Happy new year! My first speaking engagement of the year is coming up January 20th at SPS St. Louis. If you’re nearby, be sure to register (it’s free!) and check it out on Saturday, Jan 20. Here are the three sessions at which you’ll find me:

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Watson Library | Image credit: Joel Cooper, KU Libraries

I’ve been fortunate these past 2.5 years to work with some incredible colleagues at University of Kansas Libraries. I worked as SharePoint Business Analyst for the libraries (150 staff in 7 branches including an Annex), working to identify solutions using Office 365 to improve communication, collaboration and business processes. I worked to drive adoption and awareness of Office 365 apps and loved everything I was fortunate to be able to do in my time there.

Note: I previously shared how to do this in SharePoint Designer. The following method utilizing Flow is better, and does not use loops/pauses.

It’s well-known that SharePoint calculated columns don’t permit [Today] to be used as a formula for a calculated date column. And the “default to today’s date” setting only works upon creation, and doesn’t update daily. But we can create a standard date column and have Microsoft Flow automatically update it daily for us, therefore allowing us to effortlessly perform calculations against today’s date such as:

  • Age =(TodayDate-Birthday)/365
  • Years of Service =(TodayDate-StartDate)/365
  • Days Past Due =(TodayDate-DueDate)
  • Weeks until summer break =(SummerStart-TodayDate)/7

Here’s how to create your own, always accurate/updated, today column (see bottom of post for video):

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Automatically create and send reports, files and lists on a regular schedule using Microsoft Flow’s recurrence trigger. Whether hourly, daily, weekly or monthly you can deliver the most current and relevant data from SharePoint or OneDrive to interested parties via email without lifting a finger. Combine this with calculated columns in SharePoint and conditions for some awesome possibilities:

Alerts Calendar Relevance Routine
Report costs or expenditures above a certain amount Current month’s birthdays and/or workiversaries to your secretary Send expenses per department or individual to that department or individual Budget and salary or payroll figures weekly
Notify when an open ticket is idle for a week or incomplete Upcoming events per location Share evaluation status with supervisors for just their employees Recently closed deals and contracts
Survey responses or reviews under 3 stars Upcoming deadlines per department Client info and updates to proper salespeople based on location or product Distribute new hires’ contact/location info to the organization in weekly batches

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Microsoft Flow mobile buttons are magical. One touch on your mobile device, and gears start turning to retrieve and deliver the data you need when and how you need it. Recently, I set out to deliver all Microsoft Forms responses to a recipient on-demand as an excel file using a Microsoft Flow mobile button they could press whenever they wanted the results. I also created a button someone could use to be sent all the birthdays coming up in the next week for our organization whenever they need it. You can adjust the following steps to fit your situation and tools, but the following outlines two ideas:

  • Sending someone all responses to a Microsoft Forms survey whenever they press the button (Take a snapshot in time of responses, or pull up-to-the-minute feedback into your meeting)
  • Sending someone SharePoint list items in an excel sheet that match a certain criteria (Projects ending in the next two weeks)

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Even if your SharePoint site’s regional settings are correct (or whichever data source you’re pulling from), Power BI could convert it to the wrong time zone upon import. It’s a quick fix, luckily. Instead of using your “modified,” “created” or other date field in your report, we’ll create a new calculated column in Power BI to use with an accurate time zone.

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We’ve been waiting a lifetime (dramatic?) for this feature. And now it’s here! Sort of.

Currently, with a new “Preview” action release in Microsoft Flow, we’re able to convert documents to PDF in OneDrive for Business via workflow. While this isn’t ready for SharePoint yet, we can make it look that way for our end users. Basically:

  1. When a file is created or modified in SP
  2. Create document in OneDrive for Business
  3. Convert document
  4. Create document in SP

It’s roundabout but we get exactly the result often requested: convert SharePoint docs to PDF automatically. Here’s how to set this up. A video walkthrough is available at the bottom of this post.