Category Archives: Document Library

SharePoint: How to Use SkyDrive PRO to Sync Document Libraries


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Editor’s note: Contributor Alexandru Dionisie is an Internet Professional and Technical Writer. Follow him @AlexDionisie

SkyDrive Pro is the replacement application for SharePoint Workspace which is no longer included within Office 2013. SkyDrive Pro is intended to take its place when working with SharePoint 2013 and provide offline document synchronization.

SkyDrive Pro is separate to any consumer SkyDrive subscription with the Pro version being used only to store work related content.

This is great for offline access and management of files from all your devices.

How to sync a document library

  • Above every document library there is a SYNC button; click on it;

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  • Next, we must configure SkyDrive Pro:
    • choose another path;
    • choose a document library;

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At this point , the folder has been created. The folder is actually a mapped drive of a SharePoint document library.

We can copy-paste different files which then will be synced with SharePoint.

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The result:

2013-07-22-SharePointSkyDrivePro-04.png

SharePoint: How to Win Space and Not Alienate People - Part 2


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Editor’s note: Contributor Ellen van Aken is an experienced intranet adoption manager. Follow her @EllenvanAken

2013-07-14-SharePointSpace-Part01-01.jpgHere is the first part of this post, ”How to win space“.

HOW NOT TO ALIENATE PEOPLE

1. Talk to your site and content owners.

Contacting the site owner about their content is always a good idea. As said before, they may not even know

  • that they own this content
  • that versioning is enabled and in which way
  • how versioning works
  • that their workflow actions are logged in files which may grow very large
  • what the policies are

It is also a good way to

  • get to know them
  • let them know that you are willing to help or train them
  • inform them about your guidelines and policies

In general, I have found most site owners to be quite accomodating to my proposals to delete or archive content or reduce versioning. As long as I explain why this is necessary, and help them to do this as painlessly as possible, we always find a satisfactory solution. Sometimes that solution is putting the word “archived” behind the site title, or leaving things as they are for the time being so they have time to think. But it shows them that their content is being monitored, and that generally sets them thinking.

Only in a few emergency sitations have I deleted versions or an enormous history log file without informing the site owner beforehand. (But I exported the log file into a spreadsheet before deleting it, so the history of the process was kept)

Of course it is better to prevent storage issues than to fix them. Here are some tips to do that:

2. Design new sites for the future.

When setting up a site, ask the owner how their content will grow over time, so you know if they (and you) are likely to run into problems. Perhaps you need to set this up in a new site collection, or limit versioning from the start, or teach them how to clear their log files on a regular basis. Your site owners will be grateful for your “planning ahead”.

3. Have a content management vision and policy.

It helps if there is a clear content and content storage vision. How long do you store content before archiving it? Do you allow video’s and “raw” pictures in your document and picture libraries? In which format do you store documents that need to be archived for a long time?

This will help you guide people to the best possible solution. However, the Intranet Benchmarking Forum recently found that more than half of major organizations do not have a content strategy in place.

4. Promote your SharePoint intranet as a dynamic working tool, not as a static archive.

This means you have to keep instructing users on how to manage their content and how to decide when something has to be archived elsewhere. I have heard from peers that any team site that has not changed in 3 months is auto-archived. Everyone in that organization knows that SharePoint is for collaboration and projects, only. That needs communication, policy … and an archiving solution of course. It may need to be on your list for the next version of your SharePoint intranet!

How do you manage your site collection for sufficient storage space? All tips and tricks are welcome!

SharePoint: How to Win Space and Not Alienate People - Part 1


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Editor’s note: Contributor Ellen van Aken is an experienced intranet adoption manager. Follow her @EllenvanAken

2013-07-14-SharePointSpace-Part01-01.jpgAll my SharePoint life I have been fighting with storage space. Not only because of limitations in storage capacity and because full sites can be slow and hard to back-up and restore, but also because old content clutters sites and search results. That is why I wrote “It is time for intranet spring cleaning” last year.

HOW TO WIN SPACE

This is how I remove clutter, also known as ROT: Redundant, Outdated or Trivial content, from my site collections. Any other suggestions are very welcome!

1. Check Storage Space Allocation on a regular basis.

This will give you the information needed for the next items.

2. Create (personal) monitor views for the largest document libraries and lists.

My “Monitor view” shows Name, Created, Modified, Modified By, Size and Version. It is sorted on Size Descending and has no folders.

This gives me an idea of the largest items, items with many versions, if this library or list is still actively used, and by whom.

3. Challenge sites that have not been changed for a certain period.

Sometimes a site owner has forgotten that he or she owns this site; sometimes they do not know they have inherited it from their predecessor.

Perhaps the complete site can be removed. Perhaps parts can be deleted, compressed into a ZIP-file and re-uploaded, moved to an online archive or written on DVD.

Clearly mark all archived content as “Archived” (and preferably with a review date), to manage expectations.

The “certain period” varies from 3 to 12 months, I have learned from others.

4. Check and challenge versioning.

Most lists and libraries are fine with no or limited versions.

I can imagine you want a few versions in case you make a mistake, or want to see some history, but unlimited versioning is only necessary in very few cases. I cannot imagine that anyone will ever go back 43 versions, especially when there are no version comments!

In general, 5 or 10 major versions will be sufficient.

If you have a review process, and/or use approval on your list or library, minor versions may be required.

Be aware that you cannot limit the number of minor versions: you can only specify the number of major versions that you allow minor versions on. I often set that to “1′ so if you publish a major version, all previous drafts will be removed.


My preferred version settings when major and minor versions need to be enabled.
Please read the text behind the 2nd checkbox carefully!

If you see that people are mainly using minor versions, ask them why. Perhaps they do not understand how versioning works or they have not agreed on a proper process within the team.

Documents that have not been edited for some time, and archived documents, seldom need their versions. Unfortunately there is no way to quickly remove them. If you limit or disable versioning in the list or library, the excess versions are only removed when you edit the item. But a workflow will do it, or you can do it manually. It is very rewarding to remove 500 MB of versions from one document!

5. Move content to another site collection.

This is not an easy solution. Users will resent that their content is going to live elsewhere, and that all links and favorites will change. On the other hand, you can promise them more room to grow and less nagging to clean up if they move :-).

The least painful moves are

  • using the new site collection as an archive location
  • using it for new initiatives

6. Empty your recycle bin prematurely.

I do not think this is a good practice, but it is a useful emergency measure.

Do you have other tips & tricks to free up storage space? Please share!

HOW NOT TO ALIENATE PEOPLE

This will be published next time!

SharePoint Style Counsel


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Editor’s note: Contributor Ellen van Aken is an experienced intranet adoption manager. Follow her @EllenvanAken

2013-05-17-SharePointStyleCounsel-01.jpgWhen you select your clothes for today, you can decide to wear something that is clean, whole and covers what needs to be covered. You can also refine your selection by choosing something that matches your mood and flatters your personality, figure and colouring. Then you can add accessories like jewelry, a scarf and a good handbag to make the end result even better.

Hello! This is a SharePoint blog!

Yes, be patient, I am getting there2013-05-17-SharePointStyleCounsel-02.gif.

Most people think that SharePoint does not look nice. So they customize the standard look and feel. They bring in a bunch of designers for every site that facilitates an important corporate initiative. They add pictures, icons and headers to sites with lesser visibility, all to make it look a little better.

Yet these are just the accessories that only work well when the content is good, and is displayed in the best possible way.

How do I display my content in the best way?

Using the default view for a web part or a list/library is dressing your content in something that does what it must do. Functional, but not always optimal. Why not put in some effort to make sure it is really both the best possible content and it looks good?

First of all, check if the columns, sort order, filters and grouping that you display are just right for your purpose and your audience.

Then you can select a View Style that enhances your content style, makes it easy for your audience to use it, and displays it in its full glory.

Where do I find the View Styles?

They are on the page where you create or modify a View, between “Totals” and “Folders”. If you expand it, you will see a number of different styles. Most styles mentioned below are available for Lists as well as Document and Picture libraries.

Basic Table and Default.

This is the default look. In my Office 365/SharePoint 2010 environment they are the same. In Picture Libraries, the default style is the Picture Library Details style.

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Default View

Boxed, no labels and Boxed.

Both styles display your line item in a coloured box, showing two items next to each other in the zone. This is ideal to display content such as contact details. The “Boxed” displays the column names, the “Boxed no labels” does not and is somewhat crisper, but only when the content speaks for itself. (e.g. you will recognize that the content is address and telephone number, or as in the example below, it is an announcement).

This style is comparable to the “Document Details” view in Document and Picture Libraries.

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Boxed No Label

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Document Details

Newsletter and Newsletter, no lines.

If your list has a “multiple lines of text” column the Newsletter Style will make the most of your text content. Your text field will be spread over the full width of the zone, which reads much easier and makes much better use of the column width.

Make sure the text box is the last column to be displayed in the view, and use the minimum of other columns (e.g. Title, Created and Created By) to make your text stand out!

I have used this style for the memo’s in Facebook in a Team Site, and for an in-company blog (based on an Announcement list) before we had proper blog functionality.

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Newsletter Style

Shaded.

Does your long list look plain and boring? Is it difficult to see which line item is which? Are you tired of that solid block of white background? You may want to try the Shaded Style. This adds a soft background colour to alternate line items. It is ideal to break up long lists or lists where the column content is spread over two or more lines. Using the Shaded view makes it easy to see which content belongs to which line item. This is the style I use most often.

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Shaded View – the exact shade is depending on theme; here it is not very pronounced.

Preview Pane.

Do you want to show many columns in your list, but you do not have enough room in your zone to display nicely? Or do you have a long list wtih many columns? The Preview Pane shows all item titles on the left hand side, and the other selected columns of the item when you hover over the title. This way you can show your content on-demand, in a compact way. Your titles should be very precise, of course, because you have no other indication of the content.

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Preview Pane landing page

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Preview Pane upon selecting a title

Please note that styles may change functionality; please read Veronique’s post.

Do you have any nice examples of using different styles to display your content? And what is your favourite style?

Title based on the band The Style Council. I wonder where they got their name from?2013-05-17-SharePointStyleCounsel-02.gif

How to Open SharePoint Library Files in the Client Application


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Editor’s note: Contributor Alexandru Dionisie is an Internet Professional and Technical Writer. Follow him @AlexDionisie

There are cases when you would want users to open Office files in the client application.

SharePoint Online 2010 offers a very easy solution for this “problem”.

How?

  • access the desired document library;
  • from the Library tab click on Library Settings;

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  • from the settings menu, click on Advanced settings;

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  • in the Opening Documents in the Browser section add a tick on Open in the client application option and then save all changes.

2013-04-30-SharePointLibraryClientApp-03.png

From now on, every time a user tries to open a document from this library, the document will be opened in the client application.

Play “Hide and Seek” in SharePoint


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Editor’s note: Contributor Ellen van Aken is an experienced intranet adoption manager. Follow her @EllenvanAken

2013-04-28-HideSeekSharePoint-01.jpgAfter my earlier rant about people who want to secure their content for no good reason, I thought I would give some suggestions for alternative ways to hide content when it makes sense.

First let me stress that I recognize that some content is sensitive and really needs to be secured. But there is also a lot of content which is not confidential, but which you still may want to hide, to avoid information overload in general. Specific reasons may be:

  • The content is only relevant to a certain audience
  • You do not want people to influence each other
  • You want to allow people to focus on their own content, e.g. in projects or tasks lists

Next to giving permissions there are two other ways to hide content that I know of, but I will be happy to learn new ways!

1. Targeting.

In SharePoint it is relatively easy to target web parts to an audience. You can specify one or more audiences, SharePoint groups or individuals and only they will see the web part.
We have used this especially to target links on the Homepage – in the main navigation, every employee had a link to the Employee Information of his/her country.

2. Configuration.

a. Item-level permissions.
For surveys and lists, you can let people read only the items that have been created by themselves. (Advanced settings). This is nice if you do not want people to influence each other, but not very useful when you want to show the collected information to your audience. I usually apply it only in survey-type occasions.

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Item-level permissions in the advanced settings

b. Created by = [Me].
When not using the item-level permissions, I like to use this filter for the default public view. That way people see their own items first and are not influenced by others, and they can not easily edit other people’s content. You can have additional public views showing all contributor’s items, or the process owner can create personal views and use web parts to display content from all contributors.

c. Impossible filters that show an empty default view.
We have used “Created < 01-01-2000” as the only public view to create an empty looking document library, accessible to all employees. The documents were distributed to other (secured) sites via Content Query web parts. Of course, the owners of the documents created personal views to see all documents. The advantage for the content owners was that the owners of the secured sites could manage access for their site.

d. Hidden columns.
In older versions (e.g. SP2007) you can create views without the Edit button, and without the “Name” column instead of “Name (linked to item/linked to document with edit menu)”. This way, your readers will be unable to click on any items to see the complete item. Of course this is useless for Document Libraries, unless you only want to show that the documents are there. (Perhaps this can also be done in SP2010, but since I am the only one in my environment, I have too many rights to test this)

e. Removing web parts in the list or library.
You can remove the system web part of the list or library to avoid anyone seeing the content, including the site owner. I would recommend this only for very specific occasions, since it is very annoying to have to add the web part back every time.

f. Sending people to a non-default page after submitting data.
I often send people to a Thank You page after completing a survey or other data collection, by customizing the link. It is a nice gesture, it confirms that submission has been succesful and it allows you to give more information about next steps. It also hides other people’s responses from view.

I have also sent people from a topsite to a request form in a subsite, and after completion sent them back to the original page in the topsite. They did not have to see other people’s requests, and this way they could continue to do what they were doing in the topsite. Well, you will get the idea; you can use this with all pages within your environment.

How to do it? Your links will normally have this format:
http://IntranetName/TeamSiteName/Lists/ListName/NewForm.aspx?Source=http://IntranetName/TeamSiteName/Lists/ListName/ViewName.aspx

The part before “newform.aspx?” is the “data entry” part of the list, the part from “Source=” the location where people will go after clicking “OK” or “Finish”. You can replace the part after “Source=” with a link of your own choice. Please note this only works when you send a link in an email, use a Links list, or create a button. If you click “New Item” from the list, the link will always use the system format.

2013-04-28-HideSeekSharePoint-03.gif
Simple Thank You-page

Warning:

  • Targeted or hidden content will normally still turn up in Search. People can also see it when they have the link to the information. This is not confidential information, so it is not a problem, but it helps to be aware of it. Do not be afraid that people will go and look for this info – they do not know it is there and they probably would not care if they knew.
  • Many people do not understand the difference between targeting (visibility) and security (access/permissions), especially not that you target a web part, but secure a library or list. Be prepared for questions.
  • If you are the site owner, but you are not in the targeted audience, you will not see the content, so it will be difficult to maintain the web part. This is especially the case with Content Editor and Summary Links web parts, because they are not represented in the “back-end” of your site, i.e. the page showing all site content. This may occur when you are managing global content distributed over various “country” web parts.
  • If you target something and you are in the audience, you may forget that the content is not visible for everyone. Mention it in the web part title as a reminder.
  • Remember to discuss any targeting and personal views when handing over responsibilities for a site!

What other ways have you used to hide content without security?

How to organize your meetings in SharePoint with OneNote


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Editor’s note: Contributor Gene Vangampelaere is a SharePoint architect at Howest, University College West Flanders. Follow him @vangampelaere

In our organization we use a lot of meeting workspaces. Now, Microsoft has announced that the meeting workspace template will no longer be supported in the future. In SharePoint 2013 you can no longer select the meeting workspace template when you create a new site. The old (migrated) sites will still work.

How can you organize your meetings now? Well, you can use OneNote and a combination of a few lists. Let’s start.

First you create a new empty site (site actions > new site).

In this site you create a new custom list with the name “Meetings”. This list only has to contain one column: Title. In this list we will keep track of all the meetings on this subject.

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Next, we create a document library where we will store the OneNote notebook. To create a new notebook you launch OneNote and create a new notebook.

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When you create a new notebook make sure you save it to the newly created document library on your SharePoint site.

Now it’s up to you to organize the notebook but I prefer this approach:

  • create a new section for each meeting instance
  • create a new page in a section for each meeting agenda item
    • you can create additional pages and use the subpage option to arrange the page under the meeting agenda item page.

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In the SharePoint site I also create a list “Agenda” where everyone (depends on the permissions, of course) can add agenda items.

This is how we organize our meetings nowadays.

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A Quick Tour of Social Computing Features in SharePoint Server 2013


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Editor’s note: Contributor Adam Gorge is a technical content writer who writes articles on SharePoint Server Recovery Software Follow him @adamgorge

2013-04-18-SharePoint2013SocialComputing-01.jpgThere have been dozens of enhancements to the social computing and collaboration features in SharePoint Server 2013. The new features empower enterprise users to share information easily with others in the organization. You can now interact and collaborate with experts in specific subject areas using a new feature called ‘Community Sites’. You will find a completely optimized way to manage personal profiles, store data of your choice, and keep yourself updated with specific activities of interest using My Sites.

Communities

SharePoint Server 2010 and SharePoint Foundation 2010 allowed you to add a Discussion list to sites for enabling discussions within the members of the site. SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Foundation 2013 provide you with the same feature in addition to two new site templates: Community Site and Community Portal.

Community Sites introduces the concept of forums in SharePoint. With this feature, you can collaborate with a wide range of users across your organization and become a part of discussions that focus on specific areas of interest. Discussions are a channel which you can share information or seek knowledge about specific subjects.

Community Sites allow for categorizing these open discussions. If you want to contribute to a specific discussion, you should be a member of that discussion. This is controlled by the site moderators by setting various rules. Some of their primary roles include reviewing all posts, marking useful posts as featured content, and the like. As a moderator, you can choose to assign special badges to members to indicate their levels of contribution to the Community Site.

You can use the following two methods for deploying Community Sites:

Deploying a stand-alone community:

You can first create a stand-alone community and then the Community Site either at a site collection level or at a site level. You can manage your discussions by creating community categories.

Activating community features:

You may choose to activate community features on a site. With these features, you can have core Community Site pages within your existing site. You may also facilitate moderation and membership without having the need to create a separate Community Site.

Further, if you have multiple Community Sites in your SharePoint farm, you can deploy the Community Portal. Users can browse the Community Portal and search for their favorite communities that they need to join. If you are a user, you should have at least read permissions to view these Community Sites.

My Sites

In SharePoint Server 2010, My Sites provided users with the flexibility to store all personal information, manage personal profiles, communicate with others, share information, and tag content. The people search feature allowed users in an organization to interact with one another and share their expertise and knowledge.

My Sites in SharePoint Server 2013 provide a similar set of features with a completely redesigned workflow for the users. The new, optimized interface simplifies the tasks further and takes user experience to the next level. A major improvement to My Sites is the unified navigation experience that allows you to smoothly browse your own and others’ My Sites. Another key change is the introduction of Microblog and Newsfeeds features. Using these features, you can indulge in short conversations and keep yourself updated on various actions from different people in the organization.

My Site document libraries

If you have worked with My Sites in SharePoint Server 2010, you should be familiar with two types of document libraries: personal and shared. All content in the personal library can be accessed only by the My Site owner whereas the data stored in the shared library is shared with everyone. My Sites in SharePoint 2013 have improved the process of saving, synchronizing, and sharing content.

Saving and Synchronizing Content

SharePoint Server 2013 features a discovery service that makes the user’s My Site document library as the default location for saving files of Office 2013 client applications. This makes My Site document library the central place to store all content, which indeed simplifies content management and minimizes the amount of data stored in other systems. You can synchronize all data in your document library with any local drive for allowing offline access.

Sharing Content

SharePoint Server 2013 facilitates content sharing for all document libraries. The mechanism of sharing employs the permissions infrastructure that was used in SQL Server 2010. But, the new model features an improved user experience that allows for easy collaboration with other users on content. You may define permissions for individual documents that you need to share with other users or groups.

Microblogging and feeds

You can perform microblogging using the Newsfeed page in SharePoint Server 2013. The feed enables you to perform the following set of actions:

  • Become a part of conversation by adding your own replies and comments.
  • Post appropriate links and pictures.
  • Tag a user in conversations.
  • Define keywords that will be searched by users.
  • Like a particular comment or reply.
  • Follow people, tags, and sites.

The new social computing features in SharePoint Server 2013 provide a good platform for facilitating collaboration on content, identifying shared interests, and creating networks of users. Administrators can also protect user’s privacy by implementing the desired set of policies to provide a better sharing and collaboration experience.