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...
Posted on 8/22/2013 By Doug Allen
I recently had a client contact me recently with an interesting SharePoint issue. Seemingly out of the blue, their SharePoint 2010 server CPU started being consumed by two main processes with multiple instances: SPUCWorkerProcessProxy.exe
and conhost.exe. Read on to find out how I fixed this issue.
Posted on 7/30/2013 By Doug Allen
I was recently doing some routine maintenance on a SharePoint server and I happened to check the event viewer logs. Wow was I surprised! It seemed that every minute, we were getting this error message, event ID 6481:
Application Server job failed for service instance Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.SearchServiceInstance (GUID).
Posted on 7/22/2013 By Doug Allen
This entry includes script that was created for a recent client who asked me to make several columns required in their SharePoint 2010 site collection of approximately 25-30 subsites. This would've taken two minutes if all columns were site columns, however, that wasn't the case. As a result, the columns were not inheriting and I was forced to turn to PowerShell for a solution.
Posted on 7/16/2013 By Doug Allen
I recently had to help a client solve a URL redirection issue. We tossed around using SharePoint AAMs, IIS URL Rewrite, and other possibilities. The best solution ended up was to use a SharePoint Redirect page. It’s not something that is used very often but it certainly fit the bill for our issue. My focus on this quick tip is to show you how to change the timeout value on the redirect as I couldn’t find this documented.
Posted on 6/28/2013 By Doug Allen
On a recent client project, we implemented a solution that heavily used article pages / page layouts from the SharePoint 2010 Pages library. Most of them had images. While working through use cases with these articles, I came across some strange behavior that someone else had found but not documented (to my knowledge). As a result, I wanted to blog about the topic to make it easier for others to find.
Posted on 6/24/2013 By Doug Allen
I recently completed a SharePoint migration for a client from 2007 to 2010. Overall the migration went well, however, we did have one small issue with the SharePoint 2010 Timer Service that I thought I should share with all of you. Read on for a brief explanation of the issue and my quick fix.
Posted on 6/11/2013 By Doug Allen
I had a client call me the other day as he was having an issue with a couple of his SharePoint 2010 sites that seemed strange, the sites just stopped working. When anyone tried to access the sites, they would get HTTP 500 errors. I was able to resolve this issue for the client so I thought I should share some of my troubleshooting tips.
Posted on 5/30/2013 By Doug Allen
A database attach upgrade is the only supported method for upgrading SharePoint 2010 Products to SharePoint 2013 (unless you use a third-party migration tool). Database attach is used to upgrade SharePoint content and service applications. I was doing some testing with doing database attach upgrades from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013 and found an issue.
Posted on 4/26/2013 By Doug Allen
I got a call from a client recently where one particular user was unable to login to SharePoint via their User Principle Name (UPN). For those non-AD SharePoint folks out there, UPN refers to an attribute on the user account object in Active Directory. Anytime a user is created, at a minimum they will have a user logon name and a UPN suffix (domain name). The UPN is composed of the user logon name and the UPN suffix joined by the @ sign. Read on to see how I quickly resolved this issue.
Posted on 4/23/2013 By Doug Allen
For the IE users out there, I’m sure you’ve come across this dialog once or twice in your life. On several of our recent client projects we’ve been doing a lot of changing over from unsecure to secure URLs via SSL certificates in SharePoint. Invariably, as soon as you enable SSL and log in to SharePoint, you get this wonderful prompt: Do you want to view only the webpage content that was delivered securely? Find out how to get rid of this for good...
Posted on 3/29/2013 By Doug Allen
On a recent project I got to work with the out-of-the-box (OOTB) Chart Web Part in SharePoint 2010. My team just needed to chart some simple data, nothing fancy, but we had some fairly specific styling requirements. We tried Web parts from other vendors they already had and got close, but we just couldn’t get there. Luckily we were upgrading to Enterprise anyway, so that allowed us to use the Chart Web Part that comes with SharePoint OOTB.
Posted on 2/28/2013 By Doug Allen
Over the time I’ve been using SharePoint, I’ve been taking notes on the tools and that make my job a little bit easier. Lately I’ve focused on collecting a ton of tips for working with branding in SharePoint2010. To help other people working with branding in SharePoint, I thought I should share some of my information.
Posted on 2/17/2013 By Doug Allen
If you’re like a lot of other folks, you’ve taken advantage of the Managed Metadata functionality in SharePoint. You’ve created your taxonomy group, specified your term sets, and created some terms. Then you’ve created your managed metadata column in your site collection, and pointed it to your specified term set. You’ve then uploaded a lot of documents and specified terms for the metadata column, everyone is “happy happy happy”.
But then you need to rename one of your terms currently called “Information Technology Department” to just “Information Technology”. No sweat, you go into the Term Store tool, rename the term. Done right? To your surprise, when you look at properties of various documents tagged with your term, they haven’t been renamed. Hmm … what gives?
Posted on 1/29/2013 By Doug Allen
On a recent project, I hit an issue with databases that was interesting. We were restoring a lot of databases over to a development environment from production, as well as the managed metadata database. I had gone through the whole deal, backed up the database in the old server, restored it to the development SQL server, etc. There was an issue with the Managed Metadata service that required to have service application re-created. This lead to a situation where the service application database was unprovisioned, but not deleted.
Posted on 1/12/2013 By Doug Allen
I don’t believe Microsoft Expression ever had a huge following from web developers and graphics designers, but it served a purpose. Whether you liked it, hated or loved it, Microsoft has done what it does best again.
In case you haven’t visited their website lately, you will notice some major changes with Expression. Basically, they are rolling the Expression products into Visual Studio 2012 and beyond, forgoing the standalone tools. For the time being, they made Expression Web 4, Expression Design 4 and Expression Encoder 4 free for download. That may not be a big deal to some, but I think it could prove useful to some.
Posted on 12/30/2012 By Doug Allen
So you’re going about your business in SharePoint, say when you want to publish an article page. You open the page and click on Publish, and the Schedule option isn’t there! Ack! Oh the humanity! If you’re uploading a document, the schedule items appear on the edit properties (editform.aspx) dialog.
You may be asking, what scheduling option? Well, it’s the option for being able to publish pages at a future date and time and is activated at the document library level. If you have a publishing site, this feature should already be activated on the Pages library. But it can be enabled on any site/library under the right conditions. This is very likely a simple fix. Let’s review the items to check.
Posted on 11/30/2012 By Doug Allen
Calendar Overlays was definitely a welcome new feature when SharePoint 2010 was released. They provide decent basic functionality for being to have a nice view of multiple calendars at once (up to 10 calendars). Suppose you are in a situation where you want to do some calendar overlays, but you only want to show a filtered set of calendar entries on the calendar overlay view? This turns out to be much easier than it might sound. Now you could write a simple workflow that runs on the child list and copies the list item on the child calendar to the parent calendar, but that’s not really an overlay is it?
As I said, this is actually extremely easy to configure. It feels like it should be illegal to be this easy, so enjoy the moment! So what do we need to do? Here are the overview steps:
- Create at least 2 calendars (one child, and one parent used to display the overlay)
- Create items on the child calendar
- Create a filtered Calendar View on the child calendar (e.g. only show items where category=X)
- On the parent calendar, configure the overlay, and be sure to choose the new filtered view
- Sit back, have a drink and bask in the awe of your coworkers and boss as they bow before you in the view of this incredible display of SharePoint awesomeness
Posted on 11/17/2012 By Doug Allen
While the contacts list is usually filled out for contacts that are outside the company, there are times when you would use a contacts list to store internal and external resources. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to re-type your internal contacts’ information that are already in the system? Now you can with a little InfoPath customization on the contacts list.
Posted on 10/27/2012 By Doug Allen
As I work with various clients with different skill levels with SharePoint, I have on more than one occasion needed to compile a list of training resources. Microsoft (and others) provide a good number of resources so I thought I would try and compile a list in one place. These resources can be a mix of delivery methods including blogs, whitepapers, online videos, tutorials or courses. Let’s start with resources for end users, then move to the IT Pros, then to the developers. I started writing this for the purpose of training, but the lists quickly grew to include other resources, so I hope you find it a useful resource.
For the sake of this post, all resources will be for SharePoint 2010. But with the very soon to release SharePoint 2013, I will provide some information in another post. Stay tuned!
Posted on 10/11/2012 By Doug Allen
If you're unsure what ULS logs are or what they're used for, please see my previous post where I cover the basics. On a recent project, I was adding a new server to a SharePoint 2010 farm. After the join was completed, I went to go review the ULS logs to ensure all looked well and no serious errors or other issues came up. To my surprise, it was empty! It turned out to be a simple fix, but here are some things to check when this happens:
- ULS logging is driven by the Windows service "SharePoint 2010 Tracing". Ensure this service is started, and if it is already running, right-click on it and choose restart. Then re-check the ULS logs.
- If the above tracing service is started and re-starting doesn't help, it likely is permissions related. This was the problem in my case. To fix this, do the following:
- In this environment, the tracing service was running as the application pool account. We need to add that account to the local user group "Performance Log Users".
- Check the membership of this group on a working farm server, and ensure the new farm server has the same group membership.
- Restart the tracing service, and check the ULS logs again for entries.
- If you still have trouble, check the other local security groups like WSS_WPG and WSS_ADMIN_WPG groups and ensure the problem server has the same memberships.
While you shouldn’t have to, it might be necessary to either perform an IISRESET on the problem server, or even reboot to ensure new credentials take affect.
Posted on 9/30/2012 By Doug Allen
I recently had a client that wanted to change the default text that appears in all search boxes. By default it shows “Search this site…” and the client wanted it to be a little more customized to their environment. It turns out this is very simple to accomplish, and no code! We just need to edit 2 XML files.
Posted on 9/19/2012 By Doug Allen
Awhile back I ran into an issue where I had some site collection backups that failed to complete. No big deal, but this caused the locks on the site collection to remain in place, as I curiously found my administrator account with deny permissions on all sites in the site collection. This begs the question “What other site collections could be locked?” That becomes a real problem if you have a large number of site collections. Who wants to check each one in Central Administration one by one? Being the non-developer type, I turn to my trusty friend PowerShell.
First, what are we talking about specifically? In Central Administration, click Application Management, then under Site Collections, click Configure quotas and locks. Choose your web application/site collection, and view it’s status:
Posted on 8/28/2012 By Doug Allen
If you’re like me, at some point in your life you have set out to search the internet for SharePoint for one reason or another. After you found what you were looking for, you take a few extra minutes to look at what other posts the site has and you realize, this is pretty useful, I want to grab the RSS feed. Or you are just building a list of your favorite SharePoint MVPs. Or maybe you’re new to SharePoint, and don’t know all the cool kids’ blogs. Well after a while, those really start to stack up in your RSS reader. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could combine all those useful SharePoint RSS feeds into one single feed?
Posted on 7/6/2012 By Doug Allen
Updates are everyone’s favorite topic, and I just wanted to throw out a few good resources on how to keep up to date on the updates that Microsoft released for SharePoint 2010 and WSS 3.0 / MOSS 2007.
The Updates RSS Feed
First and foremost, to keep up to date on SharePoint updates, you need to subscribe to the updates RSS feed! These posts provide links to the KB articles and downloads for the various configurations (Microsoft Office, SharePoint Foundation, Server, Server with Project Server, Office Web Apps, FAST Search, etc.). Notice that this feed includes all Office products, not JUST SharePoint. Unfortunately Microsoft doesn’t publish an update feed just for SharePoint that I know of. Also, Stefan Gobner, a Senior Escalation Engineer with Microsoft support, does a bang up job also posting SharePoint CU releases on his blog, as well as when issues come up. Links:
Posted on 6/26/2012 By Doug Allen
I wanted to share this quick tip with PowerShell. Many times, we need to have an easy way to find the configuration database, and like a good SharePoint administrator, you want to try and use PowerShell. I have come across other blogs here and others that mention finding this with the registry, so this is just another way to do it.
Posted on 4/29/2012 By Doug Allen
The more I learn and get to know PowerShell, the more I love it. I am able to perform what used to be time-consuming tasks (many hours or days) in seconds (after you write the script of course). While writing a script recently to perform some tasks on numerous SharePoint sites (webs to be precise), I was constructing URLs for the sites and using as variables and I needed only part of the URL (the managed path). After a little poking around, I found a nice easy way to do it.
Posted on 2/22/2012 By Doug Allen
One of the most common issues I hear when implementing SharePoint for new clients, or supporting an existing SharePoint environment is the dreaded login prompt. There are multiple reasons for the password prompt, but I'll try and cover the basics here. Personally, I haven’t had to login to our internal company SharePoint in at least 6 or 8 months! How can you achieve this SharePoint nirvana? Let’s walk through the common steps to avoid having to login to SharePoint, whether opening the site or when opening documents. Here’s a quick rundown.
- 1. Internet Explorer Security Zone
- 2. Windows Credential Store
- 3. Prompts When Opening Documents
Posted on 1/31/2012 By Doug Allen
There are numerous cool new features in SharePoint 2010, and I’ve found that integrating them into custom solutions are not always straightforward. I found this to be true with ratings as well. Ratings are one of the new social tagging features that gives users a 1–5 star graphic to rate content. You can find a high level overview of social tagging features here on TechNet.
Normally this isn’t a problem. For example, you have your normal Shared Documents library, and you want users to be able to rate content. No problem right? We go into the library settings, and then click on Rating Settings. We simple click Yes, and hit ok. Too easy:
Posted on 1/10/2012 By Doug Allen
There was no big fanfare on this and could have been easily missed, so I thought it was worth repeating. Microsoft and the content publishing team have compiled their downloadable content and made available on Amazon in a nicely bound book! It’s great for all those out there that would stay up late at night feeling guilty for killing so many trees printing it yourself. You can find the the download links here on TechNet. I will include the information here as I’m just nice like that. I also didn’t say they were the cheapest around, but price varies by book ($66 is a little steep in my opinion).
Posted on 1/8/2012 By Doug Allen
Every so often while working in SharePoint, you encounter a feature that has almost no documentation or you can’t find anyone with a similar issue. This happened to me when I was trying to configure a workflow to move a document set to a Records Center. After I got this to work, I wanted to try and save others the grief and frustration that I experienced. If “Unknownerror” means anything to you, this post is for you.
Who Would Use This?
This action might be useful in document management scenarios, where documents have a formal “approval” process, and management policies are defined to “expire” them to meet retention policies. Once expired, they would be removed from the current location and moved to another location, specifically a Records Center in this case where they sit waiting to be purged from the system.