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15 October 2018

SharePoint Editions of Kanban Task Manager Updated

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotype The SharePoint editions of Kanban Task Manager have been updated with a new view and the possibilities to add multiple responsibles on a single task and create checklist templates.

Kanban Task Manager helps a workgroup to collaborate on projects and tasks on a virtual kanban board in SharePoint or Outlook. For SharePoint we offer two editions: sandboxed solution and add-in. Kanban Task Manager has several features to manage the tasks efficiently:
  • Color code tasks or projects.
  • Drag and drop tasks between phases as work proceeds.
  • View tasks related to multiple projects on one kanban board.
  • Create checklists in complicated tasks.
  • Keep track of the work done with a time logging feature.
  • Generate Excel reports that show statistics on tasks management.

Updated version with enhanced feature
We always welcome enhancement suggestions from subscribers, and we try our best to add all the useful features that are requested. As Kanban Task Manager is one of our most popular products, users send us many ideas, and the features in the new versions are some of them.

In a previous version of the Kanban Task Manager SharePoint editions we added a Checklist feature, that helps users to break down a complicated task into checklist steps. We have been upgrading this feature since then, so now you cannot only create checklists but also checklist templates.
Checklist-templates icon icon
Creating a new checklist for each task is inefficient when is the steps are the same for similar tasks. With the new feature, the Kanban Task Manager admin can create checklist templates for tasks where the same steps must be performed. Users can then select among the templates when they start working with a task or create a new checklist if none of the templates is suitable.

Multiple Responsibles
In organizations or teams it is common that more than one person works on a single task. Many users of Kanban Task Manager have therefore requested a possibility to assign a single task to multiple team members.

Multi-headed icon The updated Kanban Task Manager gives the possibility to add multiple responsibles to one task. In that case, the task card will have a multi-headed icon instead of the responsible person's photo.

Not Assigned view
There are various views in Kanban Task Manager where you can see the tasks on the basis of month, year, projects, responsible and their working status. This time a new view has been added to Kanban Task Manager: the ‘Not Assigned’ view.

The ‘Not Assigned’ view displays the unassigned tasks along with their descriptions. The view also shows all people who have been assigned tasks earlier, so you only have to drag and drop a task to assign it to a team member.

Upgrade and Support
kalmstrom.com Upgrade icon We always recommend our customers to use the latest version of our solutions, and upgrades are always included in our subscriptions. If your organization is a subscriber to a Kanban Task Manager SharePoint edition, you can download the updated version from the kalmstrom.com website.

Our Support team is always here to help you, if you need assistance in upgrading the solution.

Trial and Subscription
kamlstrom.com Trial icon You may download the full version of one of the Kanban Task Manager SharePoint editions from the kalmstrom.com website and evaluate it for 30 days without any obligations.

We have separate manuals for both the editions, that explains the solutions in detail. In addition to that, we also have video demonstrations by our CEO, Peter Kalmstrom, that can help you in understanding and evaluating the solution better.

In case you are new to Kanban Task Manager and need a skilled person to install and configure the solution, you may take advantage of our experts, who can do the work for you in a paid remote session.

Kanban Task Manager can be subscribed to on a monthly or yearly basis. You are always welcome to contact our Sales department in case you need assistance.

By Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions

09 October 2018

Enhance SharePoint Search with Update Title Flow

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 a new article in the kalmstrom.com Tips section, I describe how to create a flow that sets the title to the same as the file name. That will enhance the search results considerably, because document names are often descriptive and give relevant information on what the document contains.

When you make a search in SharePoint, the title hits are displayed on top. In SharePoint lists, the title is mandatory to fill out and is therefore never overlooked. In document libraries, however, the title is rather hidden, and it is a common problem that files are not given a title at all, or have non-descriptive, automatically set titles like "Document" that does not help the search at all.
Microsoft flow to set title in SharePoint library
In file systems, the titles don't have the same importance as it has in SharePoint, so files that are imported to SharePoint libraries often lack titles. Furthermore, the properties of such uploaded files do not open automatically. Instead, users must actively open the properties and add a title, and most users don't do that.

An easy way to solve the title problem is to let a flow set the value in the Title column to the same as in the Name column. The name is hopefully relevant, so this flow solves the problems with non-existing as well as irrelevant titles.


In the demo above, I have used the trigger "when an item is created or modified". This trigger is suitable to use in a library that already contains a lot of files that need to have a better title. In Edit mode, you can just add a dummy title and then drag it down the Title column of all files. They are then modified, and the flow will update the column and replace each dummy title with the value in the file's Name column.

Microsoft Flow icon For a new document library, I would instead recommend the trigger "when an item is created". Then the flow will set the title to the same as the name for all new files – but there will also be a possibility to change the title manually, to something else than the name value, without having the flow thwart your modification. The rest of the flow will be the same, and all steps are listed in the article about the update title flow.

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

05 October 2018

Folder HelpDesk for Outlook Released with New HTML views and features

Folder HelpDesk for Outlook logotype The kalmstrom.com issue tracking tool, Folder HelpDesk for Outlook has been updated. This time we have added new HTML views and given a possibility to show the e-mail received date on the ticket.

Folder HelpDesk for Outlook
Folder HelpDesk is an Outlook add-on that helps a workgroup collaborate on support cases or issues inside Outlook. With Folder HelpDesk users can convert e-mails into tickets, either manually or automatically. Along with converting e-mails into tickets, Folder HelpDesk gives users more possibilities to work efficiently with those tickets:
  • fetch tickets from an online form, manually or automatically
  • keep all the e-mails related to the same case in the same ticket
  • make a call from inside a ticket via any desktop calling application
  • reply to an e-mail from inside a ticket
  • generate Excel reports on ticket data for analysis and statistics

Improved Design of HTML views
Among the many Folder HelpDesk features is the possibility to visualize tickets in different HTML views: Kanban, Month, Year, Timeline Responsibles, Timeline Incidents, Timeline Callers and Incidents.

In this version, the design of the HTML views is improved and has been made more user friendly. Now you can reach all the HTML views from a single dropdown.

Folder HelpDesk - HTML views

New Feature
Folder HelpDesk gives various options to customize the ticket form, among them the option to automatically save non- existent values, assign default values for minutes worked and more.

Now a new feature has been added to the ticket form settings: ‘Show e-mail received time in the ticket’. Several subscribers have asked for this feature, so we know that it will be appreciated.

kalmstrom.com Upgrade icon Upgrade
Our subscriptions include support and upgrades. If your organization is a Folder HelpDesk subscriber, you are welcome to upgrade your installation. You may download the setup file from the kalmstrom.com website.

kamlstrom.com Trial icon Trial and Subscription
If your team wants to cooperate on support cases in Outlook, I would recommend that you try Folder HelpDesk. You may download the full version of Folder HelpDesk and try it for 30 days without any obligations. Do not hesitate to contact our Support team, if you need assistance during your evaluation period.

Folder HelpDesk can be subscribed to on a yearly or monthly basis. Our Sales department is here to help you if you have any queries regarding the subscription.

This update was just minor, but the kalmstrom.com developers are working on a major new version with several important enhancements. I will come back and tell you more about them in a later blog post.

By Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions

03 October 2018

SharePoint Approvals in Multiple Steps

SharePoint iconIn earlier blog posts I have described different ways to manage approvals of documents in SharePoint libraries. As an example, I have used a Procedures library where new documents need to be approved by another person than the author.

But sometimes one approver is not enough. In a new article in the kalmstrom.com Tips section, I suggest a solution for SharePoint document libraries where new files must be approved by several people.

SharePoint workflow
I use a SharePoint workflow to automate the multiple approval process, and the idea behind the workflow is that each approver is given a task to approve or reject the new document. When that task is completed, the workflow goes to next approver if the document is approved. If one of the approvers reject the document, the process is stopped.
SharePoint Designer icon
This workflow is a totally custom solution. I neither use the built-in approval status column nor any of the out-of-the-box workflows that Microsoft supplies.

The benefit of using a custom approval solution is that you have total control of the process. The downside (as you will see if you watch the video) is that it is rather complex and time-consuming to create. On the other hand I am using as much as five approvers. The workflow can of course be used for less people also.

Approvers in teams
Each approver in this example workflow belongs to a team, and all teams and approvers are stored in a SharePoint list. I use the team names in the workflow, so you don't have to modify the workflow if the person that approves or rejects documents must be replaced. The workflow will continue to run as soon as a new document has been added to the library.

Follow the process stages
The approval task for each approver is represented by a workflow stage. These stages are called "Waiting for [TEAM]", and if a team approves of the document, the workflow goes to the next stage.
Approval process

When I have created all the stages, I add two more stages: the Rejected stage and the All Approved stage. These stages both ends the workflow, but under different conditions. The Rejected stage is used when someone rejects the documents. The All Approved stage is used when all stakeholders have approved the document.

The benefit of working with stages in this way, is that everything is visible in the library. The approval status column shows "Waiting for [TEAM]", "Rejected by [TEAM]" or "All Approved", and in the document's version history you can see the whole process with details on when and by whom the document was approved or rejected.

Testing and error correction
The workflow I suggest is long and rather complicated, and when recording the demo below I made a few mistakes. To make the demo shorter I copied and pasted stages, and that also gave some errors.

I have chosen to include the testing and error fixing in the demo, as it can give valuable information to someone who tries the workflow.


Tips article
I have recorded this demo about approvals in multiple steps for my book SharePoint Workflows from Scratch. I have not finished writing it yet, but for now you can read the article in the kalmstrom.com Tips section. It has the demo and also a description of prerequisites and instructions on how to create the different stages.

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

26 September 2018

Automate SharePoint Approvals with Flow

Microsoft Flow iconWhen someone creates a new business document, it must often be approved by someone else in the organization before it is made available to more users. The approval process can be configured and managed in many different ways, but it is of course an advantage if it is automated.

In two new articles in the kalmstrom.com Tips section, I describe how a flow can be used to automate the approval process for files in a SharePoint Online document library.

The library approval setting
SharePoint document libraries have an approval checkbox under 'Versioning settings'. This feature is disabled by default, but when it is enabled, each new or changed document must be approved. Only after approval will it be shown to all users of that library. This setting has the advantage of preventing other users than the author and the approver from seeing non-approved document versions.

When the approval setting is enabled, a new column called 'Approval Status' will be added automatically. This is convenient, but currently this column cannot be used together with an "update item" action in a flow or workflow. It always has to be updated manually, and a flow or workflow can only automate the sending of an e-mail to the approver. In the demo below I show how to create such an e-mail sending flow.



Custom column for approval status
When you choose not to enable the approval setting but instead use a custom column for approval status, a flow or workflow can manage the whole process, including the update of the document library.

A drawback with a custom column is that the document can be seen by everyone even when it is not approved (if you don't set special permissions on it). In the demo below, I add a library update action to the flow that I created in the demo above.


The two demos above are included in a kalmstrom.com Tips article that also gives some more background and explanations. I recommend that you study the demos more closely there, if you are interested in trying one of my solutions.

Create a flow in the mobile
The Microsoft Flow mobile app makes it possible to create a flow like the one above in a mobile device. The demo below is included in a SharePoint Flows article that also gives step-by-step instructions. I use a custom column for approval status and show how the flow can be set to send an e-mail to the approver as well as update the document library.



Next article and blog post about business approvals in SharePoint will be about approvals in multiple steps, where several people in sequence must approve a new document library file.

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