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

14 March 2019

Prioritize SharePoint Tasks in New 7 Habits View

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotype Today we are back with another update of the product, Kanban Task Manager. The two SharePoint editions of Kanban Task Manager have been updated with two new views and a few more features.

Manage tasks in SharePoint
Kanban Task Manager helps a workgroup to cooperate on projects and tasks in SharePoint. Team members can see the work process on a virtual kanban board and drag and drop task cards to different phases as the work proceeds.

Along with visualizing tasks on a kanban board, the software gives various other possibilities to make the work more effective. Kanban Task Manager comes in two SharePoint editions: Sandboxed and Add-in/App.

Suggestions and feedback play major role
For several years Kanban Task Manager has helped many organizations and teams to manage their tasks. We get a lot of positive feedback and suggestions, and this is the reason we update the solution quite often. These suggestions have played a major role in enhancing Kanban Task Manager and making it a powerful product on the market.

7 Habits view
Apart from the kanban view, Kanban Task Manager has several additional views. These views help users get an overview of the tasks based on week, month, year, project, responsible and more.

When there are too many tasks on your to-do list, it might become difficult to know which task you should focus on first. There is often only a small difference between important tasks and urgent tasks. This is a challenge in many organizations who have multiple projects with tight deadlines.

To help subscribers overcome this dilemma, a ‘7 Habits’ view has been added in Kanban Task Manager. The name of this view comes from the renowned book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey. For the third important habit, “Put first things first”, Stephen Covey refers to the Eisenhower principle of ‘Urgent-Important’ Matrix on how to prioritize tasks.

Based on the Eisenhower’s Matrix concept, the ‘7 Habits’ view distributes open tasks into four quadrants according to importance and urgency:
  • Urgent-Important – due today and high priority
  • Urgent-Not Important – due today but not high priority
  • Not Urgent-Important – not due today but high priority
  • Not Urgent-Not Important – not due today and not high priority
When tasks are dragged between the quadrants, the importance and urgency values will be changed automatically.
7 Habits view
‘Hours Open’ feature
For better time management, most organizations want to have an overview of how much time is spent on a specific project or task.

The new ‘Hours Open’ feature calculates the actual time a task was open. I use the word ‘actual’, as you can set your organization’s working day, service hours and lunch break in the Kanban Task Manager settings. Based on these factors, Kanban Task Manager calculates the total hours open for each task and displays it in the task’s details pane on the kanban board.

You can also study the Hours Open in the Excel reports generated by Kanban Task Manager.

Copy and Versions
Two new buttons have been added to the details pane in the updated version of Kanban Task Manager: ‘Copy’ and ‘Versions’.

Now you don’t have to hassle with creating new tasks each time. Instead you can select a task that is similar to the new one and copy it.

When you click on the ‘Versions’ button, you can study the task’s version history.

Free trial and subscription Trial icon If managing multiple tasks and projects is a challenge in your organization, I recommend that you try Kanban Task Manager. You are welcome evaluate the solution for 30 days without any obligations. Our Support team is here to help you, in case you run into any problems during your evaluation period.

All the solutions are licensed with a subscription, and so is Kanban Task Manager. Feel free to contact me or my colleagues at the Sales department, if you have any queries regarding the product subscription.

By Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant Business Solutions

05 March 2019

SharePoint Totals in Both Rows and Columns

SharePoint icon Would you like to see the total of sums or numbers both vertically and horizontally in a SharePoint list? That is possible if you let a flow or workflow calculate the row total and let the SharePoint built-in Totals view show totals for the columns. I have described how to do it in two Tips articles on the website.

The built-in Totals view
The SharePoint ‘Totals’ feature can be used to summarize the values in a column. It can also calculate other values for number columns, like average, maximum and minimum. The result of the calculation is shown on top of the column that is calculated.

The Totals value is however only displayed in the standard mode of the classic interface, not in the Quick Edit mode or in the modern interface. I hope Microsoft will soon add Totals to the modern interface too, because it is a really useful feature.

