I frequently reference two resources linked at the bottom of this post that speak to the features unique to 2010 and 2013 workflows. Unfortunately, once you pick which workflow platform you’ll be building upon you can’t switch. So it’s important to use these lists in your evaluation phase to make sure you’ll be picking the right platform for the job. Keep in mind, you can always start a 2010 workflow from within a 2013 workflow.

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Perhaps one of the most useful automated processes out there is the ability to do approval processes. We fortunately have two tools on-prem or online that allows us to perform this action. Microsoft Flow offers some incredible connectivity between services (like approve a Tweet and post it, approve something from Google Docs and have it moved to SharePoint, etc.), but the approval process itself is very simple at this point and doesn’t offer some of the more robust features and customization options we get in SharePoint Designer 2013 approval processes.

I also will use both tools in the same business process occasionally, because they both have unique strengths.

But which do you use for approvals?

The quick answer to the question is: Use Flow for simple approvals, or approvals that involve multiple sites or external services. Use SPD for more complicated processes and customization options for approvals that involve a single site.

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If you’re new to exporting SharePoint Designer workflows to Visio, chances are you’ve seen this message.

“Visio cannot open the file because it’s not a Visio file or it has become corrupted.”

Opening the exported Visio file is not intuitive (export, open), but also isn’t complicated. Instead of opening the file directly, you need to import it from within Visio.

today at LMH

Below on the left are two traditional, out-of-the-box solutions for showing Today’s events in SharePoint. Notice how both take up a lot of extra space repeating today’s date (which we don’t need to see at all in a web part called “Today’s Events”) or showing gray space where there are no events. Soak that in – prime real estate on your home page goes to non-existent events. These also may require overlays and other manual labor processes that need adjusted every time a calendar is added or removed.

But on the right is what you could have. It uses search instead and displays events from all calendars a user has access to in one place. It shows only the necessary information on the home page and links to full details. And with a little CSS included in this post, it can look polished and themed. Imagine all you could do with that saved space on your home page…

Also seen above: Adding local weather to your SharePoint intranet home page
and a “this week’s menu” button for your intranet

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What is governance?

The Burton Group says “Governance uses people, process, technology, and policies to define a service, resolve ambiguity, and mitigate conflicts within an organization.” I would only add that it specifically helps create a consistent user experience which, in turn, promotes better adoption. I like the Burton Group’s definition because it doesn’t rely solely on rules/control, or the quality of the final governance document or on SharePoint itself, but on the people.

A successful implementation of SharePoint in your organization starts and ends with people from server admins to end users who have clear expectations and an understanding of proper usage and capabilities. The governance plan provides the written documentation for regular reference and sharing. People are still responsible for making it successful.

When I set out to create my own SharePoint Governance Plan, I had two objectives:

  • Create a plan that’s flexible enough to still encourage innovation and creativity
  • Create a plan written for more than IT professionals; I wanted to create an accessible, consumable (less than 20 pages) plan that avoided using too much industry jargon and encouraged an ongoing discussion with end users in the spirit of continuous improvement

Asset 1quiz.pngThis morning I looked around for either pure javascript or custom service solutions for trivia or quiz embeds for SharePoint. The out-of-the-box survey web part wouldn’t allow the kind of features I needed such as showing a message upon submission about correct and incorrect answers, and I wanted something more robust than a newsfeed or Yammer quiz. I also wanted users to easily be able to change their own quiz questions and answers and no high-maintenance code solution was going to cut it.

What I learned? There aren’t a lot of free solutions out there for quick quiz creation and embedding in SharePoint. And the ones that are out there don’t look the greatest. Then I remembered Microsoft Forms has a quiz function! Don’t these look great? Even better – you can embed in SharePoint Server/On-Prem or SharePoint Online/O365!

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Microsoft Form’s quiz capabilities are incredible. In five minutes you can create a quiz that looks good, is easy to update and has features ordinarily only available with a premium subscription through other services. And as seen above, you can embed the results as well, making voting fun or showing a group how everyone is performing as a whole on a topic quiz. Here are some of the great features you get with Microsoft Forms:

Your image slider is okay. But you’d like it better if it had a makeover (50 points to whoever can guess the commercial reference).

This post will show you how you can take your out-of-the-box content search web part slideshow from this:

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to this:

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This solution supports multi-line descriptions that don’t get cut off. It gets rid of that dreadful partially transparent overlay and gives you more of your photo uninhibited by messy design. It’s more modern, lighter and sure to impress. At the end, be sure to adjust the CSS to match your own color scheme and size needs.