Tag Archives: SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint

Sensitive Information Types in Office 365 allow you identify sensitive content that is held in Exchange and SharePoint Online and restrict its use.

You can leverage existing rules (e.g. Credit card numbers) or define your own.

The rules are applied as part of the search crawl.  The content of a document or email is analysed and if, for example, a credit card number is found a property is set on the document.

Depending on the licence that you have for Office 365 you can then run searches to identify the offending content or apply policies that restrict its use.

Sensitive information types are not guaranteed to find every offending document but they are a great broad brush approach to information security and compliance.

If you are working with scanned images that have been OCR’d and converted to PDF+Text then there is a good chance that these will be identified.

Further reading;

https://blogs.office.com/en-us/2014/08/27/search-sensitive-content-sharepoint-onedrive-documents/

https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/Keyword-queries-and-search-conditions-for-Content-Search-c4639c2e-7223-4302-8e0d-b6e10f1c3be3

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Office-365/Announcing-support-for-custom-sensitive-information-types-in-the/td-p/62764

https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/Create-a-custom-sensitive-information-type-82c382a5-b6db-44fd-995d-b333b3c7fc30

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn781122(v=exchg.150).aspx

https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2016/BRK3021-TS

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Microsoft has added Communication sites to SharePoint Online.

These allow users to create aesthetically pleasing micro sites within a SharePoint Online tenancy.  See below;

Communication sites are a useful addition to the capabilities of SharePoint Online and make it easy for users to create a nice responsive site.

Customisation capabilities, however, are not as rich as you had with classic SharePoint publishing sites so we will be working with those for a few years yet.

The standard supplied modern web parts are ok and with effort you can write your own using the SharePoint framework.

Further reading;

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/SharePoint-Blog/Reach-your-audience-via-SharePoint-communication-sites-in-Office/ba-p/70079

https://blogs.office.com/en-us/2017/06/27/sharepoint-communication-sites-begin-rollout-to-office-365-customers/

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Create-a-communication-site-in-SharePoint-Online-7FB44B20-A72F-4D2C-9173-FC8F59BA50EB

https://dev.office.com/sharepoint/docs/spfx/sharepoint-framework-overview

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A Few Tips for Working with SPFX Web Parts

Ok so a quick re-cap.

Microsoft are have made to the page and web part model in SharePoint – the new SharePoint Framework.

If you create a modern team site in SharePoint you will be able to create a welcome page that uses this new framework.

Creating a modern page

createpage

Adding News

Add the new headlines web part to add a news rollup.  You can add news which will automatically rollup to the news tab on the SharePoint mobile app for following sites.

addnews

Adding a Useful Rollup

This can be done using the highlighted content web part.

To make this more intuitive in this example we have created a new content type.  Intranet Subject Page.  This inherits from site page and has been added to site pages library.

Now we can add our web part and configure it to only rollup up our “Subject” pages and ignore news and landing pages.

highlightedcontent

So this web page will now (ok, when matching content has been added and search crawl has run) show all pages from the entire site collection where the content type is Intranet Subject Site Page.

Making the Modern Page Your Home Page

setwelcomepage

In Summary

We’ve just scratched the surface of what you can do with modern team sites and SPFX web parts.  The take away from this is very much;

  • Try and get some experience with the new web part model, it will become more widely used as Microsoft release the accompanying publishing page model.
  • The new model works very well in tandem with the accompanying apps – such as the SharePoint App for Mobile.
  • Check out http://www.ensentia.co.uk/free-client-side-web-parts-sharepoint-spfx/
  • This information is correct as of Q1 2017 (i.e. Microsoft is going to be improving this part of SharePoint this year).

 

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Example Client Side Web Parts for SharePoint (SPFX)

Ok so a quick re-cap.

Microsoft are making changes to the page and web part model in SharePoint – the new SharePoint Framework.

To take advantage you are going to have to write or obtain web parts created in this way.  Luckily the great and the good of the SharePoint Community have been quick to rise to the challenge.

You’ll find some links below.  If you wish to build these projects you will need a development environment (See this article) and some background on working with SPFX web parts (See this article).

If you want us to build any project for you then you’ll need to drop an email with the url for your resources / CDN (maybe “https://company.sharepoint.com/sites/intranet/SiteAssets/spfx40/” for a test).

SPFX 40 Fantastic Web Parts

spfx

Available from here.

https://github.com/OlivierCC/spfx-40-fantastics

 

 

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A taster of what is coming in 2017 for SharePoint

The short version?  More things, prettier things, better things and a growing trend for Microsoft providing apps to solve the business problems people used to develop in SharePoint (StaffHub, Teams et al)

The longer version?  Now what gets you excited might depend on what you are interested in or using SharePoint for, hopefully our heading below will draw you to the most relevant area.

Enjoy!

Pretty Things

Publishing Pages

So 2016 gave us the modern team site (O365).  In 2017 the same is coming for publishing.  You will be able to easily created beautiful responsive publishing sites.

These pages will use out of the box and custom web parts developed using the new SharePoint Framework.

Custom Themes

Office 365 custom themes will be updated to include more themes overall, the ability for a user to upload their own theme and an option to use Bing images as your theme.

Document Management & Compliance

Copy and move to SharePoint

Copy and move files between OneDrive and SharePoint in web experiences. In CY17, Microsoft add the ability to move an copy files between a greater range of locations.

Mobile Scanning for OneDrive for Business

Using the OneDrive mobile app seamlessly take a photo, convert it to a PDF, and store it in OneDrive for Business. This will come first to Android followed by iOS and Windows Phone.

Office 365 Groups preservation and deletion policy

Create and manage preservation and deletion policies that affect Office 365 Group mail and files in one step using the Security and Compliance Center

Scanning – Office Lens iOS feature updates

New capabilities with Office Lens for iOS.  Multi scanning; scan multiple images in a row and save/send as a series.  Rotate scanned images3D touch feature to change modes.

OneDrive for Business SharePoint Online Document Library Sync

The ability to sync SharePoint document libraries, including Office 365 groups, added to the Next Generation Sync Client (NGSC). NGSC will also sync OneDrive for Business Shared Folders.

Apps

 

Microsoft StaffHub

Ok so not strickly speaking SharePoint but interesting because it provides the sort of solution that many people have tried to create before in SharePoint.

Microsoft StaffHub is a new app coming to Office 365 that connects Deskless Workers to the information they need to do their job for the day. StaffHub is currently in preview – find more information at http://staffhub.ms.

Migration

FastTrack | Dropbox to OneDrive for Business Migration

FastTrack Center will offer file migration services from Dropbox to OneDrive for Business as a new benefit provided by the FastTrack Center. This migration service will be available to customers with 150+ seats of eligible Office 365 plans.

Propeller Heads

 

SharePoint Online – Webhooks on SharePoint Document Libraries

Unlock the Webhooks development scenario through the Microsoft Graph. These WebHooks set of APIs allow developers to get notified with changes from SharePoint lists and document libraries in a performant and reliable way.

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Does the world really need another post on upgrading to SharePoint 2016?

Perhaps, perhaps not.  One thing we definitely couldn’t find out there was a balanced post.  A quick google of Upgrade to SharePoint 2016 tends to capture a lot of articles at either extreme, from the “TechNet super technical” article at one end to the marketing “Hey why don’t you let us upgrade SharePoint for you” .  Not much in between, and we love a gap in the market don’t we!

So what does this post cover?

  • Who is this post aimed at ?
  • When would be a good time to upgrade?
  • Why Upgrade?
  • Why Not – Migrate to Cloud SharePoint?
  • How to Upgrade ?

Who is this post aimed at?

Organisations running earlier versions of SharePoint on-premises.  This could be SharePoint 2003,2007,2010, or 2013 – Foundation, Standard or Enterprise.

There is an upgrade path for each of these versions and editions each with its own technical and even licencing facets.  There is no SharePoint 2016 foundation for example.

When would be a good time to upgrade?

Starting now really.  The SharePoint “Trinity” of SharePoint 2016, SQL Server 2016 and Windows 2016 are now all available.

Why Upgrade?

New Features

There is quite a bit of new stuff in 2016.

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt346121(v=office.16).aspx

Development updates

New SharePoint Development techniques such as the SharePoint framework are planned for 2016, align it with cloud SharePoint but are not likely to be made available for earlier versions.

In short an upgrade will allow you to develop better solutions which will last longer and be more compatible.

Path to the cloud

The hybrid capabilities of SharePoint 2016 and development updates ease your eventual route to the cloud.

Support

There are a lot of production platforms out there reliant on Microsoft software which is already in extended support or even out of support.  It’s worth looking at what version of SharePoint, SQL Server and Windows Server you are running and familiarising yourself with the support / lifecycle position.

You can do this here;

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle/search

Why Not – Migrate to Cloud SharePoint?

Cloud vs. on-premises is a big discussion which we are not fully exploring here.

A core consideration in respect to SharePoint when you are an existing user is customisation.  Any server side customisation which you are using (and was the norm in earlier SharePoint versions) won’t work in the cloud without major revision.  Moving to SharePoint 2016 Server, however, does not carry this restriction.

How to Upgrade ?

Upgrade Plan

Yup definitely going to need one of those, and a good one to.

What to put in the plan?

Communication

Key stakeholders, users, IT teams – This is going to impact everyone involved in SharePoint.

Training

Use and administration of the platform is going to be different post upgrade.

Customisation

Customisation (solutions) will need to be loaded and working on the new version.

You are going to want to test any customisation but branding changes, specifically master page changes, are not going to work without modification with the SharePoint 2016 user experience.

3rd Party

Establish clarity on the effect of an upgrade on any 3rd party products.

Approach

In place upgrade or side-by-side?

Content

If content is being moved as is then the standard out of the box process will do this.

If content is being re-organised then this infers a custom upgrade process or tool will be used.

SharePoint 2016 will upgrade content from SharePoint 2013.  If you are upgrading from 2010 or 2007 you will need a temporary SharePoint server to carry out each upgrade you previous skipped.  Alternatively a custom upgrade process or tool could be used.

Downtime

Downtime will need to be communicated and planned in or mitigated.

The amount of downtime is often determined by the amount of and age (version) of content currently in SharePoint which in turn affects the upgrade process duration.

Service Applications

SharePoint service applications and their correspondent configuration and state databases will need to be rebuilt or upgraded.

Resourcing

Depending upon the complexity of your current implementation you may need to resource infrastructure (SharePoint, SQL, Server builds), development, testing, training, change management, project management and execution.

You might choose to out source, in source or do it yourself for either the whole project or a particular element.  For example you might wish to DIY the infrastructure and soft skills but outsource development updates to your original supplier.

Execution

Who does what when and in which order.

 

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This article covers how to import documents to SharePoint.  Creating a folder structure, meta data, importing files with content types and why it is important to do this with some consideration.

yourstuff

Scenario

We are going to assume that you have your documents on a file share / disk and that you have gathered your meta data in Excel, though your meta could quite easily be in a SQL or an Access database.  We will further assume that the documents being uploaded are Staff Employment Records

Import Tool

We will use the free version of Import for SharePoint toolset to import the files.

When you download the import tool you will have some Excel files, import configuration files, and screenshots of the content types which match this scenario.  Using these will make the next steps much easier.

The import tool has a lot of functionality which is covered in the documentation

Bulk Folder Creation

We need a folder for each employee in our scenario.

We assume that you have created a document library, attached a custom “Staff Folder” content type and to that some site columns.

Using the import tool we can create the folders from our spreadsheet.  The sheet is shown below.

excelfoldersource

From this the import tool will create a folder structure in your SharePoint library. Import meta data such as employee number is attached to each folder.

createdfolders

File Import

Now we can import our files into SharePoint.

We assume that you have created a document library, attached custom “Staff Document” and “Staff Disciplinary” content types and to those some site columns.

We can use the Excel spreadsheet as the import source.

excelfilesource

Once the import has processed this the files will have been imported into the correct locations and with the correct meta data set against each one.

uploadedfiles

Why did we do this?

Ok so now we have a good structure to support common requirements.

Retention

How so let us assume that HR want to delete Staff folders 20 years after staff have left the business.  We can add this retention policy onto the staff folder content type and for employees who have already left we have the date already set (See Bulk Folder Creation) .

retention

Ok, so usually it’s a bit more involved that this but you get the point.

Search

Adding meta-data gives us a better chance of an item showing up in search results and in the instance of managed meta data will give us access to refiners on the search results page.

5000 Item Per Folder Limit

Ok so we know it’s not a good idea to have more than 5000 items in a folder.  But doing our import as set out in this article you should be able to design a great structure that works inside this boundary even it your original folder structure did not.

So is this a packaged solution for Staff Records?

Well the reality is that the treatment of employment records will vary for each jurisdiction, can often complicated by different treatment for pension records,  and the SharePoint implementation will change dependent upon whether you have a HR system and how that works.

That said it’s a great demo scenario and hopefully demonstrated some techniques will can be applied in all areas of your work.

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This article covers how and why to do a considered file share import to SharePoint.  Creating a folder structure, meta data, importing files with content types and why it is important to do this.

Before you import your files you have hopefully prepared them and maybe have some Excel spreadsheets to import from.

No?  Check out our article on preparing for import.

Scenario

So we are going to stick with the staff folder scenario prescribed in the above article.  Your needs are likely to be different but you should be able to transfer the thinking and techniques demonstrated here.

Import Tool

We will use the Import for SharePoint toolset to import the files.

When you download the import tool you will have some Excel files, import configuration files, and screenshots of the content types which match this scenario.  Using these will make the next steps much easier.

 

Bulk Folder Creation

We need a folder for each employee in our scenario.

We assume that you have created a document library, attached a custom “Staff Folder” content type and to that some site columns.

Using the import tool we can create the folders from our spreadsheet.  The sheet is shown below.

excelfoldersource

From this the import tool will create a folder structure in your SharePoint library. Import meta data such as employee number is attached to each folder.

createdfolders

File Import

Now we can import our files into SharePoint.

We assume that you have created a document library, attached custom “Staff Document” and “Staff Disciplinary” content types and to those some site columns.

We can use the Excel spreadsheet as the import source.

excelfilesource

Once the import has processed this the files will have been imported into the correct locations and with the correct meta data set against each one.

uploadedfiles

Why did we do this?

Ok so now we have a good structure to support common requirements.

Retention

How so let us assume that HR want to delete Staff folders 20 years after staff have left the business.  We can add this retention policy onto the staff folder content type and for employees who have already left we have the date already set (See Bulk Folder Creation) .

retention

Ok, so usually it’s a bit more involved that this but you get the point.

Search

Adding meta-data gives us a better chance of an item showing up in search results and in the instance of managed meta data will give us access to refiners on the search results page.

5000 Item Per Folder Limit

Ok so we know it’s not a good idea to have more than 5000 items in a folder.  But doing our import as set out in this article you should be able to design a great structure that works inside this boundary even it your original folder structure did not.

So is this a packaged solution for Staff Records?

Well the reality is that the treatment of employment records will vary for each jurisdiction, can often complicated by different treatment for pension records,  and the SharePoint implementation will change dependent upon whether you have a HR system and how that works.

That said it’s a great demo scenario and hopefully demonstrated some techniques will can be applied in all areas of your work.

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Many organisations are using SharePoint Online.

SharePoint will very often become the intranet in such organisations.

This then raises the common compliant that the corporate brand / identity is not implemented in SharePoint.

In fact many user’s we find are confronted with the raw, out of the box, look.

ootblook

SharePoint “Branding” as a project, however, tends to raise a few eyebrows since it has a slightly unfair reputation for high cost and complexity.

Let us look at a simple way to change the look of SharePoint online.  This approach also works for SharePoint 2013 and 2016.

Firstly we will take a design cue.

Skeleton Leaves Composition on white background

 

Let us assume that this image is representative of our organisations’ brand / identity.

Now we will download and install the design tool.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38182

In the design tool we will.

  • Change the background image.
  • Change the colour (Next to “recolor”) to the corporate deep purple.
  • Click “Recolor” to change SharePoint to tune into our new identity (We are cheating here to avoid having craft each individual colour used which is what those color slots control).
  • File > Save > MyLook.SpColor

design

Now we will go the theme gallery of SharePoint and upload the spcolor file.

You will find this located at;

/sites/sitename/_catalogs/theme/15

or

/_catalogs/theme/15

Now we can go to the site assets library and upload our leaf.

/sites/sitename/SiteAssets/Forms/AllItems.aspx

or

/SiteAssets/Forms/AllItems.aspx

Now we will manually assemble a composed look.

You will find the list under Site Settings > Web Designer Galleries > Composed looks.

newitem

Now in the composed look we will ensure that;

  • The Master Page URL points to the existing seattle.master or olso.master
  • The Theme URL is set to your new spcolor file.
  • The Image URL is set to your background image.

composedlook

Save this new composed look.

Now when change the look of the site we can select the new composed look.

changethelook

Once applied to the site it will be rendered with something like the corporate brand / identity you were looking for.

newlook

Ok great.

But what is that I hear you say?  Full branded intranet, something like the below is what you had in mind?

ContosoDemoSite

Well this all starts with that same “Composed Look”.  Why these sort of “intranets” look more “branded” is because the content and layout of the pages has been made more engaging through the use of web parts, page layouts and the such.

We normally work with our customers creative team to ensure that they best understand how to do this.

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Microsoft have recently announced the release of SharePoint Webhooks Developer Preview.

You can read the announcement here and further technical information here.

Webhook support in SharePoint provides an additional means to automate process in response to a change to or addition of a list item or document stored in SharePoint.

The mechanism allows you to register external application(s) with SharePoint online which will be called when an event occurs.

Historically many on premises SharePoint implementations used event receivers to run code in response to such events.  Classic examples have included setting specific permissions on documents at point of creation, automatically creating folder structures, sending documents to record centres and so on.  As event receivers are not permitted in SharePoint Online many organisations who have benefitted from using event receivers have been hesitant to migrate to the cloud.  This announcement potentially eases migrations for such SharePoint users.

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