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Doug Allen's Articles

3 Tips for Balanced Intranet Governance

3 Tips for Balanced Intranet GovernanceOne of the things that I think most companies struggle with is governance, specifically in context of an intranet.  If you read my blog you know I talk about mostly SharePoint, but good governance can and should apply to really to any platform. 

We actually devote a whole section of our Building a Better Intranet workshop to governance because it’s that important, and yet so many companies don’t even think about it.  In today’s post I wanted to pull out 3 tips that are important aspects of balanced governance. 

Hide Root Node of the SharePoint Breadcrumb like a Pro with CSS!

Hide Root Node of the SharePoint Breadcrumb like a Pro with CSS!Instead of another blog about PowerShell, I wanted to share a quick trick with CSS.  It’s quite common in a SharePoint branding design to include a breadcrumb navigation.  In SharePoint 2007 there was a simple horizontal breadcrumb separated by arrows, and SharePoint 2010 incorporated a tree-style drop down breadcrumb.  The site to site breadcrumbs were removed starting in SharePoint 2013. 

There are many blogs on how to bring either the “up-folder” or simple horizontal breadcrumb back.  But sometimes, you want to hide the root node and the separator.  In today’s post I’ll show you how to do that with just CSS.

Easily Add a Dark Sky Weather Widget on Your SharePoint Page

imageSooner or later it would likely be nice to have some weather in SharePoint.  There are many ways to do this, and the ideal solution would be something that is global above the page that detects where you are and changes the weather for you. 

That’s great, but it’s custom and certainly not free.  But sometimes you want something easy and free to embed something on your SharePoint page.  And if you’re favorite weather app is Dark Sky, you’re in luck!  I’ll show you the tiny amount of code you need.  It’s not a no-code solution, but low-code.

Replace the Default SharePoint Media Player with a Friendly Minimized HTML5 Audio Player

Mminial html5 audio player in SharePointI was working with a client recently and they use a lot of audio files, like when they record customer service calls for quality assurance.  When things go great, they wanted to highlight these cases of awesome customer support in audio clips in blog posts. 

They found the default SharePoint audio player less than appealing and wanted something better.  In today’s post I’ll show you something maybe you didn’t know about your web browser, and how to use it to make this experience better. 

Use SharePoint Workflow to Determine if a Field Changed Without Code

Use SharePoint Workflow to Determine if a Field Changed Without CodeOn a recent client project, we’re working to implement a task-based tracking solution in SharePoint 2010.  There is a parent Project, and that Project has a template set of tasks the workflow creates with due dates.  Then the requirement came up where if the Project due date changed, all of the task due dates needed to be updated to.  Read on to see how I show you an easy and simple no-code way using workflow to tell if a field changed. 

4 Key Questions to Ensure You Create the Proper SharePoint Structure

ChecklistI've been working with SharePoint for over 8 years now, and worked with a lot of different clients and types of users. I've seen that there's one area that a lot of people either struggle with, or get flat out wrong. That is what they create in SharePoint to store content. 

In today's post I'm going to give four questions to answer that should help drive what kind of content needs to be created. Why is this so important?  Keep reading to find out ...

How to Set External Columns in a SharePoint List with PowerShell

I’ve been working with a client recently on a project where we are using a BDC connection.  Things have been going fine when we were using the external item picker in an InfoPath form but we ran into a problem.  We are using an external column in the same library.  Due to issues I will explain, I need to set this external column with PowerShell.

How to Set External Columns in a SharePoint List with PowerShell

I’ve seen a lot of online folks have trouble with this, so I thought that I would share how to properly set this column with PowerShell as there is a little trick to it. 

Two Easy Ways to Get All Checked Out Files from TFS 2010

Two Easy Ways to Get All Checked Out Files from TFS 2010Whether you have full-time or contractors, it’s important to ensure that developers are properly checking in their code.  So how can you get a report of all of the files that are checked out in your solutions?

There are two quick and easy ways to get a report of all the files checked out from your TFS server.  Now the title says TFS 2010, but this applies to newer versions as well.

Use PowerShell to Set Permissions on All SharePoint Libraries, Folders and Files

Use PowerShell to Set Permissions on All SharePoint Libraries, Folders and Files

In today's post featuring PowerShell, I'm going to show you how to use a script with a few functions and some handy tricks to quickly reset permissions with multiple libraries, folders and files.  This can be very difficult to handle manually, especially when there are many many libraries with many folders and files with broken permissions. 

The Future of Business Process Tools with SharePoint

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You've been there, we all have. At one point or another, we loved InfoPath and were disappointed at the news it would be discontinued. We waited with anticipation to see what was going to replace it. It's been quite the gray unknown for a long time, and in part the Ignite conference this year didn't make any overwhelm anyone with any big announcements in this regard. But that doesn’t mean there wasn't one.

Keep reading to get my thoughts and what was announced and where the planned future of InfoPath is going.

SharePoint Workflow 101 Part 4: Best Practices and Extending Workflows

C5 Insight Blog Part 4: Best Practices and Extending WorkflowsThanks for staying with me as I walked you through the basics of workflow in our favorite intranet platform – Microsoft SharePoint (and I’ll see you at the Ignite Conference at the end of the month!). 

To wrap up our series, I wanted to talk a little about some best practices with workflow then offer some ways that you can extend your workflows. 

SharePoint Workflow 101 Part 3: SharePoint Designer and Creating Workflows

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I trust that you’ve been following me in this 101 series on workflow, so welcome to part 3!  Today we’re going to focus on getting SharePoint Designer going, reviewing the interface for workflow and creating some workflows.  Get ready, this will be a long one!  There’s a lot of info to get through, and I give you different steps between 2010 and 2013.

SharePoint Workflow 101 Part 2: Templates and Using Workflows

Welcome to part 2 of our introductory blog series on SharePoint workflows.  Now we can venture deeper into the depths of your workflow adventures.  We’ll cover how to use the default workflows, more details on workflow structure and we’ll wrap up with working with workflows.  In the next post, we’ll crack open Designer to see how we can create some workflow. 


SharePoint Worklfows


SharePoint Workflow 101 Part 1: Intro and Core Concepts

SharePoint for Business Process AutomationWith most clients I’ve worked with over the years, I inevitably get asked the same thing sooner or later – “what’s workflow?"  Or it’s “teach me about workflow,” or “how do you customize an default workflow?"  

With this blog series I want to try to take explain some core concepts of workflow, then give some direction on creating them, the interface, customizing the default ones, some best practices and some ideas on extending them.  Sounds like a lot, and it is!  There are 2 and 3-day training courses just on workflow, but my goal is to give you some basics and direction to get you going with your adventure with SharePoint workflows.  I won’t go into many step by steps on building a sample workflow, but I want to help you started.

Walkthrough of SharePoint Online Modern Document Libraries

SharePoint Online new library experienceRecently Microsoft gave all document libraries in SharePoint Online an overhaul.  Some call it “modern document libraries”, others refer to it as the new library interface experience (or UI experience).  I want to give folks a more granular walkthrough of the experience, and in this post I want to call out some important differences and changes you should pay attention to.

One Missing Step to Uncheck Overwrite Existing Files in SharePoint

Discover the missing step needed to uncheck the default "overwrite existing files" for uploading documents to a single document library.

Upgrading SharePoint: Everything You Need To Know For A Successful Transition

Earlier this March, all the long hours and late nights of the Microsoft SharePoint team came to fruition with the announcement of the release of SharePoint 2016 on May 4, 2016.  As you start planning for a potential migration to SharePoint 2016, we have put together a checklist to ensure your project success.  Continue reading to understand how projects fail and how to avoid this fate!

 

How You Make SharePoint Announcements Grab Attention Easily Using CSR

How You Make SharePoint Announcements Grab Attention Easily Using CSR

SharePoint has had “Announcements” for a very long time now.  The idea is good, you want to let people know what’s going in your department, division, location, site, project, whatever the case might be.  You put the Announcements on the homepage of your site, but they don’t exactly blow you away.  Today I’m going to show you an easy way to use Announcements for Critical News that will with style that get a lot more visibility.

Easily Apply Custom Branding with Focus on Content in SharePoint 2013

imageFocus on Content was a feature that emerged with the release of SharePoint 2013 and is also in SharePoint Online.   What this little button does is hides some structural parts of the rendered page to allow more room for the library, list or page content.  With custom branding, you might have issues. 

I’ll show you a quick and easy way to overcome this and get your users more screen real estate!

How to Better Understand BI Capabilities in SharePoint

imageWith the imminent release of SharePoint 2016 in the coming months, now is an excellent time to reflect on the current landscape of BI. 

Does this sound familiar? “I need a cool dashboard for manager and other executives.  Can SharePoint do that?”
This post will outline options and give guidance when you have SharePoint and are looking to enhance with graphs and charts to build dashboards.

Nintex in 2016: What’s New and the Road Ahead

Nintex Workflow for Everyone
Why are we talking about Nintex?   If you’ve taken a look at their site lately, they have a lot going on! 

In today's post, I'll review some of the latest changes and new functionality coming from Nintex and look forward to great things from them in 2016. 

Use PowerShell to Call a Web Service - Don’t Reinvent the Wheel!

Use PowerShell to Call a Web Service - Don’t Reinvent the Wheel!

One habit that prevails through any vertical is to be efficient at what you do – work smarter not harder right?  In the land of PowerShell (or any development for that matter) that is a vital lesson to learn!  Something comes up and you need to turn to code or PowerShell to accomplish said task and you need to take care of it quickly.  In today's post, I'll show how to use PowerShell to call an existing web service to do all the hard work for us and save us tons of time writing a new script from scratch.  

How to Migrate a SharePoint 2010 InfoPath List Form to SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint Online

Migrate InfoPath list form error
I’ve been working with a client recently to migrate their SharePoint 2010 farms to SharePoint 2013.  A lot of the data was being organized so it was quite a granular move utilizing one of the common 3rd-party migration tools Metalogix Content Matrix.  Of course some of the SharePoint lists had been customized with InfoPath.  While this is fine, I went to move the list with the migration tool, and all went fine until it tried to move the customized list form template - template.XSN.  It refused. This post details exactly what I did next to work around this!   

Wave Goodbye to Power BI in Office 365, We Won’t Miss You

imageAs it happens with Microsoft products, there are two competing versions of the same thing and eventually one gets phased out. Now it’s Power BI for Office 365’s turn. It had a good run, but Microsoft is finally killing off the initial iteration of Power BI to let its new service move in and run the show. Continue reading as I walk you through What is Power BI, how we got to this point, and what can you do moving forward in your Business Intelligence efforts.

How to Use Date Tables and Auto-refresh Online Data Sources in Power BI

Date tableIf you’ve been paying any attention at all to the world of business intelligence lately, you’ve seen the shift of Microsoft Power BI from the service built-in to Office 365 to the standalone offering from http://powerbi.com.  In today’s post, I want to show you how to leverage the Power BI service and construct your data source so that you can have date tables and OData sources that you can configure scheduled refreshes on. 

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Blog Topics

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CPR for CRM Study

The complementary paper includes over 12 years of research, recent survey results, and CRM turnaround success stories.

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SharePoint Readiness Assessment

This 60-second assessment is designed to evaluate your organization's collaboration readiness.

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CRM Self Assessment

Learn how you rank compared to organizations typically in years 1 to 5 of implementation - and which areas to focus on to improve.

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SharePoint Feedback Solution

This is a sandbox solution which can be activated per site collection to allow you to easily collect feedback from users into a custom Feedback list.

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SharePoint Upgrade Checklist

Whether you are upgrading to SharePoint Online, 2010, 2013 or the latest 2016, this checklist contains everything you need to know for a successful transition.