14 March 2019

Prioritize SharePoint Tasks in New 7 Habits View

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotype Today we are back with another update of the product, Kanban Task Manager. The two SharePoint editions of Kanban Task Manager have been updated with two new views and a few more features.

Manage tasks in SharePoint
Kanban Task Manager helps a workgroup to cooperate on projects and tasks in SharePoint. Team members can see the work process on a virtual kanban board and drag and drop task cards to different phases as the work proceeds.

Along with visualizing tasks on a kanban board, the software gives various other possibilities to make the work more effective. Kanban Task Manager comes in two SharePoint editions: Sandboxed and Add-in/App.

Suggestions and feedback play major role
For several years Kanban Task Manager has helped many organizations and teams to manage their tasks. We get a lot of positive feedback and suggestions, and this is the reason we update the solution quite often. These suggestions have played a major role in enhancing Kanban Task Manager and making it a powerful product on the market.

7 Habits view
Apart from the kanban view, Kanban Task Manager has several additional views. These views help users get an overview of the tasks based on week, month, year, project, responsible and more.

When there are too many tasks on your to-do list, it might become difficult to know which task you should focus on first. There is often only a small difference between important tasks and urgent tasks. This is a challenge in many organizations who have multiple projects with tight deadlines.

To help subscribers overcome this dilemma, a ‘7 Habits’ view has been added in Kanban Task Manager. The name of this view comes from the renowned book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey. For the third important habit, “Put first things first”, Stephen Covey refers to the Eisenhower principle of ‘Urgent-Important’ Matrix on how to prioritize tasks.

Based on the Eisenhower’s Matrix concept, the ‘7 Habits’ view distributes open tasks into four quadrants according to importance and urgency:
  • Urgent-Important – due today and high priority
  • Urgent-Not Important – due today but not high priority
  • Not Urgent-Important – not due today but high priority
  • Not Urgent-Not Important – not due today and not high priority
When tasks are dragged between the quadrants, the importance and urgency values will be changed automatically.
7 Habits view
‘Hours Open’ feature
For better time management, most organizations want to have an overview of how much time is spent on a specific project or task.

The new ‘Hours Open’ feature calculates the actual time a task was open. I use the word ‘actual’, as you can set your organization’s working day, service hours and lunch break in the Kanban Task Manager settings. Based on these factors, Kanban Task Manager calculates the total hours open for each task and displays it in the task’s details pane on the kanban board.

You can also study the Hours Open in the Excel reports generated by Kanban Task Manager.

Copy and Versions
Two new buttons have been added to the details pane in the updated version of Kanban Task Manager: ‘Copy’ and ‘Versions’.

Now you don’t have to hassle with creating new tasks each time. Instead you can select a task that is similar to the new one and copy it.

When you click on the ‘Versions’ button, you can study the task’s version history.

Free trial and subscription Trial icon If managing multiple tasks and projects is a challenge in your organization, I recommend that you try Kanban Task Manager. You are welcome evaluate the solution for 30 days without any obligations. Our Support team is here to help you, in case you run into any problems during your evaluation period.

All the solutions are licensed with a subscription, and so is Kanban Task Manager. Feel free to contact me or my colleagues at the Sales department, if you have any queries regarding the product subscription.

By Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant Business Solutions

05 March 2019

SharePoint Totals in Both Rows and Columns

SharePoint icon Would you like to see the total of sums or numbers both vertically and horizontally in a SharePoint list? That is possible if you let a flow or workflow calculate the row total and let the SharePoint built-in Totals view show totals for the columns. I have described how to do it in two Tips articles on the website.

The built-in Totals view
The SharePoint ‘Totals’ feature can be used to summarize the values in a column. It can also calculate other values for number columns, like average, maximum and minimum. The result of the calculation is shown on top of the column that is calculated.

The Totals value is however only displayed in the standard mode of the classic interface, not in the Quick Edit mode or in the modern interface. I hope Microsoft will soon add Totals to the modern interface too, because it is a really useful feature.

No totals for calculated columns
If you want to use totals, you cannot use a calculated column, because it is not possible to use the Totals view on a column with calculated values. This means that you cannot get the total for the 'Total Cost' column in the image below, as that is a calculated column that gets its values from calculations of the values in the two other columns.
SharePoint calculated column without Totals

Instead, you can use a currency or number column and let a flow or workflow do the calculation. Then it is possible to use the Totals view, and you will have totals both vertically and horizontally.

Microsoft flow to calculate values in SharePoint lists

Microsoft Flow
Microsoft Flow iconIf you want to let a flow do the calculation, use an expression that calculates the sum of column values for a list item. You can create such an expression by entering the function ‘add’ and then the dynamic content for the columns that should be calculated. Separate the columns with a comma.

SharePoint workflow
SharePoint Designer iconYou can of course also let a workflow calculate column values. First, create a local variable that gets its value from a ‘Do Calculation’ action. Then use this variable in a 'Set Field in Current Item' action to update the column with the totals value for the created or changed list item.

I have created the articles and the demos above for my books on SharePoint automation. SharePoint Flows from Scratch has already been published on Amazon, and I hope to release SharePoint Workflows from Scratch this month.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

28 February 2019

SharePoint Workflows that Set Library Titles

SharePoint icon
Data in Title columns is prioritized in the SharePoint Search, but in many library documents the titles are inaccurate or not filled out at all. In two articles in the Tips section, I describe how to create workflows that set the title of a new library file to the same as the file name.

Title in lists and libraries
When you create a new list item, you cannot save it until the 'Title' column has been given a value. Therefore most users learn to fill out this column with relevant information in lists.

When you create a new file in a SharePoint library, there is however no such compulsion. On the contrary, the title field is rather hidden to users. To enter something in the title field, they actually have to edit the file properties, and how many users do that?

SharePoint Search leading field
In SharePoint searches, the title field has the highest rank of all, so that is where SharePoint starts to search. Hits in the title also comes first among the results. If the title column is empty, the file name becomes prominent. Imagine how the SharePoint library searches will work if users leave the title empty and don't change the default file name, Document, Book or Presentation!

List workflow
SharePoint Designer iconIf users have learned to give library files relevant names, an easy way to solve the title problem is to let a workflow set the value in the Title column to the same as in the Name column. The solution is not optimal, but it is better to have the file name in the title column than having it blank.

If you just want to try the set title workflow in one library, you can create a list workflow. I show how to do that in the demo below.

Reusable workflow
The list workflow only works for one library. If you want to set the title to the same as the name in another library, you have to re-create the workflow for that library.

Another option is to create a reusable workflow connected to the document library content type. Unfortunately SharePoint 2013 workflows cannot be associated with a specific content type, so this reusable workflow must be a SharePoint 2010 workflow.

In the demo below I show how to create such a reusable workflow and how to connect it to the document content type.

In the Tips article about the reusable "Set Title" workflow, I give step by step instructions for the whole process. I also show how you can apply the workflow on existing files. The method I suggest can be used whether you have chosen a list workflow or a reusable workflow.

Do you prefer to use Microsoft Flow? In that case, I have a Tips article on that also. Refer to: how to create a flow that sets the title to the same as the file name in SharePoint document libraries.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

22 February 2019

Easy Tagging and Enhanced SharePoint Search with Document Tagger

Document Tagger for SharePoint logotype Today, I am happy to announce the release of a new product, Document Tagger. The solution analyzes documents in SharePoint libraries and suggests keywords and metadata for tagging. It supports Word.docx, PowerPoint .pptx, Excel .xlsx, PDF and text files.

Uses artificial intelligence
Understanding human language is one of the most difficult things for a computer to do, but thanks to neural networks, artificial intelligence and machine learning the algorithms are rapidly getting better.

Now the team is releasing a Microsoft SharePoint product that takes advantage of these technologies to make document categorization much simpler.

Google Cloud Natural Language logotype Document Tagger uses Google Cloud Natural Language for document analysis. Google Natural Language gives natural language understanding of human language. This means that it analyzes the text based on, sentiments, entities, entity-sentiments, linguistic information and content classification. The algorithms used for the analysis are part of Google’s machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities. This makes Document Tagger the first product that uses artificial intelligence.

Easy tagging
Tag Document logotype Despite the complex technology behind Document Tagger, the product is very easy to use. The document tagging is quick, as you can tag not only one but multiple documents in one go.

Document Tagger adds a ‘Tag Document’ button to SharePoint document libraries. When you select one or multiple files and click on this button, Document Tagger analyzes the content and suggests 15 keywords for each document.

Google Natural Language performs a semantic analysis of the document(s), but even if its word processing engines are continuously improved, I recommend that you review the suggestions before applying them.

To make the review quick, the keyword suggestions have checkboxes, so that you can uncheck the suggestions you find irrelevant. You may also add your own tags. Once you are done, click on ‘Apply tags’ to save.

Better SharePoint Search
Document Tagger adds all tags to the Enterprise Keywords. These are centrally stored in the Term Store and used in the SharePoint Search. The Enterprise Keywords are also available as suggestions for the whole farm or tenant.

The tagging with metadata helps the organization to take full advantage of SharePoint’s metadata driven Search feature. You can also filter documents by tag and create SharePoint views for certain tags.

Two SharePoint Editions
Document Tagger has been released in two SharePoint editions: Sandboxed and Add-in/App.

The sandboxed solution is uploaded to the root site of a SharePoint site collection and activated for all the sites where it needs to be used. The Add-in/App edition is instead added to the organization’s Add-in/App Catalog to be made available to the whole farm or tenant. It can then be added as an app to the SharePoint site where it needs to be used. From next week, the Add-in edition of Document Tagger can also be installed from SharePoint Store.

Download and Evaluate freely for 30 days
Both SharePoint editions of Document Tagger can be downloaded from the website. Trial icon You are welcome to evaluate the full version for 30 days without any obligations. Document Tagger is straightforward software to work with, but we provide full support during the evaluation period in case you need assistance.

To understand the Document Tagger possibilities, I recommend you to study the manual and the video demonstrations by our CEO and Systems designer, Peter Kalmstrom.

If your organization is looking for a solution to make document tagging quick and enhance the SharePoint Search, you should go for Document Tagger. Subscription icon The solution is licensed with a subscription on a monthly or yearly basis. Don’t hesitate to contact our Sales department, in case you have any queries regarding the subscription.

By Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant Business Solutions

18 February 2019

SharePoint Workflow for Version History Buttons

Would you like to have a button at each library file that quickly takes you to the document's version history? Or somewhere else? I have recently published a Tips article on how to create a workflow that adds a version history button to each new file in a SharePoint document library. Similar buttons can of course be used for other things than the version history.

Check changes and restore earlier versions
The SharePoint version history is a useful feature that I always recommend customers to keep enabled. It is on by default in document libraries, but in other SharePoint lists you have to enable it.

In the version history, you can see who changed each document or list item and when the changes were made, and if necessary, you can also restore earlier versions of items and files. To see the version history in a SharePoint document library, you must select a file, click on the ellipsis and go to ‘Version History’.
Version History icons

Version history button
If you often use the version history, it would of course be easier to just click on a button to reach it. The workflow I suggest runs when a new file is added to the document library, and it adds a small image that is linked to the new file's version history in a separate column in the library.

Create rich text column in SharePoint Designer
We need to use HTML code for the version history button, and therefore it must be placed in a column with enhanced rich text. SharePoint lets us use enhanced rich text in multiple lines of text columns, but if you create the new column in SharePoint, you can only get the rich text in lists, not in libraries.

To have a multiple lines of text column with enhanced rich text in a document library, you must create the column in SharePoint Designer. Therefore, I show how to create such a column in my demo below before I start with the actual workflow.

SharePoint Workflows from Scratch
The Tips article and the demo is created for my new book, SharePoint Workflows from Scratch, that I hope to release on Amazon at the end of this month.

My recently published book on Microsoft Flow goes well, but a SharePoint power user needs knowledge about both flows and workflows. That way, you can select the best option for all SharePoint automation. (Should you want to create a version history button in Flow, refer to my demo about a tasks list progress bar, that uses a similar technique.)

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions