31 December 2014 Prosperity Celebrations

I am back in Sweden again after my visit to India. With me I have brought memories of a week full of intense work and discussions mixed with different kinds of entertainments with the team members in Indore. Team
In my next blog post I will tell you about the decisions we made for the future, but let me first summarize the year 2014 and my recent trip. Both have been very satisfying!

Two new SharePoint solutions
During  2014 we did not only update our existing products but also released two entirely new SharePoint Solutions: TimeCard for SharePoint and SP Archive.

TimeCard for SharePoint logotypeTimeCard for SharePoint was planned since long, to let SharePoint users report hours and expenses from their SharePoint calendars. Next version of TimeCard for Outlook will synchronize with the SharePoint version, and that will be an important enhancement to current TimeCard users.

SP Archive for SharePoint logotypeTo develop SP Archive was a more spontaneous decision, because we saw that subscribers to our other SharePoint solutions, HelpDesk OSP and Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint, needed a way to archive list items to a database in a customized way.

First meeting with chessplayer
Most of the work with SP Archive was done by our new developer, Ankit Raghuwanshi, the tall guy on my left side in the photo from the Indore office above. (Note the two clocks behind us. One has Indian time, the other has Swedish time.)

When I came to the Indore office last week it was a fond reunion with good friends and colleagues. Ankit was the only one I had never met in person before, but I found him to be as pleasant and clever as the rest of the team. He is a good chessplayer, but I never got a chance to play with him – which maybe was just as well for me!
The team at Maheshwar
Growth celebration
We all feel happy about the growth in number of products and subscribers in 2014, and we celebrated our success with a fabulous dinner at one of the best restaurants in Indore. Family members were also invited, as an acknowledgement of their support to my colleagues and thereby to

When 2014 comes to an end we have more products and subscribers than ever before, and the  number of followers of the Blog and YouTube channel is increasing for each day.

The team is also bigger than ever, but size is not the most vital in this case. What makes me feel so confident of the coming year is the skill and dedication I meet among the Indore staff. Each visit there makes me feel pleased!
The team at Maheshwar

This time we made a fun and interesting excursion to the temples of Maheshwar, see the two images above. The trip took us out in the countryside, where relatives of Senior Developer Jitu Patidar had invited us all to dinner at their farm. I really appreciate their generosity! Team
I am also grateful to the Rimza family, who invited me to their home for a wonderful vegan dinner on Christmas Eve. Jayant, Vijayant and Rituka Rimza - three team members from the same family and crucial to the continued growth of

I will finish this last post for 2014 with a warm thank you to the Indore team for your hard work during the year and for making my visit a success. Now I am looking forward to next year and next visit!

Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

29 December 2014

Outlook HelpDesk Tickets From Tasks And Appointments

Folder HelpDesk logoWith Folder HelpDesk for Outlook you can convert e-mails into incident tickets and collaborate on them inside Outlook. For manual e-mail conversion there is a button in the Mail view, and in the update released last week we have also added conversion buttons in the Calendar and Task views.

Structured incident management
When a support team - or any other group of people - cooperates on keeping track of, solving and answering error reports, help requests or other information, the work will be more efficient if the issues are shared and handled in a structured way.

Folder HelpDesk
is an Outlook add-on for such a structured incident management, and as there are many ways to customize Folder HelpDesk it can be adapted to all kinds of companies and organizations.

Convert tasks and appointments into tickets
In an earlier blog post I showed the new Folder HelpDesk responsive ticket form. With a click on a button, Folder HelpDesk can convert such a ticket into an Outlook task, which is convenient when incidents should be handled.

