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December 11
dataBridge SharePoint 2013 Webinar Series

SharePoint demonstrations with takeaways you can implement today.
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Discover SharePoint Series

Get more out of SharePoint with these FREE demonstrations 

If you're like most users, you are using a portion of the features SharePoint has to offer. Want to see a live demo of some of the things SharePoint does best? Register for one, or all three of these FREE dataBridge SharePoint webinars. No drawn out powerpoint presentations... Live demonstrations with takeaways you can implement today. 

Process Automation - Forms & Workflow

January 13th 2:00pm

 
  • Learn to easily sign, verify, approve, accept and audit documents, list items and records.
  • What processes can workflows automate, and a look at what's next with forms and InfoPath.
  • Workflows Made Simple! - Overview of Nintex forms and workflows.
Register Now

Managed Metadata & Doc. Management 

January 20th 2:00pm

 
  • Take the next step in your understanding of the powerful ways that taxonomy can be used in SharePoint.
  • Understand how and why to use site columns and content types.
  • Discover advanced features of the term store including managed metadata for site navigation.
Register Now

Reporting and Business Intelligence

January 27th 2:00pm

 
  • Get the insight needed to make better decisions using SharePoint BI.
  • See Excel Services, PerformancePoint Services, Visio Services, PowerPivot, SQL Services and Power BI in action.
  • Learn how SharePoint can fetch and deliver your line of business application data.
Register Now
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Michael Fuchs -
President & CEO
March 07
SharePoint Branding Anyone?

2013NewSite.jpg

In previous versions of SharePoint, branding a site required specific technical expertise.  However, in SharePoint 2013, end users can author, design, brand, and extend sites, site design and branding elements as well as behaviors.

 

Instead of needing the knowledge of content placeholders required on a master page or how a master page implements certain classes of styles, SharePoint 2013 introduces Design Manager. 

 

“Design Manager” really should have bells and whistles sound each time the name is said.  It’s really quite useful.  It is a part of the Publishing Portal site collection template, a new interface and central hub for managing all aspects of branding your SharePoint site. 

 

Design Manager uses a step-by-step approach for creating design assets to brand sites. First, upload design assets (images, HTML, CSS) and then create your master pages and page layouts. You can preview your design in real-time on the server as you are designing it.  (We’ll talk more about custom components in a later blog. )

 

You can use your expertise in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to design master pages in HTML, and design HTML page layouts in the HTML editor of your choice.  When your brilliant design is finished, upload the HTML and supporting files.  This is where Design Manager begins to do its magic.  It converts the HTML file into an ASP.NET master page (.master) file and you can apply the master page to your SharePoint site. Use Design Manager to create a new page layout, and the HTML version of it is automatically associated with the corresponding ASP.NET page (.aspx file) that SharePoint interprets.

BAM.

 

After you’ve converted your HTML files, you can still use your HTML editor to continue to refine your design, preview your files, and save them. Every time you save the HTML versions of the master page or page layout files, SharePoint 2013 automatically updates the associated SharePoint master page and page layouts to reflect your changes.

With Design Manager, you only have to edit the HTML files without SharePoint developer know-how.  You’ll just look like you know it all. 

 

If you’re in a hurry, SharePoint 2013 also includes HTML starter templates. If you want to start from these files, create a copy of the HTML file (the associated ASP.NET file will be taken care of for you), and then edit the HTML file as usual. You can also start from just a basic template by using the master page from minimal template option, which automatically creates the associated master file.
Michael Fuchs -
President & CEO
March 03
Adding Files to a Library

Add files to a sharepoint 2013 library.jpg

Whether you’re new to SharePoint or a pioneer near the first of the century (that sounds like a really long time ago, doesn’t it?), you’re still dealing with files in your library.  And, there are lots of ways that they got there.  They could have been added one at a time or in a batch.  Or, they might have been created within SharePoint. 

While adding files may seem like a no-brainer, there are a couple of things that you have to know.  Regardless of how files got into the libraries, they all had to follow the rules to get there. 

So, if you’re like lots of end users, you might be wondering why you’re getting errors when trying to add files to your library(s).  Let’s go over some of the basic considerations for making sure all your documents get where they need to go.

Adding individual files or creating files in a library

Using the ol’ drag-n-drop method is the easiest:

  • Open the library
  • Locate the files on your computer
  • Select the files and drag to the box that says Drag Files Here


NOTE: This is a common venue for an error message.  If you don’t have the latest version of IE, Chrome or Firefox, you must have Office 2013 to do the drag-n-drop thing.  If you don’t want to (or have permission to) do all that updating, click ‘New Document’ and then ‘Upload files’ using Windows Explorer instead.  Make sure you check ‘Keep me signed in’ after you’re done.

   
Uploading Large or Multiple Files

A few parameters to remember if you are uploading something large or several files that total something large:

  • Office 365 has a limit of file size larger than 2GB
  • Uploading more than 100 files at a time is not permitted
  • Default maximum file size is 250 MB, but it can be increased up to 2GB.  Ask your server administrator to verify or increase the file size limit if you have SharePoint on-site deployment.


Creating a New File for a library

  • Open the library
  • Click new document and chose the type of file you want to create from the dropdown

          -OR-

  • In the header, click New Document

Add your information
Save as you normally would
Make sure it appears in your library.  If it doesn’t, refresh and try again. 

Keeping files organized with the latest versions is one of SharePoint’s finest features. Getting the files setup in a library is a cinch if you follow the basic steps mentioned above.

Michael Fuchs -
President & CEO
February 24
Social Networking in SharePoint 2013  Pt 2

Sharepoint Social.png
 
Since most of you are probably familiar with social networking on online apps, I’ll dispense with starting from scratch.  As I mentioned in my last blog, SharePoint 2013’s social networking no longer insists upon being unique, but has instead adapted to most of the terms and commands that we are all used to. 
 
Today we’ll take an overview of the two major components of SharePoint’s Social Networking:
 
My Site is the basis of the news feeds infrastructure that supports likes, hash tags, mentions, and the ability to follow content, people, and other sites. This component has been improved to include new, fresh experiences such as microblogging. My Sites are the gateway to the information you’re interested in and to the people that you want to interact with. The content that you store there is yours until you decide if/and/or with whom you share it.
 
Community Sites are new in SharePoint Server 2013. They provide a forum experience that enables people to discuss common interests. Community Sites provide features to organize discussions, moderate conversations, and promote participation of members through incentives such as reputation points, gifted badges, likes, and best replies. These features help people share and locate knowledge through persistent, searchable information.  Community sites are powerful in their ability to organize and recall information from My Sites and Outlook. 
 
Let’s look at the next layer of those components:
 
Newsfeed — Eureka!  This is the actual “meat” of your My Site.  You can see the social activities of people and content that you’ve chosen.  If you are a toggler, you’ll have a blast toggling between the Everyone tabs, a Mentions tab, and even Activities (the latter is your own personal activities or likes, which is exactly what it says it is:  a big list of all of the stuff in SharePoint that you like.)
 
Tags, Notes and Ratings—Similar to Twitter, you use @ for people and # for content.  It’s another excellent way to find precisely what you’re looking for.  Tags are basically just keywords tied to data, while Tag Cloud depicts the most popular tags.  Tag Profiles show sites, docs, items and/or people who have been tagged with a term.  Tag profiles also show a list of community members and any discussion that appears on the Communities Note Board. 

If you enter a  #tag, SharePoint provides some recommendations for the user to select from, and if a user is identified using the @ tag, they will receive a Mention in their Newsfeed as well as an email, the same way it works in Twitter. Way to get your name out there. 

About Me — With SharePoint 2013, it’s easier not to become overwhelmed with information.  On the About Me screen, you’ll see your own familiar newsfeed with a link to edit your profile.  

SkyDrive Pro — Easy.  We all like easy and this is undeniably easier than in SharePoint 2010.  Instead of the  “Shared Documents” library on your My Content site, you’ll see not only it and all libraries, but also enhancements that make it obvious how to share content with other people.  It’s much easier to share and to see what’s being shared with you. Oh, and there’s also a link to see your “followed documents” so you can check in to see any new activity on your own topics of interest. 

Tasks — Good news! Although this may look just like it did in SharePoint 2010, it's now much better.  Now you don’t have tasks randomly spread out across sites and sub-sites everywhere.  When you look at Tasks on My Site, you’ll be able to see all tasks that are assigned to you from everywhere in SharePoint and even from Outlook.

Social Networking in SharePoint 2013 has upped its game in providing support to social computing and collaboration.  It assists in an organization to connecting people and reducing employee isolation.  Additionally, it manages knowledge and assists in collaboration and information sharing.  Not too bad for a #hashtag.

Michael Fuchs -
President & CEO
February 17
Social Networking in SharePoint 2013

lets-get-social.png

Whether or not you’re a fan or participant of selfies, chances are high that you’re familiar with common social network speech on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc… 

And SharePoint.

Since I’m not a big fan of reinventing the wheel, I don’t see much point in learning a new set of social networking lingo terms, commands, or directives just for the sake of one system.  And, I’ve heard lots of sighs of frustration from SharePoint end-users trying to fit a new protocol into their existing knowledge of social networking.  

Well, you may breathe.  

SharePoint 2013 has been more natural to your existing social network habits as well as everyday work routine.
It no longer feels like you have to go out of your way to participate socially in your enterprise.  Although some of the features are new, others have just been made more accessible and “obvious.” For example, the familiar discussion board has morphed into a new site template called the Community Site.

Social features look a bit different than they did because of some reorganization of the user interface.  Instead of marking people as “colleagues” to follow them, you simply “follow” them (or content).  When you do, their posts and activities show up in your newsfeed.  Sounds eerily familiar, no?

When it comes to My Sites and Profiles, a lot of the familiar components are there, such as the ability to edit your profile, see the organization structure and have your own content.  In the next couple of blogs, we will look at some of the new and modified aspects of SharePoint 2013’s Social Networking that I hope make you more comfortable with it.  Lots more to share with you.  Stay tuned!

Michael Fuchs -
President & CEO
February 10
​How Can Community Sites Actually Help the End-User?

communities.jpg

A Community Site in SharePoint 2013 is a new site template that provides discussion capability in the SharePoint environment. It can be used to encourage and categorize discussions across all organizations in a company.

So that’s what it is. 

Why would you use one?

First, Communities promote open communication and information exchange by enabling people to share their expertise and glean knowledge. Since Communities are permanent and contain the history of posts and replies, a more recent member of the community is able to jump intelligently into an ongoing discussion after reading background on the site. 

Not only does a Community have built-in moderation functionality, it can actually encourage and reward members for their participation.  Individuals’ reputations are built on points for posting, replying, receiving likes and giving best answers.   Chances are really good that someone will share with you how to invent the wheel prior to investing irrecoverable time doing it yourself. 

Last, but certainly not least:  Communities help to collect and organize intellectual property that can be difficult to discover unless you’re part of a distribution list. (Distribution lists, btw offer no method of categorizing email.)  If you are attempting to search for a needle in a haystack you probably want the best search tools available. 

By default, SharePoint groups and permissions for Community Sites differ between levels. Owners and Moderators exercise full to moderate responsibility of the content.  Members have permission to contribute to the site.  They can view, update, add and delete lists and documents.  End-users are most often members and can use the sites to stay connected and advance their own reputation and standing within their organization.  Don’t leave this valuable tool on the table; use it!

Michael Fuchs -
President & CEO
February 03
Getting Personal with [me]

lets-get-personal.jpg

Ok, so you’re getting a great overview of SharePoint 2013 and have discovered that lists and list data are key to its power.  Lists can be anything: contacts, documents libraries, tasks or anything else you want them to be.  But, how can you show data that is ‘closer’ to you when these volumes of lists are so overwhelming and an end user just needs to show personalized data? 

It’s honestly a lot easier than you think it might be, using a simple, but underused tool. 

To review, ‘Views’ is a specific version of a list that can be sorted in infinite ways.  It could be told to order alphabetically, to show only particular properties or filtered to show only particular data.

A feature of Views is the ability to use the special keyword [me].  When [me] is added as a filter to any person column (any SharePoint column that takes a person or group as an input) the view only shows data corresponding to the currently logged in user.
Let’s say that your team uses SharePoint Document Management and stores all its project docs.  If one of the properties for the ‘Document type’ allows any uploaded file to automatically update with a date of change or ‘modified by,’ the team has created a number of views on the site landing page:

Recently updated documents: This is a view filtered on the 'Modified by' column, showing only documents changed in the last week
Project management documents: This is a view filtered on 'Document type' showing only files matching the label 'Project report'.
My documents: This view uses our special [me] keyword, and is setup to display only documents that were last modified by the currently logged in user.

The last of these views can be classed as personalization, making dynamic what is seen, depending on the user who is logged in.  Ta-daaaa!

Many end users believe that personalization it too difficult to put into practice, but that’s just not the case.  Using [me] is a very simple, quick and powerful way to make a SharePoint system and its data relevant to the current user.

Michael Fuchs -
President & CEO
January 27
Search Tips for SharePoint 2013

search1.jpg

With all its astonishing search ability, SharePoint 2013 is a thing of beauty.  However, searching isn’t the goal, is it?  It’s finding what your looking for!  Below are some tools that can help your searching:

 

REFINEMENT PANEL

 

When you need to narrow down results, the refinement panel offers a great starting place.  You can filter results by type, author, modified date or more. 

 

The Refinement Panel is located on the search results page.

 

WILDCARDS

 

If you want to be sure to get variations of the term or need some help on the spelling, this is for you.  The wildcard* will search for any item you request.  Example: chicken* will search for items starting with “chicken” as the first word.

 

BOOLEAN OPERATORS

 

Remember these guys?  Boolean Operators expand or narrow search results.  The operators themselves need to be in all caps, but otherwise capitalization doesn’t matter.  Just don’t forget to capitalize the Boolean Operators themselves.

 

To refresh your memory:

 

 

Use

To

AND   

Narrow search and retrieve records containing all of the words it separates.

OR

Broaden search and retrieve records containing any of the words it separates.

The | can be used instead of 'or'

(e.g., 'mouse | mice | rat' is equivalent to 'mouse or mice or rat').

NOT

Narrow search and retrieve records that do not contain the term following it.

( )

Group words or phrases when combining Boolean phrases and to show

the order in which relationships should be considered:

e.g., '(mouse or mice) and (gene or pseudogene)

 

 

DOUBLE QUOTES

 

To find exact phrases, you may use “ “ to find them.  Example: “Chicken pot pie.”

 

SEARCH SHORTCUTS

 

Looking for something specific?  If you know you’re looking for a Word doc or a PowerPoint presentation, SharePoint will help if you tell it to.  When searching for a document called ChickenPotPie, search for chickenpotpie doc.  SharePoint changes the search from doc to filetype:doc (or docx), giving you only the Word documents. 

 

Search shortcuts

Result

Deck or decks

Only PowerPoint presentations will be shown

Slide or slides

Only PowerPoint presentations will be shown

Doc

Only Word documents will be shown

Video

Only video files will be shown

Site

Only SharePoint sites will be shown

Blog or blogs

Blog sites will be shown

Post

Only shows the news feed activities

Conversation

Only conversations (discussions) will be shown

 

SPECIFYING PROPERTIES

 

In SharePoint, Properties are basically the same thing as metadata.  That being said, metadata is the data captured to describe content.  and enables SharePoint to access your information easily.

 

A basic property restriction has three parts: property name, operator and value and will be addressed as follows.

 

<Property Name><Property Operator><Property Value>

 

Example: Author: Betty Crocker or Title: ChickenPotPie

 

PROPERTY RESTRICTIONS

 

You can make your search even more specific by the use of different property restrictions.  For a list of the all search features, including the ones new to SharePoint 2013, check out Keyword Query Language (KQL) syntax reference for SharePoint 2013.

 

DO OVERS…

 

Don’t be discouraged if you unearth the dreaded “no results found.”  Change and tweak your terms, properties and/or operators.  It may take a more than one attempt.

Michael Fuchs -
President & CEO
January 23
Great SharePoint 2013 Features for End Users

SharePoint 2013.png

If you are like most individuals who work with SharePoint 2013, an end user, this article is for you.  Microsoft opted to make sure that you, the end user, have a far softer landing than you’ve had with earlier versions of SharePoint, so here goes:

 

1.  Mobile

It’s finally happened.  Previous mobile apps of SharePoint required Office on the device, but 2013’s use of HTML5 has done away with that.  It’s now possible to view Views, documents and files using compatible Mobile Browsers (Mobile IE9, Windows Phone, Safari, and Android) without additional software.    

 

2.  SharePoint 2013 Communities

Up until this incarnation of SharePoint, there hasn’t been an overwhelming adoption of social networking within the application due to the necessity of 3rd party apps to make them work seamlessly.  No more. Dedicated or Community Portals can be created individually or as multiples.  Discussions are replete with ‘best replies,’ ‘categories,’ and ‘gift badges.’

 

3. SharePoint 2013 My Sites

 

 Newsfeed. Mentions. Status Update. I’m Following. What’s trending.

 

You’re right.  It DOES sound just like Facebook or Twitter.  What’s really cool is that when deployed, a user’s My Site Document Library becomes the default save location for files from Office 2013 Preview.  No more temptation to save docs on a desktop or local drive.  For you who think that the automation is too good to be true, your The My Site Document Library can be synced to a local drive similar to DropBox where you can even have offline access.

 

And last, but hardly least, end users can share anything and everything with the prominent link on My Site.  You’ll no longer have to deal with the whole permission-granting dance. 

Michael Fuchs -
President & CEO
January 21
SharePoint Document Management 101

​It seems that whenever I address SharePoint clients, I frequently  see recreations of network drive folders in SharePoint.  Although this might be what you’re used to seeing, it diminishes the effectiveness of the document storage/sharing capability already built into SharePoint.  The list of inefficiencies includes, but is not limited to, the inability to actually locate nested folders, compromise of security, increase in URL length past the allowable character limit, and the likelihood of file duplication.   

file-drawer.jpg

The best alternative?  Glad you asked. Meta tags/Data Columns.  When you use Content Type functionality, you can set dynamic properties and Meta tags.  After you’ve done so, you’ll be able to create all sorts of views--displayable publicly or privately.  Folders: NO.  Meta tags: YES. 

If you are concerned that your documents are vulnerable (c’mon, we’ve all been there) to deletion or modification, SharePoint offers alerts that can be set up by any user at the library or document level.   They can even be set to interrupt your sleep if you so desire. 

One more quick note: most of my clients insist initially that SharePoint’s Version Control/Checkout features are an absolute necessity.  That’s fine, but I encourage clients to weigh the actual need for the features verses the effort it takes by all (yes, ALL) users to adhere to very strict established protocol with no exception.  Variance causes hiccups. 

Comments?  Questions?  Email me and I’ll be glad to get back to you.

Michael Fuchs -
President & CEO
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