So how does metadata work in a SharePoint document library? The answer is however you want it to. Unfortunately, from my experience “in the field” so to speak, it seems to be rather extreme, one way or the other. Meaning, organizations choose not to use metadata at all, or they try to use too much.

Remember metadata is used to help locate information. Of course, it stands to reason that the more metadata columns you have, the easier it would be to locate information. This isn’t always the case, as too much metadata can make it cumbersome to locate data. Additionally, when prompting users to assign an excessive amount of metadata, it really slows down user adoption of the SharePoint platform. The most egregious example I saw was a library that had thirty-three metadata columns! Every time a document was uploaded, a user would have to assign thirty-three metadata fields for the file to get saved. What happened? It’s obvious isn’t it? Users stopped saving their documents to SharePoint.

Implementing Metadata

As I said, this is the extreme case. Most often, very little metadata, unfortunately, is collected in the real world. Libraries end up looking something like this:

Typical SharePoint Library

Essentially, the metadata ends up being the exact same as if it were on a file share: Filename, Modified Date, and the person who last modified the document.

Many will use the same methodology as a file share, and create folders. Something along these lines:

Folders in SharePoint

This does make it slightly easier. If I want to find an Invoice for a particular year, I just go to the correct folder. I always make the analogy that using folders in a SharePoint document library is like using a traditional old paper filing cabinet. Do people remember these? Basically, you’d store a bunch of papers in hanging folders with labels. These labels are like the foldering method in a SharePoint document library.

You locate the folder you need, and then shuffle through the papers within the folder to find what you want. Although this works… kind of… it’s not really that efficient.

The problem with this method (and the filing cabinets of old) is that you are limited to essentially ONE metadata field. And although you can find information this way, there’s a better way. Have a look at this:

No Folders

There’s no folders in this library. All the documents are stored in the root of the library, and have appropriate metadata associated to them. So now if I want to see all the Invoices from 2016, I don’t go into the folder. Instead, I simply use the UI filter for the Invoice Year column.

SharePoint Filter UI

Upon using the filter:

Library after filter has been applied

Now you can filter by another column to find what you want.

Library filtered by column

So now I can locate Invoices from 2016 by the ACME Explosives Company. But let’s say you want to find all invoices from this company, regardless of the year.

Just clear the Year filter:

Clearing filters

And you’ll get your results:

Results of clearning filters

This is something you can’t do when foldering in SharePoint (or when using a filing cabinet for that matter). When using filtered metadata columns, you have much more flexibility on what data to display.

Even More Ways to Filter Results

You can create a view that only displays Invoices that are greater than a specific amount. In this example, I’m going to use 1000.

Filtering by amount

Here’s the result:

Invoices greater that $1000

If you wanted to find this information without using metdata, you would have to navigate to each year folder, open each Invoice, and then record those whose amount exceed 1000. Even better, you can still apply filters to other columns. So, If I want to see only Invoices exceeding 1000 by Spacely’s Sprockets, I just use the Company filter.

Invoices greater than $1000 for a specific company

As you can see, using metadata will make you SharePoint life easier. But, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, you don’t want to use too many columns. You’ll burden, frustrate, and turn off your users to the idea of SharePoint. Too much of a good thing, and all that.

Keep Your Users in Mind

The ideal number of metadata columns is four to six. This won’t overburden the users when saving content. And really, with nearly any kind of content, you could categorize the content by using six columns. In our example of Invoices, we use Company Name, Invoice Year, Invoice Amount, and Invoice number. These columns allow a user to locate a specific Invoice so long as they know some of this information.

And once users understand how easy it is to locate specific invoices using metadata, adoption and acceptance to the platform is only a matter of time. Ultimately, that’s what we all want. An easier and less bothersome way to perform our daily tasks. SharePoint document libraries, when using appropriately assigned metadata, accomplishes this.

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In part 1 of the series we looked at a common SharePoint issue (503 service unavailable) and how to troubleshoot using IIS logs. The 503 can be caused by a number of things including patching and other SharePoint maintenance.  In this article we are going to dig into another critical troubleshooting tool for SharePoint administrators – the SharePoint ULS trace logs.  When troubleshooting correlation IDs and pretty much any other SharePoint application error or performance issue you’ll want to take a look at ULD logs.

Let’s start out by looking at how to configure the SharePoint ULS logging via PowerShell and Central Administration.

SharePoint has hundreds of component categories that you can individually configure to record more information in the logs.  One way to take a look at these categories is with Powershell.

As a SharePoint farm administrator with shell access you can type the following in the SharePoint management shell.

Get-SPLogLevel

Get SP Log Level

As you can see you can get very granular based on what SharePoint component you are troubleshooting.

There a several severity levels you can set with the ULS trace level default being medium:

  • Unexpected – these are typically exceptions that indicate a problem
  • Monitorable- these are errors that may not explicitly break functionality but should be monitored over time
  • High – these are high level changes in configurations, starts and stops of services
  • Medium – these will capture succeeding or failing out of the box functionality like creating site or list assets or enabling features
  • Verbose – these are typically used by developers to dig into code issues and should not be left on for long periods of time
  • VerboseEx – these are the most verbose and can be useful for debugging tracing in code such as loops, database calls, etc

If we wanted to make the trace logs more verbose for a specific SharePoint component you have a couple options – PowerShell or Central administration.

An example with PowerShell:

Set-SPLogLevel -Identity “SharePoint Foundation:Monitoring” -TraceSeverity Verbose

To double check that our change took effect we can run:

Get-SPLogLevel -Identity “SharePoint Foundation:Monitoring”

Get SP Log Level Identity

You’ll also notice the EventSev property.  This controls the verbosity of events written to the Windows Application event log.

To set all category severity levels back to the default values you can run:

Clear-SPLogLevel

Now let’s hop on over to Central Administration and look at another way of configuring your ULS Logging.  If you open up Central Administration and click on Monitoring > Configuration Diagnostic Logging you’ll see the other way to configure ULS Logging

Central Administration Diagnostic Logging

You would just select the category check box and at the bottom select the Least critical event to report to the event/trace logs.  Here is also where you configure the ULS log location on disk and how many days of data to keep on the farm servers:

Central Administration Diagnostic Logging Options

If we hop on over to the folder path of the ULS logs you’ll find several log files with the naming convention of Server name – date.  Let’s sort by newest first and open up the latest using notepad.  You should see a table with many lines and columns

ULS logs sorted by newest in notepad

Notepad is a quick way to take a look at these log files, but the best practice is to use a utility like ULSViewer which gives you the ability to sort and filter these massive files.  You can download this directly from Microsoft here.  Once downloaded you can open up the application and choose File > open from > ULS and get real time log parsing.  This tool is a must have for all SharePoint administrators.

ULS logs in ULS Viewer

If an end users receives an error that includes a Correlation ID you can use this tool to find that correlation ID and figure out what the problem really is.  You can also use this tool to search for the URL the user was hitting at the time of the error.   It is extremely useful.  There are several ways to filter your view of these logs based on any of the fields.  One of my favorites is to right click on an interesting line item > Filter by this item then select the fields to filter on.

Restrict by Entry

Instead of manually digging through log files you can also search the logs using PowerShell.  You can export relevant log entries based on a correlation ID.  Every transaction within SharePoint is assigned a unique GUID called the correlation ID that allow you to drill down into what exactly was happening at the initiation of the process through the end.  To export all events with a specific correlation ID to a new files you can run:

Merge-SPLogFile –Path “E:\error.log” –Correlation “9a376f9e-ac5a-e094-c353-dcba72ad6c9e”

Merge-SPLogFile is helpful if your SharePoint farm has multiple servers.  It will go grab all events with this correlation ID from every server in the farm and put a copy into this new file.

If you have a very large farm we recommend implementing an enterprise log aggregation solution such as Splunk.  This allows you to import IIS, Windows events, and SharePoint logs all into one place for troubleshooting and trend analysis.  It is very powerful and helpful for larger SharePoint deployments.

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Automating a common manual process in Office 365 is easier than ever with Microsoft Flow. We will dive right in and create an approval workflow for the review, approval, and classifying a blog as “ready to submit.” Here is the basic workflow for our process that we’d like to automate.

basic workflow

There a couple different ways to enter in to the Flow designer.

  • From flow.microsoft.com
  • From a SharePoint Document Library
  • From the Teams

In this example, we are going to create a workflow from scratch straight from a SharePoint Online document library. The benefit of starting the workflow from the document library is that the Site URL, list GUID, and other contextual information is automatically pulled into Flow.

GUID

From the document library, select Flow > Create a Flow > Request Manager Approval for a selected item.

You will be redirected into the Flow application to begin editing the workflow.

flow application

At the bottom of the template overview page you’ll see what connectors this template is configured to use out of the box. You’ll find that the “Request Manager Approval for Selected Item” Flow template already is configured to integrate with SharePoint Online, Office 365 Users, Appovals, Emails, and Notifications.

Click Continue.

The template comes pre-configured with the following steps:

  1. For the selected SharePoint Item
  2. Get the Item
  3. Get my user profile
  4. Get my manager
  5. Start an Approval process
  6. Condition (based on approval decision)
    • If Approved (inform requestor)
    • If Approval Denied (inform requestor)

If the get manager action fails, the workflow will send an email to the document creator and terminate the workflow. If the get manager action is successful, it will start an approval sub process.

approval sub processBased on the outcome of the approval process (approved or denied), the workflow will alert the requester to the manager decision.

alert

Each of the previous steps output certain variables that you can use in the current step. So, if we want to add more information about the SharePoint document library item in the alert email, we can click in the Email Body field then select Add Dynamic Content.

add more information about the SharePoint document library item in the alert email

As you can see, we have these 6 items returned from the “Get Item” workflow step. We can add any of these to the email alert body. One thing to not do here is that if you select a multi valued array of data, like “Shared with Display Name,” it wraps the “Inform requester of approval” step inside of each loop, effectively emailing multiple times.

We are going to add more more step to the end of this to update the status field to “Ready to Submit.”

Click on New Step at the bottom. Then select Add an Action.

Click on SharePoint to filter the available actions provided by the SharePoint connector.

add an action

We would like the workflow to update the Status field, so we’ll select SharePoint – Update item.

update itemupdate item

Now select your SharePoint Site URL. You’ll see, however, that the List Name is not available. You can use the GUID from the Get Item workflow step above to fill in here. You’ll need to select Enter custom value and then paste the list GUID in.

For the ID field we are going to use the ID variable of the Get Item action.

get item action

And finally, we’ll have the workflow update the Status field’s value to Ready to Submit.

Let’s save the workflow and head back to SharePoint to test it out.

In our document library now, if we highlight a list item and select Flow > Request manager approval for a selected item, you’ll see a panel appear at the right.

see your flows
Click Continue.

run flow

Based on the design of the work flow it now asks the user to enter a message to their manager.

run flow with manager approval

The manager will get an email from Microsoft Flow and the select Approve or Reject and then Submit.

manager approval notification

After the approval is processed we can refresh the document library and you’ll find our item Status field was updated.

If you did not change the workflow name from the default you can easily do that by going back to the Flow interface and click edit flow. Then just type in the new name and click Update Flow.

workflow approval status

Microsoft has provided some very useful templates right from the start for you. Most processes in organizations require some type of approval and this template can be a great launching point for you to start automating those processes!

Stay tuned for more posts in the future on PowerApps and other solutions in Office 365.

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(Part 3 of How to Use SharePoint series)

In the previous entry in this How to Use SharePoint blog series we took a look at utilizing SharePoint lists. A common complaint from users when making the transition from Excel is that editing information in an Excel sheet is far easier than in a SharePoint list. And for the most part, I will concede this point.

In a traditional view of a SharePoint list you have to open each record individually in order to make changes to the record. This can be quite cumbersome and tedious, especially with multiple records. There is, however, a view that emulates the form and function of an Excel sheet, Datasheet View.

On rare occasions (hopefully they’re rare) you may have to edit multiple records in a SharePoint list. A common example is when a new column is added to a list and all existing records need to be updated with new information. Another example is if a company name changes. There are many unique businesses case that require changing data for multiple records in a list. I’ve heard countless times something like this: “I had to edit all records that were listed as Closed because they wanted {whatever}.”

Management sometimes likes to do things after the fact… which is where Datasheet View becomes a time/life saver. In the later versions of SharePoint, this feature is just referred to as either “Edit” or “Quick Edit.” SharePoint 2010 refers to it as “Datasheet View.” Interestingly, the later versions also reference “Datasheet View” when creating a view. Anyway, terminology aside, let’s see how it works.

Before using Datasheet View it is often times advisable to first create a view. If you create a view that displays only the required information to perform the task you’ll save yourself time and eye strain. For example, if you are changing all items with a specific status, create a view and filter on that status. That way you won’t be looking at every record in the list before making edits.

In my example, I’m going to ensure uniformity in a column. This is a common problem when allowing multiple users to enter data. They may not all enter the information the same way. (Managed metadata would help this… but that’s a topic for a later conversation).

Have a look at my list.

Notice the difference in the Last Name column. Some entered the band as “The Drive-By,” others just have “Drive-By,” and some use a hyphen in between the words Drive and By. Although this may work from an informational standpoint, if you plan on running reports on the data in this list you may get skewed results. It’s best if all values are identical.

Before editing the records, create a view similar to I have. In this case, the view filters on all records CONTAINING Truckers. This allows me to see all the records that need changing. I could highlight each record:


Click Items > Edit Item.


Make the change on the form and click Save & Close.


That process will get old really quickly. A quicker way is just to use Datasheet View by simply clicking
edit this list.


Or you could click List > Quick Edit.


If the button is grayed, make sure you are using Internet Explorer. If it is still grayed, ensure you have permissions to the list by editing a single record the traditional way. If you verified permissions and the button is still grayed, try adding the site to your Trusted Zones in IE.

After you click the button and enter Datasheet View, the list is presented in a familiar Excel-like way.

Now change one record to the correct value and copy and paste that value into the other “cells” as you would in Excel. Because the value in the first record is what I want, I simply highlighted “Drive-By Truckers” and pressed CTRL+C. I then pasted (CTRL+V) to the other rows. The whole process took under 20 seconds.

When you’ve completed your changes, click the Stop editing this list link and you will be returned to the normal list view. Easy. Quick. Finished.

Some parting cautionary words about Datasheet View:

  1. Use Internet Explorer.
  2. The list is live when using Datasheet View. Any changes you make are saved in real time. There IS NO cancelling changes or Not Saving as there is in an Excel document.
  3. Required Fields are also required in Datasheet View. If you cannot inexplicably save a change, ensure that any required fields are presented in the View and that they all possess a value.
  4. Copying and pasting entire rows and columns may be problematic. I have had situations where this scenario works, and I have had it where it fails. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to what exactly will work, especially when copying bulk items from an Excel document TO SharePoint.

Using Datasheet View makes it easier and efficient to change multiple records. It’s not as clean as Excel, but couple this ability with all the other benefits of a SharePoint list, and it becomes clear that the better business decision is to maintain data in a SharePoint list rather than an Excel document.

In the next entry on this series, we’ll take a look at exporting a SharePoint list to Excel. Confused? Stay tuned.

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(Part 2 of how to use SharePoint posts)

In part one of this how to use SharePoint blog series, we looked at why you want to use a SharePoint list instead of an Excel document. Now let’s take a look at how to best utilize these lists to maximize productivity and minimize frustration.

Filtering

Filtering a list allows you to quickly see a subset of the data. Applying a filter in SharePoint is easy, just click the down arrow next to the column you want to filter.

apply a SharePoint filter

SharePoint will list all the possible values to filter on. Just place a check next to the ones you want to see. In the example below, I am saying “I only want to see records where the Label value is Analog Spark or Analogue Productions.”

select values to apply to SharePoint filter
This is the filtered list.

filtered SharePoint list
Notice the filter icon next to the column. This is a visual cue that a filter is applied to the column. It’s sometimes easy to forget, and then to panic when you can’t find a record you know exists.

It’s now possible to apply a filter to another column. This will create an AND filter. In plain English: “I want to see all records where the Label column value is Analogue Productions OR Analog Spark AND Artist Last Name is Fitzgerald.”

After applying the filter to the Artist Last Name field, the dataset decreases even more.

SharePoint list filtered by last name
Filtering provides an easy way to quickly locate records in a list that are similar.

Views

Have you ever had to share an Excel workbook with team members? You all needed access to the same information, but you all had very different reasons for needing the data. What’s the best way to present the data then? If there’s multiple needs, whose takes precedence (not accounting for title)? SharePoint solves this dilemma with views. If you find yourself applying an identical filter to a SharePoint list on a somewhat regular occurrence, you can just create a view. This essentially saves the filter. And even better, it doesn’t affect the list itself.

A view only changes the way the data in a SharePoint list is displayed, it doesn’t change the data of the list. This means that nothing catastrophic can result from creating a View. Don’t be afraid to
experiment… especially if you stick exclusively to creating Personal views.

Let’s look at the following features of views:

  1. View columns
  2. Sorting
  3. Filtering
  4. Grouping

Understanding these four aspects of views will go a long way to making it easy for you to find data in a
list.

To create a new view, use the ribbon and click List > Create View.

create view with ribbon

Choose Standard View. This presents the data in the most familiar way: columns horizontally on the top row with each record on an individual row.

Provide a View Name that makes sense. Calling it “My View” may sound like a reasonable idea now, but it won’t be after you create “My View6.”

You may have the option to create a public view. If you check this option than the view you create will be accessible to those who can view the SharePoint list. You’ve been warned. A view named Mr. Lazy’s Reports may not go over so well. I advise keeping the view Private until you are certain the view displays the desired data. If you don’t have the option to create a public view, then you can only create a Private View, which means only you can see it.

In the Columns section you choose the columns and values you want displayed, as well as the order (from left to right). Select only the columns that contain the data necessary to complete your task. This will keep the view clean and help you focus only on pertinent data.

Here are the columns I’ve selected for this view:

select columns for view
You can choose two columns to sort by.

choose two columns to sort by
The Filter section is where you tell SharePoint what records you want to see in the view. Use the first drop down to choose the column, the second drop down to choose the operand (equals to, contains, is not equal to, etc…), and then type the value of the filter in the text box.

filter which records to see
I recommend using CONTAINS whenever possible when filtering on a text box. This makes it easy to capture items that are intended to be the same but weren’t typed in exactly. An example is “Music Matters” and “Music Matters Ltd.”

You can use relative values that add quite a bit of flexibility.

For example, if you only want to see records created on the current date, then you can create a filter like this:

records created by date

[Today] is always the current day. Therefore, regardless of the day you view the list, you will only see records created on that day. If you want to see all records created the past seven days, use some elementary math.

filter records by last seven days
Or, what if you just don’t care about what other people are doing, and you only want to see records you created. You can use [me] like this:

filter records created by me

You can also create ranges. If I only want to see albums on my list that were released in the 1970s, create an AND filter.

filter by range of dates
As you can see, Filters in Views provide a flexible way of displaying data. By using relative values such as [me] and [today] you can create Views that are as up-to-date as you need them to be.

Lastly, you can group records together in a View. In my example, I choose to group by Album Title.

group records in view
Click OK to save the view. Here’s what mine looks like.

grouped by album title
SharePoint provides a count for the number of records in each group. If I expand the first group, you’ll see how it was sorted according to Release Year.

sorted by release year

You can switch views by using the Ribbon Bar:

switch view in ribbon bar
Creating personal views based on your job function eliminates the frustrations of having to apply repeated filters. You can choose the specific columns to display to pinpoint exactly the data you need.

In the next entry of the How to Use SharePoint series, we’ll illustrate how you can change multiple records on a list with minimal effort.

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SharePoint is packed with features, and once you connect to the SharePoint Store or Office 365 you’ll see there’s a rich ecosystem with thousands of products.  It’s been described as a 12 billion dollar ecosystem just a few years ago.

Here are nine free tools that could be useful as an administrator.

  • SPDeployment command-line tool by Marco Wiedmeyer – Wouldn’t it be great if you could deploy your solution consistently each time from early builds to release? Making sure the files go where they should, properties are set consistently, and login was handled?  SPDeployment is available on GitHub.
  • SharePoint Health Monitor by ManageEngine – Dashboard to Monitor CPU, Memory, Requests per second, system info, and Disk space in a dashboard.
  • SharePoint Designer is Free! Just kidding, Visual Studio Community Edition and Office Developer Tools.  IDE with plugin provides developer tools with Intellisense and debugging capabilities letting you run solutions in WSPs or remotely in O365.
  • 32 Free Webparts from Amrein – visualization of lists, pages, project sites, task rollups, stock parts, conf room calendars, and way more. They are the guys who did the free Dilbert cartoon webpart.
  • Migration Prep Tools – Quest Metalogix Migration Planner, SharePoint Pre-Migration Discovery Analysis Tool. Use these free tools to understand your customizations, features, solutions, workflows, and more…
  • Help Desk Plus by Ivero – Help desk support templates, Service request management, queue and IT requests including easy to use security and roles
  • Responsive SharePoint – Codeplex templates for SharePoint sites.  There are good starter masterpages that support Twitter bootstrap.  Modern sites will eventually replace this need, but we can’t wait for 2019.
  • Autospinstaller – Automated SharePoint 2010/2013/2016 PowerShell-based scripted installation & configuration process.
  • Monitoring Content Pack 90-day SharePoint Monitoring in PowerBI reports with Office365Mon (free 90 days) Power BI content pack helps users explore and analyze uptime data.

Contact the SharePoint experts at Fpweb for more SharePoint consulting, SharePoint support, SharePoint migration services, SharePoint dev … SharePoint Everything™.

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We’ve created SharePoint templates to help organizations with 10 common business problems.

In our recent SharePoint Best Practices post, we embedded a few quick demo videos that show how easy to use and how helpful these SharePoint templates could be to plug in and start using for your organization.

Fpweb has been the first to host every version of SharePoint in the cloud since 1999 and has managed 1.9 billion SharePoint logins. We’ve performed more than 5,000 custom SharePoint migrations and we provide Microsoft-certified, USA-based, 24/7 SharePoint support on-premises, or in any cloud – including SharePoint Admin, SQL DBA, and SharePoint Developer as a Service.

That SharePoint specialty guided us to build these templates as a way to help organizations get set up and going with a framework that they can just plug in their information and begin utilizing a few of the out-of-the-box features in SharePoint 2013 and 2016 that can solve common business challenges like:

  • Contact management system
  • FAQ system
  • RFP process
  • Team blog
  • Asset management system
  • Course registration system
  • Team sites
  • Scheduling system
  • Project management system
  • Track service requests

You can see the demo videos, and more about how these common business challenges can be addressed with out-of-the-box SharePoint solutions at fpweb.net/sharepoint-templates.

Please fill out the form at fpweb.net/sharepoint/trial to try a 30-day SharePoint trial with any of these SharePoint templates installed.

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Feature Pack 2 for SharePoint Server 2016 is now available. It’s good to know Microsoft continues to show their commitment and continued investments on this journey.

The September 2017 Public Update for SharePoint Server 2016 Microsoft delivered new features. Your voice was heard!

Customer feedback and developer needs highlight these investments, starting with improvements in the SharePoint Framework – an incredible single code base for development. The SharePoint Framework (SPFx) lets you build responsive, engaging web parts. This page and web part model provides support for client-side SharePoint development.

SharePoint Server 2016 Feature Pack 2 contains:

  • SharePoint Framework client-side web part support with classic SharePoint pages
  • Overview of SharePoint Framework
  • SharePoint Framework development with SharePoint 2016 Feature Pack 2

You don’t need to separately install Feature Pack 1 and then install Feature Pack 2. Feature Pack 2 is included in all future Public Updates for SharePoint Server 2016, beginning with the September 2017 Public Update. This definitely simplifies an installation. No need to go back in time to find old patches.

To learn more about these enhancements, please refer to https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=856819.

Download SharePoint 2016 Feature Pack 2 at https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt715807(v=office.16).aspx#BKMK_2016

Feature Pack 2 also delivers all of the features previously included in Feature Pack 1 for SharePoint Server 2016, including:

  • Administrative Actions Logging
  • MinRole enhancements
  • SharePoint Custom Tiles
  • Hybrid Auditing (preview)
  • Hybrid Taxonomy
  • OneDrive API for SharePoint on-premises
  • OneDrive for Business modern experience (available to Software Assurance customers)

To learn more about Feature Pack 1 refer to https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=832679.

The KB articles for September 2017 CU with Feature Pack 2 are available at the following location:

  • KB 4011127 – September 2o17 Update for SharePoint Server 2016 with Feature Pack 2 (language independent) – this is also a security update!
  • KB 4011112 – September 2017 Update for SharePoint Server 2016 with Feature Pack 2 (language dependent fixes)
  • KB 3213658 – September 2017 Update for Office Online Server 2016 – this is also a security update!

The download for September 2017 CU is available through the following link:

  • Download September 2017 Update for SharePoint Server 2016 with Feature Pack 2 (language independent) – this is also a security update!
  • Download September 2017 Update for SharePoint Server 2016 with Feature Pack 2(language dependent fixes)
  • Download September 2017 Update for Office Online Server 2016 – this is also a security update!

The download for September 2017 CU is available through the following link:

Which language you choose does not matter.  Choose any language you have from the drop down in download center. Even the language dependent fixes are all in the same package for all languages.

NOTE: After installing the fixes, you need to run the SharePoint 2016 Products Configuration Wizard on each machine in the farm, or if you prefer to run the command line version psconfig.exe.

Need more SharePoint support, whether to extend your team, fill a gap, or just unburden your team from managing your SharePoint so that they can focus on your core business? Fpweb offers SharePoint Support as a Service, with SharePoint admin, SQL DBA, and SharePoint dev, starting for as little as $500 a month. Contact us to find out more!

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SharePoint improves collaboration. It improves the communication among staff. It also improves business workflows.

I don’t know about you, but I would like to see something a little more concrete than those vague terms when researching intranet software options, upgrades, and optimization. So we’ve put together these quick videos showing some examples of a few common business problems that can be solved, or at least addressed by, SharePoint. And these are all out-of-the-box solutions that come with SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2016.

Track Service Requests

One of the main things we see SharePoint being used for is to track service requests. This is the practice of setting up a help desk solution and tracking ticketing. This is also something that can be used for budgetary concerns about resource planning or for staffing. This is a function that a managed service provider like ourselves relies upon, since we know how important help desk reporting truly is. But obviously, this is an important function for your internal teams as well. And it’s customizable, so that you can fit this solution to your need.

IT help desk screenshot

This example of an IT Help Desk provides the availability to look through the number of tickets, and to be able to track your staff’s response time, the volume and to be able to see who’s submitting which requests to be able to track those patterns. And that’s just one example of service requests that could be tracked like this with SharePoint.

 

Project Management System

A modest project management system is something that can be built so that you can keep everybody on the same page. You can utilize a responsive workflow, you can track timelines, and by entering budgetary concerns about over and under budget, you can ensure the scope of project has stayed within expectations. Setting it up as a dashboard allows easy and different ways to display data and see who is responsible for each task. Using Project Server with SharePoint allows for seamless integration with the Project desktop app in the Office suite.

Project management system with SharePoint

This example of a project management system is for a demo site that assigns and tracks tasks with a dashboard.

 

Scheduling System

You can manage resources with a scheduling system. The main function is to increase efficiency. A company calendar to use for time off requests is one example of this. You can have your time off request auto email a manager for approval and then automatically add those dates to your calendar and their calendar, if approved. This is also a great place to manage sick time, PTO, room scheduling within your own building, birthdays, milestones, business trips, and expense reimbursements.

Scheduling system with SharePoint screenshot

Another advantage to using calendar feature in Microsoft SharePoint for a scheduling system is that it integrates well with Microsoft Outlook, so you don’t need to change two different calendars.

 

Team Site

Another great way to use SharePoint is creating a site to support geographically dispersed teams. It allows everyone the ability to jump in and converse like an ongoing meeting. SharePoint is accessible from anywhere. Coauthoring is easy in SharePoint, which allows multiple people to edit a document at the same time, and versioning keeps previous versions available as well. SharePoint provides real-time collaboration, instead of relying on reply-all emails. You can give a library its own email address to record the conversation and it will attach to that corresponding library.

SharePoint Team Site example

This example is a team site for a geographically dispersed marketing team, which allows them to collaborate without relying on reply-all emails and confusion about which version is most current

 

Course Registration System

You can also use SharePoint for a course registration system. You can customize this so that you get the required information needed from the registrants and set notifications for full classes, or changes, etc. This doesn’t just apply to colleges or universities. This could be used by organizations providing continuing education and professional development opportunities for their employees in regards to their product, service, or industry. It’s a one-stop-shop for employees to select, register, and schedule these courses or seminars – which again ties to the calendar feature so that the selections would populate the already established scheduling system. No need for two calendars because SharePoint integrates so well with Outlook.

Course Registration System

Eliminate costly third-party registration systems by utilizing SharePoint

 

Asset Management System

Another area that SharePoint can help is an inventory and asset management system. You could use this to track company-issued devices, company cars, uniforms, widgets and parts, or supplies. It combines the organization of Excel with the mobility of SharePoint. Plus, you can incorporate filters and look utilize business intelligence for easier reporting.

asset management systems

This example is from a restaurant and is using SharePoint to manage the supplies and ingredients needed on a fulfillment basis.

 

Team Blog

Another thing that can be done with SharePoint is a team blog. This allows end-users to review any pertinent content from a knowledge base for team members to share instructional or institutional specific skills. There’s obviously other software and websites that are available for making blogs, many of which are no worse or better. As a part of SharePoint, it’s searchable through the intranet, without having to manage and maintain a separate database for the blog platform.

SharePoint team blog

The ability to publish blog posts within SharePoint allows convenient knowledge sharing hub.

 

RFP Process

Another other great use for SharePoint is to create a process to coordinate requests for proposals (RFP). So you can create an extranet site for the outside vendors that you might have to submit RFPs. You can then track, review those RFPs and instantly update each submission’s progress and set up notifications. This internal access to an RFP repository with structures to coordinate a review process can help streamline the workflow.

RFP system in SharePoint

External vendors can be provided access to intranet as an extranet site, and streamlining RFP process

 

FAQ System

Another great function of SharePoint is the setting up of an FAQ system, internally, or external facing. You can help users find the answers that they need quickly and you can make it a forum style from an external standpoint or a knowledge base that is open to all of the staff to be able to ask questions and add answers internally.

SharePoint screenshot of FAQ system

We surveyed 25 clients and webinar attendees about which of these SharePoint solutions to common business challenges was most applicable to them, and a FAQ system ranked highest

 

Contact Management System

Another area that is a really nice SharePoint feature is a cost-effective contact management system. You can search, add, delete, modify, save changes to contacts and instantly update that for the entire staff in one centrally located place that is accessible anywhere.

SharePoint screenshot - contact management system

SharePoint gives you the opportunity to work off one contact list, so that if somebody makes a change to a client or prospective client’s contact information, even if they’re out of the office, out in the field, or otherwise geographically dispersed, they can make those updates to the SharePoint site via their mobile device, and then the rest of the team now has that updated information because they’re all working off that same contact list

 

Visit fpweb.net/sharepoint to learn more about our SharePoint expertise, SharePoint consulting services, SharePoint migration services, SharePoint hosting, SharePoint admin service, SharePoint dev service, SharePoint backup and security services, and the differences between SharePoint 2010, 2013, and 2016. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 866-780-4678 with any questions.

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To analyze content disk space in SharePoint you could go through the trials of finding the Quota (if it is configured), finding the content database location, and examining the database. That will absolutely work, but what if you want to do it faster, and get some more valuable information?

Introducing WinDirStat! Well, this isn’t its first introduction; we also wrote about how to use this WinDirFul tool in the past. If you are unfamiliar with this tool, feel free to read that blog first, or watch the Amazing Joe Bohac give a spectacular visual walkthrough.

Try these steps out.

  1. You are going to want to map your site as a network drive. To map a Network Drive:
    1. Open ‘My computer‘
    2. Unfocus any selected drives and then click ‘Map Network Drive‘
    3. Select the drive letter that you want to use
    4. Under ‘Folder‘, enter the URL to the SharePoint library, ie. ‘http://www.mysite.com/Shared Documents’ (Please Note that you do not include the page name, ie. allitems.aspx, or the drive will fail to map properly)
    5. Click Finish.
      1. Notice in the screenshot below, you will need to specify you credentials for the site, and either use the folder as http(s) or \\networkpath.
      2. If you want the drive to appear permanently on your workstation, choose ‘Reconnect at logon’

sharepointdiskspace1

2. Once that is completed, open WinDirStat (or any disk analysis tool) and select drive you just mapped.

sharepointdiskspace2

3. Click ‘OK’ and let it do its PacMan thing! When it is finished, you will have a very detailed page of File Structure, Top Content Types by Size used, and a Graphical Representation of the space used and count of the file types.

sharepointdiskspace3

4. Want to do one better? How about managing these file directly within this tool? If you see a file that is taking a large amount of space and you are sure it is not needed, you can delete it. Play around with this tool. You can click on the file types to highlight all of them in the bottom pane, or click any individual block in the bottom frame, or even by browsing the File Tree. It’s fairly robust, and powerful. Be careful though… With great power comes great responsibility. If you fully delete a file, it is gone for good.

sharepointdiskspace4

There you have it. While these instructions are covering some of the basic things you can do with this tool, there are more reasons to use this for management of your site. We will leave that to all you wonderful SharePoint Admins to determine your best uses though.

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