However, sometimes you might want to do the other way around and convert a task into a ticket. That is no problem in the latest version of Folder HelpDesk, as it has a conversion buttons in both the Task view and the Calendar view.
The Folder HelpDesk ribbon group in the Outlook calendar view

The Folder HelpDesk ribbon group
The Folder HelpDesk ribbon group looks the same in all views. Apart from the conversion button there is a shortcut to the Folder HelpDesk Outlook folder, where you have the ticket list and can work with the tickets in many ways. If a converted e-mail, task or appointment is selected, there is also a button that opens the ticket associated with that e-mail/task/appointment.
The Folder HelpDesk ribbon group in Inbox, Calendar and Task view
Cached Exchange Mode
A problem with the Cached Exchange Mode were solved a few months ago, and even if it has not been a big problem for Folder HelpDesk we have of course implemented the solution in the new version.

Exchange 2013 logoWe have earlier updated Calendar Browser for Outlook and HelpDesk OSP for Outlook and SharePoint with this solution, so now all products that can be used with Exchange also support the Cached Mode.

More enhancements
With nearly 15 years on the market, Folder HelpDesk is one of the most mature Solutions. It is used by organizations all over the world, and a few of them have very complicated environments that can  make Folder HelpDesk behave in a less desirable way now and then. We have therefore gone through the code and made changes that will minimize the risk for errors in those environments.

Subscription Subscription iconWe prefer a subscription model for the licensing of the Solutions, because our aim is not to sell as many copies as possible.

Instead, the first goal for the team is to keep the customers we already have, and we achieve that by making changes that enhance their experience of our products and by giving free upgrades and support.

Upgrade - or try upgrade iconFolder HelpDesk subscribers are welcome to upgrade their installations. Have you not tried the issue tracking add-on yet, you may evaluate Folder HelpDesk for 30 days with our full support but without any obligations from your side.

Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

24 December 2014

Christmas in Indore

Christmas image I am writing this from Indore, India, where I arrived yesterday to spend some time with the Indian members of the team.

Yearly visits
I have daily contact with Lead Developer Jayant Rimza and often also with several other colleagues at the Indore office. Our chats, teamsite, remote sessions and e-mails all work well and bring the company and the Solutions forward, but nothing can be compared to a meeting face to face. Therefore I try to visit Indore once a year, and now when I have earned a 5 year business visa I may even go there more often.

Peter and children in India 2013
The Kalmström kids
Last year I brought my three children to Indore over Christmas. The team members made our stay a wonderful experience for them – and for me too! You can read about the welcoming ceremony, the outings and the Christmas celebrations in my blog posts from 19 December 2013 and forward.

In spite of all the fun last year I decided to go alone this year. The children will spend Christmas with their mothers, and I will concentrate more on work than I could do last year. Because we have a lot to plan and discuss! I will tell you some about the results of our planning in a later blog post.

Christmas celebrations
The Indore team normally celebrate Hindu or Muslim holidays and not the Christian ones, but my visit means that there will be some Christmas celebrations too. On Christmas Day we will have a dinner, and I know they have planned some kind of outing on Boxing Day.

Here the whole team, in India as well as in Sweden, wishes you all a Merry Christmas with some snowy winter photos from Sweden. They are taken from our Swedish grammar site, where they make backgrounds for some on the grammar rules and exercises.

Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

18 December 2014

SharePoint Kanban Board With Swim Lanes

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotype In the beginning of next year we will release version 3 of Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint, and today I can demonstrate how the new swim lanes will work.

Group and filter tasks
Kanban Task Manager visualizes SharePoint Tasks on a virtual kanban board in SharePoint. The tasks can be filtered by Project, Responsible  and Priority. In each installation it is also possible to add a fourth, custom, parameter to filter by.
Filter Kanban Task Manager tasks
Version 3 of Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint will of course keep all the filter options, but it will also have a new way of grouping or sorting: swim lanes. These lanes are horizontal rows on the kanban board that help user group tasks. Each lane works independently, but when tasks are filtered, the filter will apply to all lanes.

The Kanban Task Manager swim lanes are created as standard SharePoint list items, and that means that you can give them any name and have as many or few as you wish. In the demo below I have used the example data for evaluators, which has five lanes.

Drag and drop tasks
We have always given a possibility to drag and drop tasks in Kanban Task Manager. The first version could drag and drop between phases, and in version 2 we made the sequence stick when you drag and drop tasks within a phase.

