Posted on 11/18/2015 By Doug Allen
As it happens with Microsoft products, there are two competing versions of the same thing and eventually one gets phased out. Now it’s Power BI for Office 365’s turn. It had a good run, but Microsoft is finally killing off the initial iteration of Power BI to let its new service move in and run the show. Continue reading as I walk you through What is Power BI, how we got to this point, and what can you do moving forward in your Business Intelligence efforts.
Posted on 10/20/2015 By Doug Allen
If you’ve been paying any attention at all to the world of business intelligence lately, you’ve seen the shift of Microsoft Power BI from the service built-in to Office 365 to the standalone offering from http://powerbi.com. In today’s post, I want to show you how to leverage the Power BI service and construct your data source so that you can have date tables and OData sources that you can configure scheduled refreshes on.
Posted on 9/17/2015 By Doug Allen
If you keep up with SharePoint news at all, you have very likely heard that Microsoft recently dropped the beta 1 build of SharePoint 2016 (or more affectionately called the IT Preview) to much fanfare. With the release of the public beta, there are lots of folks in the community who have written about these new features and how to install it. In today's blog I want to discuss the initial highlighted features that are removed from the SharePoint 2016 preview.
Posted on 9/11/2015 By Doug Allen
Welcome back to part 2 of my short series of using AutoSPInstaller to build a 3-tier multiple server SharePoint farm. Last time we looked at all of the work we needed to do to get setup and discussed what our end goal was. Now we can get down to business and start some installation! I’ll walk you through the most critical part – creating your answer file, then the installation itself.
Posted on 8/26/2015 By Doug Allen
In this 2-part series I am going to take you through all of the necessary steps to use autospinstaller to build a 3 server farm doing remote installations on Windows Server 2012 R2 with SharePoint 2013 recent CU. (When I say all, I am referring to the SharePoint relevant pieces and the autospinstaller.) Continue reading for SharePoint 2013 (2010) installation.
Posted on 7/20/2015 By Doug Allen
Have you ever opened SharePoint Designer, clicked on Workflows, and saw nothing? I sure did and was able to fix it. In today's blog post, we'll do a quick primer of SharePoint reusable workflows, then I'll discuss the problem and all the troubleshooting I did to try and fix the issue. Finally I'll review the magical steps necessary steps I took to actually resolve it.
Posted on 6/29/2015 By Doug Allen
I’m in the midst of two different major workflows for clients right now, one of them being an HR New Hire Onboarding request and approval process. One small but critical requirement of the process was that each level of approval needed a two business day wait period. In this post I'll demonstrate 2 easy ways to be able to calculate working or business days inside a SharePoint workflow.
Posted on 5/12/2015 By Doug Allen
It’s been a packed week at Microsoft Ignite, and in this final post of my daily recaps, we’ll validate the awesomeness of Visio for dashboards and data-connected data graphics, review the common problems encountered when performing the initial configurations of Office 365 service for your organization, and finally share how search works in SharePoint 2013 plus how to scale it properly.
Posted on 5/11/2015 By Doug Allen
As we near the end of Ignite, day 4 was still filled with some great technical sessions. I’ll give you a rundown of everything from SQL High Availability, best practices for branding and page design in SharePoint Online to scaling SharePoint 2013 search. One of my favorite sessions that I’m excited to share dealt with navigating the landscape of Office 365 tools.
Posted on 5/7/2015 By Doug Allen
If you’ve been wanting to get some more information on SharePoint 2016, today’s recap is for you! I’ll briefly review some tips from the great duo of Todd Klindt and Shane Young on upgrading to SharePoint 2013, then I’ll dangle some awesome new not yet released tools for Dynamics CRM and Office 365 straight from the mouth of the great Girish Raja. I then got some great insights from the master Spence Harbar himself on OneDrive for Business migrations, then rounded out the day diving deep in the new hybrid search service application for SharePoint 2013 / 2016.
Posted on 5/6/2015 By Doug Allen
In today's tales from the field, I take you through each session of my day, but also give you a quick look back at something I omitted from the day 1 keynote. The sessions cover the gamut from information architecture and governance, to search, to OneDrive for Business and best practices for farm solution development.
Posted on 5/4/2015 By Doug Allen
It’s still spring time here in Chicago, but it’s also time for Microsoft’s first ever all-in-one product conference named Ignite. Throughout the rest of this week, I’ll do my best to share with you insights from the day, and highlight innovations or other content I thought was interesting.
What is Ignite?
This Ignite conference is the first (but not last I’m sure) time Microsoft is taking most of all of the other individual product conferences and bringing them all under one roof. These include TechEd, Exchange, SharePoint, etc. Content and information is being shared across all 5 days this week, ranging from the normal breakout sessions to hands-on lands, ask the experts sessions with the product teams, exam preparation and certification testing, live-streaming from Channel9, community theaters and of course the expo center. New this year also is the MyIgnite mobile app, providing the same experience from the web to your mobile device with maps, session info, your customized saved calendar and other goodies.
Posted on 3/26/2015 By Doug Allen
Maybe you didn’t even know, but if you are using Office 365 or OneDrive, you can use Excel to create a survey, share it with others, and easily get the results. This blog details why you should use Excel to create a survey. Using Excel won’t be for everyone depending on your requirements, but it does serve a purpose in the landscape of survey tools. Find out what you didn't know before!
Posted on 3/11/2015 By Doug Allen
Welcome back to part 2 of my review of tips and gotchas for using Power Query with Dynamics CRM OData feeds. Let’s continue our review and talk about how ugly the option set numeric values are, and how you can improve your query times by tweaking (filtering more specifically) the OData URL used in Power Query.
Posted on 3/9/2015 By Doug Allen
If you have been following the Excel business intelligence space lately, you are familiar with all of the slick add-ins Microsoft has introduced with Power Query, Power Pivot and Power Map. We work with a lot of Dynamics CRM clients, and I recently set out to use some CRM Online data to create some visualizations and dashboards in Excel. I encountered a few different situations I had to deal with, so in this post I want to walk you through some of the gotchas I found when you use Dynamics CRM data with Power Query.
Posted on 2/19/2015 By Doug Allen
While recently working with some users who are migrating to OneDrive for Business for SharePoint 2013, I was in a discussion about how to use the OneDrive for Business client. After walking through the capabilities and how to use the sync client, the question was asked about how to selectively sync only certain folders from OneDrive for Business and not the entire library. Users started uploading a lot of documents, and didn’t want to sync ALL of the files in their OneDrive for Business library. They only wanted to sync some of the folders offline. This is possible right? Okay I must admit I misled you a little bit by the title. You can’t use the OneDrive for Business sync client and only choose certain folders. It will only sync the entire library or nothing. But fear not, the point of this blog is to offer a few viable solutions as stop gaps until Microsoft adds this functionality.
Posted on 2/17/2015 By Doug Allen
In my recent blog post “Microsoft Can Do Cool”, I mentioned a new app Microsoft has in beta / preview called Microsoft Sway. Read on for more about Sway and to be inspired!
Posted on 1/21/2015 By Doug Allen
It’s been awhile but I am back to continue on my SharePoint Basics series for SharePoint. Let’s see where we are:
Back in Part 2, I touched on SharePoint Views briefly in the context of creating content. In today’s post I want to go a lot deeper with views and show you how to work with them while will help any SharePoint user work more effectively and efficiently.
Posted on 1/14/2015 By Doug Allen
Maybe you’ve heard of Microsoft Azure, maybe you haven’t. In today’s article, I’m going to walk you through the process of wiring up your Azure subscription to work with your Office 365 Organization accounts as well as Live ID.
Posted on 12/23/2014 By Doug Allen
Love them or hate em, like them or not, it can’t be ignored that Microsoft has been making some big splashes lately. We've started to reflect on how the software giant has been putting out some pretty cool stuff that truly improves someone’s daily life or job. Let us share some Microsoft tech that impresses us. Read this blog to get the list.
Posted on 12/11/2014 By Doug Allen
If you’ve worked anywhere and had a cubicle in the last 15 years, you likely use Outlook to get and send email. Even though we all use Outlook, there are features (some new, some not) that if you take the time, can help your day to day be a LITTLE easier. I’m not saying this features will make you coffee or solve world peace, but every bit helps right? Let’s look at 8 great features in the latest iteration of Outlook (2013).
Posted on 11/25/2014 By Doug Allen
When it comes to Visio's high quality, yet static content, can we make that flat data more interactive and fresh? Sure, with Data Graphics! Some people refer to drawings like this as having data-behind. You might have seen the Supply Chain example from Microsoft in a number of demos, and think that it must be some overly complicated configuration. It’s not!
Posted on 11/18/2014 By Doug Allen
Generally the out of the box provided ID column is used as the “Issue ID” since it auto-increments by default. Invariably, users need to be notified whenever issues are created or updated, so they subscribe to alerts on the list. When they get their notification email, they notice that the Issue ID is missing, so they aren’t sure exactly which issue got updated.
We can fix this by adding the ID field to the email alert file. Let's take a look how.
Posted on 10/27/2014 By Doug Allen
The purpose of this article is to try and compile a list of features removed or discounted features, not list all of the changes or improvements in SharePoint 2013. This list will vary somewhat depending if we’re talking SharePoint on-premise or SharePoint online, but I’ll try to call out the differences where applicable.
Posted on 10/22/2014 By Doug Allen
Let's say you’re a member of a sales team and you need the ability for your sales peers and managers on your team to be able to see your contacts. Did you know you can use SharePoint to store and share Outlook contacts? This blog will show you just how easy this is to do!
Posted on 9/29/2014 By Doug Allen
This blog covers the simple fix for the common issue of no new items in the RSS feeds feature in Outlook. Have you tried to just right click on RSS Feeds and add a new feed, only to get lovely error “The attempted operation failed. An object could not be found”?
Posted on 9/25/2014 By Doug Allen
How do users communicate their SharePoint frustrations, feedback, and questions? If the answer is “they send an email” or “they open a helpdesk ticket” then this is for you! We have created a solution for SharePoint 2010 on-premise and SharePoint 2013 on-premise and Office 365 that provides a powerful yet simple mechanism for users to provide feedback. Best of all, it's free!
Posted on 9/23/2014 By Doug Allen
After getting a client's SharePoint available on the public interweb and thus available to CRM, we installed and activated the list component. But when we went to an Opportunity or other entity that was configured for document management, it would throw an error...
Posted on 8/20/2014 By Doug Allen
In this post with PowerShell, I wanted to show you how you can write a script that will enable versions but starting from a subsite instead of the entire site collection.
Posted on 7/31/2014 By Doug Allen
See if this sounds familiar:
Someone asks you “Can I get an email reminder for these events on the team calendar?”. You think well, we can set alerts, so you go look into the alert settings, so you go look into the alert settings, and quickly realize that alerts don’t work like that. The alert mechanism in SharePoint will send the alert subscriber an email based on an action happening on the item (it is being created, edited, etc). We need the trigger to be based on a date. So what to do?
Posted on 7/23/2014 By Doug Allen
As a SharePoint solution architect, when I’m not creating site columns and configuring SharePoint server databases, I'm meeting and talking to clients about their business requirements for collaboration technology like SharePoint. On a project basis like assessing a clients desire to upgrade their SharePoint environment, this involves documenting a SharePoint environment or a lot of times just business processes. There are many tools available for these types of drawings, and one I typically use for drawing SharePoint farms and topologies is Visio.
Posted on 7/10/2014 By Doug Allen
Welcome back to to my series on the basics of SharePoint. If you've already read the first post, we covered what SharePoint is. Now we're ready to dive into how to create content in SharePoint. (Notice I said create content, not any form of structure.) We have to crawl before we can walk, right? Then we can move on for the super users on how to create structure, the things that hold the content.
Posted on 5/29/2014 By Doug Allen
To start with and ensure we’re all talking the same thing, we need to level the foundation. It’s easy to assume otherwise, but I continually find people at any given company across a variety of industries who don’t even know what SharePoint is. They have heard the term perhaps, but don’t know what it is, much all it can do (beyond the dumping ground for your documents). So let’s get started with Part 1.
Posted on 5/15/2014 By Doug Allen
I was working with a client recently in a simplified signup site. In effect what was needed was to make the fields read only based on the role of the user. Follow me as I walk you through the steps using only SharePoint Designer, no code or InfoPath required!
Posted on 4/10/2014 By Doug Allen
As part of an auction site I was working on for a client, one part of the solution was to use an InfoPath form for users to submit their bids. This post focused on how to get the dynamic images from a SharePoint Picture library.
Posted on 3/27/2014 By Doug Allen
When working with SharePoint, you occasionally need to work with related data. Since SharePoint isn’t setup for true relational data, that means we’re typically working with lookup columns from a child to a parent list. This is all fine well and good, but I had a client ask me for some special filtering and output with this related data. After reviewing my options, I found that the quickest way to do this (in under 15 minutes) is to use Microsoft’s Power Pivot add-in for Excel. No SharePoint Designer required! If you have Excel 2010, you will need to download and install the add-in. If you use Excel 2013, the add-in is already installed, you just have to enable it.
Posted on 3/18/2014 By Doug Allen
Whether you are using SharePoint 2010 or SharePoint 2013, it is very likely you are taking advantage of the Managed Metadata service for taxonomy and other purposes. Hopefully you have a development / test environment in addition to production, and if so you know it’s a struggle to keep them in sync. If your groups, term sets and terms are not identical down to GUIDs between the two environments, if you move a database from one to the other then all your terms will be broken… not good.
The point of this blog is not help you sync your environments with metadata. Let's dive in.
Posted on 2/26/2014 By Doug Allen
While working on a client request recently, I came across a way to easily work with date and time values in a SharePoint Designer 2010 workflow. I was able to solve this using only SharePoint Designer. I reviewed other solutions, and I will give links to a couple others in case they are needed. This worked for me, and I didn’t see anyone else with this exact solution so I thought I would share for the greater good.
Posted on 2/14/2014 By Doug Allen
After having some pleasant discussions in the SharePoint Yammer SPYam community on this subject and finding almost no information online about this topic, I thought I’d put some fingers to keys and do my part to share some information. This post assumes you have basic concepts and knowledge of SharePoint taxonomies, but review TechNet if you need more info or to get up to speed on the basic concepts.
Posted on 1/29/2014 By Doug Allen
While working on a PowerShell script to do some updating list items in SharePoint, I first had to get some properties from the user account in Active Directory. The end goal was to update a managed metadata field, choosing terms based on the root OU that the user resided in Active Directory. I found an easier way to do this with PowerShell and wanted to share.
Posted on 1/24/2014 By Doug Allen
If you’ve gotten to this page, it’s because you or your users make heavy use of SharePoint lists, and the inevitable request came up “Ok this is great, but I can’t print this item, help!”. Like most things with SharePoint, there is no one right answer (sometimes there is!), but some are definitely easier than others or better depending on your needs. I'll show you a couple different common solutions out there in one place, and what worked for me.
Posted on 12/24/2013 By Doug Allen
A client contacted me the other day about some help with printing a picture library. I found a simple way to do this, and I wanted to share to hopefully save someone some grief.
Posted on 12/23/2013 By Doug Allen
I've seen folks all over the interweb and even a client of mine hit this issue, so I wanted to take a moment in this blog to document it for posterity. It deals with the Usage logging features of SharePoint, and the all too familiar Microsoft bugs.
Posted on 11/29/2013 By Doug Allen
In this post I wanted to share a resolution to an issue I had with a client recently. At first I thought this was going to be a difficult issue, but as luck would have it the resolution was amazingly simple if you know what to look for.
Posted on 11/26/2013 By Doug Allen
So the community responded, and someone published an add-in for Outlook 2013 that puts it back. This worked, but sad it was required. Many blogs reference this codeplex solution as a workaround to ease their pain and suffering.
The other day I had rebooted after some Microsoft Office updates, and to my surprise I noticed it was there! I guess Microsoft does listen when enough people complain about it.
Posted on 11/15/2013 By Doug Allen
When it comes to writing documentation, it is unfortunately one of those things that you will get to tomorrow, gets pushed because this server was down, or Bob needs his password reset. But I believe it’s important to at least have some form of documentation. This is important because:
- It can prove to be very helpful when planning upgrades to the next version of SharePoint.
- It can be useful if you have to rebuild your farm so you can easily replicate the environment.
Posted on 10/27/2013 By Doug Allen
Sooner or later, you might run into this error. I was able to work out the easy solution so I wanted to share it to help someone else. You will likely run into this error if you try to go site column or site content types, or from a list or library you click add site column. In my case, I had just created a site from a custom site template and was getting this error. Let’s dig in.
Posted on 10/15/2013 By Doug Allen
I’ve been fighting an interesting issue lately where some hidden taxonomy columns are becoming visible. In this environment, there are simple custom content types with some custom site columns, a few of which are managed metadata columns. The issue is that what seems randomly, some strange fields suddenly show up in the library columns, and on the list forms:
Posted on 9/15/2013 By Doug Allen
Let’s say you have a SharePoint document library configured with a custom content type that uses a custom document template. Now you need to edit that template. Normally, you can edit the file via the UI. When you go to the library settings and look in the advanced settings, you see the image to the left. Clicking Edit Template should let you do what you need to do, however, when you click Edit Template you get an error.
Posted on 9/8/2013 By Doug Allen
Here’s the scenario: You have a picture library that stores employee photos. This might be the case if you’re not storing the photos in Active Directory yet perhaps. Now, HR comes to you and says, "We want to be sure that employees can’t set an alert, because then they would know if we remove a picture when an employee is terminated." Here is what you should do...
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