month, if it’s after, the due date needs to be the 14th of *next* month.  Add a condition to your workflow.  If any value equals any value. 
  21. Click the first value, and select the Document type field from the current item data source.  Click the second value, and choose Policy.
  22. Inside of this condition, add the action Set workflow variable.  Create a new variable called Due Day of Month, as an Integer.  For the value, type the number 14.
  23. With the cursor on the action you just added, click the Else Branch button in the ribbon.  Under the word Else, add the action set a workflow variable.  Set the Due Day of Month to the value 29.  We only have two policy types in this library, so our else statement is simple, if it’s not a policy, it’s a contract.
  24. Outside of the condition you just added, after it, add the action Do Calculation.
  25. Click the first blue word value and click the function (fx) button.  For the data source, select Workflow variables and parameters, and for the field, pick Variable: DayInt
  26. Change the word plus to minus.  Click the second blue word value, and use the function button to pick the workflow variable called Due Day of Month.  Where it says Output to, click the drop-down and Create a new variable.  Call it Subtraction Result.  This is what the action looks like now:
  27. Under the calculate action that you just added, add another condition. If any value equals value.  For the first value, pick the Subtraction Result variable, and then select is less than, and type the number 1.
  28. Now we have to construct a new variable using the date of the due day of the month.  We will create it as a string, and then we will have to convert that to a date variable.  Under (within) the condition you just added, Add the action called Set workflow variable.  Create a workflow variable called “Due Date String”, as a string variable. 
  29. Click the blue word value.  Click the little ellipsis (and not the fx button).
  30. In the String Builder, first use the button Add or Change Lookup to insert the variable called Created Month.  After that, type a backslash, and add the next lookup, etc, so that your full string looks like this.  This is formulating the date of the 14th of the month, at 8AM. 
  31. Next, we’re going to put in the else condition, though, so that we can say what the date will be of the 14th or 29th of *next* month.  Click the Else Branch button in the ribbon.  Under the word Else, add the action called Do CalculationCalculate the Variable: MonthInt plus 1.  Output it to a new number variable called Next Month.
  32. Repeat steps 26 through 28.  The only thing different will be that in the string builder seen in step 28’s screenshot, instead of Created Month, that variable will be Next Month.
  33. Put your cursor outside of the else statement that your last action was in.  Add the action Set workflow variable.  Create a new variable called Due Date Variable, as a date variable.  Set the value of this to the value of the Due Date String.  THIS is what converts it from a string that we strung together in the string builder… to an actual date.
  34. Add the Log to history list action, click the function button in there, and select the due date variable.  This is optional, and you can add a lot more of these all over the place, which is very helpful for troubleshooting.
  35. Add the action called Set a field’s value.  Set the Due Date field in this library to the value of the Due Date Variable

It’s a pretty complex workflow, but we managed to fit it on one page (so far)


There are some more considerations that would need to be made also.  What if it’s February?  What if it’s December?  Use the variables created at the beginning to find out these type of things, like Created Month is equal to 02.

To make it perfect, there would need to be conditions in the workflow to solve for all of those factors.  I’m looking forward to your feedback!

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May 02
SP24– My Workflow Rockstar Session

SharePoint24On April 17th, I presented Seven Pro Tips to Become a Workflow Rock Star at the live 24 hour conference called SP24.  This conference is now planning an encore performance called “SP24 Rewound”, which will take place on May 14-15, in reverse order from the original. 

Also, note that the PDF of the presentation is there in the session resources tab when you scroll down.  You have to actually register for my session in order to gain access to this, though.  When you’re looking at the whole session agenda (link above), there’s a register button next to each class.  Once you do that, you’ll get an email with info about the session resources.

There were plenty of questions last time I presented this, so I figure I’d give you the answers here:

  • Jen Jacobsen:  Laura - do you have a blog post on creating the new hire dashboard?
    I’ll be presenting this solution on May 14th at SharePoint Power Hour at 11 Central.
  • maridee oday:  (regarding my demo of creating a task using “Create list item” action instead of “Start Task Process”) if you used the task creation as designed through SP designer instead of creating a list, would the workflow automation work better in O365 version of SP?
    No, this works the same in workflows in SharePoint 2013 on premises and Office 365.
  • Timo Pitkäranta:  @laura/kkhipple Q1: if customer has done a workflow by themselves and they want their to develop the process further by us (because OOTB workflow does not meet their needs), how to do that? start from beginning?
    Yes, you’d have to create a new workflow using SharePoint Designer, because an OOTB workflow can’t be customized any further than what you already get in the user interface (checkboxes, etc.)

    Q2: when to do custom workflow instead of e.g. information management policy or timer job/custom code?
    When an out-of-box workflow doesn’t have an action to do something specific that you need to be able to do in that workflow… then do custom dev or buy a 3rd party product.
  • Fred Y:  What is the impact of adding too many logs on workflow history?
    Your workflow history list can get extremely large, because it doesn’t automatically keep itself cleaned up.  You’ll notice that tasks associated with a workflow (using the task actions) will automatically disappear after 60 days by default.  In the past I’ve had to use PowerShell on the server to clean up the workflow history list because it got too large.  Here’s a related blog post that I wrote: SharePoint Workflow History Issue
  • Natalia Tsymbalenko:  Question. How can I do custom action for SP Worfklow on SPOnline?
    I’m not a dev, so I looked online and this is what I found:
  • Damien Frost:  I experience a problem with 'recurrence' step of Information Management Policy fails to trigger workflows after the first run. Is this something anyone else as run into (Office 365 only)
    This doesn’t surprise me, but I’ve only seen it happen sporadically.  I’ve also noticed that Information Management Policies won’t trigger SP 2013 workflows, only 2010 ones, which is unfortunate.

  • Elena Schott:  Recommendations for HTML editor that's under $100? (Company won't buy it but I would)
    SharePoint Designer 2010 is free and will let you do this.  Also, you can go into any rich text field or wiki page in SharePoint (like the body of an announcement in an announcements list) and you have WSYIWYG and you can then click the “Edit Source” button (in the Format Text tab of the ribbon) to see the code behind what you just did visually in the body of the announcement or page you’re on.

  • Geetha Sivasailam:  Questions: SPD 2013 provides the ability to copy/paste activities within the same workflow or from 1 workflow to another. But doing that has crashed SPD for me. Have you experienced that?Is that a known issue?
    No, doing copy and paste has never caused mine to crash.  Not sure if it’s a known bug.  Here’s Microsoft’s blog post about copy and paste:

  • Natalia Tsymbalenko:  @Laura, what about APPROVING VIA EMAIL NOT GOING TO SP?
    There is no out-of-box functionality that does this, but I know that some of the 3rd party workflow products have it built in.  Also, I had someone tell me once that they figured out a way to do it, so that the user received the approval email with a hyperlink in it.  That hyperlink created a new email TO the email address of a email-enabled library.  Then that library had a workflow on it that sent info back to the original list that they were actually approving.  They had to do something special in PowerShell on the server, to make it so that the email arriving in the library would actually trigger the workflow (because it doesn’t do this out-of-box).  Email-enabled libraries are not available in Office 365.

  • Elaine Rafferty:  what is the web address for the SharePoint power hour?
    Here is the playlist of all of our past ones.
    Here is where you can
    see upcoming events and even add them to your calendar.

  • Geetha Sivasailam:  Question: SPD workflows have 50 variable limit. What's the best way to handle this limitation?
    Click on Local Variables in the ribbon and delete any that you are not using.  Also, you can reuse them if necessary and possible with your logic.  For example, when I create an item using “create list item” action, I can name name something like “ListItem” and use that same variable name for each list item I create.

  • Brian Call:  That alert will not go off if a workflow edits an item correct?
    Unfortunately, that’s true with 2013 workflows.  If a workflow edits an item, this will not trigger the workflow on the item that the workflow edited.  This is a huge negative to me.

  • R0b3r70:  from time to time, some workflows seem to be stuck in progress and doesn't complete or error or anything. what can you do with such WFs?
    This is one of the reasons that I don’t like the task process designer.  I don’t like to leave workflows running in progress.

  • Brian Call:  @Laura do you ever worry about the number of workflows running at once?
    Yes, I don’t like to have a bunch of workflows running in progress on a bunch of items… just waiting.  As far as scalability, at least now in 2013, you can have a whole server dedicated to workflow, and even a whole workflow farm.

  • Ricky Singh:  So, if we need to send reminders for due date like 2 days before, that can be done using Information Management Policy?
    Here’s an old blog post I wrote on the topic: Workflow- Reminder Before Due Date – MOSS vs. WSS

  • Fred Y:  Is there a page where we can see what active workflows are running?
    Not really at the site level, but for each list/library, you can create a view where you can see the column that has the same name as your workflow, and filter/sort that.

  • Svetlana Avramova:  On Office 365 Microsoft removed the Alert me on a View. Do you have any information about this, and are they going to put it back there, or we need to build more workflows.
    They did not remove it from Office 365.  That demo where I just showed it was in Office 365.  Here’s my blog post on the subject.  And oldie but goody. Alerts Based on Views 

7 Pro Tips

In addition, here are my 7 pro tips and some resource links to go along with them.

  1. Use Logging
    mentioned in: Workflow actions quick reference (SharePoint 2013 Workflow platform)
  2. Pretty email formatting
    This is the only one I could find. It says 2010 but applies to both 2010, 2013, O365:
  3. Understand troubleshooting
    Couldn’t find any good web resources specifically about troubleshooting, but there’s this great Workflow Resource Center by Microsoft. 
  4. Create workflow error notifications
    This part is based on my blog post Get Notified of Workflow Errors which doesn’t appear to apply to 2013 because it doesn’t look like errors get stored in the same place now.  Sad smile
  5. Use a custom history list
    This tip is a very specific one that I came up with, there are definitely not any MS resources about it.  This is described in my session, though.
  6. Use variables
    This resource is for SP 2007, but it is the most thorough MS resource I could find, that explains what variables are.
  7. Understand Information Management Policies
    Introduction to Information Management Policies

I’ll see you all at my session on May 14th, and this session is recorded and will be available on YouTube afterwards.

April 28
My Sessions from SPC and SPTechCon

Yes, this is overdue, but better late than never…

SharePoint Conference (SPC) was in Las Vegas in March.  Here is the recording of the session that Jennifer Mason and I did, called

Tips & Tricks to make the most out of your SharePoint site and maximize adoption

This is a very basic session, geared towards power users and site managers.  A lot of the tips we mention have been around for a few years, and some of them are brand new.  With each tip we cover, we give you some resource links that will help you go further with that solution.  Here is our spreadsheet of links.


Also, while at SPC, Karuana Gatimu interviewed me for SPCtv.  We talked about requirements gathering for automating business processes in SharePoint.

SPCtv Laura Rogers Talks About No Code Solutions


Last week was SPTechCon in San Francisco.  I taught 4 sessions, and uploaded the PowerPoint files to my blog:

The one called “Creating an Approval Workflow” was a fun new one.  I went over the easy, out of box ways of doing approvals in SharePoint, then went into a more real-world scenario with a more complex workflow.  There is also a zip file in there associated with this presentation, which has the actual workflow diagrams I exported from SPD.  Here are the files:

  • Creating an Approval Workflow.pdf – This is the PowerPoint presentation
  • Creating an Approval Workflow – New Hire Demo.pdf – This is the diagram of the complex workflow
  • Creating an Approval Workflow – Diagrams to import to SPD – This is the workflow itself, exported from SharePoint Designer 2013.
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March 27
SharePoint 2013 SP1 Workflow Improvements

I installed SP1 on my virtual machine. Yay.  For the workflow stuff though, there's a bit more that you need to do.  Install KB2799752 (for Service Bus 1.0) and KB2799754 (for Workflow Manager 1.0). Andrew Connell talks all about these steps in his post here.  Also, don't forget to run the SharePoint PowerShell command register-spworkflowservice after all that is done.  My full command (in my test VM) that I ran was:

register-spworkflowservice -spsite -workflowhosturi -allowoauthhttp –force

When I was looking through SharePoint Designer for some of the supposed updates, some of them didn't show up until I had run that PowerShell command.  Here are the workflow improvements that were made that are visible in the UI, and I got them out of Microsoft's spreadsheet list.  I'm not highlighting bug fixes here, just changes you that visibly see.

2817429 SharePoint Workflows won't wait for changes to content approval status fields

When you used the "Wait for field change in current item" action, the "Approval Status" and some other system type fields weren't available (Approver Comments, Checked Out To, etc)

Now they are there…

2817429 E-mails generated by workflow cannot be disabled for approvals in SharePoint workflows

In the 2 different task actions, there was no interface to select whether or not you want an email to get sent at all when a task gets assigned to someone. Also, if you looked at the Properties of the task process action, this is what you saw:

Before updates:

Now, there are a few more options that you have:

This means that if you change WaiveAssignmentEmail to Yes, no one will receive an email when the task is assigned to them. You can also use WaiveCancelationEmail by changing it to Yes if you don't want an email to go out to the assignee when the task is canceled.


2817429 Incomplete tasks are deleted when workflow task activities complete

This means just what it says. When the workflow completes, by default any tasks that haven't been completed get automatically deleted.Now, look at the screenshot above. There's a setting you can change. It will still have the same default behavior, but now you can change PreserveIncompleteTasks to Yes if you want to. This one only applies to the "Start a task process" action. (inherently, the Assign a task action only assigns a single task, so this problem would never happen)

March 24
Speaking at SPTechCon in San Francisco

Hi everyone, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be speaking at the SharePoint Technology Conference in San Francisco, April 22nd-25th, 2014.  Here are the details about the sessions I’ll be presenting.  Some are new, and some are good old basic stuff geared toward beginners.

If you would like a $200 discount, use the code ROGERS when you register for the conference.

Making the Most of the Out-Of-Box Web Parts

Wednesday, April 23, 8:30 AM - 9:45 AM

There are more than 50 out-of-the-box Web Parts in the enterprise version of SharePoint! In this class, you will learn just how flexible and useful these Web Parts are. Not only will you get a detailed look at the Filter, Excel, Social, Rollup and Media Web Parts, but you will also learn about a few new ones in SharePoint 2013, such as the Content Search Web Part. You will then learn how to customize some of these Web Parts, see examples and demonstrations, and learn about new features. All of this is done without writing any code. Push SharePoint as far as you can using out-of-box functionality! This class is a mixture of 2010 and new 2013 Web Parts.

Level : Intermediate, Audience : Information Worker Essentials

The Power of Content Types

Wednesday, April 23, 2:00 - 3:15 pm

In SharePoint, the concept of content types seems a bit ambiguous to most people. This class will teach you what you need to know about content types to be able to implement them in your company. You may have heard that content types can be used in order to upload document templates so that they display as choices on a library’s “New” button. Yes, that can be done, but there’s so much more! In conjunction with site columns, content types can be utilized to create custom business solutions. Take your lists and libraries to the next level without having to do any custom development. In this class, demonstrations will be done to take you through common scenarios and show how to use the power of content types in SharePoint. Many of these concepts carry over from SharePoint 2007 to 2010 and 2013.

Level : Overview, Audience : Information Worker Essentials

Creating an Approval Workflow

Thursday, April 24, 8:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Forms are everywhere in your organization, and most of them must go through an approval process. SharePoint is such a flexible platform, it provides us with multiple methods that can be used to build our processes. In this class, learn about these different ways of creating a workflow around a form approval process. The new SharePoint Designer 2013 workflow can be used, or you can keep the process in an InfoPath form. You will see you the various alternatives when creating an approval workflow, with a real-world business demonstration of a company's vacation request form. Quickly create and implement intuitive workflows for your critical IT and business systems, with no programming involved! The concepts in this class are applicable to both SharePoint 2010 and 2013.

Level : Advanced, Audience : Architecture Essentials, Information Worker Essentials

SharePoint Designer Workflows: Working with E-mails

Friday, April 25, 8:45 - 10 AM

When creating e-mails via workflow in SharePoint Designer, how can you make the e-mails pretty and professional-looking? How can you create multiple e-mail actions more efficiently? What exactly is the Task Process Designer? In this class, you will learn everything you need to know about working with e-mail and task actions in SharePoint Designer workflows. You will learn all of the ins and outs of making the workflow e-mails look nice, including adding custom colors, images and hyperlinks to add your own brand. You will also see how to make use of variables in an efficient way so as not to duplicate work when creating several similar e-mails in a workflow.
In this class, we will also dig into working with task assignments via workflows. The Task Process Designer in SharePoint Designer 2010 workflows has many different configuration options and ways to tweak your approval processes. This class is applicable to both SharePoint Designer 2010 and 2013 workflows, and requires no programming.

Level : Intermediate, Audience : Information Worker Essentials

March 11
Workflow Requirements Gathering Presentation

During our SharePoint Power Hour a couple of weeks ago, I did a presentation on workflow requirements gathering.  Since this video has a couple of associated resources as well, I figured I’d share it with you here:

SharePoint Power Hour Episode 25: Laura Rogers & Workflow Requirements Gathering


Here is the location of the slides and associated Word document

Basically, I went through some slides regarding workflow and business process requirements gathering, and showed a document that I created with one particular customer’s process.  The empty document template is also available there.  Both are PDFs.

Also, during the SharePoint conference last week in Las Vegas, Karuana Gatimu interviewed me, and we had a discussion about this same topic.  You can view that 21 minute video here:

SPCtv Laura Rogers Talks About No Code Solutions

February 12
SharePoint 2013 Out of Box Web Parts

To carry on the tradition of my most popular post, which is the list of 2010 web parts, I figured I’d delve into documenting the list of 2013 ones as well.  Here is the extensive list, in order that the web parts are shown in SharePoint, with information about each one.  I’ve also made notes about which ones are available in Office 365, and which ones are new.

Web parts:


These are all used on a blog site template.

  • Blog Archives – SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Used on a blog site, and is typically shown on the left side of the page.  It lets you browse to older blog posts by month.
  • Blog Notifications – SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    By default, this is shown on the right side of a blog site, with links to get to the RSS feed or create SharePoint alerts for the blog.
  • Blog Tools - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    This gives the blog owner some quick links to manage their blog.

Business Data

  • Business Data Actions - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
  • Business Data Connectivity Filter - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
  • Business Data Item - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
  • Business Data Item Builder - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
  • Business Data List - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
  • Business Data Related List - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
  • Excel Web Access - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Allows you to display a spreadsheet in a web part and much, much more.  Here’s more info.  Also, here’s a great tutorial/demo that Joelle Farley did here.

  • Indicator Details – Enterprise only – SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Once you have a status list on your site, which looks like this (icon shown below), then you can pick one specific KPI from that list to display in this web part.  You can even decide what the status icons should look like.
  • Status List – Enterprise only – SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Status lists (KPIs) have NOT been depreciated in SharePoint 2013, but you can’t create one on the “Add an app” page.  Read this blog post where he discovered how to find them in 2013.  You have to create a report library and use the web part page with status list content type.
  • Visio Web Access - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Allows you to view Visio diagrams in the browser, and even interact with them!


These web parts are used on the community site template, which is new in 2013

  • About this communityNEW - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    States when the community was established.  This date is set on the Community settings page.
  • JoinNEW - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    For users who are not already members, it allows them to join.
  • My MembershipNEW - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    This web part can be added to your community site or any site that has the community features enabled. It shows the currently logged in user all of the information about their own participation in that community.
  • Tools - NEW - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    These are the tools for the community administrators.
  • What’s happening - NEW - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    This web part shows information about the current community. The number of members, discussions and replies.

Content Rollup

  • Categories - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
  • Content Query – Publishing features enabled - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    This web part lets you roll up content from within a site collection.  This particular one is rolling up tasks and grouping them by the name of the site that the tasks are on.
  • Content Search - NEW - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365 Enterprise
    Here is a separate blog post that I wrote about it, with a video as well.
  • Project SummaryNEW - Enterprise site collection features must be enabled - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    This web part displays a great timeline around a task list.  There are little arrows at the top right that let you toggle between the timeline and the list of late tasks.  When you create a site from the project site template, this web part is included on the homepage by default.
    The web part settings allow you to pick a task list, and choose some more options from the checkboxes below.  The upcoming setting will also let you show items from the calendar on the site.
  • Relevant Documents - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Shows documents on the current site that are relevant to the current user.  Settings allow you to check boxes for items that were modified by, created by, or checked out to the current user.  This is from all libraries on the site.
  • RSS Viewer - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Allows you to input the URL of an RSS feed in the web part settings, and see that feed on your page.  Note that if you want to view a SharePoint list or any SharePoint data as an RSS feed, you’ll need to be using Keberos for authentication on your farm.
  • Site Aggregator - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Lets each end user add in their favorite sites, to see a quick list of content from that site. The little blue button at the top right is clicked to add each new site, and they are displayed in tabs across the web part.  You can see I’ve added three to the one below.
  • Sites in Category - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Displays sites from the site directory within a specific category.  This appears to be a residual web part from older versions of SharePoint.
  • Summary Links – Publishing features enabled - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Allows you to enter in a list of links and group them by one grouping level.  For each link, you can also point to an image that is already in a library on your SharePoint site.
  • Table of Contents – Publishing features enabled - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Displays the navigational hierarchy of your site, up to three levels deep.  You set what level it starts from, within your site collection.
  • Term Property - NEW - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Shows information about a term in the managed metadata term store.  You can select if you’d like it to show the Name, Description, Path, ID, or any other custom property.  In this example, I selected the “Overtime” term, and selected to show the path.  Although it looks like a navigation breadcrumb trail, these are not clickable links.
  • Timeline - NEW - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    This one is similar to the Project Summary web part, except it’s more simplified.  Notice that there’s no “add task” or “edit list” button, and there is no pretty little pane on the left letting you know about overdue, soon due tasks and such.  The web part settings allow you to pick a web, list and view name.  The thing that’s BETTER than the project summary one, is that this one lets you pick a different site, and the other doesn’t.
  • WSRP Viewer – Enterprise site collection features enabled – view WSRP data. 
  • XML Viewer – Use your own XML code, or link to an existing XML file.

Document Sets

These two web parts can’t really be placed just anywhere on your site, like the homepage.  They are the built in web parts that are part of a document set when you’re viewing it.  So you create a document set, click the name of it, and then these web parts display the info about it and the list of documents inside of it.

  • Document Set Contents - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    The one on the bottom in the screenshot above.
  • Document Set Properties - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    The one on top in the screenshot above.


– Enterprise site collection features must be enabled for these to exist.  All of these web parts must have web part connections as part of their functionality.  The purpose is to send a filter to some other web part like a list, to filter what is displayed in that list.

  • Apply Filters Button - SharePoint 2013
    This is used in conjunction with one of the other filter web parts, such as SharePoint List filter, choice filter or text filter.  It just gives the end user a button to click in order to apply the filter they just selected.  The settings allow you to change the verbiage on the button, and allow end users to save their favorite filter selection if they want.  If this web part is not used, the user’s filter choice will be applied immediately instead of waiting for them to click a button.  This is what the properties look like:
  • Choice Filter - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Allow users a set of choices to pick from.  This is a list of hard coded choices that you type directly into the web part settings. Here are the properties, which allow you to make it required, enter a default value, show “Empty” as one of the options, or choose multiple values.
    Note that it doesn’t look like a drop-down box, it looks like this:
  • Current User Filter - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    This one is a lot of fun, and I use it ALL the time!  It allows you to utilize some property of the current logged in user, to pass that information to another web part.  I’ve written a couple of other blog posts about it, too!
    SharePoint List Form – Default User Information
    Testing the Current User Filter Web Part
  • Date Filter - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Use the date filter to pass date information to another web part to filter that web part. Then, you can send the exact date filter to the other (usually a list or library) web part, or send it as a parameter.
    Note: Metadata Navigation and Filtering can be used for filtering dates as well.  This is a feature that you can turn on in the list of site features.  Once you’ve activated this feature, go into the list or library settings page and click Metadata Navigation.  Add your date field to the key filters area.  This filter will end up showing in the left navigation when viewing your list/library.
  • Filter Actions - Office 365
    Use this web part when you have 2 or more filter Web Parts on one page and you want to synchronize the display of the filter results.  This is the same as the Apply Filters web part in SP 2013.
  • Page Field Filter - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    This filter lets you use the title of the page in order to filter one or more web parts on that page by that value. 
  • Query String (URL) Filter - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    This is another extremely useful one that has been around a while, which I’ve already written several blog posts about.
    Query String URLs are like, SO Useful! (Part 1 of 4)
    Query String URLs are Magical (Part 2 of 4)
    Pass Default Value From a Web Part Page to a New Item
  • SharePoint List Filter - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    This one is similar to the Choice filter web part, and looks the same, except instead of manually typing all the choices into the web part settings, you’re using a SharePoint list (from any web in your site collection) as the list of choices.  Pick a field for the value and a different field for the display if you’d like.
    Note! Once you pick a view, the only fields that will be available in the value and description boxes will be fields that are actually in your view.  In this case, I had to edit the “All contacts” view to include the ID field and the Last Name field (not the last name with drop-down one).
  • SQL Server Analysis Services Filter - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Uses a SSAS Cube in order to send filter information to another web part.
  • Text Filter - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    This lets you type in free form text to pass as a filter to another web part such as a list view.
    The Text Filter Web Part – Without Having To Filter Exact Text


  • HTML Form Web Part - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    This one lets you use free form HTML code in order to create a form on your page.  This requires knowledge of how to write HTML code.  By default it gives you a single text box on the form.
  • InfoPath Form Web Part - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Create an InfoPath form in a form library or customize a SharePoint list using InfoPath, and then that form can be placed directly on any page in SharePoint!
    Jennifer Mason also wrote a great blog post about how to pass parameters to this web part.  SharePoint 2010- InfoPath Form Web Part Connections Using Parameters

Media and Content

  • Content Editor - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    This is a completely free-form web part that lets you type text and format it and/or insert code or just edit the HTML.  After you insert this web part on the page, put your cursor in the web part and you’ll see the Format Text tab in the ribbon.  There is a button in there, Edit Source if you’d like to delve into the code.  Otherwise just start typing text.
  • Get started with your siteNEW - Getting Started site feature enabled - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    imageThis web part helps you get started with a new site by providing you some shortcuts. 
    • Share your site – This is the same as clicking the Share button at the top right corner of the site.
    • Working on a deadline? – Lets you quickly add a task list and calendar to the site
    • Add lists, libraries, and other apps – Takes you to the Site Contents page
    • What’s your style – Takes you to the Change the Look page, which is the same as clicking Site Settings and choosing Change the Look.
    • Your site. Your brand. – This is the same as clicking Site Settings and choosing Title, Description and Logo.
    • Keep email in context – In Office 365, this takes you to a page that lets you add a site mailbox.
  • Image Viewer - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Lets you insert an image onto your page.  Also, since your home page is a wiki page, you can insert pictures directly on it without having to use this web part.
  • Media Web Part - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Lets you show a video on your site.  When you insert it on a page, instead of going to “Edit Web Part” to open up the web part toolpane like you would normally do for other web parts, with this one you click to select the web part, and then click on the Media tab in the ribbon.
    Then you can select media from your hard drive, SharePoint or elsewhere, and even pick what image you want displayed as the default before the movie starts.
  • Page Viewer - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    This one is very clunky, and lets you view another web page from within your SharePoint page… like a window.
  • Picture Library Slideshow - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    A picture library on your site is required for this to work.  Click Add an App, choose Picture Library, and then put your pictures in there.
    The default is 15 seconds, and once you pick a library, pick a view in it.  Example: You could create a filtered view that only shows pictures from a certain date range or from a certain event.  The web part displays them in a rotating slideshow in the exact size of the picture.  It helps if you make sure that your pictures are all the same dimensions.
  • Script Editor - NEW - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    For devs or anyone who has jQuery or JavaScript or some type of snippet of code to place on the page.  Back in the old days we just used the Content Editor web part for this.
  • Silverlight Web Part - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Enter the URL of the Silverlight application package (.xap file) to display in the web part.  This is usually something that a developer has created custom.

Outlook Web App

If you have Outlook Web Access installed on your in your on premises SharePoint environment OR you have Office 365 including Exchange, you will have these web parts that let you interact with your mailbox.

4/7/2014 update: It looks like these web parts don't work with Office 365.  I put my mail server address as https://outlook.office365/owa, and now the web part says "this content cannot be displayed in a frame".

  • My Calendar
  • My Contacts
  • My Inbox
  • My Mail Folder
  • My Tasks


Enterprise only.  If you go to a search site (and the results page) in SharePoint, and “Edit Page” and take a look at all of the web parts that are involved, these are the ones you’ll find there.  I like the search results web part a lot, and sometimes I use it instead of the new Content Search web part.  It has a lot of similar settings.
  • Refinement - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
  • Search Box - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
  • Search Navigation - NEW - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
  • Search Results - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
  • Taxonomy Refinement PanelNEW - Publishing features enabled - SharePoint 2013 – These are used with cross-site publishing, and you can find more information about them here.

Search-Driven Content

Enterprise only.  These are the same as the Content Search web part listed in the “Content Rollup” category above.  These are each pre-configured in order to give you ideas in which the Content Search web part can be used.  Note that when you use Content Search, you will have a button called Switch to Advanced Mode (on the Basics tab), which you don’t have in these search-driven content web parts.  ALL NEW

  • Catalog-Item Reuse – To be used with cross-site publishing
  • Items Matching a Tag – useful in rolling up items that have been tagged with managed metadata terms
  • Pages – Only shows .aspx pages
  • Pictures – Only shows pictures.  When the end user clicks on one, it takes them to the dispform.aspx page (view properties) for that picture.
  • Popular Items
  • Recently Changed Items
  • Recommended Items
  • Videos – only shows videos, and shows the length under each one.  The best place to keep videos in SP 2013 is an Asset Library (they’re pretty awesome). My test site only has one video, here’s what it looks like in this web part:
  • Web Pages
  • Wiki Pages

Social Collaboration

  • Announcement Tiles - NEW - Office 365  - This looks like a Promoted Links list, but has a couple of slight differences.  It has a begin and end date field, and each announcement will drop off once the end date has passed.  It lets you fill in descriptions for each announcement, but doesn’t force you to put a link URL in it like a promoted links list does.  It only shows one announcement at a time, and there are no web part settings to configure.  I saw this web part in one of my Office 365 tenants but not the other, but I’m not sure why.
  • Contact Details - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365  - lets you pick one person from a people picker, and display the contact info for that person.
  • Note Board - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365 – This shows the Note Board for a page, but I think the site feed web part is what you’d want to use instead. 
  • Organization Browser - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365  - It’s supposed to show the Org in a Silverlight control that you can interact with, but the only place I’ve seen this actually function is on the My Site.  How can you see this?  Click Newsfeed and click on someone else’s name besides your own.  On the right you’ll see “Org Chart”.  Click See More.  Click each person’s name to navigate through the org.  This is all based off of the “Manager” property in user profiles.
  • Site FeedNEW - Enterprise site collection features enabled - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Have a conversation on your team site!  Any conversations or comments will show up in your newsfeed as well.  Here’s a screenshot from my virtual environment, with some social comments I made up. You can also click the ellipsis on any of these comments, and choose Follow up.  This will add a task to your own personal task list on your My Site.
  • Site Users - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Shows the name of the users in a specific SharePoint group, or all groups on a site.  If you have integrated instant messaging (like Lync), you can quickly see people’s presence and IM them.
  • Tag Cloud - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Shows a tag cloud pertaining to tags that the current user has tagged (by default). Optionally display the number of tags next to each term.  You can also change it to show tags from all users or tags under the current URL by all users.  Default item max is 50, and you can change this.
  • User Tasks - SharePoint 2013 / Office 365
    Shows the currently logged in user all of the tasks assigned to them in task lists on the current website.  The rollup of all tasks on user’s My Sites are much better, though!

SQL Server Reporting

  • SQL Server Reporting Services Report Viewer
    This is only available if SQL Server Reporting Services has been installed on one of your SharePoint servers.


  • Find by Document ID – only on the Document Center and Records center sites.

** Another cool new thing in SharePoint 2013 that isn’t really an out-of-box web part, is the new list type called Promoted Links.  Create your pretty links with images and display this list in a web part on your home page or anywhere!

February 04
Speaking at SharePoint Saturday Huntsville

SPSHuntsvilleIt’s coming up this weekend!  SharePoint Saturday in Huntsville, Alabama will be this weekend, on Saturday, February 8th.

I’m going to be speaking about good old out of the box web parts in SharePoint 2013, and my session will be at 8:30 AM.

Making the Most of the Out-Of-Box Web Parts - Level 100

In this session, you will learn just how flexible and useful the Out-of-the-Box Web Parts are in SharePoint 2013. Not only will you get a detailed look at the Rollup, Filter and Media web parts, but you will learn about a few new ones such as Content Search. You will then learn how to customize some of these web parts and learn about new functionalities. All of this is done without writing any code.

Don’t worry, if you’re still using older versions of SharePoint, there are plenty of web parts that haven’t changed, and I’ll be demonstrating them as well.

See y’all there!

January 21
Upcoming SharePoint Power Hours

SharePoint Power Hour is a weekly live show that we (at Rackspace) have been doing every Wednesday at 11 Central.   This new post is to let you know about our upcoming sessions in January and February.

What is Power Hour about?  Business solutions!  Business solutions are anything that’s not programming and not server admin.  Many categories fall in this range, such as reporting, workflows, forms, governance, metadata, etc.

SharePoint RAX

All you have to do is show up on this channel at 11 Central on Wednesdays.  Not only do we broadcast live, but all of them are recorded so that you can watch any time.

Alarm-Clock Need a reminder? Save this weekly event to Outlook

Any time you have questions that you would like us to answer in the next session, feel free to ask them on our YouTube channel here.

Date Here's our schedule for the next few upcoming Power Hours:
1/22/2014 Andy Wessendorf – SharePoint 2013 workflows – specifically dictionaries and looping
1/29/2014 This one was cancelled because of crazy weather in Alabama and Georgia
2/5/2014 Joelle Farley – How to build your first out-of-box solution
2/12/2014 SharePoint MVPs promote SPC14 sessions!
Todd Klindt, Shane Young, Jennifer Mason, John Ross, Randy Drisgill, and Laura Rogers will be there chatting about our sessions at the SharePoint Conference!
2/19/2014 Laura Rogers – workflow requirements gathering
2/26/2014 Tavis Lovell – Access Services 2013: 101 beginner, and then some
Here is our playlist of all recorded power hours
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