In the third version of Kanban Task Manager it will also be possible to drag tasks between lanes, so now we give three drag options: between phrases, within phases and between lanes. When dragging between lanes you can drop the task in any phase you wish and on any place within that phase.

More news
I have shown some more new features in an earlier blog post: Drag SharePoint Tasks With Mouse, Keys Or Finger. Please read it if you want to know more about dragging tasks on a SharePoint kanban board or about the new Zoom possibility and the enhanced Search.

After the release of  Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint V3  we will start updating the Outlook versions with the same features, so I will have reasons to come back to Kanban Task Manager!

The video above has been replaced with the finished version.

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

16 December 2014

Find Unique Values In Excel Columns

Excel icon There are several ways to learn how many unique values an Excel column contains, but I have a favorite. In a new Tips article I am showing how to find unique Excel column values by creating a pivot table.

Keep duplicates
The method I use does not remove any duplicates, it just tells me what distinct values there are in a column. In a staff list, for example, you probably have many duplicates in the department column and of course you want to keep them.

Two button clicks
Excel format as table button If you need a list of all the unique deparment names, this can be achieved with advanced filtering or with a formula, but I find it quicker to first insert all the cells in a table and then create a pivot table from it.

This is done with two button clicks, one for the table and one for the pivot, and then I only have to drag the departments column (or any other column I want unique values for) to the ROWS area to see the unique values. The method works for all Excel versions.
Excel summarize with pivot table button
23 Excel-tips
The Excel tip on finding unique column values is the 23rd Excel tip on The tips are divided into four groups – Charts, Formulas, SharePoint and Various – so that it will be easier for you to find what you need, and they range from basic to advanced.

The tips were primarily created for Subscribers, as most Solutions have integrated Excel statistics reports where users can study how resources have been used, how time has been spent, how issues have been handled and so on, depending on product.

Welcome to browse!
Even if we introduced the Tips section for our subscribers, anyone may read and share them, and we see that they are used far beyond the Community. There is often a video demonstration, like the one below, and an instruction that step by step explains how to do what is shown in the video. For a more general discussion around the subject we refer to a blog post, like this one. 

Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

12 December 2014

Responsive Web Design In Solutions

Nowadays most of us use several different devices. I myself have a couple of laptops, a desktop, a tablet and two smartphones. This creates problems for some software, and in these cases the answer is responsive web design.
Responsive web design

Adaptable layout
A responsive design makes forms and websites adapt to different screen resolutions. The adaption can be a size change or a change of placement of certain elements. For most Solutions there is no need for responsive design, but when a responsive web design can enhance a product we will certainly implement it.

Folder HelpDesk comes first
Folder HelpDesk logo The Solution for issue tracking in Outlook will be the first to get a responsive design. Folder HelpDesk converts e-mails into tickets that have all necessary information
for structured cooperation and follow up.

We hope to release the new version as soon as next week. Below is a short video that shows how the responsiv design works in a Folder HelpDesk ticket with the default layout. (The video has no sound.)

The responsive web design is an enhancement, but Folder HelpDesk has been on the market for 14 years with static tickets and it has still been one of our most popular solutions. When it comes to our new product under development: Study Manager for SharePoint, the situation is different. Here the responsive design makes a big difference.

Adaptable layout in Study Manager
Study Manager for SharePoint logotypeIn Study Manager teachers can add self correcting study material to SharePoint, and their students work in SharePoint with exercises and tasks. Each exercise can have many different tasks,
shown one after another together with the exercise.

Both exercises and tasks can be of different sizes, because the responsive design makes the parts adapt to each other. For example, if the exercise is narrow the tasks are displayed beside it. A wide exercise will instead show the tasks below the exercise.

Without the responsive design we would have to considerably limit what teachers could add to Study Manager. With the responsive design we don't have to set limits, because we can still give students with small screen sizes a good user interface with no horisontal scrolling.

Kanban Task Manager with new design
Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotypeNext version of Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint will have responsive design in the kanban board. That will prevent phases from going down to a second row when
there are too many phases to fit the screen size. The responsive design will also make it possible for us to add a zoom feature to the tasks.

Responsive web design is something new, an invention triggered by the the smartphone revolution. The team did not invent it, but we are certainly taking advantage of its benefits. We are always diving into new teqniques, and sometimes we find a pearl!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

09 December 2014

SharePoint 2013 Search Basics

SharePoint iconMy new series of SharePoint Search tutorials now has its second demo and Tips article: SharePoint 2013 Search Basics. The first one was about SharePoint on premise Search configuration, because without that configuration on premise users cannot search at all. It was not applicable to SharePoint Online, but this new tutorial is for all users of SharePoint 2013.

Search enhancement in SharePoint 2013
Compared to earlier versions, SharePoint 2013 comes with a considerably stronger search feature. This is especially true for SharePoint Server 2013, but also in SharePoint Online you can build much more powerful Search Solutions than in SharePoint 2010.

More basics
I will show some of the new, advanced possibilities in my future SharePoint Search tutorials, but first I have to go through more of the basics. If you don't know how to configure SharePoint on premise or if you don't understand how to use the two search fields in SharePoint 2013, the finer points will be uncomprehensible. I am a Microsoft certified Trainer, and I want to have everyone with me!

SharePoint Search Site
List Search and Site Search 
SharePoint 2010 had one search field, but the 2013 version has two. That can be confusing, but it is actually very good. The field on top right searches the site and the field under the list name only searches items in that list.

Using the List Search field makes the search quicker, and when you know that the value you are looking for is within a certain list, you don't have to bother with a lot of hits from other lists.

The SharePoint 2013 Site Search field also has advantages to the 2010 Search, and I will talk more about that in my next SharePoint Search tutorial.

Keyword queries
In this basics tutorial I also explain how to use keyword query language, for example to search among authors. This is not as easy as just writing in words, but it is useful to know how to do it and how to find the correct managed property for a keyword query search.

As usual you can find more information in the Tips section. The article SharePoint 2013 Search Basics describes the demo below, and there are also many other tips on SharePoint and other Microsoft platforms.

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

08 December 2014

Nobel Peace Prize To Indian Children's Rights Fighter

The 10 of December is an important day for both Norway and Sweden, as it is the day of the Nobel Prize ceremonies. This year the Peace Price feels extra important to me, for two reasons: the laureates are fighting for children's rights and one of them comes from India, a country that has a special place in my heart.

Dynamite fortune
Nobel medal The Nobel Prize was founded by Alfred Nobel, a Swedish inventor and business man, who made ha fortune on steel products and invented the dynamite.

In his testament Nobel declared that his fortune should be turned into a foundation, which each year was to award people who had distinguished themselves in different fields. The first Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901, and today price winners can be found all over the world.

Norwegian Peace Prize
At the time of Nobel’s death, Sweden and Norway were a union, and therefore the Peace Prize ceremony is held in Norway. This year the Norwegian Nobel committee has awarded two people, who share the Peace Prize, Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai.

My daughter Elsa attended the World's Children's Prize ceremony, where Malala Yousafzai was also awarded, so we have already mentioned Malala in this blog. Today I want to tell you about the other Peace Prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi, who has brought child labor into the limelight as a human rights issue.
Kailash Satyarthi
The Indian members of the team feel proud of Kailash Satyarthi's fight to save children from working under slave like conditions, and they have told me about his work. Recently I have learned more about him from Swedish media, when they have informed about Kailash Satyarthi, because of the Nobel Price.

Raids to save child slaves
Kailash Satyarthi is the man behind the biggest movement in India for the protection of children and for ensuring good quality education for all. In 1980 he founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan movement, which has now saved over 80,000 children from the clutches of child labor and bonded labor, often in dramatic and risky raids.

Rugmark iconCarpet certification
Another prestigious organization established by Kailash Satyarthi is Rugmark (now known as Goodweave). The Rugmark label on a carpet certifies that no children have been involved in the production. This is a way to raise awareness and engage the society in the fight against child labor.

Kailash Satyarthi
The two big images in this blog post come from an article in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. The journalist who visited Kailash Satyarthi in an ashram for saved child slaves describes him as their guardian angel.

Kailash Satyarthi's activism against child labor and bonded labor and his fight for every child’s right to education is indeed admirable, and it has also been successful.

"Now we have international treaties and new laws, national and international", said Kailash Satyarthi in an interview for Swedish television. "Governments are taking this seriously, and I can say with the fullest confidence that I will see the end of child labor in my liftetime."

I sincerely hope he is right!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

04 December 2014

SharePoint Study Manager Exercises And Tasks

Study Manager for SharePoint logotypeI have earlier told you about our new solution that will help teachers publish study material on a SharePoint team site, where students can use it for self studies. Today I can show you some screenshots that explain how Study Manager will work. Please click on the images below to see them in full size.

Study Manager is nothing but a cleverly constructed shell that can be filled with any kind of content. Any school, organization or company that need to educate a group of people may install Study Manager on a team site, fill it with exercises and tasks and let students use it for teacher controlled self studies.

Study Manager student view

Exercises and tasks
The students work with exercises and tasks in SharePoint, and in the image above you can see how it might look: after reading a text about dolphins, the student is presented with various tasks connected to that text. The tasks are shown one at a time below or to the right of the text, depending on screen size.

Edit mode
Below is the same exercise with its tasks in the way teachers see it when adding or editing content. The instruction field can be formatted, and it may contain text, images, videos or links. The exercise may also have an attached file that the student can work with and send to the teacher for comments.

The "Dolphin" Exercise is connected to the Chapter "Animals", and it has three tasks of different types: multiple choice questions, select the correct alternatives and listen to sound. More tasks can be added directly from the exercise form. The teacher who created this exercise selected to randomize in which order the tasks should be shown, but the sequence can also be set.

Study Manager teacher view

This was a first glimps of how Study Manager is integrated in SharePoint. The screenshots come from Office 365 SharePoint Online, but Study Manager will work with any type of SharePoint 2013 or 2010. I will soon come back with more information!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

02 December 2014

Create Promoted SharePoint Links

We have all seen the tile links on the start pages of new SharePoint 2013 team sites. They look good and are useful for links that you want to promote a bit extra – which is why they are called "promoted links"!

In a new article in the Tips section I show how to add a promoted links app to a SharePoint page.

Default promoted links in SharePoint 2013

SharePoint Links series
The Tips article about promoted links is the seventh in my series on SharePoint links. In an earlier article I described how to create SharePoint image links, but I did not include the promoted links. It thought this new feature in SharePoint 2013 was worth its own demo and Tips article.

Add an app
add an app iconWhen you are using SharePoint 2013 you will soon learn that "add an app" is what you do almost every time you need to create something. There are a lot of out-of-the-box apps, and one of them is the promoted links app.

Add links
The default tiles on a new team site have promoted links to actions that the administrator performs when building a new SharePoint site, like sharing the site, adding a logo to it and changing the default theme.

When you create your own promoted links, you probably want to use them in another way. As the tiles are so catching, they are suitable for pages or lists that should be easy to reach for all users and not only for the administrator.

Add images
The tiles of the default promoted links have background images, and if you want to have that on your own promoted links you should upload the images to your SharePoint Site Assets library. Then you can copy the path to each image and paste it in the promoted links app.

Insert App Part button
Add like any web part
The promoted links app can be added to any SharePoint site in the same way as other web parts, even if it is called an "app" in SharePoint 2013. In edit mode, click on the App Part button under the Insert tab in the SharePoint ribbon. Select the promoted links app you have created, and that's it!

In the Tips article about promoted links I am giving more details, and there is also a step by step description on how to create your own tiles.

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions