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28 December 2018

Monthly Project Reports with a SharePoint Flow

Microsoft Flow icon Managers often want to have monthly or weekly reports on various things, and if you are efficient you let a flow put together the report and send it. In a new article in the kalmstrom.com Tips section, I show how this can be done.

Flow that creates and send e-mail report
The flow I describe in the article and in the demo below, will generate an e-mail report with the total number of projects and the sum of the approved budgets for these projects. A 'Schedule - Recurrence' trigger will make sure that the flow sends an e-mail with this content on the same day every month.


Flow variables for calculation
A variable is like a container that holds different types of information, and you can use variables for storing, modifying and retrieving any kind of data. In my report generating flow, I first Initiate the variables (required in Flows), then I Increment them and finally I read the variable values into the e-mail body.
Microsoft flow generated e-mail

I initialize two variables, one for the number of projects in a SharePoint list and one for the total of the approved budgets. The values in these variables are calculated by two Increment variable actions. They are executed inside an 'Apply to each' action that loops through the project items.

E-mail with calculated figures
When the 'Apply to each' has looped through the list, and the values for the Initialize variables have been calculated, the flow sends an e-mail with the figures for number of projects and total budget. The values are added as dynamic content in the e-mail body.

The total budget sum in the e-mail has no thousand separator. I decided to not include a thousand separator in the demo, because it is, at least currently, very complicated to add. The report will still work and give a correct result that is sent punctually each month, so I hope the manager will be content without the separator! SharePoint Flows from Scratch cover

My new book, SharePoint Flows from Scratch, will be published very soon, and the cover is already finished. I will come back and tell you more about it as soon as the book has been published on Amazon.

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

20 December 2018

SharePoint Flow for List Input from Outside

Microsoft Flow iconThe Microsoft Flow action "Send email with options" is useful when you need input by e-mail from people outside the organization. In a new article in the kalmstrom.com Tips section, I describe such a flow for e-mail input that also updates a SharePoint list.

In my example, the flow sends an e-mail to a legal counsel when a new item is created in a SharePoint Projects list. This counsel does not have access to the list, so he/she cannot directly see the new project and approve or reject it. Instead, the e-mail has a field for the dynamic content of the project description, and if that is not enough, the counsel has the option to ask for more information.
SharePoint flow e-mail options
Each option entered in the flow is shown as a button in the e-mail. My flow has the three options in the image above, and the help text in the flow also shows three options. You can however use this Flow action with more or less options too.

A flow like this one can of course be used for much more than approvals. It is convenient whenever you need a quick input or vote in cases where a form or something else more elaborate is not needed.


I have created this article and demo for my book SharePoint Flows from Scratch, which I have now left to the proof-readers. As soon as their comments are studied and we have a good book cover, we will publish the book as both e-book and paperback on Amazon.

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

11 December 2018

HTML in Flow E-mails

Microsoft Flow iconIn a new SharePoint Flows article in the kalmstrom.com 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
kalmstrom.com 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 kalmstrom.com 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 kalmstrom.com 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 kalmstrom.com 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 kalmstrom.com 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.

kamlstrom.com Trial icon You may download the E-mail Converter website folder for publishing, from the kalmstrom.com 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 kalmstrom.com 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
kalmstrom.com 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 kalmstrom.com 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.


kalmstrom.com 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 kalmstrom.com 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
kalmstrom.com 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 kalmstrom.com 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 kalmstrom.com 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.

Flow
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
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions

21 November 2018

kalmstrom.com Developer Fascinated by Games and Boxing

Many of you have had contact with the kalmstrom.com 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 kalmstrom.com 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 kalmstrom.com 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 kalmstrom.com, 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
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions

20 November 2018

SharePoint Contracts Management with Reminder Flow

SharePoint iconI continue writing articles with demos about SharePoint and Microsoft Flow, and in a new kalmstrom.com Tip I describe a model for Contracts Management in SharePoint.

Library content type
I recommend that you use a specific Contracts content type for SharePoint document libraries that contain contracts. That way you can make sure that they will contain the desired content and is managed in a consistent way.

A content type is a reusable collection of metadata columns and settings that describe the shared attributes and behaviors for a specific kind of content. By default, SharePoint has many predefined content types, such as Document. All document libraries are built on top of that content type. In the reminder flow I create in the article, I am using the Name property that the Document content type uses to store the name of the file.

You can also create your own custom content types. These build on the predefined content types, and when you create a custom content type for a Contracts document library you should create it from Documents. In the Tips article I show how to create such a content type.

Reminder Flow
Microsoft Flow iconAll contracts have an expiry date, and someone has to keep track of them. If a flow sends an e-mail message to the responsible person one week before a contract expires, the chances increase that it will not be forgotten.

The flow I build sends such a message. It has a Schedule trigger and is rather straight-forward, except for the crucial point: the formula that decides when the e-mail should be sent.

That formula is a bit complicated, but you can find it in the article's step-by-step instruction. I actually made a mistake when I recorded the demo. I let it stay, because trouble-shooting is an important part when you learn how to automate SharePoint processes, and here I had a chance to demonstrate it.


I hope the Flow demo above will be useful. It builds on the content type I show in the Tips article, but you can of course also use the flow for a standard document library. Just make sure that it has columns for Responsible person and Expiry date.

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

13 November 2018

Let a Flow Set "Assigned To" in Tickets

Microsoft Flow iconWhen people report a problem, ask a question or order something via a SharePoint form, they probably don't know who will take care of their ticket. The responsible person must be set by someone else – or you can let a flow set a default responsible depending on issue category. That is what I show in the latest kalmstrom.com Tips article.

SharePoint lists
The flow uses two SharePoint lists, one for the default assignee settings and one for the tickets. The 'Assigned To' column in the tickets list should have a description that says that its value is set by a flow, and it should not allow multiple choices. At present, a flow cannot handle that.
SharePoint icon
Both lists have a column called "Ticket Category" with the same choice options. I have created it as a site column to be able to re-use it and have its values automatically indexed by the SharePoint search engine.

Please visit the Tips article about this "Set Assigned" flow if you want to see how I create those two lists.

SharePoint flow
The flow runs when a new item has been created in the reports list. It reads the value of the "Ticket Category" column in the new item and picks the default assignee for that value from the settings list.

The default assignee for a category should of course be the person who most often takes care of that kind of issues or orders, but he/she can also easily assign the ticket to another person. The flow just means that the assigning does not have to be done each time.

If a person needs to be replaced as default assignee, just edit the settings list and set a new default assignee. The flow will not be affected. It will continue to run as before and just show the new person as responsible in the tickets.


This demo is yet another one that I have created for my upcoming book SharePoint Flows from Scratch, and there will be more of them. Keep a lookout!

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

07 November 2018

Diwali Celebration in New Indore Office

The Indian members of the kalmstrom.com team work hard together, but we also celebrate together! Right now, it is the Diwali holiday, and this Diwali was special for all of us as it was celebrated at our new office in India.

New kalmstrom.com office in India
The kalmstrom.com business is growing, and to keep up the good progress we need a bigger workplace. In 2018 several new people have joined the Indian team, and we are planning to hire more SharePoint Developers and QA testers. Therefore, the Indian staff has shifted to a bigger office in Indore.
Puja ceremony

Inauguration
Recently the team gathered in the new office for an inauguration ceremony. Puja, an Indian prayer ritual, was conducted to celebrate this auspicious event.

 In the picture above Jayant Rimza, kalmstrom.com Lead Developer and Director of the Indore office, is leading the prayer along with his wife Sushma. After the Puja, the whole team went out for a celebration lunch. (The little boy in the middle belongs to the next generation: Jayant's and Sushma's son Atiksh.)
The kalmstrom.com team in Indore

Spacious office
The new office is spacious and very well furnished, and each employee has a separate cubical for him/herself. The office is located near Vijaynagar, one of the main and fast developing areas of Indore.

Diwali celebration
The kalmstrom.com team celebrates every festival with utmost energy and cheer. This was our first Diwali in the new office, and that gave us double cause for celebration.

‘Diwali’, or ‘Deepawali’, is one of the biggest Indian festivals. It celebrates the homecoming of Lord Rama and his wife Sita after 14 years of exile and his victory over the demon Ravan. People rejoice the victory of good over evil by decorating their homes, lighting earthen lamps, also called ‘diyas’, burning fire crackers and giving delicious sweets.
Rangoli
We also make ‘Rangoli’, not just for decoration but also as a symbol of good luck. Like every year, the Indore staff made a Rangoli this year as well. The image above shows my colleague Rituka Rimza and me at the Rangoli made by the team members.

Days Off and Support
Every year the kalmstrom.com team gets two days off for Diwali. This year, Peter and Jayant decided to extend the leave to three days, so that team members from outside Indore would get enough time to celebrate the festival with their family and friends.
Pivot Explorer icon                      E-mail Converter for Azure and SharePoint icon
Another reason for the extended leave was that the team worked really hard this year to release some new kalmstrom.com products: Pivot Explorer and E-mail Converter for Azure and SharePoint. The managers thought that we deserved a break!

Even though the team is on leave, our lead developer Jayant and senior developer Jitu will be available to answer support e-mails and online chats. Due to the festive season they might not be able to answer as promptly as they normally do, but they will surely get back to you as soon as they can.

From all of us at kalmstrom.com, we wish you a very Happy & Prosperous Diwali. We hope that the divine festival brightens up your lives and fills it with never ending happiness!

By Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions

06 November 2018

SharePoint Automation with Flow or Workflow?

SharePoint iconIn my previous blog post I showed how to create both flows and workflows that achieve the same thing: automatic SharePoint tasks creation. That was an example on how flows and workflows can be used for the same kind of SharePoint automation, even if they are created in different ways.

There are however important differences between flows and workflows, and you have to consider them when deciding which tool to use for each process automation. Here I will discuss some of these differences.

Why automate at all?
Before we go into the two major Microsoft tools for SharePoint automation, I want to point out why you should automate business processes in the first place. I explain that in more detail in the demo below, but the main reasons are:
  • Accuracy – a flow or workflow always works in the same way.
  • Tracking – process documentation is boring to do manually but easy with a flow/workflow.
  • Speed – even if you include the delay before it runs, the flow/workflow is quicker than humans.

Traditional workflow
SharePoint Designer iconDuring the last ten years, workflows have been the traditional way of automating business processes in all kinds of SharePoint editions, both online and on-premises. Microsoft has given us a few built-in workflows, but other SharePoint workflows are created from scratch in a free designer tool, SharePoint Designer.

Workflows cannot easily connect to apps or services outside the SharePoint site where it is running. There are two versions of SharePoint workflows, 2010 and 2013, but there will not be a 2016 update.

New flow
Microsoft Flow iconAt the beginning of 2016, Microsoft introduced a new service for workflow creation: Flow. This is a cloud based service, and a flow can connect to many other online services. Flows are created on a website, and the SharePoint Online modern interface also gives a possibility to create a flow directly from inside the list or library that you want it to manage.

Storage
If you use a flow for a business process, you must be aware that flows are stored in the personal account of the user who created them. Therefore, organizations who want to use Microsoft Flow should use a dedicated account for all flows. Then you can continue using and editing the flow even if a user leaves the organization, and you can also manage potential costs in cases of high volume flows.

In workflows the storage is not a problem, as workflows are stored in SharePoint and not in a user account.

Triggers
Workflows can start automatically when an item is created or changed, but flows have many more available triggers. This is partly depending on the multitude of services that flows can be used with, but also if you look at SharePoint only there are many more triggers than for workflows.

Templates
Microsoft wants Flow to be simple, easy to use automation tool so they offer a multitude of flow templates. Workflows, on the other hand, has no templates at all. Using templates can of course be a good way to start creating flows, but I actually prefer to start with a blank flow. Then I will have a clean flow that does not contain anything but the parameters I add to it.
FlowWorkflow
StorageUser accountSharePoint
ServicesMany cloud basedOnly SharePoint
CreationWebSP Designer
TriggersManyFew
TemplatesYesNo
Works after change of list/column nameNoYes
MS DevelopmentYesNo

Name changes
I also want to mention a less obvious issue with flows: if you change the name of a list or column that is monitored by a flow, you must change the name in the flow also. Workflows don't use the names you give to lists or columns. Instead they use the internal name, a GUID, and therefore workflows are not affected by any name changes.

Both flows and workflows have their benefits, and ideally you should learn both to be able to select the best option for each occasion. Flow is the future, but inside SharePoint the workflows are still very useful. In the kalmstrom.com Tips section you can learn much more about both flows and workflows.

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

02 November 2018

Automate Tasks for New Employee Equipment

SharePoint iconThis week, I have published two new Tips articles on automatic task creation with flows and with workflows. Each article has two demos, as I describe an easier flow/workflow as well as a more advanced one that gives many benefits in the long run.

Equipment for new staff
When new staff joins an organization, there are certain things that always have to be done. The new employees will for example need some equipment, and the people responsible for arranging the equipment needs to be informed. This is a situation I have chosen to automate in my new articles.

Below I have included the two video demonstrations from the Flow article about automating tasks for new employee equipment, but if you prefer using a workflow, please study the Workflow article about  automatic task creation instead.

Hard-coded or dynamic?
You need some practice before you can create a really good flow or workflow, but it is of course better to automate business processes in a basic way than to not automate them at all. One common issue is how much you should hard-code.

It is often easier to hard-code data than to use dynamic content, and that is what I do with the equipment items in the first demo.


With dynamic content the flow/workflow will be much more flexible and user friendly. In the second demo, the equipment items are entered in a SharePoint settings list, from where the flow/workflow fetches the values as dynamic content.

The benefit of using dynamic content from a settings list, is that data can be changed without affecting the automation. This means that users can change values in the settings list when needed without problems. The flow/workflow will continue to run as before. That is not possible with hard-coded values. If they are changed, the flow or workflow must be modified too.



Flow or workflow?
As I use the same scenario of new staff equipment for both a flow and a workflow, I will soon follow up this blog post with a post about SharePoint automation in general, where I also mention some advantages and drawbacks of these two automation tools. Stay tuned!

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

26 October 2018

Azure Edition of E-mail Converter Released

E-mail Converter for Azure and SharePoint logotype I am happy to announce the release of our first Azure product, E-mail Converter for Azure and SharePoint, an add-in/app that automatically converts e-mails into SharePoint list items. The solution uses a Scheduler in Azure to manage the e-mail conversion time.

E-mail Converter for Outlook and SharePoint was first
E-mail Converter for Outlook and SharePoint icon The Outlook edition of E-mail Converter has been in the market since 2010, earlier with the name HelpDesk OSP. We changed the name, because it was too limiting. It turned out that organizations use this Outlook add-in for all kinds of conversion of e-mails into SharePoint list items, not only for support cases.

E-mail Converter for Outlook and SharePoint requires Microsoft Outlook to be installed on each PC. With the Outlook edition, you can not only create SharePoint list items by converting e-mails but also create new list items. E-mails can be converted either manually or automatically, but the conversion process stops when the user logs off.

E-mail Converter for Azure and SharePoint
Azure-icon The kalmstrom.com team has now developed an Azure edition of E-mail Converter also, as many organizations require e-mail conversion to be a non-stop automatic process. This has been requested by many of our E-mail Converter users as well.

With E-mail Converter for Azure and SharePoint, you can have e-mails converted into SharePoint list items automatically 24x7. The solution supports all Exchange Web Service e-mails like Office 365, Windows Live and Microsoft Exchange. You must have a Microsoft Azure account to use the solution, of course.


Features
Many features are the same in both editions of E-mail Converter:
  • add ticket URL to converted e-mails
  • monitor multiple mailbox folders
  • transfer attachments and inline images from e-mails to SharePoint list items on conversion
  • keep e-mails concerning the same issue in one thread
  • merge related list items into one
  • generate Excel reports from list data
Scheduler
Azure Scheduler icon When you install E-mail Converter for Azure and SharePoint, it deploys three resources: App Service plan, Scheduler Job Collection and App Service. The Scheduler Job Collection is used to manage the e-mail conversion frequency in any way you want. By default, e-mails are converted every 5 minutes.

We use a free plan for the App Service, as it doesn’t affect the functionality of E-mail Converter, but we use a Minimum subscription to the Scheduler, which is EUR 12 or USD 14 per month.

Monitor multiple folders of a mailbox
When you install E-mail Converter for the first time, you must log in using the credentials of the mailbox that you wish to monitor with E-mail Converter.

After logging in you only have add the mailbox folders that you want E-mail Converter to monitor. All e-mails in a folder added to the E-mail Converter will be automatically converted into list items in the SharePoint list you select. You can very well let E-mail Converter monitor several folders and distribute the e-mails to different SharePoint lists.

Trial and Subscription
kamlstrom.com Trial icon If you are looking for a solution that converts e-mails into SharePoint list items 24x7, I recommend that you try E-mail Converter for Azure and SharePoint. You can get the solution from the Azure Marketplace and evaluate it for 30 days. The demo above shows how to install and configure, E-mail Converter but in case you need assistance, our Support team is here to help you.

You can subscribe to E-mail Converter on a monthly or yearly basis. Our Sales department will be happy to assist you if you have any queries regarding the subscription.

By Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions

18 October 2018

Re-use Flow to Merge Forms Data into SharePoint List

Microsoft Flow iconIn a new kalmstrom.com Tips article, I show how to re-use flows and how to create a flow that merges information from several SharePoint forms lists into one tasks list.

Common use case
Most companies have a department that handles a lot of different tasks for the rest of the organization. In the new Tips article, I have used this common organizational use case to show how a flow can merge data from different forms. I also demonstrate how to re-use a flow by first exporting it and then importing it and create a new flow from it.

My imaginary department manages delivery of flowers, desks or computers. I have built one form to handle all the flower orders, another for the desks and a third for the computers. As always when it comes to forms, there is a list behind it, and each time someone fills out the form, a new list item is created.

Easier ordering and handling
In this case the same people will fulfill all the orders, no matter what is being ordered. Having all data that users enter in the order forms transferred to the same SharePoint tasks list, means that the order handlers do not have to check in three places to find orders that all need to be tracked and managed in the same way.

For the users in the organization, it is easier to have three different order forms. They see one form especially for flowers, with only the relevant columns for flower orders, one for computers and one for desks.

Another benefit of using a flow like this, is that you don't have to create extra columns for all the different order needs. For example, you don't need to create a column in the tasks list to contain the ”Computer Size”. That info is fetched from the form and transferred into the Description of the task that is created.

Data from any online form
As I am a SharePoint nerd, I let my flow send data from order forms in a SharePoint site to a SharePoint tasks list. Similar flows can be used whenever people input data in an online form. It can be requests for a quote or survey results, and the services might be Excel Surveys or Microsoft Forms. Flow also supports multiple third party forms solutions that give input from users.

Export and import
The flow in my tutorial is used for three different forms, and these forms need one flow each. Instead of creating three flows, I only create the first flow from scratch. After testing that flow, I export it to my PC and import it from there as a new flow. Then I only have to change the applicable flow settings to get a second and third flow.


As I have mentioned earlier, I am working with a new book: SharePoint Flows from Scratch. Links to my Flow articles will be included in each chapter, but a book can of course give much more information in a more structured way.

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

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