08 May 2019

SharePoint List Generator on

SharePoint icon The web site has a new section: Tools. Here we plan to publish various tools that will simplify SharePoint management and help users to develop their SharePoint systems following recommended practices. The first tool to be published is a SharePoint list generator that is free to use for all visitors.

List generator
My job as a SharePoint consultant and developer means that I must create a lot of SharePoint lists, and these lists should be built in the right way. To make that part of my work easier, I have built a tool for list generation, and today I am happy to announce that the tool has been released on

Content type
The quickest way to build a SharePoint list is to add an app, select a list template and add list columns to it. That method can work in some cases, but as soon as you want to search, move or re-use the list you run into trouble.

The recommended way to create a SharePoint list is instead to first create a content type for the list. A content type is a reusable collection of metadata that describes how a specific kind of content should be organized, for example which columns that kind of list should contain.

All SharePoint lists have the List content type by default, but by creating your own content type you can make sure that the list contains the desired content. With a custom content type, it is also easier to manage the list in a consistent way.

Site columns
The columns in the content type should be site columns. These are reusable, so that you can assign them to multiple apps. Contrary to list column values, the values in site column are automatically indexed by the SharePoint search engine.

PowerShell script PowerShell icon
I use PowerShell to build my lists, and the generator tool automatically creates the necessary code from the data you enter into the generator fields. The content type and the site columns are created automatically, and by default I also enable version history in all lists.

The list generator suggests a good internal name for each site column. It is based on the content type name and the column name and is written in CamelCase style. That will give you nice URLs, and it prevents errors if you want to automate list processes with a flow or workflow.

SharePoint Patterns and Practices
The list creation tool I have created is called PnP Generator, because I use the SharePoint Patterns and Practices (PnP) library of PowerShell commands in the script. It works with both SharePoint Online and SharePoint On-Premises.

In the demo below, I explain in detail how the PnP Generator works, and you will find the same demo plus step by step instructions on the page for the list generator tool.

Please contact me if you have suggestions on how the PnP Generator can be enhanced. I have a lot of ideas myself (as usual!), but I would like to hear from website visitors too.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

03 May 2019

Reports in Power BI with Kanban Task Manager List

Business reports play a very important role when it comes to tracking and analyzing the performance and overall growth of a business. A report must be interactive as well as easy to use and manage, so that managers get a good insight of business functions. In a new Tips article, our CEO Peter Kalmström explains how you can use Power BI to create a report from a tasks list.

Power BI
Power BI is a business analysis service that lets users create visualizations of data in a way that reminds of the Excel pivot table. A Power BI report is however much more user friendly and intuitive and can be used more extensively. The Power BI reports are business apps that run in a browser or on a phone or tablet.

Kanban Task Manager
Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotype When Peter recorded the demo below, he used the default list, ‘KTM Tasks’, in the task management product, Kanban Task Manager. This SharePoint solution helps a workgroup cooperate on tasks and projects on a virtual kanban board. The team members can drag and drop the tasks between phases and lanes as the work with the tasks proceeds.

The default, Kanban Task Manager tasks list can be replaced by any of the site’s existing tasks lists.

Connect 'KTM tasks' with Power BI
Power BI fetch the data from a variety of sources to, for example all categories of files, databases, Azure, Power BI itself, online services and more.

Peter recorded a demo back in 2016 where he showed how you can connect Power BI with an Excel file. In the new demo, Peter describes how to get started with the desktop version of Power BI and connect it to the ‘KTM Tasks’ list to build a report that counts tasks based on a specific parameter. He also shows how the different charts are interconnected to each other.

You are also welcome to check out Peter’s demo on various ways to embed a Power BI report in a SharePoint page.

By Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant Business Solutions

26 April 2019

Kanban Boards for All Outlook Tasks Folders with Updated Add-in

Kanban Task Manager Single logotype Today, I am delighted to announce the release of the eighth version of the Outlook add-in Kanban Task Manager Single. The new version uses the Outlook built-in categories and works with any Outlook tasks folder.

Kanban board in any Outlook tasks folder
The older versions of Kanban Task Manager were installed and configured in an Outlook tasks folder which was created during the installation.

Now, Kanban Task Manager completely integrates with Outlook and works with any Outlook tasks folder. This means that you can visualize the tasks in any Outlook tasks folder on a kanban board. You can drag and drop the tasks between phases and lanes as your work with tasks proceed, and the solution gives various other possibilities to work efficiently with tasks.

Outlook Built-in Categories
In Kanban Task Manager Single V8, users can categorize the tasks with the Outlook categories. Once you install Kanban Task Manager, the add-in will automatically take your Outlook categories and display them in your settings.
Kanban Task Manager Settings
If you are already using Kanban Task Manager, the ‘Projects’ tab in the configuration will transform into a ‘Categories’ tab. Your current project names will be kept as they are, and also the tasks belonging to them, but the Outlook categories will be added in the list.

Create Checklist templates
The possibility to create Checklist templates has already been implemented in the SharePoint editions of Kanban Task Manager and now we wanted our single users to benefit from this feature.

If you have several tasks that have the same steps to be performed, you can create a template for the checklist steps. That way you don’t have to create a new checklist every time. Instead you can just select a suitable template.

Outlook buttons
Once Kanban Task Manager is installed in Outlook, a ‘Convert’ button is added to the Outlook ribbon. Click on this button to convert e-mails into tasks. Once the e-mail is converted, you can reach the connected task via the ‘Open’ button in the Outlook ribbon.

As the new version works with all Outlook tasks folders, they all have a ‘Show Kanban View’ button in the ribbon. You can visualize the tasks of any task folder on a kanban board by clicking on this button.

Generate a combined Excel Report
You can study how you have worked with your tasks in the Kanban Task Manager Excel reports. With the new version of Kanban Task Manager, you can visualize tasks from different kanban boards on a single kanban board in the Outlook To-Do folder. This way you can generate a combined statistics report for tasks from several folders.

If you use a To-Do app in your mobile, you can create tasks there and get them on the To-Do kanban board in Outlook.

Upgrade Upgrade icon To upgrade Kanban Task Manager Single, you may download the setup file from website and run it. The upgrade will look like the new installation, but all your data will remain as it is.

This will be the last time you have to download the setup file. From next time, you will receive an upgrade notification in your PC, and the upgrade process will be automatic.

Trial and Subscription Trial icon If you are looking for a solution to manage your personal and professional tasks, I recommend that you try Kanban Task Manager Single. We provide a 30 days free trial of the full version with support and we want you to take advantage of our service. Subscription icon You can subscribe to Kanban Task Manager on a monthly or yearly basis. Me and my colleagues at the Sales department are here to help you if you have any queries regarding the subscription.

By Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant Business Solutions

09 April 2019

Multiboard Solution for Kanban Task Manager SharePoint Editions

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotype Today, I am delighted to announce the release of a new product, Kanban Task Manager Multiboard, to be used with the SharePoint editions of Kanban Task Manager. The Multiboard shows kanban boards from several installations on one page, so that managers can get a quick overview of the work progress in different departments.

Kanban Task Manager SharePoint Editions
Kanban Task Manager helps a workgroup to collaborate on projects and tasks on a virtual kanban board. The solution comes in two SharePoint editions: Sandboxed and Add-in/App, and both can very well be used on more than one SharePoint site within the organization.

Visualizing the work process on a kanban board is just one of the Kanban Task Manager features. The solution also gives various other possibilities to make work more efficient. The product is continuously enhanced, and this time, the developers have created Kanban Task Manager Multiboard, a sandboxed solution which can be used with both SharePoint editions of Kanban Task Manager.

Visualize all kanban boards on one page
The Multiboard is designed for organizations who use Kanban Task Manager on multiple SharePoint sites. It is time consuming for managers to open every Kanban Task Manager site to see the kanban board and check the work status.

To make the process quick and easy, the team came up with the Multiboard solution. The Multiboard reads all the SharePoint sites across the SharePoint farm or tenant and displays the kanban boards from the sites where Kanban Task Manager is used. Then the manager can select which boards should be shown on the Multiboard page.

Graphical representations
The kanban boards are arranged on top of each other along with their respective site names, and they can of course be collapsed to avoid scrolling.

The main purpose of the Multiboard, is to give managers a quick overview. Therefore, every board on the page has progress bars and other graphical representations that give information about open tasks.

To make it more precise, each kanban board has a common progress bar that gives the open tasks count and percentage. Each lane also has a progress bar and columns chart that represents the open tasks in each phase.
Charts in Multiboard
Free for Medium and Premium subscribers
If your organization is a Medium or a Premium subscriber to Kanban Task Manager SharePoint editions, you can use Kanban Task Manager Multiboard at no extra cost. You are welcome to download the solution from the website.

Minimum subscribers need to upgrade to a Medium or a Premium subscription to use the Multiboard. Me and my colleagues at the Sales department are here to help you, if you wish to switch to a higher subscription level or have other subscription related queries.

The Kanban Task Manager Multiboard manual describes the features and functionalities of the Multiboard in detail, so I recommend that you study it. In case you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our Support team. They will be happy to help you!

By Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant Business Solutions

29 March 2019

SharePoint Workflows from Scratch Released

SharePoint Workflows from Scratch cover I am happy to announce that a new book – my seventh! – has been released on Amazon. In SharePoint Workflows from Scratch, I describe how to create workflows in SharePoint Designer, and I also introduce the built-in SharePoint workflows.

Automate SharePoint business processes
All repetitive business processes benefit from being automated. With a workflow, you can make sure that the process is quick and without errors. Once the workflow is created and tested, it will do exactly the same thing each time – without the variations that we humans are prone to invent to make tedious tasks a bit more interesting!

Flow or workflow?
SharePoint iconCreating workflows in SharePoint Designer is the traditional way to automate SharePoint processes, but in 2016, Microsoft introduced a new service for workflow creation: Flow.

Flows can be used with many different apps and services, but they have to be cloud based. When it comes to SharePoint, flows are therefore mostly used with SharePoint Online. I have described Microsoft Flow in my book SharePoint Flows from Scratch.

The traditional workflows, on the other hand, are nearly always restricted to one single SharePoint site. They can, however, be used in both SharePoint Online and SharePoint on-premises.

Build and maintain workflows
Even if workflows have been in use for many years, I saw the need for a "from Scratch" book. SharePoint Designer is badly documented by Microsoft, and the information you can find in blogs and forums often dig down into advanced details. The online information is excellent for those who already know a lot, but it is not very helpful to new SharePoint administrators.

Organizations who use SharePoint Online might want to use Flow for new automation processes, but they probably have a lot of workflows already. Administrators need to understand how to maintain and change them. Furthermore, some processes become more complicated or are not yet possible in Microsoft Flow.

E-book and paperback
Peter Kalmström on Amazon.comSharePoint Workflows from Scratch is available as paperback and Kindle e-book on Amazon. There you can also find my other books about SharePoint, Office 365 and Excel.

Theory, exercises and demos
I believe in learning by doing, but before you can start creating workflows you need to know the basics. Therefore, SharePoint Workflows from Scratch begins with a few explanatory chapters.

After the theory chapters, I give 22 example workflows to practise on or use as templates. For each example workflow I give more theory, so that the readers can expand their understanding beyond the workflow steps.

YouTube iconAnother way to make the learning more varied is to watch my video demonstrations. SharePoint Workflows from Scratch has many links to related articles with video demonstrations in the Tips section.

I have had requests for several new books, for example on PowerApps and Power BI, but before I tackle those I will engage in the sixth edition of SharePoint Online from Scratch. Being an author of IT books means that you constantly have to update your texts!

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions