Solution: “We’re sorry. We can’t open {file} because we found a problem with its contents.”

When using SharePoint Designer workflows to automatically create documents from a template you might run into an error message:

“We’re sorry. We can’t open {file} because we found a problem with its contents.”

document contents error

Or if you’re just opening it within the browser web app instead of the Word client, you might have seen:

“Sorry, Word Online ran into a problem opening this document. To view this document, please open it in Microsoft Word.”

But if you do open it in Word you then get the first error message. Luckily it’s a simple fix.

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Customize styles/formatting of SharePoint list column header rows

Note: This post applies to on-premise/server lists or O365 lists set to “classic” view. This will not work on modern views.

A little style on column header rows goes a long way. For example, just a background color and font adjustment can take your list from:

Before:

headerwithoutstyle

to
After:

headerstyle

Here’s how you can apply your own styles to your list(s).

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How to resolve SharePoint list view threshold error: “The view cannot be displayed because it exceeds the list view threshold…”

SharePoint lists have a default limit of 5,000 items per view. But lists can contain 30 million items (just not all available in one view). Since you’re reading this, perhaps you’ve already learned this from an error message such as:

The view cannot be displayed because it exceeds the list view threshold (5000 items) enforced by the administrator.

To view items, try selecting another view or creating a new view. If you do not have sufficient permissions to create views for this list, ask your administrator to modify the view so that it conforms to the list view threshold.

First of all, when in doubt, refer to the documentation provided by Microsoft. Read it carefully to understand limitations in your specific environment, explanations of various actions and rules and the permissions required to correct the issue.

Here’s my summarized version:

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How to create a SharePoint Governance Plan (includes template)

spgov

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

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Using today’s date and/or current time in calculated columns and list view filters

I previously shared how to create a “Today” column in SharePoint that would always be up-to-date even if list items weren’t modified. These were no-code solutions that utilized either SharePoint Designer or Microsoft Flow. You can, however, use Today’s date/time to create views and calculated columns without workflow or script or the need to create another column.

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Embedding Power BI Report Server (PBIRS) reports in SharePoint

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If you’re on-premises and looking to embed a Power BI Report Server report in SharePoint, you’ll find it’s not as easy as O365 embeds. But it’s certainly possible; here’s how:

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How to create a powerful date table or DateKey in Power BI

DateKeys are essential for relative time measures. In “manage relationships” you tie the ‘DateKey'[Date] to a date field in each of your data sources. Giles Walker shared an excellent solution for a robust DateKey that includes measurements and calculations you’re sure to find useful. Here’s that same solution I’ve modified and expanded to be as useful as possible.

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View and share Power BI Report Server (PBIRS) reports full screen

The O365 Power BI Service has an easy “expand” icon on reports to make them full screen whereas Power BI Report Server (PBIRS) lacks that feature. We can still view reports full screen, however, using this simple trick in the URL:

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Intro to conditional formatting & rules/validation when customizing SharePoint new item forms with PowerApps in Office 365

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This post will introduce you to some basic conditional formatting, rules & validation ideas you can implement today in your customized SharePoint forms using PowerApps. And don’t worry – if you start making changes to your form and don’t want to keep them, you can easily switch back to the original SharePoint form.

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Show last modified date for a SharePoint list without using code

listmodified.JPGSo you want your viewers to know the last time data was refreshed or updated in your SharePoint list without having the list’s default “modified” column repeating the same date hundreds of times and taking up horizontal space.

There are a number of solutions out there to show the date a list was last modified using code. This solution provides an option best used with lists you bulk update, or copy and paste to replace all data regularly, but requires no coding. It basically pulls out the “last modified” date of your first list item and displays it at the top as seen above. This solution is not for you if you are updating only specific items within a list.

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