Get Started with SharePoint Hub Sites (Part 02-CLI)

This is the part 02 of this article series. If you prefer to do this from the Admin Center, refer to my previous article here

Hub Sites in SharePoint Online is the new way of organizing your sites. Now what does that mean?

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Based on the size of an organization, SharePoint admins create multiple sub sites to classify and organize content which usually aligns with the organization hierarchy (Department wise). There can be Team Sites and communication sites and yet, Hub sites can consist both these under one umbrella to help you relate them together based on any attribute such as Projects, Departments, Division, Region or whatever you have.

Let me put it in a simple way – Hub Sites will now help you to associate team sites and communication sites to provide a common navigational hierarchy, search, Logos and look and feel.

Hub sites allows you to standardize the site hierarchy. More importantly, it brings the consistency across all sites. Following are some of the characteristics of Hub Sites Capability:

Hub Sites[31203]_thumb[2]

Some of the Hub Site characteristics are:

  • A Common Top Navigation (Global Navigation)

A common global navigation is maintained across all connected sites of the particular Hub site.

  • Consistent Look and Feel

Sub sites inherits their look and feel from the root (Hub site) which allows you to maintain a single branding across all your sites. In a simple term, all sites are associated, which means they resides under one Hub.

  • Scoped Enterprise Search

Search acts relevantly here. When you search for something in a Hub site, it performs the search within all the sites of that particular Hub Site.

  • Site activities

User activities happens within the associated sites which means, the engagements are specific to an defined area.

  • Content Aggregation

Automatically aggregates content and displaying from multiple sites. News Web Part, Sites Web Part and Content Web Part can be used in a Hub Site to aggregate content from the associated sites and display the content on the Hub Site’s home page. This reduces a lot of manual work that developers supposed to do to get this done in the earlier days.

Provisioning a Hub Site:

There are two ways you can create hub sites in SharePoint online (Yes ! for now its only supported in SharePoint online). However, there is no template to create a Hub site so you can’t simply create a one using the “New Site” option. Instead, these are the options you have.

  1. Create a New site collection and set it as the Hub site
  2. or Promote an existing site as the Hub Site and associate other site collections to it.

A SharePoint Team Site or an Communication Site can be converted in to a Hub Site. Ensure you have the “SharePoint Administrator privilege or above” in Office 365  to perform these changes.

First and foremost, you need the latest SharePoint Management Shell installed in your machine. Get it here. If you have it installed already, you better uninstall it and install the latest version.

Once installed, launch the Shell as an administrator.

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And here’s the first line to connect to the SharePoint online service.

Connect-SPOService -Url https://tenantname-admin.sharepoint.com

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Provide your Admin credentials and hit next.

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And now to create a new site to act as our Hub. Following is the PowerShell code to provision a new site with modern experience. Adjust the parameters to reflect your localizations.

New-SPOSite -Url https://tenantname.sharepoint.com/sites/HRM -Owner admin@mantoso.onmicrosoft.com -Template "SITEPAGEPUBLISHING#0" -StorageQuota 1024 -Title "HR Management"

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Now let’s head on to SharePoint Admin Center –> Active Sites –> and notice the new site just provisioned

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Register-SPOHubSite -Site https://tenantname.sharepoint.com/sites/HRM -Principals $null

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If the command was successful, you will see that the Hub Site has affected with the change.

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Add-SPOHubSiteAssociation https://tenantname.sharepoint.com/sites/CoreHR -HubSite https://tenantname.sharepoint.com/sites/HRM

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Head back to the Active sites and you will find that the site now has the association with Hub Site.

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The rest would be similar to the things we did in the previous article.

And, the following code can be used to control the permission of “who can associate their site with hub sites

Grant-SPOHubSiteRights -Identity https://tenantname.sharepoint.com/sites/HMR -Principals admin@mantoso.onmicrosoft.com -Rights Joins


DISCLAIMER NOTE: This is an enthusiast post and is not sponsored by Microsoft or any other vendor.

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Get Started with SharePoint Hub Sites (Part 01-UI)

Hub Sites in SharePoint Online is the new way of organizing your sites. Now what does that mean?

docking

Based on the size of an organization, SharePoint admins create multiple sub sites to classify and organize content which usually aligns with the organization hierarchy (Department wise). There can be Team Sites and communication sites and yet, Hub sites can consist both these under one umbrella to help you relate them together based on any attribute such as Projects, Departments, Division, Region or whatever you have.

Let me put it in a simple way – Hub Sites will now help you to associate team sites and communication sites to provide a common navigational hierarchy, search, Logos and look and feel.

Hub sites allows you to standardize the site hierarchy. More importantly, it brings the consistency across all sites. Following are some of the characteristics of Hub Sites Capability:

Hub Sites[31203]

Some of the Hub Site characteristics are:

  • A Common Top Navigation (Global Navigation)

A common global navigation is maintained across all connected sites of the particular Hub site.

  • Consistent Look and Feel

Sub sites inherits their look and feel from the root (Hub site) which allows you to maintain a single branding across all your sites. In a simple term, all sites are associated, which means they resides under one Hub.

  • Scoped Enterprise Search

Search acts relevantly here. When you search for something in a Hub site, it performs the search within all the sites of that particular Hub Site.

  • Site activities

User activities happens within the associated sites which means, the engagements are specific to an defined area.

  • Content Aggregation

Automatically aggregates content and displaying from multiple sites. News Web Part, Sites Web Part and Content Web Part can be used in a Hub Site to aggregate content from the associated sites and display the content on the Hub Site’s home page. This reduces a lot of manual work that developers supposed to do to get this done in the earlier days.

Provisioning a Hub Site:

There are two ways you can create hub sites in SharePoint online (Yes ! for now its only supported in SharePoint online). However, there is no template to create a Hub site so you can’t simply create a one using the “New Site” option. Instead, these are the options you have.

  1. Create a New site collection and set it as the Hub site
  2. or Promote an existing site as the Hub Site and associate other site collections to it.

A SharePoint Team Site or an Communication Site can be converted in to a Hub Site. Ensure you have the “SharePoint Administrator privilege or above” in Office 365  to perform these changes.

Step 1: Create a Hub Site in SharePoint (New) Admin Center (UI)

To do this using User Interface, log-in to Office 365 and direct to New SharePoint Admin Center –> Click on “Sites” from the left navigation panel –> Active Sites –> Click on “Create

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Pick “Communications” Site template and go for “Topic” Site design (for example). Define the Site owner and Site name etc.. and hit “Finish” to create the site.

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Step2: Registering Hub Site in SharePoint

Now we need to register the Hub site we just provisioned. No big deal here ! just follow these steps.

Navigate to the SPO Admin Center –> Click on “Active Sites” and that shows you all the active site collections. Choose the one you just desired as the Hub and “Register as Hub Site” from the Hub Site Dropdown as shown below.

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Fill in the name of the Hub and hit “Save” to complete this.

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You will notice the status is update in a few seconds for this site.

status markeing

Customize Hub Site

We now have the Hub Site created, its time to little bit of tweaking to match organizational theming (logo, theme color, navigation etc..). Something similar to following, you can change the Hub site logo, site logo, theme, navigation etc.. so that it will inherit to the site underneath (Associated)

change look

To do this let’s go to the Hub Site –> Click “Gear” Icon on the top –> Hub Site settings.

settings marketing

You also can edit the Hub site navigation that appears on all connected sites based on the central navigation (Hub). These elements shall inherit from the Hub Site to connected sites automatically. Note: When you customize the Hub Site after connecting other sites in, it will take up to 2 hours to apply the changes in the respective associated sites.

Associating Sites to the Hub:

From the SharePoint Online Admin Center, click on the checkbox next to the site collection you want to associate with the hub, then from the Hub site drop-down list choose the “Associate with a hub site” option. From the list of all the hubs you have available in your tenant, choose the one you want to connect to and hit “Save”.

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Choose the relevant Hub you want this site to be associated.