No totals for calculated columns
If you want to use totals, you cannot use a calculated column, because it is not possible to use the Totals view on a column with calculated values. This means that you cannot get the total for the 'Total Cost' column in the image below, as that is a calculated column that gets its values from calculations of the values in the two other columns.
SharePoint calculated column without Totals

Instead, you can use a currency or number column and let a flow or workflow do the calculation. Then it is possible to use the Totals view, and you will have totals both vertically and horizontally.

Microsoft flow to calculate values in SharePoint lists

Microsoft Flow
Microsoft Flow iconIf you want to let a flow do the calculation, use an expression that calculates the sum of column values for a list item. You can create such an expression by entering the function ‘add’ and then the dynamic content for the columns that should be calculated. Separate the columns with a comma.

SharePoint workflow
SharePoint Designer iconYou can of course also let a workflow calculate column values. First, create a local variable that gets its value from a ‘Do Calculation’ action. Then use this variable in a 'Set Field in Current Item' action to update the column with the totals value for the created or changed list item.

I have created the articles and the demos above for my books on SharePoint automation. SharePoint Flows from Scratch has already been published on Amazon, and I hope to release SharePoint Workflows from Scratch this month.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

28 February 2019

SharePoint Workflows that Set Library Titles

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 two articles in the Tips section, I describe how to create workflows that set the title of a new library file to the same as the file name.

Title in lists and libraries
When you create a new list item, you cannot save it until the 'Title' column has been given a value. Therefore most users learn to fill out this column with relevant information in lists.

When you create a new file in a SharePoint library, there is however no such compulsion. On the contrary, the title field is rather hidden to users. To enter something in the title field, they actually have to edit the file properties, and how many users do that?

SharePoint Search leading field
In SharePoint searches, the title field has the highest rank of all, so that is where SharePoint starts to search. Hits in the title also comes first among the results. If the title column is empty, the file name becomes prominent. Imagine how the SharePoint library searches will work if users leave the title empty and don't change the default file name, Document, Book or Presentation!

List workflow
SharePoint Designer iconIf users have learned to give library files relevant names, an easy way to solve the title problem is to let a workflow set the value in the Title column to the same as in the Name column. The solution is not optimal, but it is better to have the file name in the title column than having it blank.

If you just want to try the set title workflow in one library, you can create a list workflow. I show how to do that in the demo below.

Reusable workflow
The list workflow only works for one library. If you want to set the title to the same as the name in another library, you have to re-create the workflow for that library.

Another option is to create a reusable workflow connected to the document library content type. Unfortunately SharePoint 2013 workflows cannot be associated with a specific content type, so this reusable workflow must be a SharePoint 2010 workflow.

In the demo below I show how to create such a reusable workflow and how to connect it to the document content type.

In the Tips article about the reusable "Set Title" workflow, I give step by step instructions for the whole process. I also show how you can apply the workflow on existing files. The method I suggest can be used whether you have chosen a list workflow or a reusable workflow.

Do you prefer to use Microsoft Flow? In that case, I have a Tips article on that also. Refer to: how to create a flow that sets the title to the same as the file name in SharePoint document libraries.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

22 February 2019

Easy Tagging and Enhanced SharePoint Search with Document Tagger

Document Tagger for SharePoint logotype Today, I am happy to announce the release of a new product, Document Tagger. The solution analyzes documents in SharePoint libraries and suggests keywords and metadata for tagging. It supports Word.docx, PowerPoint .pptx, Excel .xlsx, PDF and text files.

Uses artificial intelligence
Understanding human language is one of the most difficult things for a computer to do, but thanks to neural networks, artificial intelligence and machine learning the algorithms are rapidly getting better.

Now the team is releasing a Microsoft SharePoint product that takes advantage of these technologies to make document categorization much simpler.

Google Cloud Natural Language logotype Document Tagger uses Google Cloud Natural Language for document analysis. Google Natural Language gives natural language understanding of human language. This means that it analyzes the text based on, sentiments, entities, entity-sentiments, linguistic information and content classification. The algorithms used for the analysis are part of Google’s machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities. This makes Document Tagger the first product that uses artificial intelligence.

Easy tagging
Tag Document logotype Despite the complex technology behind Document Tagger, the product is very easy to use. The document tagging is quick, as you can tag not only one but multiple documents in one go.

Document Tagger adds a ‘Tag Document’ button to SharePoint document libraries. When you select one or multiple files and click on this button, Document Tagger analyzes the content and suggests 15 keywords for each document.

