06 December 2016

OneDrive for Business Behind The Scenes

Office 365 logoOneDrive for Business gives each Office 365 user a personal site collection and a storage space of 1 TB (unlimited in the E3 and E5 subscriptions), but Microsoft has not made it easy to really take advantage of these benefits. I have now published two new Tips articles with demos to help users benefit from having their own SharePoint site collection.

First I describe the limited OneDrive library that most people see and use, and then I explain how you can get behind the scenes and give OneDrive all the standard SharePoint features.
OneDrive for Business logo
OneDrive for Business is primarily used for synchronization between SharePoint libraries and your computer hard drive. The synchronization creates a library folder in the user's PC or other device, and after the first time the synchronization is automatic.

The synchronization gives users an opportunity to work with library files offline, and it is convenient to add files to SharePoint by placing them in the library folder for automatic upload. But you can do more with OneDrive.

Storage and sharing
The default OneDrive library is intended for file storage of personal files. By default all files in that library are private, but users can easily share them with other people within and outside the organization. However, the default library lacks some important features, like the possibility to create views or add columns.

The OneDrive for Business storage space is huge, but if you don't go behind the scenes all files and folders have to be kept in the limited default library. If you want to categorize files by placing them in different libraries, you will discover that new libraries cannot be created from the default library page. This is a drawback, but it is possible to overcome the problem. That is what I show in my second demo.

Create subsites
SharePoint iconTo be able to use all SharePoint functionality with your personal site collection, you should open the Site Settings, find the Site Contents and create a subsite. That subsite will give you everything you are used to in SharePoint, and the libraries you create will be standard libraries, by default with the new experience interface but with a possibility to return to the classic experience.

If the Site Settings isn't available directly from your default OneDrive for Business library, you can still reach the Site Contents by replacing the onedrive.aspx in the URL with viewlsts.aspx. Learn how in my demo!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

01 December 2016

SharePoint Online New Page Model

SharePoint iconMicrosoft has recently introduced a new type of SharePoint Online page, and I have begun updating the Tips section with some new articles on this new page model.

The most common SharePoint pages, the wiki pages, can be highly customized, but it is not always so easy. With the new page model, Microsoft wants to give SharePoint Online users a less complicated alternative.

The new page model has a number of specially designed web parts. Show them by clicking on a plus sign, and  add the part you prefer to the page by clicking on the web part icon. The web part options will be displayed in a settings pane to the right.
SharePoint Online new page model web parts
The options are not as many as in the wiki pages, but in the new page model simplicity is in focus, not power and advanced features.

The first article about the SharePoint Online new page model starts with a short introduction. After that I show one of the simplest web parts, the Quick Links part. With this web part you can add links pointing to documents and pages and have a preview of the target on the published page. I have embedded a demo below.

I will soon publish more articles with demos on the SharePoint Online new page model! For now you are welcome to visit the Tips section to study the introduction article.

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

23 November 2016

SharePoint Content Type For Projects Libraries

SharePoint iconMost organizations want their data to be displayed and managed in a consistent way. Templates are a big help, and in SharePoint we also have the content types. A content type is a kind of template that defines what metadata a SharePoint item should contain. In a new demo in the Tips section, I describe how to create a SharePoint Online project content type and apply it.

Site collection with subsites
In this exercise I work with a content type on site collection level, so there is no need to include the Content Type Hub, which I have described in other Tips. The site collection has three subsites, and each of them will have its own Projects document library.

Create content type columns
I start with creating a content type, to which I add site columns for Project Manager, Start Date, End Date, Description and Status. These must be new or existing site columns. You cannot create columns in the way you do when you just want to add a column to one list or library.

The Project Manager column should be of the lookup type, so I also create a list of names that this column can fetch dropdown alternatives from.

Create Word template
Word 2016 icon When we have created a library and given it the content type, views and settings we want, we can also make sure that each Project Word document has the correct look and metadata. This is done with a Word template connected to the content type. In my template, I use Quick Parts to fetch information from the content type columns.

Create library template
I only have to create one Projects library from scratch, because this library can then be used as a template for libraries on other sites. Libraries created from the Projects Library template will have the same content type, views and Word template as the first library. I only need to repeat some settings that don't get included in the template.
Projects on SharePoint site

Show projects in homepage
Even if each department has its own Projects library, it might be useful to show all ongoing projects on the site collection homepage. I show how to do this with two web parts: Content Search and Content Query. Choose the one you prefer!

Classic experience
Currently a Word template with content type info can only be used with the desktop version of Word and with the classic experience library interface, so that is what I use in most of the demo below. I of course describe how to make a library always open in the classic interface and how to ensure that the desktop Word is used and not Word Online.

I follow the Microsoft development plans closely, so when it will be possible to use the new experience and maybe even Word Online for this kind of template, I will create a new demo and Tips article!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

15 November 2016

Testing Microsoft Teams

Office 365 Teams iconMicrosoft has announced the upcoming release of a new app for Office 365: Teams. In a new Teams article in the Office 365 from Scratch series, I show how to get started with the preview of this workspace for group chats and collaboration.

Preview version
In the beginning of this month, Microsoft introduced Teams at an event in New York. It is now available as a preview version for most Office 365 subscribers that are on the Enterprise or Business plans. Teams will be officially available in the first quarter of 2017. Office 365 Teams panel

Chat hub
Microsoft Teams is intended for chat communication, but a lot of existing Office 365 applications have been incorporated in the new app. Thus users can easily add tabs for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Team Services inside Teams. Also third party tools will be supported in the final version.

Meetings can be scheduled, and recent files can be reached from the panel to the left of the workspace. You can also click on the icon for each person who is a member of the current team chat and have options on how to contact him or her – for example by a Skype call.
Office 365 Teams member actions

Worldwide collaboration
I was a Product Manager at Skype for five years, in the early days before it was sold to Microsoft. During that time, the team was smaller than today, and we did not have as many SharePoint and Outlook products. But we already had offices in Sweden and India, and I was often travelling for Skype, so we needed an efficient way to communicate.

See what was said
Skype logoThe obvious solution to keeping in touch where ever we were located, was the Skype chats, and they have served us well for more than 10 years. One of the big advantages
with Skype chats compared to telephone calls is that you have everything kept in writing and can go back and look at what was actually said. Now Microsoft Teams gives the same benefits as Skype and much more.

The team members are always interested in new technology, so right now we are using Teams to cooperate on one of our custom solution projects. So far our overall impression is positive, but we miss a pop-up message or similar when a new entry has been added to the chat. I am sure Microsoft will fix that before the full release.

Get started
If you are a SharePoint admin and want to try the new Office 365 tool, you can enable the preview. In the demo below I show how to do it, and I also give a short Teams overview. You can find more info in the Tips article on Microsoft Teams. Welcome to visit the website!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

09 November 2016

Office 365 User Accounts In New And Updated Tutorials

Office 365 logoMicrosoft makes frequent changes in Office 365, so some of our Tips articles and demos from last year are already outdated. I have therefore started to record new demos, and soon everything about Office 365 in the Tips section will be up to date.

Office 365 from Scratch
In August last year we began publishing a series of Office 365 tutorials called Office 365 from Scratch. In 2016 Microsoft has enhanced their cloud platform,  so new Office 365 users will get an Office 365 that in some respects is different from what I show in my demos and describe in the Tips articles.  It is time to update them.

Get started and add users
In my first updated tutorial I show how to set up an Office 365 trial, which has now become easier than it was a year ago. I recommend Enterprise E3, so that is the edition I use in all my Office 365 and SharePoint Online demonstrations.

Excel iconWhen you are all set up, you of course want to add user accounts. Office 365 is a platform for sharing, after all! We have updated Tips articles with demos on how to add one single user to Office 365 and how to import users from a CSV file.

There is also a brand new tutorial that shows how to get started with Office 365 user account PowerShell iconcreation in PowerShell. As I explained in an earlier blog post, PowerShell has become one of the most prominent tools for the developers and we often use it for custom solutions. PowerShell is excellent for automation of tedious tasks, and of course you can use it for user accounts also.

The Tips section
I have embedded the set up demo below for a first glance, but if you want to learn more about Office 365 I advise you to visit the Office 365 section of the Tips section. There you can find all the demos incorporated in articles that give additional information and step by step instructions. I hope you will find the Office 365 from Scratch series useful!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions