SharePoint

Comparing Word Document Versions

The versioning capabilities in SharePoint document libraries are great for managing document approvals and if disaster strikes, rolling back to a known good version.

Microsoft Word’s Document Comparison feature takes this capability to the next level, allowing a visual comparison between two versions of the same document. This has many use cases. I’ve used this recently to compare versions of a contract document to identify changes may by another editor.

Here’s a short demo of document comparison and SharePoint versioning.

I’ve demonstrated this capability to a variety of people in legal, policies and management roles recently. It’s another good reason to work with documents in SharePoint.

You can also access the feature directly from Microsoft Word via the Compare button in the Review tab of the Ribbon.

How to compare documents

 

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Word Templates in SharePoint Document Libraries

One of the features I love in SharePoint is the ability to link a Word document template to a Content Type. This is a real time saver if you’re creating documents from templates frequently. It also encourages people to save their documents in the right place.

Here’s a demo I created showing how to create a template that uses fields from the content type.

Steps:

  • Enable Content Types in the Document Library Settings, Advanced Settings
  • In Microsoft Word, create a Document Template and save it to the Document Library
  • Create a Content Type and add any custom fields
  • Right click the template document and Edit in Word (not Word Online)
  • Add the Metadata Fields by choosing Insert \ Quick Parts \ Document Properties
  • Save the template
  • Right click the template in the Document Library and download a copy
  • Edit the Content Type (in Document Library Settings) and in the Advanced settings, upload the template document downloaded in the previous step

The template should now appear in the ‘New’ options in the Document Library and Files tab of the SharePoint ribbon.

Document templates can also be created using other Microsoft Office applications e.g. Excel and PowerPoint.

There are all sorts of places this feature can be used. In my own work, we use it to ensure the correct document templates are used for things like contracts, proposals and technical documentation.

How to create a Template in Microsoft Word

Introduction to SharePoint Content Types

Creating a SharePoint Hub Site

Hub Site functionality is rolling out to “Targeted Release” Office 365 customers now, so it I thought I’d give it a quick test.

Step 1: Check you are on “Targeted Release” in the Office 365 Admin Console > Settings > Organisation Profile.

Step 2:聽Go to SharePoint Home from the App Launcher and create a new Communication Site. Microsoft recommends using a Modern Communication site.

Step 3:聽Register the new Communication site as a Hub Site (via PowerShell)

Step 4:聽Create a new Modern Team or Communications site to test with

Step 5:聽In the new site, choose ‘Site Information’ from the settings cog (top right) and select the Hub Site created in step 2 and 3.

To test the functionality I created a news article in the site I created in step 4 and after a few minutes the news article appeared in the Hub Site.

Done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

MVP Summit 2018

So here I am at the Microsoft MVP Summit, sitting in a room filled with faces I recognise from blogs I’ve read, Twitter accounts I follow and conference speaker lists I’ve browsed. It didn’t take long to realise I was in the right room, everyone as engaged in conversations around SharePoint and Microsoft Teams with the occasional Yammer or OneDrive mention. I was a little bit star struck at first!

While I can’t tell you anything about the things we are being shown due to NDA, I can tell you about the experience of being a first time MVP at the global MVP Summit. This is an opportunity for the product teams at Microsoft to engage with community to get feedback on ideas, gather suggestions and have an open and frank discussion.

As an MVP I have the opportunity to be the voice of my clients and local community. I can contribute to the ideas being discussed, give feedback and make suggestions to help Microsoft build a better Office 365 and SharePoint for everyone. It is good to hear others articulating their needs, issues and ideas. It’s also great to hear from the product teams themselves drilling into the suggestions to get further detail or clarify a point.

The Microsoft Campus

My excitement levels started rising as I caught the summit bus from a hotel in Bellevue. Fifteen minutes later I arrived at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond. This place is big (500 acres), buildings, a conference centre, visitors centre, football fields and trees. It reminded me of a University campus with better quality cars in the parks (spot the Tesla is very easy here).

It feels like a great place for techies to work and while you don’t see lots of geeks (takes one to know one) on experimental forms of transport, you do see a diverse workforce with the same goal, to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft really is a global company not only in terms of sales territories but also in the people it employees. Brilliant!

Microsoft Map.PNG

The Store

The company store is in Building 92, the same building I was in for SharePoint and Office 365 related sessions. I looked long and hard but couldn’t find a Clippy t-shirt, but they did sell a lot of clothing with Azure, Windows, X-Box and Microsoft Office branding. You can also buy lots of things like mugs, caps, notebooks (paper variety), Minecraft and a variety of hardware and software products.

Meeting me in the Trees

A few weeks before the Summit I joined a mentoring initiative organised by Microsoft. This lead to an invitation to a meeting at the Microsoft Treehouse, a meeting room in the trees. This venue has no power, no WiFi, no whiteboards and not heating (it was a little chilly), the perfect place to focus on a human to human conversation without distraction.

The meeting was a very small group, just 12 of us with Laura Hunter, Principal Programme Manager for Security CXP at Microsoft. The discussion was insightful and I came away with some new ideas and contacts. You can learn more about the day in this Microsoft Blog on International Women’s Day.

Microsoft Treehouse

The People

More than 2000 people from 80 countries are attending the MVP Summit. This brings real depth and different perspectives to the feedback sessions. The importance of remembering not everyone speaks English as a first language and how we need to consider this when delivering technology solutions. It’s also quite funny when as a Kiwi I had a language issue of my own trying to communicate with an American outside a homeless shelter in the old part of Seattle, we both spoke English but honestly had no idea what each of us was saying!

I’ve met MVP’s from all over the world. Pakistan, Singapore, UK, Netherlands, India, Brazil, China, Australia, South Africa, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Belarus, Israel, German, Canada and of course the United States. These people are all passionate about both technology and community.

Last but definitely not least, the Microsofties . They are really easy to engage with, they take time to listen and you never feel like you’ve asked a dump question. During the networking events, I had the opportunity to have conversations directly with people from the Product Groups and the MVP community team. These girls and guys rock!

NDA

The toughest thing about this event is that you see a lot and then have to keep what you’ve seen to yourself. All I can really say is that I am excited about what I’ve seen and look forward to seeing some of these things being available over the next year. Microsoft really are listening to their users!

The Office 365 Roadmap site is a good place to learn about upcoming features not covered by NDA.

Thank you

Thank you Microsoft for inviting me to this amazing event. It really has been a great opportunity filled with inspiration, insightful talks and great networking opportunities. I feel inspired and we haven’t finished yet!

25 year MVP Party

SharePoint Migration Tool

Microsoft has made Migrating to SharePoint Online a little bit easier by releasing the SharePoint Migration Tool (SPMT). At the time of blogging the current release was version 0.2.75.1, the leading zero is a good clue that it鈥檚 definitely still in development and may be missing some of the things you really need. Having said that, it does solve some common migration issues and it does it for free!

Here鈥檚 a short list of things the SPMT will do for you:

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Allows you to copy a folder on your file server to a library in SharePoint

聽聽聽聽聽聽 If the source folder contains sub-folders it copies them too

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Retains created and modified dates

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Retains names of the creator and last modified

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Does incremental copies

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Allows setup of multiple source and destinations in a single job

聽聽聽聽聽聽 Source can be a file server (or local disk) or SharePoint on-premises

SPMT

There are a few short comings to be aware of in the release above:

聽聽聽聽聽聽 You cannot copy photos on your source server to an image library in SharePoint Online

聽聽聽聽聽聽 You cannot name a migration job which makes finding the job to rerun later can be hard

聽聽聽聽聽聽 You cannot schedule a migration job

聽聽聽聽聽聽 If you close out, you need to run the tool and log in to Office 365 again

I鈥檓 sure many of these things will be sorted out soon. Even with these limitations the SPMT is still a very useful tool and will help with some of the basic problems with dragging and dropping files to SharePoint.

Download the SharePoint Migration Tool here:

http://spmtreleasescus.blob.core.windows.net/install/default.htm

 

SharePoint News from Ignite 2017

The Future of SharePoint, 2017 Edition

This year鈥檚 Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando Florida, was the place to be for anyone interested in SharePoint and Office 365. An enormous number of announcements were made covering almost every aspect of the Office and Office Servers.

Microsoft continued the 3 year release cycle for SharePoint, announcing SharePoint 2019 will be released mid-2018. That鈥檚 right, a new server release of SharePoint for On-premises users. Microsoft Exchange 2019 server was also announced, which is good news for those businesses who prefer to say on-premises.

Office 365 had more news than it is humanly possible to keep up with. Here are some of the big items to look forward to:

SharePoint

  • News sites 鈥 mobile notifications, save for later, news digests, publish to Teams
  • Hub sites 鈥 global activity rollups, global search scopes and more
  • Communication sites 鈥 custom layouts and Yammer integration
  • Web-parts 鈥 lots of new web-parts for Modern sites including Forms and PowerApps!
  • LinkedIn integration 鈥 better profiles and expert search
  • Dynamic Record identification and management
  • Better photo and image search 鈥 indexing written content in images
  • Multi-geo support 鈥 one tenant across multiple geographic locations
  • Improved mobile experiences
  • Conditional formatting of lists
  • New Admin console
  • SharePoint 2019 Server for on-premises users

PowerApps and Flow

  • Did I mention PowerApps web-parts for SharePoint?
  • A clear announcement that PowerApps will replace InfoPath
  • Document Approval for SharePoint and OneDrive for Business
  • PowerApps web-parts for SharePoint

OneDrive for Business

  • One place to see all your files 鈥 OneDrive, SharePoint and Groups!
  • Multi-geo support 鈥 one tenant across multiple geographic locations
  • OneDrive Client for Mac
  • End user file restore (30 day backup)
  • External Sharing without needing a Microsoft Account with one time use codes
  • Files on-demand

Teams

  • Add SharePoint pages to Teams
  • Push news from SharePoint to Teams
  • Connect Office Groups to Teams
  • Link existing SharePoint Team sites to Teams!

Security and Compliance

  • Site level conditional access policies
  • Service level encryption where the user (tenant owner) has the keys
  • End-user mass content restore 鈥 great if you need to bulk recover documents

There have been a huge number of announcements and chances are I have missed a few. It鈥檚 a really exciting time for us SharePoint and Office 365 people!

 

PowerApps Job Tracker Demo

Microsoft PowerApps for Office 365 allows you to build your own apps without needing to be a developer. It is particularly useful for building solutions that use SharePoint as a backend. Mobile users can interact with and update information from SharePoint Lists via PowerApps.

PowerApps are cross platform working on Windows, iOS and Android devices, simply download the PowerApps App from the Apple AppStore or Google Play.

Here’s a short video I made that shows some of the basic features of PowerApps for SharePoint. In SharePoint I have created two lists, one for Clients and one for Jobs. The Jobs list has a looking on the Clients list, creating a one to many relationship between Clients and Jobs. This PowerApp allows users to search for clients and then select jobs related to the client with view and edit functionality.

The only trick part of the app was linking Galleries together so that clicking on a Client filters the Jobs list based on the SharePoint Lookup Column. SharePoint stores the ID of the list item from the Lookup list, so I needed to use this formula in PowerApps:

Filter(Jobs,Client.Id=ClientGallery.Selected.ID)

In the video, I show the functionality and how to link the various screens and galleries together.

I’m sure you can think of lots of ways to improve this basic PowerApp but hopefully this gives you a good idea of how easy it is to build your own applications.

Learn more about PowerApps