When you log into your Outlook online at work next time, you might be prompted to try the “new” Outlook. Here’s what you’ll see if you venture forth.
The first thing I noticed is how the original O365 Outlook looked like this:
But the new Outlook (when toggled on) resembles personal accounts (live.com, hotmail.com, etc.). Notice the change in the left pane, the top nav, and the “new message” and search bar locations.
I love this consistency across experiences and feel this will help users adjust more easily, recognizing a familiar layout across their personal and work accounts.
Two features highlighted in the “welcome tour” once activated include improved search and scheduling (including assistant ability of identifying available times).
The integration of your groups is still there, and you can easily drag your messages to your groups to share with relevant teams (very helpful in reducing data loss or “recovery” that occurs when employees leave a company and a lot of content still lives in their inbox).
You may have already seen some new options when sharing links to files in SharePoint (and OneDrive). Here’s what’s available in my tenant today:
If you use the “Anyone with the link” option (for anonymous access) you can choose a date on which the link will expire and access will no longer be granted via that link.
You can block people from downloading only if you uncheck “Allow editing” for the link types that support it.
Your basic options are to allow anonymous users (with or without an expiration date) to:
Edit & Download
View & Download
You can also easily share with people only in your tenant, even if they don’t have prior access, and choose whether they can edit, view and download, or just view.
People with existing access is useful just to Skype/Teams someone a quick link to get to the file. Their pre-existing permissions apply.
Finally, “Specific People” can allow you to share with external users but they must use the address you share with, as they’ll be sent a verification code to validate their identity. This adds a layer of security to otherwise anonymous share links.
Note: You may not be prompted to enter your email address if opened directly. But if the email is forwarded, user will be asked to verify email before they’re able to send a code.
A newer feature in SharePoint allows you the option to “Notify your team” after a new file is uploaded. Your upload process is the same, but then your “upload complete” dialog now has an additional option:
When you select “Notify your team” you’re presented with options like sharing with SharePoint groups, or just individuals manually entered.
When finished, click “Notify” and the intended recipients receive a link that only works for them when logged in.
If you attempt to share with someone not in your tenant, you will receive an error as you can only notify people with existing access.
For these external users, you can instead separately share via the usual “Share” dialog when a file is selected. Here you’ll also find a newer feature that allows for blocking downloads if the “Allow editing” box is unchecked. This would prevent people making edits offline and creating multiple versions in silos.
If you have hyperlinks in your excel files and need to save your file as a PDF, you’ve probably run into the error in which your hyperlinks in the PDF output are inactive.
To be able to maintain hyperlinks you will need Adobe Acrobat. If you don’t have it, please skip down to the bottom of this post to the “Don’t have Adobe Acrobat?” section.
If you do have Adobe, it’s quite simple unless you’re using the HYPERLINK() formula (see below). Just use the Acrobat add-in to save as Adobe PDF.
File –> Save as Adobe PDF –> Convert to PDF. You can also use the Acrobat tab in the ribbon and click “Create PDF”.
Using HYPERLINK() formula
If you’re using the hyperlink formula, as seen below, we’ll need to do some manipulation to our sheet first. Printing to PDF will require that your hyperlinks are properly written before conversion (http… or https…).
To get just the hyperlinks from our formula, we can copy values from Excel and paste into Word, then copy from Word and paste back into Excel (keeping source formatting).
Now when you save as Adobe PDF, your links will remain active:
Don’t have Adobe Acrobat?
Save the Excel Sheet as a web page and links will work. This isn’t ideal but in a pinch will save you some stress.
You want your surveys to be easy to complete because chances are they’re optional in the first place. If you’re using a likert rating question type, the look of the entire survey can get out of hand pretty quickly.
Just by adding alternating row shading and giving the options some more room to breathe, we zap the anxiety right out of the question and give the question a more polished look. Just two tiny changes make a big difference.
Click “Respond to Survey” to open the newform.aspx page
Add a web part
Under Media & Content choose either Content Editor or Script Editor (your preference)
Content Editor: Create a .css file in your Site Assets named something like form-alt-row-shading.css and reference its path in the web part’s properties. For the file’s content, copy and paste the script below.
Script Editor: Click “Edit Snippet” then copy and paste the script below directly into the dialog that appears
You could modify the css file further, adjusting the question itself, the option headers, etc. by using F12 and selecting each element to find its class label, then adding it to your css file with its modified styling within the brackets. But just these two adjustments alone give you options on a single line (not breaking lines) and easy visibility with alternating row options.
Before we start, if you’re just wanting to email all members of the group you can “select all” then choose “E-Mail Users” from the action menu when viewing the group membership within SharePoint. This opens an Outlook window with all the addresses pre-populated.
But, if you still need an excel sheet of membership for another purpose (perhaps to format a sign-in sheet, generate documents with mail merge, share the list with others, etc.) follow these steps:
With the group open in SharePoint, copy the URL and note the ID number at the end of the URL
Open a new excel workbook
From the “Data” tab, select “New Query” –> “From Other Sources” –> “From OData Feed“
Paste the group URL in the prompt but delete everything after the site address and replace with the following, replacing “6” with your group’s ID from step 1 /_api/Web/SiteGroups/GetByID(6)/Users
Click “Edit” once the group loads so we can choose which columns to keep/delete
Ctrl+click the column headers you want to keep
Right-click a header of a column you’re keeping and select “Remove Other Columns”
Close and Load
You should now see your group membership and email addresses (and any other fields you kept). Save this somewhere and, if updates are made in the future, just click “Refresh all” to bring in new members and remove old.
A recent project for my own champions spurred interest from others. I wanted stickers that read “SharePoint Champion” to share with my governance committee members who also happen to be my champions/advocates in the organization.
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SharePoint Champion Sticker
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Running a flow on every weekday or certain weekdays
Rather than using Flow’s recurrence trigger with a frequency of “days” combined with switch cases/conditions, you can actually just use the “Week” frequency time unit and select days from a drop-down with no further effort required.
For weekdays, just select Monday-Friday. Or if you just want MWF, you could do that as well.
A techie way to do it
The alternative is to initialize a variable such as
with a switch case to determine if today’s date is, in fact, between 0 (Sunday) and 7 (Saturday).
Compare today’s date with holiday calendar
So that being said, the limitation of using the “Week” frequency for weekdays might be if you want to prevent it from running on holidays when nobody is in the office even if it is, in fact, a Monday. In that case, you could add a condition that checks to see if @utcNow() matches items from a SharePoint list (holiday calendar?).
Initialize variable (integer) value 0
Get items from SP list (calendar)
You could add an ODATA filter in the Get items step to only filter to items with Start times greater than today
Apply to each –> IF utcNow()=SP item, THEN increment variable by 1, ELSE nothing
Use the expression builder to formatDateTime both dates to be sure they match when being compared
IF variable is greater than 0, do nothing (don’t run), else run the rest of the Flow
It doesn’t have to cost anything to improve your user experience and make links look more like, well, links. We’re accustomed to a modern navigation experience driven not just by underlined text anymore but by visual cues. We rely on iconography and buttons to get us more quickly from A to B.
So if you can’t (or don’t want to) install an icon library like Font Awesome, and if you’re not using a web part that has the built-in Office UI Fabric icons (such as the Quick Links web part), why not stick to the basics and use Unicode characters? While limited, you still have some great options for quick wins.
Note: These characters appear slightly different in different browsers or when used with pre-existing themes. For example, when writing this post they’re black-and-white, but when published, my styles are applied which give them color. They may also look different on a mobile device than they do on desktop.
Compart has a great listing of all the Unicode symbols you can search and filter. Here are a few examples I selected that could be useful:
☎ Directory ♻ Recycle vs Trash FAQ ♬ Fall Concert Details ☂ Inclement weather procedures ⛱ Vacation Requests ⛟ Track a Delivery ☃ Winter Sale
How to use Unicode characters on your site
To use Unicode characters, you can either:
Copy and paste the actual symbol -OR-
In your html, wrap the four-digit number in &#x and ; as follows
Here are many more icons, some of which might have purpose in your organization. You can also download this excel file for easier viewing/customizing.
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This email course delivers a healthy serving of OneNote each day, for seven days. Topics include tags, Outlook, audio, files, version comparisons, and more (see below full listing).
Upon completion, subscribers receive a
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