Google Natural Language performs a semantic analysis of the document(s), but even if its word processing engines are continuously improved, I recommend that you review the suggestions before applying them.

To make the review quick, the keyword suggestions have checkboxes, so that you can uncheck the suggestions you find irrelevant. You may also add your own tags. Once you are done, click on ‘Apply tags’ to save.

Better SharePoint Search
Document Tagger adds all tags to the Enterprise Keywords. These are centrally stored in the Term Store and used in the SharePoint Search. The Enterprise Keywords are also available as suggestions for the whole farm or tenant.

The tagging with metadata helps the organization to take full advantage of SharePoint’s metadata driven Search feature. You can also filter documents by tag and create SharePoint views for certain tags.

Two SharePoint Editions
Document Tagger has been released in two SharePoint editions: Sandboxed and Add-in/App.

The sandboxed solution is uploaded to the root site of a SharePoint site collection and activated for all the sites where it needs to be used. The Add-in/App edition is instead added to the organization’s Add-in/App Catalog to be made available to the whole farm or tenant. It can then be added as an app to the SharePoint site where it needs to be used. From next week, the Add-in edition of Document Tagger can also be installed from SharePoint Store.

Download and Evaluate freely for 30 days
Both SharePoint editions of Document Tagger can be downloaded from the website. Trial icon You are welcome to evaluate the full version for 30 days without any obligations. Document Tagger is straightforward software to work with, but we provide full support during the evaluation period in case you need assistance.

To understand the Document Tagger possibilities, I recommend you to study the manual and the video demonstrations by our CEO and Systems designer, Peter Kalmstrom.

If your organization is looking for a solution to make document tagging quick and enhance the SharePoint Search, you should go for Document Tagger. Subscription icon The solution is licensed with a subscription on a monthly or yearly basis. Don’t hesitate to contact our Sales department, in case you have any queries regarding the subscription.

By Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant Business Solutions

18 February 2019

SharePoint Workflow for Version History Buttons

Would you like to have a button at each library file that quickly takes you to the document's version history? Or somewhere else? I have recently published a Tips article on how to create a workflow that adds a version history button to each new file in a SharePoint document library. Similar buttons can of course be used for other things than the version history.

Check changes and restore earlier versions
The SharePoint version history is a useful feature that I always recommend customers to keep enabled. It is on by default in document libraries, but in other SharePoint lists you have to enable it.

In the version history, you can see who changed each document or list item and when the changes were made, and if necessary, you can also restore earlier versions of items and files. To see the version history in a SharePoint document library, you must select a file, click on the ellipsis and go to ‘Version History’.
Version History icons

Version history button
If you often use the version history, it would of course be easier to just click on a button to reach it. The workflow I suggest runs when a new file is added to the document library, and it adds a small image that is linked to the new file's version history in a separate column in the library.

Create rich text column in SharePoint Designer
We need to use HTML code for the version history button, and therefore it must be placed in a column with enhanced rich text. SharePoint lets us use enhanced rich text in multiple lines of text columns, but if you create the new column in SharePoint, you can only get the rich text in lists, not in libraries.

To have a multiple lines of text column with enhanced rich text in a document library, you must create the column in SharePoint Designer. Therefore, I show how to create such a column in my demo below before I start with the actual workflow.

SharePoint Workflows from Scratch
The Tips article and the demo is created for my new book, SharePoint Workflows from Scratch, that I hope to release on Amazon at the end of this month.

My recently published book on Microsoft Flow goes well, but a SharePoint power user needs knowledge about both flows and workflows. That way, you can select the best option for all SharePoint automation. (Should you want to create a version history button in Flow, refer to my demo about a tasks list progress bar, that uses a similar technique.)

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

15 February 2019

Technical Savvy and Dedication Makes Indore Cleanest in India

Indore has been elected India's cleanest city in 2018, among 4203 inspected cities. My congratulations to all who live Indore, among them our Indian team members!

Clean India Mission
In 2014, the Indian government launched the Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India Mission) to enhance the nation's hygiene, waste management and sanitation. A "cleanest city" contest is part of the campaign, and Indore was number one in 2017 – and again in 2018! Now the city is hoping for a hat trick in 2019!

This achievement owes its success to the joint efforts of the Indore authorities and the two million inhabitants. These are the key factors:
  • Garbage collection: All garbage bins have been taken away. Instead there is door-to-door garbage collection every day. Garbage is collected from shops in the evening, and markets are cleaned at night.

    The garbage collection is performed efficiently with the help of specially designed software and GPS. It is supervised from a control room where the operators have direct contact with all truck drivers.

  • Garbage processing: Wet garbage is used for compost making. Robots sort the dry garbage in 27 categories. What cannot be sold to recycling is converted into fuels. This means that everything is taken care of, and no more dumpsites will be necessary.

  • Education: People have started carrying small dustbins in their cars to collect their garbage. Use of plastic is discouraged. Teachers and parents have educated children about the dangers of littering, and an eighth pledge has been added in the wedding rituals: and oath of cleanliness.

New gardens
The Indore inhabitants have not only received a cleaner environment. Around 100 acres of old dumpsites have also been reclaimed and transformed into gardens and woodlands that further enhance the city.

We have had a office in Indore for the last 10 years and during my many visits to the city I have seen continuous improvements. Indore shows how a combination of high technology and education can achieve stunning results, and I hope that many other cities will follow the example!

The video above is from India Times, and here are links that give further information:
India Today
IndiaWater Portal

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

11 February 2019

Roll Back SharePoint Column Changes with Flow or Workflow

In two new Tips articles I describe how unwanted column changes can be rolled back with a flow or workflow.

Protect column values
SharePoint Designer iconBy default, SharePoint users have Edit permission over lists and libraries, and that allows them to change column values. Users must have this permission level to be able to work actively with the content, but this means that they also can change column values that should be kept as they are. It is possible to restrict their access to certain items or documents, but it is not possible to restrict access at column level.

Flow iconI therefore suggest a workflow or flow that simply rolls back any changes in the column that should be protected. This does not stop the column value from being changed, but as the unwanted change starts the flow/workflow and the change is rolled back, no harm is actually done. Any changes can still be seen in the version history, if you want to track them.

Set original column value
The process is similar for both automation methods. We assume that the first value that was added to the column is the original one, that should be kept. The first step is therefore to decide what that value is and save it in another, hidden, column.

Check if the value has been changed
Next step, is to decide if the column that should be protected has been changed. If that condition is true, the flow/workflow will roll back the modification so that the changed column gets the value from the hidden column.

To automate this process in SharePoint Designer, I recommend creating two workflows: one that runs at creation and sets the original value and one that runs at changes and rolls back any modifications of the protected column.

If you prefer to use a flow for the roll-back process, it becomes a bit more complicated. That is because Microsoft Flow does not (yet) have the SharePoint trigger "when an item is modified".

Instead, we have to use the trigger "when an item is created or modified" and make the flow understand if there has been a creation or a modification. We can do that with a condition that checks if there is a "null" value or not. SharePoint columns have such a value before they are used for the first time.

Microsoft has created Flow to have a more user friendly alternative to workflows. In this case, however, I find the two workflows easier to build than the single flow. I hope that Microsoft will add the SharePoint trigger "when an item is modified" to Flow in a near future.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

07 February 2019

SharePoint Online Essentials for All Users

SharePoint Online Essentials cover I am happy to announce the release of my new book and e-book: SharePoint Online Essentials. It is intended for SharePoint Online users with no administrative capacity – just ordinary users with the default Edit permission or less.

Requests for a basic book
I have earlier written several more advanced books about SharePoint Online: SharePoint Online from Scratch, SharePoint Online Exercises and SharePoint Flows from Scratch. These books have become popular among SharePoint administrators and other power users who need to understand more about SharePoint than the basics.

However, I have also been asked to write a book about only those features that each SharePoint user needs to know to work efficiently with SharePoint. That is why I have put together SharePoint Online Essentials. Just like my other books, this new one has links to articles with video demonstrations from the Tips section.

Modern exercise included
SharePoint Online Essentials includes basic information about classic and modern sites, pages and apps. Readers will also learn how to share content and how to work with SharePoint lists and document libraries.

At the end of the new book, I have included an exercise from my book SharePoint Online Exercises: "Create a modern sites intranet". Here readers can make practical use of what they have learned by building and customizing modern team and communication sites and giving them a joint navigation. The process is explained step by step with many images.

Give to each user!
Peter Kalmström on Amazon.comSharePoint Online Essentials can be purchased from Amazon, and the book is available as a Kindle e-book and in a paperback edition.  If you buy the paperback from you will have the e-book for free, as SharePoint Online Essentials – just like all my other books – participates in the Kindle Matchbook program.

I hope that organizations who are introducing SharePoint Online to their staff will find SharePoint Online Essentials a good help when it comes to educate the users. Therefore, I have decided to nearly give it away. That is not possible on Amazon, but the e-book is only $0.99. The paperback must cover the printing costs, so here I had to accept a higher cost: $3.99.

SharePoint Online Essentials may also be downloaded as a free PDF file from the European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Community.

SharePoint Online Essentials will not make me a rich man, but in the long run, I of course hope that the book will serve as a marketing tool for my more advanced books and also for the products and services. We already see that new customers often refer to the books and the Tips articles.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

05 February 2019

A Successful Adventure – A Decade Of Cooperation

Jayant Rimza In February 2009 I hired a young but very capable developer for the products. Today he is my friend and business partner, and I owe him a lot. His name is Jayant Rimza, and since 2010 he has been the director of the Indore office.

In 2009 we still hired our few Indian employees through a partner who had his interest in as a side hobby. That worked well in the beginning, but as the demand for the products grew, we wanted something that would give better control, more dedication and an enhanced team feeling.

TimeCard for Outlook iconAfter some time, I realized that Jayant Rimza was the right person to build the qualified team we needed. He was also eager to try, so we decided to start on our joint adventure. At that time, the portfolio had only a few Outlook add-ons: Calendar Browser, TimeCard and Folder HelpDesk. However, both Jayant and I had a lot of ideas that we wanted to develop and try on the market.
The Indore team
Today I can say that our cooperation has been a success, both on the business level and personally. During Jayant's management, the Indian team has grown considerably and is now more qualified than ever, and we have many more products. Most of the younger solutions are created for SharePoint, a Microsoft platform that was rather new in 2009 but where we both saw a great potential.

SharePoint iconAs more customers spread the word about Business Solutions, there was a demand for custom solutions and support contracts as well. Today, these services has become an important part of our business. We both appreciate this development, as it makes our work more varied and interesting.

Jayant and I get along very well also on a personal level – and I have found an Indian family! Since 2009 I have tried to visit India at least once a year, and the Rimza family has always taken very good care of me. Below I am posing for the camera with Jayant's wife, Sushma, Jayant and their son Atiksh.
Peter and Jayant
I have attended several weddings, and I have travelled with Jayant and the team and seen many fascinating places. Two more skilled and dedicated family members have also joined the team: Vijayant and Rituka.

I chat with Jayant nearly every day, to plan the current custom solutions and future development of the products. He often gives good suggestions, but even when we don't agree on how things should be done, we can always discuss in good humour and come to a solution that satisfies us both.

I am sure that my prosperous cooperation with Jayant Rimza and the Rimza family will continue many years into the future. It still feels like an adventure!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

07 January 2019 University Collaboration

During my recent visit to India it was agreed that will partner with a highly respected university in Indore.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed between and the Symbiosis University of Applied Sciences and the Indore office. Among the university's other industry partners are big corporations like Hyundai, John Deer and SKF, but we think that our comparatively small business also can bring valuable input.

This MoU includes many ways for the university to get access to the knowledge of the developers and testers, but the most important point is the internship program.

Industrial training
After three years of university studies, the students will spend their final year at the office for industrial training. After that year, each student will write a report, and on basis of that report and maybe a live project, they will have their Bachelor of Technology exam.

In the image below, I am posing for the camera together with Jayant Rimza, Director of the Indore office, and managers from the Symbiosis University, among them Dr. Ashok Bhansali, Professor & Dean, and Dr. Rajdeep Deb, with whom I cooperated in a SharePoint workshop.
SharePoint workshop at the Symbiosis University of Applied Sciences
SharePoint teaching
To inaugurate the new partnership, I had a SharePoint lecture as well as a workshop together with Dr. Rajdeep Deb. It was a truly inspiring experience to meet the young, eager students.

