11 December 2018

HTML in Flow E-mails

Microsoft Flow iconIn a new SharePoint Flows article in the Tips section, I have described how to enhance flow generated e-mails with HTML code.

Microsoft has recently added a new action to Flow: “Office 365 Outlook – Send an email (V2)”. It has a simple HTML editor that allows links and lists and changes in font, style and color. To use more advanced HTML in the Flow Editor, you have to add the code yourself.

A good option is to copy HTML code from an HTML editor and paste it into the Flow Editor. With the method I describe in my article, you can add for example tables and images to the body of an e-mail sent by a flow, or to the description field in a SharePoint list item. Just make sure that body code tags, for example style, are placed inside the body instead of in the head.

After pasting the HTML code into the Flow Editor, you can add the dynamic content you want to use directly in the code. The image below shows a simple table intended to be used in a SharePoint document library called "Procedures". The values for the name of the new file and its creator is added as dynamic content, while the rest of the table is hard-coded.
Flow e-mail table
This method for using HTML in a flow is described in detail in my upcoming book SharePoint Flows from Scratch, which I hope to publish very soon. In the meantime, you are welcome to read the Tips article about adding HTML to a SharePoint flow and watch the demo!

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

06 December 2018

New Edition of E-mail Converter Hosted on Windows Server

E-mail Converter for IIS and SharePoint logotype Today I am happy to announce the release of a new product: E-mail Converter for IIS and SharePoint. This solution, which is the third edition of E-mail Converter, is hosted on a Windows server and uses a Task Scheduler to manage the e-mail conversion frequency.

IIS Edition of E-mail Converter
E-mail Converter for IIS and SharePoint is a new addition to the E-mail Converter family that automatically converts e-mails into SharePoint list items, 24x7.
E-mail Converter for Azure and SharePoint icon
We recently released an Azure edition of E-mail Converter, which is also for non-stop automatic e-mail conversion but requires a Microsoft Azure account.

This time the team has developed an IIS edition of E-mail Converter for the users who don’t have an Azure account. After all, we want all our customers to benefit from E-mail Converter!

The IIS edition supports all Exchange Web Service e-mails like Office 365, Windows Live and Microsoft Exchange.

Hosted on a Windows server
E-mail Converter for IIS and SharePoint requires a website hosting provider, for example Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager, which is included in Windows 10. In the demo below, Peter Kalmstrom, CEO and Systems Designer of Business Solutions, uses Internet Information Service (IIS) Manager for the hosting.

Task Scheduler to manage conversion time
Windows Task Scheduler icon Both the Azure and the IIS editions of E-mail Converter require a Scheduler to manage the conversion frequency.

In E-mail Converter for IIS and SharePoint, the Task Scheduler in Windows needs to be set-up by the user manually. For that, the team has given a PowerShell command that periodically hits the E-mail Converter URL and subsequently converts e-mails.

You can find the PowerShell command on the E-mail Converter for IIS and SharePoint download page or in the E-mail Converter manual.

Trial & Subscription
If you are looking for a solution that automatically converts your e-mails into SharePoint tickets but don’t have an Azure account, then E-mail Converter for IIS and SharePoint is for you.

You of course would like to try the solution for a while, to make sure that it fulfills your needs. For that you may take advantage of our free service. We give a 30 days free trial of the full version with full support on all our products. Trial icon You may download the E-mail Converter website folder for publishing, from the website and evaluate it for 30 days without any obligations. Our Support team is here to help you in case you need assistance during the evaluation period.

E-mail Converter can be subscribed to on a monthly as well as yearly basis. If you wish to subscribe to E-mail Converter, you may contact me or my colleagues at the Sales department. We will be happy to assist you!

E-mail Converter Manual
To make your evaluation easier, we have a manual that describes the features and functionalities of E-mail Converter in detail. You may easily download the files from the website.
Microsoft Word icon                       PDF icon
I am sure it will help you in evaluating the solution better. All the best with E-mail Converter!

By Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant Business Solutions

27 November 2018

Update SharePoint Progress Bar with Flow

Microsoft Flow iconMost people prefer to see graphic representations instead of figures, so a progress bar in a SharePoint Tasks list is probably a welcome addition. In a new article in the Tips section, I describe how a flow can maintain such a progress bar. The same technique can of course be used for other conditional formatting.

% Complete
The SharePoint Tasks list template has a "% Complete" column, but users don't always fill it out. I think they will be more inclined to do that if the figure is visualized in a progress bar. A flow can pick up the value in the "% Complete" column and show it graphically, like in the image below.
Progress bars in SharePoint

HTML code
The progress bar will be placed in a custom multiple lines of text column with Enhance rich text enabled, and for my example bar I have used a simple table with one row and two columns – one green and one red. The red column has a minimum height, so that it will be visible even if there is no content in it.

The trick is to let the flow read the value in the "% Complete" column and set the width of the green part of the bar according to that value. The red column will be adjusted automatically, as the table has a fixed width. article
The article about the progress bar flow in the Tips section of our website has step-by-step instructions for the flow. Especially detailed are the steps for the most difficult part: the expression that reads the"% Complete" value and from that calculates how many pixels are needed for the green part of the progress bar.

The article also has the HTML code for the progress bar and information on how to hide the column with the progress bar in the task item form. And of course it also contains the demo above!

Kanban Task Manager
Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint iconFor more advanced tasks management I recommend Kanban Task Manager. This product visualizes tasks as color coded cards on a kanban board in SharePoint, and of course each card has a progress bar!

A Kanban Task Manager subscription allows an unlimited number of installations, so each team can have their own kanban board. It is easy for managers to navigate between the boards and supervise the progress.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

23 November 2018

Get Forms Data into SharePoint

As SharePoint has excellent capabilities for sharing and working with data, it is often convenient to fetch data from other online platforms and add it to SharePoint Online lists. In a new article in the Tips section, I create a survey in Microsoft Forms and build a flow that adds the responses to two SharePoint lists.

Microsoft Forms
Office 365 Forms iconForms is an app for creation of surveys, quizzes, and polls that is included in most Office 365 commercial and educational subscriptions. It is quick to create a questionnaire in Forms, even if the customization possibilities are limited, and Microsoft has also made it easy to share the form and analyze the responses.

SharePoint Online
SharePoint iconAs Forms is included in Office 365, you can of course let colleagues access to your forms responses and analyze them in place, but you will have more possibilities if you let a flow copy the answers to a SharePoint list. If you are logged in with the same account when you create the form and the flow, such a flow is not very complicated.

Pivot Explorer
Pivot Explorer iconExcel is excellent for analyses, but a new SharePoint add-in makes it possible to work in an Excel-like way directly in SharePoint lists. It is called Pivot Explorer and supports a range of different charts and tables, that you can modify by just moving the dimensions around. Pivot Explorer can be used for business intelligence and data visualization with both SharePoint Online and SharePoint on-premises.

Microsoft Flow iconThe Forms-Flow-SharePoint article has two demos. In the first one, I create a survey to be used by an imaginary bicycle company. It has a number of questions to be answered, and nearly all responses will be copied to a "Leads" SharePoint list by the flow I show in the second demo.

The last question, "Do you want to receive our newsletter?" does not require analysis, so the "Yes" responses to that question will be copied to a separate list, "Newsletters", together with the respondent's name and e-mail address. Then you can of course let another flow pick up those details and send the newsletters automatically.

In the demo above I describe how the flow is built, and in the Tips article you can also find step-by-step-instructions. The process is similar when you want to fetch data from other online services to SharePoint, so I hope you will consider my survey example as an inspiration for further exploration of Microsoft Flow!

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

21 November 2018 Developer Fascinated by Games and Boxing

Many of you have had contact with the sales or support staff, but today I want to introduce one of the team members who works "behind the scene": a developer. Here he will tell you about himself:

Faheem Ansari photoFirst of all I want to say Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) as Allah gave me a lot of things. This is Faheem Ansari, developer in the team since 2016. I am born and raised in Indore, and I love challenges, ideas and versatility.

When I was 5, I saw something that changed my mind and thinking: a video game. That fascinated me so much that it led me to become a software professional. To me, video games are interactive media that are highly technical and yet creative products.

Since 2016 I have worked on multiple and versatile projects in the Indore office and achieved success with a wonderful team. My area of development includes custom SharePoint apps, sandboxed solutions and SharePoint PowerShell scripts as well as our standard SharePoint products, like Kanban Task Manager and Pivot Explorer.
Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint icon                      Pivot Explorer icon
I am passionate to enhance myself, as I strongly believe that I could be better than who I am. Therefore, I always love to find out new stuff and try my hands on it. I truly believe that you learn when you fail. You never learn when you succeed, so I am always eager for growth, to take risks and embrace failures. In return, I am learning and getting better. YouTube is my greatest source of information.

In the future, I would like to see myself as a “Digital Consultant”, but right now I am excited to work with Microsoft Power BI, Azure, Flow and Outlook add-ons.

Before working with, I was a freelancer. We were a small team working remotely, delivering CMS based websites and graphics to US and UK based clients. I spent two years with that, and it was a great experience.

In my life I have come across a few people that inspired me so much that my thinking and approach has changed. These inspiring people are the boxing legend Muhammad Ali, the Russian MMA champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and the Japanese video game designer Hideo Kojima.

More than just amazing sport personalities, both Khabib and Ali teach me that you must have faith and be on it, while Kojima’s creative ideas are extremely innovative and fascinating.

I’m a fitness lover and have a great affection for boxing. I spend every weekend working on heavy bags trying to strengthen the basics. Before I started my career I studied about games, specifically Game Mechanics and Level Progression. I have been into game development as well and submitted a 3D video game as my major project in college.

My life's greatest treasure is my parents. I learned from my dad how important it is to work hard in any situation. We were not upscale, but he worked very hard to raise me as a software professional.

Faheem Ansari photo My mom, well I simply don't have words to describe her role in my life. She is the most supportive and motivated person I have ever found. She has given me a gift: “Nasrum Minallahi Wa Fathun Qareeb” (Quran 61:13) which means “Help from Allah and a near victory”. I would like to give credits for all the success of my life to my parents.

I also have close ties to the rest of my family, and in the image to the right I spend time with my niece.

I would like to thank Kalmstrom Software Pvt.Ltd. for providing me a platform to unlock my potential and grow very quickly. I will keep working hard and render my services to the company.

Faheem Ansari
Junior Developer Business Solutions