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You will notice the status of the site is updated in a few seconds.

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Option2: You can also connect a site to an Hub Site using the “Site Information” section of the respective site.

In this case, I have a site called “Partner Engagement” and I have opened up that in the browser.

To do this, navigate to the site that you want to associate with the hub. Click on Settings gear Icon –> Select Site Information –> Choose the Hub Site Association and hit “Save”.

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You will immediately notice that Hub Site Characteristics have been inherited to the Associated site.

Moving sites across Hub Sites:

Hub Sites offers the flexibility to attach and detach (connect and disconnected in other words) associated sites. For instance, let’s say my organization decides to isolate Project management and the site needs to move from IT department to PM department. We can simply detach the site from this existing hub to a new hub.

Important Notes: However, this method only works for Modern SharePoint experience. Site collections that are in legacy mode won’t have this abilities so consider upgrading your experience soon if you haven’t !

Also, once you connect with an Hub Site, Navigation, Theme and Logos will be inherited automatically (That’s the whole idea !) to the newly connected sites.

  • You can’t associate a one Hub Site to another Hub Site (e.g. Hub A –> Hub B are isolated)
  • Also, an associated site can only be connected to one Hub Site

Dealing with the Hub Site Navigation:

Connecting a site collection to the Hub site, doesn’t automatically add links to the Top navigation of the hub site. By default, only the link of the Hub Site appears on top. You have to build rest of the Top Navigation manually in the hub sites.

Here is how: Navigate to the Hub Site –> Hover over to Top Navigation area –> Click on Edit –> Click the “+” sign to add a new link.
Click OK and –> Save.

In my case, I am adding an 3rd item to my global navigation of the “Marketing Hub.

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A Finished navigation should look like this and it will reflect across all associated sites.

Navigation

Connected (Associated) Sites will automatically contain a link back to the SharePoint Online hub site. You will also notice that you can’t change the theme of an associated site, because it inherits the theme from the hub site and that’s the whole purpose of this feature.

For instance, have a look at this site “Statistics” of my setup. It now has all the items in the Global Navigation inherited from the Hub.

stats

Site Permissions:

When you connect a site collection to an Hub, it doesn’t impact the permissions of the associated site or the Hub. However, you have to ensure that all users who are going to join sites to the Hub site have appropriate permissions to the Hub, that’s it ! the rest shall remain the same.

Detach an associated site from a Hub:

You can disassociate a site being under a Hub if no longer needed. Your navigation and the logo will be gone after disassociating but the theme shall remain the same as it was inherited from the Hub. You need to manually set it to a different one.

To remove the existing hub site association, go ahead and select “None” in Hub Site association drop down list and Save it, simple as that !

Wish you could use PowerShell to do all these? Follow my article no 02 to get the same thins done via PowerShell.

DISCLAIMER NOTE: This is an enthusiast post and is not sponsored by Microsoft or any other vendor.

Add a button in to a SharePoint List/Library to trigger a Flow (part 02-customization)

Part 02 (This article)

In my previous article, we saw how we can add a button in to SharePoint online list or library to trigger a flow in place. We are continuing with this article on how we can customize the newly added button to change its appearance (Well, let’s make it look like a button).

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Changing the appearance:

Go to the format mode from the target button column. And we can use the following parameters to change the look and feel. My button here looks good as it stands out from the rest of the content in this space.

  • txtContent: “Define your button text”
  • color: “set a button text color code”
  • border: “set a border to the button”
  • background-color: “set a button background color”

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Applying a condition to the button:

Further more, you can customize the button to apply when a condition is true (e.g. – show a button only when the Flow have not started).

In this case, I’m going to tweak my approval Flow a little bit to maintain the status of the library items. The purpose here is to update the status of a item which is initiate for approval but still “Pending” as we using a custom status column here.

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By modifying the Approval Flow, I am adding a new step (SharePoint Update item action) to my existing flow. This new step has to be placed before the starting the start. At this stage, I have to set the status as “Pending” (static string).

ast

Then the same action added to both ending paths in order to update the status column up on “Rejection” or “Approval”. At this stage I can simply use the “Response” variable to pick up the current status value and update the “Status” column.

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Once added, it’s position looks like below.

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Define the Site URL, Choose the target library, pick the ID attribute and Response variable as shown below. Repeat the same for “No” path as well and that’s all we need to do here.

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That’s it from the Flow and we can head back to the Library to do the appearance tweaking. Go the column format mode and notice the changes I have done here. Apart from the color and background changes which I did to the button earlier, I have added a condition to display the button only when its true. Under this logic, the button would only appear when the status column = empty (“”), meaning the Flow have not started for a respective item in this library.

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And, as expected ! the logic is right therefore the condition perfectly applies. I have few documents in this library with mixed statuses (Rejected, Approved, Pending and of course some are not started yet). The button only showed for the items which are not gone through the Flow.

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Microsoft reference for JSON based column formatting is here. This article has covered many perspectives of column formatting.

And ! here’s the full JSON code of this customization which you can reuse if you have a similar use case.

If you want to start from the beginning, go ahead and read my previous article.

{
  "$schema": "https://developer.microsoft.com/json-schemas/sp/column-formatting.schema.json",
  "elmType": "span",
  "style": {
    "color": "#0078d7"
  },
  "children": [
    {
      "elmType": "button",
      "style": {
        "border": "light",
        "background-color": "yellow",
        "color": "#0078d7",
        "cursor": "pointer",
        "visibility": {
          "operator": "?",
          "operands": [
            {
              "operator": "==",
              "operands": [
                "[$Status]",
                ""
              ]
            },
            "visible",
            "hidden"
          ]
        }
      },
      "txtContent": "Send to Approval",
      "customRowAction": {
        "action": "executeFlow",
        "actionParams": "{\"id\": \"e290feff-0013-41f2-97dd-91a37fb84ea0\"}"
      }
    }
  ]
}

Add a button in to a SharePoint List/Library to trigger a Flow (part 01)

Part 01 (This article)

Microsoft Flow together with PowerApps undoubtedly revolutionizing the process automation in modern work places. You may have a Flow attached to a document library or list but there is no easy access to initiate that flow from the list/library itself. People have to dig in a little bit to initiate it and that’s a little bit of time consuming for constant usage.

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With this article, we will find out how we can overcome this struggle using a little bit of JSON stuff (Don’t worry about that word, you don’t need to be a developer here). Using the Modern SharePoint capabilities, we can embed a button right in front of every item in a list or library so that people can trigger a Flow right there. New column formatting is a cool out of the box capability to get this done.

Now let’s get this started. First and foremost, you need to have a Flow created in place and have the GUID of it.

We’ll get a Flow created really quick in case if you don’t have one. If you have a Flow already in place, you can skip these basic steps

Open up your SharePoint Library and click on the “Flow” drop down on the ribbon as below. Then go to “Create a Flow

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You’ll see a list of available templates. You can utilize these templates if your requirement matches with them. Or simply feel free to create your own. Thankfully, there are a lot of templates published by Microsoft and the community which you can re-use on various scenarios. Unless the requirement is very specific or you are really keen on creating one your own, there is no point of designing a Flow from the scratch.

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I am adding a simple “Request Manager Approval” flow here. Pretty straight forward.

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Next, go ahead and check if the flow is added to “My Flows” section. If so, you are good to go.

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Now go inside the created Flow by clicking on it and copy the highlighted GUID form the address bar of your browser. We need this for our new Button.

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https://asia.flow.microsoft.com/manage/environments/Default-f50d518a-e13c-4359-85f6-ef76484f4c32/flows/e290feff-0013-41f2-97dd-91a37fb84ea0/details

Now to add the button but before that we need a new column for this button. From the list or library, go to the very end horizontally and add a new text column to this list/library.

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It should be like below after adding. You can edit this view by dragging and dropping the desired column across the library if you wish to. I’m calling mine “Approval” so it makes scenes for a column contains buttons.

a

Now, go ahead and format this column. Click on the little arrow on the newly created column and go to format mode.

b

And paste the JSON code below. replace the GUID using the target flow which you have copied to the clip board.

c

Here’s the code (you will have it provisioned as you go to format mode itself).

{
  "$schema": "https://developer.microsoft.com/json-schemas/sp/column-formatting.schema.json",
  "elmType": "span",
  "style": {
    "color": "#0078d7"
  },
  "children": [
    {
      "elmType": "span",
      "attributes": {
        "iconName": "Flow"
      }
    },
    {
      "elmType": "button",
      "style": {
        "border": "none",
        "background-color": "transparent",
        "color": "#0078d7",
        "cursor": "pointer"
      },
      "txtContent": "Send to Approval",
      "customRowAction": {
        "action": "executeFlow",
        "actionParams": "{\"id\": \"e290feff-0013-41f2-97dd-91a37fb84ea0\"}"
      }
    }
  ]
}

That’s it and you will immediately notice the button applied to your column. This is how my library looks like after adding the button. It still doesn’t look like a button because of the border, background and colors of it.

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Cool thing is ! you can customize the button to look like as you want it to be. Further more, you can also make it a logical button which has a condition behind it. (e.g. – show a button only when an item pending for approval).

Read the part 02 of this article series to further customize the button and apply conditions.

Detailed Microsoft article for this is here

DISCLAIMER NOTE: This is an enthusiast post and is not sponsored by Microsoft or any other vendor.

A great bunch of new features coming soon for SharePoint Modern Experience !

SharePoint product team just revealed news about a fantastic set of modernization features which are planned to release in the 1st quarter 2019. Microsoft been aggressively improving the user experience of SharePoint, OneDrive, in fact the whole Office 365 umbrella for the past few years.

Some of these features are brand new while some are updates for legacy SharePoint capabilities. Nevertheless, each of them looks cool and would definitely great to have. The best thing everyone love about Office 365 is, there is no additional cost for any of these updates. Let’s find out what we are going to get soon.

Bulk Check In/Check Out

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Microsoft previously released bulk edit for list and libraries and now with this update you will have the ability to check in/out multiple records/documents at once. Have a look at the following screenshot comes from Chris MacNulty.

Document Sets

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Document sets group related documents together with shared metadata, routing and visual experiences. They’ve been available in classic mode previously, and now you can work with them in the modern experience starting March 2019 onwards.

Signal Icons

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Isn’t that cool when you have a nice visual cue right next to each file as the status? Here are the new list of status signals that you will soon be able to see in your tenant. There will be more signals and the best news is its not going to just limit to SharePoint but also will be available on OneDrive, Teams, and Office Clients too. Wait no longer than February !

Column Totals

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Custom views allow you to add calculated fields, such as totals or averages, to the footer of a group or the entire list. Now, totals will display in the modern view without forcing users back to the classic interface. Totals will also show in the modern web parts for lists and libraries.

Sticky Headers

SharePoint is known to have large repositories. Large lists and libraries always takes a scroll vertically and horizontally. With Sticky headers, you will have the column headers pinned at the top of the scrolling window so it helps you identify list values as you move vertically and horizontally through the view. And ! column headers will also remain in place inside the list/library web parts across any page you have added them.

Add Columns In-between Column

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Soon you will be able to add a column in between another columns which cuts off the time it takes to reach the end of the column headers. Again, this will help a lot in wider lists/library views where you have lots of columns added in to. Just hover you mouse on the edge between two columns and you will immediately notice the (+) icon.

Column Drag and Drop

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Guess what! You don’t have to dig in and modify the views anymore. Moving a column within a list or a library, simply drag it and drop to where you want it to be. Easier right ?

In a quick note: Microsoft always commits to deliver efficiency, reliability and usability across all products. Feel free to raise you voice if you have any idea you think worth actioning here – https://sharepoint.uservoice.com/forums/329214-sites-and-collaboration

Images: Microsoft (original post is here)

Microsoft Flow in a real world scenario: using Office Quick Parts to fill out documents (part 02)

Part 02 (This article)

Email notification on smartphone in hand. New mail message in inbox, mailing letters or reading sms on mobile phone vector illustration

After the last step in the part 01 of this article series, we  are resuming with this flow. We now can save this, and quickly give it a test run if it delivers what we need.

Hit “Save”  button and check the flow for any errors from “Flow Checker” option on the top right corner. Also,  you can test any flow straightaway from here.

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Let’s do a dry run here. You have two options to test it out. Use data from the last run or trigger as a new instance. Hit “Save and Test” to begin.

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And hit “Continue” to start it.

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Inputs to be done here for the metadata fields we mapped and then simply hit “Run

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Flow also has an wonderful activity tracker. A cool new interface allows you to monitor your Flow activities from a one place.

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Click on “See flow run activity” to find out the status of this instance. This run has been succeeded.

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We can go back to the library and open up the document to see if our Quick Parts have been updated as per this run. Bare in mind that Word Online might have an issue when you open this kind of a document. Quick parts are working well with Office Desktop Application and Word online Preview Mode but, unfortunately having some issues in Word Online in edit mode. Therefore, make sure you test it with Word Application before you wonder where it went wrong as quick parts may still show empty in online mode even after running the Flow successfully.

Here’s how it should look like after the execution.

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Sending Email Alerts up on completion

After composing of the document, we can configure the flow to send out email alerts. In this scenario, I’m going to send alerts to the person who triggered this flow, alerting him with the composed document as an attachment.

Let’s go ahead and add a new step as usual.

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Search for “Get file content” SharePoint action

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We have to rename it as “Get file content new” so it makes better sense as we already have a step with the default name.

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Next up, parameters. Choose the appropriate site URL from the drop down and file identified has to be the ID. Leave the “Infer Content Type” with its default and that’s it.

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Now, add another new step which we will be using to configure the email alert. search for “Send an email” and select the “Send an email (V2) (Preview)”

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Parameters to be configured as shown below. search for “User email” attribute for Receiver field and choose it.

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My subject line will be “Text: customer name field” concatenated. Feel free to have your own here. Type the text and look for “Customer Name” attribute and place it next to the text in the subject line as shown below.

The Body will be just a plain text which indicates the purpose of this mail. Again, it’s all up to you to insert anything here.

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For the attachment name, use File name with extension, from the Update file properties section.  For the File Content, get that from the Get file content new file section.

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You can extend the content section by adding more attachment/content but that’s optional. just leave the “Importance” as normal here which depends on your situation though. Feel free to adjust these parameters as required.

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Now the exciting part !. We can run our full flow to see if everything works as expected. So I will go ahead and kick it.

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Click on “see flow run activity” to see the status of this instance.

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And click again on the latest instance from the history of this flow.

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You will see the entire history of the instance selected. And best of all, in just a simple click you can see the action result in a handy dandy UI ! Isn’t this amazing ?

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Now let’s switch to our outlook account. In my case it’s my account which was used to kick the Flow. And, I can see the latest item with all our parameters including the attachment which means the hard works have paid off !!

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In addition to that, Flow Dashboard is a great place to keep up with all your things around Flows across the entire tenant. You can turn on/off a flow with just a button swipe!. Statuses and other handy dandy stuff all brought in to a one place to make your life more easier.

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Until next flow post, Happy Flowing !

Start over with part 01 

DISCLAIMER NOTE: This is an enthusiast post and is not sponsored by Microsoft or any other vendor.

Microsoft Flow in a real world scenario: using Office Quick Parts to fill out documents (Part 01)

Part 01 (This Article)

Yes ! a simple and yet solid Microsoft Flow can be configured to fill-out a Word Document stored in your SharePoint library in conjunction with Quick Parts.

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Image Courtesy: brookfieldinstitute

With this blog series, I’m going to demonstrate, how you can utilize legacy and yet famous Office Quick Parts with Microsoft Flow to optimize your content creation!. Well, Quick Parts aren’t new, they have been in Office suite since 2010 but still being famous among content creators due to its usability. 

To get started, you need the following fundamentals:

  • Office 365 subscription with SharePoint, MS Flow Capabilities
  • A document library to store documents
  • Microsoft Office Application Installed in your PC or Mac

Once you have them, simply log in to SharePoint online and open up the desired site. You need a document library to store documents and also relevant fields (metadata) to be created to match our quick parts (Date, Company Name, Project Name etc..).

In my case, I have a simple library with few metadata fields created as below.

A

Following fields in blue, are our quick parts that we will be linking with the SharePoint library fields. They can be belong to a content type (centralized) or a specific to an library, nevertheless we can use quick parts in a document so that anyone can easily fill them out as part of a process.

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Once you have added columns in to the library (much more easier in Modern SharePoint experience!), create a new Word document in that library or if you already have a document, just upload it to the library (just drag and drop). my library is the default “Shared Document” and the columns are “Customer, Project name, Date, Project value”, just four, simple !

Once you have uploaded, open it from Word application as shown below.

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From Word, direct to Insert –> Quick Parts –> Document Property –> Choose the desired field/s

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Here I’m adding Customer field which looks like below once added.

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You have to click on each spot where you want Quick part to be placed and it will insert accordingly. I have added some fields multiple times here which is perfectly fine. Normally, a single field value can be used in various location across a document.

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Changes are usually saved automatically. If you notice the save icon on the top bar of Word Application. So just go ahead and close this now.

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Let’s head back to our library and get started with building the Flow for this scenario. Its easier to work with any office 365 tool nowadays due to the ultimate UI enhancements Microsoft have recently done.

Click on Flow –> Create a flow, from the Library

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You will now be redirected to Flow web site and you must sign in using your O365 account to be able to go ahead from here onwards.

Once you signed in, choose New –> Create from blank from the Microsoft Flow home page. Pretty simple right ?

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Type in “Manual” and hit “Enter” to search. Select the “Manually triggered button” as shown below.

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Next up, we have to choose our SharePoint action. Type in “Get File Content” and select the highlighted action to proceed.

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On the trigger options, Choose appropriate input types to match your fields. Keep in mind that your trigger can be whatever you want it to be, in my scenario, I’m using a manual trigger which is easy for me to demonstrate the use case.

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Now to format our input parameters in the trigger. In my case, I’m adding 4 input types (Date, text and number) according to the Quick Parts I have. You can have more or less, inputs based on your story.

Customer: Text Field | Amount: Number | Doc Date: Date | Project: Text

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Next up, is to configure our 1st SharePoint action to act as we want. we have to bind our SharePoint library to the flow. Choose the site where you have the library from the dropdown. I am using SharePoint because, in this case that’s is where my data resides, but, you can use various other services such as Salesforce, or PowerApps to bring inputs in to the file. The idea of this post is to demonstrate that how data coming from (anywhere) can be automatically entered in to a Word document.

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And select the document library from the listed ones. Leave “Infer Content Type” as Yes as well.

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Now let’s add a new action here. Click on “New” and add the Create File SharePoint action as below.

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This action will update the file properties when the flow is triggered. Select the Site address and folder path (Library). Define the File name by choosing the appropriate fields as you wish. File content should come from the File Content Action itself.

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Once this is done, the Flow so far would look like this. make sure you map the fields properly so you wont have any errors during the first run. A positive first impression is something awesome you know that !!

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Then, click on “New” and search for “Update file properties” SharePoint action from the list to add our next action.

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In here too, we have to configure some parameters to reflect fields and quick parts appropriately. Choose the same site and libraries and Item ID should be “Item ID” from create file. I am using Customer Name field as the title here but its up to you to have your own choice.

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Continue to read part 02

DISCLAIMER NOTE: This is an enthusiast post and is not sponsored by Microsoft or any other vendor.

No-Code column formatting in SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online now offers a simple way of formatting columns even if you don’t have any programming experience. Knowing a bit of JSON would be great indeed because, for now this out of the box capability is limited to few types of columns. Yet, you can use JSON for other types that are not supported out of the box.

There are two ways to apply column formatting:

  1. You can apply column formatting to an existing column by selecting the column drop down and choosing column settings –> format this column.
  2. Or you can apply column formatting during the creation of the column, or by editing the properties of the column.

Right now formatting works for 3 columns types:

  • Yes/No (Boolean)
  • Choice
  • Date

In this example scenario, I have a simple list with 3 columns and we will use the 2nd approach to apply colors. This list contains few records of events which I would like to apply color formatting based on the status of each record.

There has to be a logic behind the field in order to apply a formatting, hence, it’s obvious that you do not need formatting for every column. e.g. Choice filed always contains multiple values which makes scenes (if value equals true =color the record with Green) whereas in a text field there is no such a logic.

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Format section is opened nicely on the right pane. Now it just a matter of choosing the appropriate color for the particular column. Each value of the field can be colored so that the end users can easily recognize the status of the record.

To change the color, simply click on the color pallet icon and choose the color.

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In this sample, I have defined Green as completed, Blue for Planning and Pink for Scheduled activities accordingly. This change is applicable for all records of this including the existing and new. Any new records shall impact the color formatting.

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Advanced Mode is here. If you have your own JSON, go ahead and paste it here and hit “Save” to publish it.

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After formatting the columns, it’s still possible to see the code and tweak it if you’d like. Even for unsupported columns, you can paste your JSON code to apply the formatting even though there is no out of the box formatting available as of now.  Go to list/library settings, and click the name of a column.  Scroll down to see the Column Formatting box.

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How to Make Microsoft Teams Content Available Offline

Microsoft Teams is rapidly becoming the most popular app for corporate collaboration due to the simplicity and the bunch of capabilities it offers for Office365 users. As you work with Teams, it brings an document library for content sharing which looks like it self-contained within but it’s actually relies on Office 365 Groups and Back-ended by a SharePoint Library.

When you submit a file in to a Teams channel window, that file is uploaded to a document library within the main Group.

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It’s great that I can share files like everyone else in the conversation but what if I need it later ? Especially when I don’t have Internet connection on my device? Well, that happens ! To me very often.

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However, not to worry anymore because synchronizing the files from Teams is similar to synchronizing your OneDrive for business or SharePoint Library content which simply means you can synchronize Teams files with OneDrive. But how ?

Let’s find out. Open up your target Team channel and hit “Files” tab. You will see the files that you have there.

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Now, you will be redirected to the following screen on the browser. This is the ultimate SharePoint library (Backend) which holds all your Teams channel files. Now, hit the “Sync” button here.

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You will be prompted with app switching screen. Say “Yes‘ here.

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That’s it and you will receive a notification immediately saying that your library is now synching. Great !

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If you open it from the Windows explorer, you will see the new folder created under your organization icon and all files are synchronized to your local device perfectly.

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DISCLAIMER NOTE: This is an enthusiast post and is not sponsored by Microsoft or any other vendor.

Limiting SharePoint People Picker field to an specific group of people

People picker is a vital field in SharePoint which allows you to pick a person or a group from your organization’s active directory. With this post I’m going to emphasize one of the out of the box ability of the people picker. We can restrict/limit this field for a specific group or people so that the person who inters data would only able to retrieve set of targeted people within a group (e.g. A sales person can only fetch another coworker in his team).

Firstly you have to have a target group. If you don’t have one, go ahead and get it created and then return to your target List/library and add a new “Person or Group” field by clicking “Add New Column

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Choose the type of it as “Person or Group

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Better to have a meaningful description too, for this field and the selection has to be “People Only“. In the “Choose From” option, select your target group which you have created.

This simply means the person who entering data can only retrieve people within this group. That’s it and you can go ahead and save this change.

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Now let’s try to insert a record here. As you can see, even though I have hundreds of users in my AD, I am not able to retrieve any entry here because my target group is empty. Once I add people there only I can retrieve them.

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So let’s try to add a user in to the group. I have added myself in to “Internal IT” group.

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It comes up as you can see here. Just a matter of saving the record now

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That’s it !

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