I have taught similar classes many times before, but seldom have my attendees been so receptive to my advice and suggestions. They also offered many insightful questions, and we had interesting discussions on what SharePoint can and should be used for.

In the practical exercises, the group showed enthusiasm and willingness to try new things, far outside of what I managed to show them in my demonstrations. Additionally, the staff and facilities at Symbiosis are first class, making everything run smoothly without a glitch.
SharePoint workshop at the Symbiosis University of Applied Sciences
Mutual satisfaction
Jayant and I find it a great pleasure to be able to educate next generation of SharePoint experts, and we think that the students will find the environment in the office valuable for learning.

We have had many earlier interns, even if the collaboration with universities not has been formalized with a MoU, and these students have always appreciated the support from the team. A few of them have even joined the team after their graduation.

Next step in the process will be our review of the students who applied to for their one year internship. Then we are looking forward to welcoming new people in the team!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

03 January 2019

SharePoint Flows from Scratch in New Book

SharePoint Flows from Scratch CoverI am happy to announce the release of my new book SharePoint Flows from Scratch! Readers of my other books have asked for it, and I hope it will give the information they need to start exploring this rather new Microsoft service.

Cloud based service
Microsoft launched Flow in the beginning of 2016, as a future replacement for SharePoint Designer workflows. I still see the need for workflows, but Flow is a cloud based service that gives new options.

Flow can integrate across multiple data sources and deliver across multiple devices, from desktop to mobile. The flows can be used extensively for many online services, and often several of these services are combined in one flow. This cannot be done with a traditional workflow, which is restricted to a SharePoint site.

Automate SharePoint processes SharePoint icon
In SharePoint Flows from Scratch, I focus on flows that are created with SharePoint Online as one of the included services.

Flows can be used in all kinds of SharePoint Online lists and libraries to automate time consuming or repetitive processes. Such tasks are tedious to perform manually, so often they are performed badly or not performed at all.

Theory and Practice
I believe in learning by doing, but of course you cannot do anything if you don't know the basics. Therefore, SharePoint Flows from Scratch begins with several explanatory chapters that I hope readers will use as a reference. Among all theory, I have put in one simple flow to show the idea and make the reading more tangible.

After the theory chapters, I give 20 more example flows to practise on or use as templates. Each of these flows also give more Flow theory, so with the examples the readers expand their learning in two ways.

Video demonstrations
YouTube iconSharePoint Flows from Scratch has many links to related articles with video demonstrations in the Tips section. The demos come from our YouTube channel, which currently have more than 16 000 followers. Some of the Tips articles are about Flow, and for this book I have created more. (You might have read about these Tips articles and demos earlier in this blog.)

Unfortunately, for me, Microsoft changed the Flow Designer interface a bit late in 2018. The book was updated before publication, but the demonstrations still have the old interface. The difference is not big, so I don't think there will be a problem.

Vijayant Rimza imageKate Kalmstrom imageDipti Francis photoJitu Patidar image      
As always in my work, I have had help from team members. The SharePoint Flows from Scratch cover was created by Vijayant, who also designed the covers for my other books. Kate edited the text and made it easier to follow, and Dipti and Jitu has proofread the book and given valuable comments. Thank you!

SharePoint knowledge SharePoint Online from Scratch cover
To really benefit from SharePoint Flows from Scratch, you need to have some understanding of SharePoint, especially SharePoint Online. SharePoint features are only sporadically described in SharePoint Flows from Scratch. Anything else would make the book too big and expensive, and a lot of SharePoint explanations would be boring for those who already know SharePoint and only need to learn Flow.

SharePoint Online Exercises coverIf you want to learn SharePoint Online, I instead recommend two other books: SharePoint Online from Scratch explains in detail how SharePoint is built and how it can be used, from the very basic to advanced features, and SharePoint Online Exercises has a number of hands-on step-by-step instructions on how to create specific business solutions.

Book and e-book
SharePoint Flows from Scratch is available as paperback Peter Kalmström on or Kindle e-book, and both editions are sold via Amazon. On Amazon you can also find my other books.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions