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20 November 2017

SharePoint Statistics Tool Soon to be Released

Pivot Explorer for SharePoint logotype Excel has an excellent statistics tool: the pivot table. Wouldn't it be superb if you could use data from SharePoint lists for business intelligence in the same way? When we release our new SharePoint add-in you will be able to do just that!

As Pivot Explorer for SharePoint Lists works in SharePoint, it has the scalability and sharing options of a web-based application. But Pivot Explorer also has the speed and flexibility that you are used to with your desktop Excel.

Understand data
When you have a lot of numeric data in a SharePoint list, for example sales figures, it can be difficult to interpret it. Maybe you want to show colleagues or customers all or some of the data, but for that you need a way to order the information to make it more understandable.

The traditional way to arrange data to make it easily comprehensible is to use an Excel pivot table or chart. This is however not optimal when you have the information in SharePoint. With Pivot Explorer you can instead just click a button in the command bar/ribbon and directly see the data in a pivot table. Another click gives you a choice of charts.

Save and share statistics
Pivot Explorer lets you manipulate the data like you are used to do in Excel. You can for example filter, sort and drill, to get the information you are interested in.

When you have achieved a view that displays the data in an illustrative way, you can save it and have it at hand for another occasion. You may also print the view, whether it is a pivot table or a chart, or export it to HTML, CSV, XLSX, PNG or PDF. Therefore, Pivot Explorer makes it is easy to share statistics with colleagues and customers.

I hope to come back soon and announce the release of Pivot Explorer for SharePoint Lists!

16 November 2017

New Voice In kalmstrom.com Customer Contacts

Today I have the pleasure to introduce Dipti Francis, kalmstrom.com Executive Assistant since July this year. We were looking for someone who could assist us in sales and documentation, and Dipti has proved to be just the right person for this. In addition, Dipti can also help with recruitments – an important enhancement of a team that is continuously growing!

Many of you have met or will meet Dipti in e-mails and chats, and here you have an opportunity to learn more about the person you are communicating with:

Dipti FrancisI wrote my first blog post for kalmstrom.com Business Solutions about an Indian planting campaign, and now I have been given this opportunity to officially introduce myself.

Family background
I was born in a nuclear family, and being the youngest one, I had the benefit of having all my wishes being fulfilled at once. My father always has a very practical and logical answer to my questions, whereas my mother always helps me to foresee the emotional side of a situation. I believe that the combination of these two personalities has added value to my decisions, because it helps me to look at both the sides of any situation.

I owe my life to my parents, because whatever I am today it is because of their sacrifice and unconditional support.

Educational and professional life 
I completed my Bachelors of Engineering in 2015 from Malwa Institute of Technology, Indore. I was a very introvert student in school, but with the recognition and appreciation from my teachers and friends in college I realized my other talents of sketching and singing.

I started my career as a US IT recruiter at a global staffing firm. The daily talks to different people who had diversified experience and gaining knowledge from them, were great experiences. We often worked under immense pressure, so this was where I learned how to manage myself under stressful situations.

The work also helped me to fling off my hesitation of talking to different people outside India, whether it was face to face or in a call or email. To reach somewhere, you need to leave from somewhere, so eventually I decided to look for another job.

Working with kalmstrom.com Business Solutions Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint icon
I joined the kalmstrom.com team in July 2017 as an Executive Assistant to the General Manager, and here I am gradually taking over the responsibility for sales emails, documentation and recruitments. I have now learned most of our products and updated the manuals for the new versions of the SharePoint products Kanban Task Manager and Templates Manager.Templates Manager for SharePoint icon

With kalmstrom.com Business Solutions, I get the chance to challenge my abilities in different areas, apart from recruiting. I work closely with Kate Kalmström and Rituka Rimza, who are my actual mentors in the company. They always help me to understand things in the best possible way, and I thank them for always keeping their faith in me. Working under these two guides, I believe that I can learn a lot and bring out the best in me!

Personal life and hobbies
In my spare time, I like reading books, playing keyboard, painting, singing and sketching. Sketching tops my hobbies list, because it makes me feel self-possessed. Below are a few sketches that I have made.
Sketch                 Sketch
Apart from this, I love spending quality time with my family and writing a diary.

Attitude of gratitude
kalmstrom.com Executive Assistant Dipti FrancisI have always believed that being grateful for everything you have, is the key to happiness and abundance. Thus, I want to conclude this blog post by expressing my sincere gratitude to Peter, Kate, Jayant, and Rituka for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to be a part of the kalmstrom.com team. I want to specially thank Kate and Rituka for always being there for me whenever I need any help at my work place.

I get a very healthy working environment at kalmstrom.com, and all the team members are very supportive. I will continue to support the company's growth to the best of my abilities as an Executive Assistant or in whatever role I will work in the future. I look forward to having a great career with kalmstrom.com Business Solutions!

Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions

06 November 2017

Templates Manager For All SharePoint Document Libraries

Templates Manager logotypeToday we have released a new version of Templates Manager for SharePoint, the product that helps admins distribute templates to the whole organization and makes it easy for users to find the right template. Now Templates Manager User works on all kinds of SharePoint document library interfaces.

For both Publishers and Users
Templates Manager solves two problems: how to publish templates to the whole organization in one go and how to find and use the right template. Therefore the installation has two parts: Templates Manager Publisher and Templates Manager User.

When Templates Manager Publisher is activated on a site, a templates library that serves the whole farm or tenancy is created. In this library, administrators can upload, categorize, publish and remove template files. Templates Manager Publisher normally only needs to be activated on one or a few sites.
The Templates Manager Publisher ribbon group
Templates Manager User is intended to be used on many more sites, because this is the part that makes the templates available in document libraries. Templates Manager User allows the users to search or browse among all templates in a specified templates library and select the template that is best for each purpose.
The Templates Manager User Select Template button

SharePoint Online New experience and Office 365 Groups
Up till today, Templates Manager has only supported the classic experience interface. This was actually the only existing interface in all SharePoint editions when we released Templates Manager in 2015!

Office 365 logoAfter the release of Templates Manager, a lot has happened to SharePoint Online and Office 365. The new experience interface has been introduced in SharePoint Online libraries, lists and pages, and the Office 365 Groups have been much enhanced and are now used more widely than before.

Templates Manager supports all SharePoint editions, but many of our subscribers use Office 365 and SharePoint Online. Some of these organizations have kept the classic experience and others prefer to let their staff use Template Manager Client in their local Office applications.

However, our SharePoint products should never force any limitations. The easy choice of templates given by Templates Manager User should be available for everyone, even if they use the new experience interface and Office 365 Groups sites.

Templates Manager User Add-in The Templates Manager User Select Template button
It was not easy to find a solution that would support all SharePoint editions from 2010 and all kinds of document library interfaces. We decided to create an extra add-in for Templates Manager User, which only has to be installed by organizations who want to use the SharePoint Online new experience and Office 365 Groups.

Other organizations can just activate the sandboxed solutions of Templates Manager Publisher and Templates Manager User, as before. And if all users select templates with Templates Manager Client in their local Office applications, only the publisher part has to be activated.

Due to limitations in the new experience interface, the templates library can still only be used with the classic experience. We don't see that as a problem, as the publisher part is only used by a few people. What feels important now, is that we can offer a way to make Templates Manager User available in all kinds of SharePoint document libraries.


Upgrade
kalmstrom.com upgrade iconkalmstrom.com Subscribers have free upgrades, and I recommend current users to upgrade their installations. The upgrade page has a description of the process, and if you are using Templates Manager in many sites we can give a PowerShell script that takes care of everything. Please contact support@kalmstrom.com if you have questions!

Try it!
kalmstrom.com download iconEvaluators can try Templates Manager for SharePoint for 30 days without any obligations and with full support from the kalmstrom.com team. If your organization needs a smooth way to distribute document templates in SharePoint, welcome to have a look at Templates Manager!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions

03 November 2017

Kanban Task Manager SharePoint Editions with Checklists and Time Logging

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotype I am happy to announce the release of the Kanban Task Manager SharePoint editions. In the new version, we have added several features that have been suggested by customers.

Kanban board with task cards
Kanban Task Manager adds a kanban board to SharePoint. Here all open tasks are represented by color coded cards, that can be dragged and dropped between the board's phases and lanes.

The cards can be searched and filtered in multiple ways, and each user can also have a "My Tasks" embedding on any SharePoint page. The demo below shows the sandboxed solution, but the add-in has nearly the same features.


Suggest, and we will do our best!
It is always a pleasure to hear comments from users of the kalmstrom.com products. People who handle our products on a daily basis know what can be enhanced, and we always listen to them. Then it is our job to find the technical solutions needed to make the suggestions real. We like such challenges, and I enjoy our discussions in the developer group!

We try to keep the additions free of extra charge for the customers who suggest them, but when the new feature that is time consuming to develop, we often ask for a sponsorship.

Time logging
Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint time logging Current users have also requested a possibility to register how long time has been spent on each task, just like they can do for tickets in our issue tracking products HelpDesk OSP and Folder HelpDesk.

A time logging feature has therefore been added to the next version, and it is managed in the same way as the subtasks: in the open task or in the details pane.

Each user enters the minutes he or she spent on the task, and the minutes for each entry are automatically added up and converted into hours. The hours per task, phase and responsible can then be studied in the Kanban Task Manager statistics.

Checklists
A much requested feature among users has been a possibility to divide tasks into multiple to-do actions. When you get a task that requires multiple steps, it is helpful to list those steps and cross them out as work with the task proceeds. For simple tasks, you can just skip this procedure when it is not needed.

It has not been easy, but now we are happy to introduce a checklist for each task, where users can enter the steps needed to complete the task. The checklist can be managed in the open task or in the details pane, which opens when you right click on a task card on the kanban board.

Enable or skip
Both new features, checklists and time logging, must be enabled in the Kanban Task Manager settings before they can be used. Work groups that want to have a simpler task form and details pane can simply choose to not activate them.

Default values
The new version of Kanban Task Manager has default values for five of the fields in the task form: Responsible, Start Date, Due Date, Project and Priority.  These default values can of course be changed in the settings. We will soon release a demo that explains the default values, but it is already explained in detail in the manual.

One installation per team
A subscription to  Kanban Task Manager allows an unlimited number of installations, and most organizations select to install the product on multiple sites, to be used by different teams. That way each team can configure their Kanban Task Manager in the manner that is most efficient to them. With a common top navigation, managers can easily have an overview over how projects proceed in the various teams.

Upgrade
kalmstrom.com upgrade iconUpgrades are always included in the Kanban Task Manager Subscription, and we recommend current subscribers are welcome to upgrade their installations.

Try
kalmstrom.com download iconKanban Task Manager has a free trial period of 30 days. Please download and evaluate the product if you need a good way to manage tasks and projects!

The Kanban Task Manager SharePoint Add-in has also been updated, but it takes a few days before Microsoft has approved it for SharePoint Store. In the meantime, you can always download the latest version of the add-in from the kalmstrom.com website.

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

17 October 2017

SharePoint Approvals with Built-In Workflow

SharePoint iconLast week I described how approvals can be handled in SharePoint libraries without using a workflow. To achieve that, I enabled features that are already there, and today I will continue down the same path. In a new article in the kalmstrom.com Tips section, I show how to activate and use the built-in Approvals workflow.

 When you just enable the Approvals column and don't use a workflow, the people who should approve must go into the library to see and approve or reject the new or changed item. A workflow can make the process easier, and the quickest way to add an approvals workflow to a document library is to use the built-in one.

OOTB workflow creates review task
SharePoint only has a few workflows that can be used out of the box, but there is an Approvals workflow to use in document libraries where the Approvals column is enabled. This workflow creates a task for the approver, and from that task the approver can open the file in question and approve or reject it. The approving person can also select to suggest changes and to send the file to another reviewer.

The built-in workflow can create review tasks for several people and at multiple stages. There are several more settings, like due date and what will happen if the file is rejected by someone or is changed when the workflow is still running.


Drawbacks
All this sounds just fine, but there are some drawbacks. It is not possible to specify workflow conditions, for example that the workflow will only run for a specific file type, and users who can start the workflow manually can also change the workflow settings. Another problem is that you cannot see who has approved the file without opening the workflow page.

kalmstrom.com Tips
My Tips article about SharePoint approvals with a built-in workflow contains the demo above and also a demo that shows how to remove the workflow from the document library.

In my next blog post about SharePoint approvals, I will compare the built-in Approvals column with a custom column. Both have their specific advantages and disadvantages, so it is important reading!

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