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18 September 2018

Flow for IM to Assigned

Flow icon SharePoint tasks lists are a good way to organize tasks within an organization, and it gets even better if you use a kanban board, like Kanban Task Manager, to visualize the tasks and the work process. When someone creates a task for another person, it is convenient to have a message about that sent out automatically.

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotype In a new article in my SharePoint Flows series I show how to create a flow that sends a Skype message to a person who has been assigned a new task. This flow can be used whether you use the tasks list with Kanban Task Manager or not.

New task alerts
The SharePoint 'Alert me' command cannot be used to send notifications for new tasks to the assignee, but I have earlier published several Tips articles on how to use different kinds of workflows for e-mail alerts to the person who has been assigned a new task. Such automatic e-mails can also be sent automatically with a flow.

Sometimes an instant message is more efficient than an e-mail, and in the new Tips article I describe how to create a flow that sends a Skype message to the assignee. To make the flow more useful, I add a link to the new task in the message. Thus the assigned person just have to click on the link to reach the task.



Complex and simple flows
Flow is a versatile tool that can be used with a wide range of cloud based services, not only with SharePoint, to automate processes that need to be performed repeatedly. In some cases it can be rather complicated to create a flow, and I showed an example on that in the beginning of this month, when I wrote a blog post about a flow that sends e-mails based on list data and where attachments needed to be included.

Skype icon To create a flow that sends a Skype message when a new task has been created is a much easier process. If you have never before created a flow, this flow is a suitable one to start with. In my Tips article about the IM to assigned flow I have listed the steps as a further help to follow the demo.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions

05 September 2018

Flow that Sends E-mails Based on SharePoint List Items

Flow iconAs you probably know, the kalmstrom.com YouTube channel has many subscribers, currently nearly 15.000, and I am glad that my demos attract such great interest. I am often asked to create demos on specific topics, but I have no possibility to comply with all requests without charging for it.

However, a couple of days ago I read a question that really interested me: how to send e-mails from a shared mailbox with content based on SharePoint list items. If you don't allow e-mail attachments, this is easily managed with a flow that picks e-mail data from a SharePoint list item.

But this subscriber wanted to include attachments in the outgoing e-mails. That makes it a lot more complicated, and this is what intrigued me. I decided to find out how to manage the process the subscriber asked about – for my own sake! I began searching and found inspiration from several sources, but a blog post by Django Lohn put me on the right track. You can see the result in the demo below, and as usual there is also an article in the kalmstrom.com Tips section.

So, why did I find this question so interesting? It was not only that I did not know how to do it from the beginning. Letting users add e-mail data to a SharePoint list is in some cases better than letting them send from a shared mailbox:
  • Using a SharePoint list and a flow gives better control of what is sent.
  • The data of the outgoing e-mails is gathered in a SharePoint list, where it can be sorted, filtered, searched and displayed in different views – something that is more difficult to do in a shared mailbox.
  • You don't have to give a lot of people access to the shared mailbox. They only need permission to create items in the SharePoint list.
This demo is created for my upcoming book about SharePoint Flows, and it will be one of the most advanced ones. I have listed the Flow steps in the Tips article, so please give it a try!




By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions

31 August 2018

Pivot Explorer for SharePoint List Items Released

Pivot Explorer logotype Today I am happy to announce the release of a new kalmstrom.com product: Pivot Explorer for SharePoint Lists is a SharePoint add-in that helps users explore, analyze and visualize list data directly in SharePoint, without exporting it to Excel.

Explore SharePoint list data
Pivot Explorer for SharePoint Lists is designed for workgroups or organizations who store data in SharePoint lists. With the help of Pivot Explorer, users can visualize the list data online.

The Pivot Explorer add-in makes data exploration flexible, as it supports a range of multidimensional charts and tables.

For numerical data, various aggregate functions like count, average, percentage and more can be applied to get sum details for different parameters.


Save or export views
Users can save and load their favorite views with just a few clicks and make them available to all users of the site. The current view can also be exported to Excel, image or PDF.

kamlstrom.com Trial icon Trial and Documentation
If your organization is looking for an option to explore SharePoint data effectively, I recommend that you try Pivot Explorer. For evaluators who don’t want to use their personal data, we have given an Example list with some data you can play around with.

We give full support during the 30 days free trial, so you don’t have to hesitate to contact our Support team whenever you need assistance. Please also study the Pivot Explorer manual, which explains the features and functionality in detail.

Subscription
You may subscribe to Pivot Explorer on a monthly or yearly basis. Our subscriptions include free support and upgrades, and on top of that, an unlimited number of users and installations without any extra fees.

Welcome to contact our Sales Department in case you have any queries regarding the subscription.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions

27 August 2018

Flow Alerts With Links To SharePoint Items

Microsoft Flow icon In an earlier blog post, I announced a new Tips article about links in workflow generated e-mail notifications. Now I have created a similar links article for Flow.

Flows versus workflows
Microsoft Flow is a cloud based service, part of Office 365, so currently it cannot be used with SharePoint on-premises. Workflows, on the other hand, are created in SharePoint Designer and can be used with all SharePoint editions.

Enter in e-mail body
In the demo below, I create a flow that sends an e-mail notification when a new document is created in a SharePoint Online library. I paste links to one specific document in various modes into the e-mail body, and then I replace the specific parts of the link code with dynamic fields that can be selected in the flow editor. This way, the links will always point to the new document.

You may of course also write in the links and directly click on the dynamic fields you need, to insert them in their proper places in the link code. I had some trouble getting them in the right place with my method!



Beware of name changes
If you are using a link with the dynamic field "File name with extension", which I do in one of the links, you should be aware that the link will stop working if the filename is changed after the notification e-mail has been sent. Name changes of documents are especially common when users create new documents directly in the SharePoint document library. That document will automatically be named as "Document", "Presentation" and so on, depending on file type.

Hopefully users have learned to rename the document into something more descriptive, but if they are allowed to create new documents and not just upload them, the flow must be given a delay before it runs. That way users will have time to re-name their documents.

I hope my two tips about links in workflow or flow generated e-mails have been useful! People might forget or ignore notifications without links, but if they can interact with a new document by just clicking on a link, there is a much better chance that it is actually read.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions

13 August 2018

Add Links to SharePoint Workflow E-mails

SharePoint iconDo you use a workflow to send e-mail notifications about changes in a SharePoint list or library? In that case, you might be interested in my new Tips article where I show how to add various links to the e-mail body.

Built-in alerts
Automatic e-mail notifications are useful when you want to draw attention to changes in a SharePoint list or library. Microsoft has given an Alert feature for such e-mails, and it is very easy for users to turn on such alerts for themselves. However, these alerts give no possibility to customize the body of the e-mail.

Custom alerts
SharePoint Designer iconMany organizations prefer to create their own notification workflows, to have better control over when and to whom the e-mails are sent. A workflow also gives many options for customization of the e-mail body.

You can for example add links in the e-mail, so that the recipients quickly can reach various kinds of information. It might however be complicated to get these links to work as intended, so I hope my article in the kalmstrom.com Tips section will be helpful.

Workflow generated e-mail with links
Link code examples
In the demo below, I show how to build different links that might be useful in automatic e-mails. The demo is included in the Tips article, and the article also has all the link codes so that you can study them more easily.



In a later article, I will give examples on how to add links to e-mails that are sent by a flow. Flows are easier to work with than workflows, but they only support SharePoint Online and they also have some other limitations.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions