Voice, another speech-to-text option!

Did I ever mention that I am a big fan of speech-to-text functionality? Not only does it save time, but it is also magical to see your spoken word turn into pretty accurate text. (Yes, even in Dutch)

Of course you have the option to dictate in various applications, see this Microsoft help. And I recently wrote about options to transcribe meetings and recordings.

The latest addition, as far as I know, is the Voice option in the Office Mobile app. It is super easy to use and allows you to make notes while on the go. But I have also used it while sitting at home on the sofa, capturing the most interesting statements from election programmes for our recent council elections.
It has saved me a lot of writing. ūüôā

How to start?

  1. Download the Office Mobile app to your phone
  2. Log in with your account (one-time, unless you want to switch accounts)
  3. Click +, then Voice
  4. Select language by clicking the world logo (one-time, unless you want to switch language)

How to record?

  1. Click the Microphone button – this will turn red
  2. Speak
  3. Click the Microphone button to pause, and click again to resume
  4. When done, click Done button

Now what happens?

Depending on your license, different things will happen. As far as I could find out, from literature and experiments, my Business Basic subscription has limited options, but my Family account is supported. How strange!
In the screenshot below, the subscriptions marked with * have limited options.

The different licenses. Licenses with an * have limited functionality, e.g. they do not do speecht-to-text in this app. I do not see an F3 license mentioned, that’s weird.

Supported license:

  • You will see the written text appear while you speak. Magic! Even in Dutch it is very accurate.
  • When you open the file on your phone and click the Share icon, you can share it to Word which creates a Word file with a link to the voice file. You can save that in OneDrive.
  • A voice file (.wav) and a transcript (.transcript) will appear in OneDrive, in a new folder called Voice Captures.
After using the Voice option, a new folder is created in my OneDrive with 2 files.

I have tried to share my phone screen in a Teams meeting and recording that, but that did not work out. I suppose it is a microphone issue. So, I made a (silent) video using screenshots.

You can see what happens.

Non-supported license:

You will create a voice file (.wav) which is stored on your phone. You can share it and save it on OneDrive, or download it and transcribe the text to Word, as described in my earlier post, option 1.
So, rather disappointing.

You can see the difference in outcome in below screenshot:

On top: voice capture with Business Basic, bottom: voice capture with Family account; it displays the text.

Another limitation: device

Voice appears to be available on phones only and not on tablets. In any case, I could not select any microphone settings on my iPad, not even when I had my headset attached.

I have already added the new “Voice Captures” folder to the post: Who created those folders in my OneDrive?

Conclusion

I really like this option for taking quick notes, but I was rather disappointed to find out that my Business Basic license only has limited options. But you, reader, will probably have a solid Enterprise license so I guess that won’t be an issue. So, why not give it a try!

Do you or your organization have any experiences with the app? Have I missed something, or do you have more experiences with the licenses? Please share!

I am also investigating the other Mobile app options, so watch this space ūüėĀ!

Writing SharePoint news posts (our way)

A few months ago I helped create and introduce a SharePoint intranet for “my” health care organization. The majority of the new intranet consists of SharePoint Pages and News, default functionality. As this provides our publishers with tons of options for layout, colour schemes, styles, fonts and what not, we had to take a few measures to keep a somewhat consistent look-and-feel.
Additionally, many publishers wanted some guidelines as they were a tad overwhelmed with choice.

I mentioned before that our Communications function is not too fanatical in enforcing the corporate style guide on people – everyone can select their own Office365 theme, for instance. But some consistency is needed, of course.

What a difference with my (multinational) employer before! There we spent the majority of our intranet redevelopment budget on creating a complicated News setup, which was at that time not available in SharePoint, with fixed page templates and colour schemes, fonts, whitespace and what not.
Did I ever tell you that, after launch of this beast, the team attended a SharePoint conference and learned that Microsoft would be introducing SharePoint News? Out of the box? FOR FREE?
You can imagine what we felt when we heard that ūüôā

Please find below an overview of our attempts to keep things consistent. Feel free to translate these to your own organization or clients, and please let me know if you use any other guidelines for this purpose.

1. Structure what can be structured

  • All “formal organizational units” have their own site for publishing pages and news posts.
    Although I know you should not structure your intranet according to the organizational setup, there were hardly any other ways to structure it by without running into other issues, such as ownership. Trust me, we tried ūüôā
  • All organizational sites are grouped into one Hub site.
    This allows for one navigation and colour scheme, and roll-up of news.
  • All hub sites have the Blue theme.
    This matches best with our style guide. I offered to change the main blue colour into the actual style guide colour, but that was not necessary.
The standard Blue theme matched well
  • Every hub site has the same site icon.
    This way it is always clear if a site belongs to the intranet.
  • The news web parts on all sites are configured to display title, summary and date only.
    Adding too many data provides a cluttered look. It also uses a little more vertical space.
Left colum: with author, date and views, right column: date only.
  • Headers are compact, footers simple.

2. Provide guidelines for what is flexible

As we use the standard functionality, we had to create some guidelines for writing and design to try and keep the pages and posts consistent and in line with our standards, and to limit the options for publishers. Those guidelines were brought up in training sessions for all potential publishers (and whoever was interested), and are available as reference material.

  • Use a short and catchy title, one line max.
    The title shows what interesting information your text contains, attracts attention, is informative, distinctive and piques curiousity. There are internal trainings for writing catchy titles!
  • Use active text.
    Do not use verbs such as ‘will’, ‘can’, ‘be’, ‘may’, or ‘become’.
  • Do not underline your text.
    Readers may think it is a hyperlink.
  • Avoid abbreviations where possible.
    If you must use one, first write it out completely and add the abbreviation behind it in parentheses. For example: “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)”
  • When you add a document, give the document a clear title, without date or version.
    The date and other information can be viewed from the document library it lives in. And in case you need to edit the information, you do not need to edit the title.
  • Keep your page or news item as short as possible.
    When you really need a long text, please break up your text with headings and use anchors to allow the reader to jump to the desired part immediately.
  • Use capitals sparingly.
    There is a paragraph in the style guide for the use of capitals. (I am a Big Fan of Capitals, but the style guide is not :))
  • Use “One column” or the “One-third right” layout for news posts
    The first one suits straightforward posts, the other is better when you want to add a photo, button, etc.
    For static pages, publishers can use another layout.
The preferred page layout for news when you want more than just text
  • Use our “Image bank” (Organizational assets) or Stock Images for images where possible.
    The photo’s in the image bank are suitable for the organization, and, like the Stock Images, have no copyright issues.
  • When using an introduction text, use standard size, bold, black or “theme dark alternate” blue.
    That blue is well readable and matches best with our corporate colours.
The preferred blue colour
  • For headings, use standard size bold, standard size italics OR heading 2 or 3.
    You can use black or “theme dark alternate” blue, as long as you use the same colour of the introduction text.
  • Add the Publish date on your news posts.
    By default this is off, so this is easy to forget. Perhaps a new page template may help. If anyone knows how to turn this on by default, please let me know!
Show the published date is off by default. ūüė¶
  • Enable comments for news and short-time pages.
    This allows for discussion within the organization.
    You can disable comments for static pages.
Comments are on by default

You probably recognize some of these as standard writing guidelines, but it never hurts to repeat, as not all publishers are experienced writers.

Please note publishers can deviate from these guidelines, e.g. if they have a post or page about a special topic that needs to stand out.

What have we missed? What do you use?

Please let me know which other guidelines you are using to make your vanilla SharePoint news a little consistent.

360 degrees feedback in Forms

There are many tools in use for asking 360 degree feedback. If you have one at your organization, which works well, this post is not for you. ūüôā

If your organization uses a protected Word form, please pay attention, as this can be done more efficiently!

The reasons for protected Word documents has never been clear to me; it may have to do with avoiding that people change the document accidentally or on purpose. In any case, I do not like it, as I think it is an inefficient way of doing things and, even more importantly, a password-protected document can not be opened by someone who has a F3-license!

So, when someone asked for help because he could not open the document in Word Online, I immediately thought of replacing it with a Form.

  • The Form can be made into a template and shared across the organization.
  • As the information collected is for your eyes only, you can personalize the Form if you see fit – in appearance, in introductory text, or even questions. (Although I would be careful with the latter)
  • You can automatically collect names & email addresses of all invited colleagues, without them having to type it. You can also do it anonymously if that feels better.
  • All feedback is automatically collected in one Excel file without you having to cut and paste from various Word documents.

The Word document

It contains the following:

  1. Organization logo
  2. Field to enter the name of the owner of the file (who is looking for feedback)
  3. Field to enter the name of the feedback-giver (so it is not anonymous)
  4. Date
  5. Q1: What does this employee do well? What is (s)he good at?
  6. Q2: What would you like to tell this empoyee? What should they think about? (Good advice, suggestions)
  7. Q3: What can be improved? Is there any behaviour that they might want to change?
  8. Q4: Additional feedback (optional)

The Form

I rebuilt the Form and ended up with just the 4 questions. I aso rephrased the questions to be more personal. (What does this employee do well > What do you think I do well?)

The rest is built into the Form. (OK, I admit that I forgot to add the logo in the screenshot below)

The Form, just 4 questions

Template instructions, for the owner

How to share the Form as a template: Microsoft info

A new place to create a template; it was under Send, then it was a separate person icon, now it is under …
You create the link to the template here

You will get a link, which you can share on a SharePoint page, with some instructions, or someplace else.
Make sure that there are copies somewhere, in case the owner leaves the organization!

Template instructions, for the user

  • Click on the link to the feedback template
  • On top of the page, click “Duplicate It”
Creating the individual Form (with logo this time!) from a template
  • You will now have a copy in your list of Forms.
  • Please click on the title and delete the word “Copy”
  • Check and adjust the introduction text
  • Click on the … top right and check the Settings. Do you collect names and email addresses (or do you prefer anonymous feedback?) and do you have a nice personalized “thank-you text”? Adjust when needed.

Your 360-degree feedback request is now ready to be shared with the selected colleagues.

(I am assuming that the user knows how to work with Forms otherwise, such as sharing the link and collecting the responses)

Do you want to try it?

I have made the Form available for you. As it is now available for anyone, I am no longer collecting email and names as I would when using an internal Form. But please…

Unfortunately templates only work within an organization, so I can not share the template with you, but it is very simple to recreate.

Please let me know if you found this useful!

A collection!

By the way – I finally found a reason to use collections in Forms: I have created a collection called “Forms from my blog” ūüôā

Sharing SharePoint news to Yammer

Last week I wrote about “promoting” SharePoint news items to Yammer. Only when the header image lives in the Site Assets library, the image is displayed on Yammer.
(According to Susan Hanley, it is also displayed when the image is from Organizational Assets)

While I was doing the experiments, the following questions popped up:

  • Does this work in the same way for News posted in Team sites?
  • Is there any difference when you use a different browser?
  • Do news items display better in the Yammer apps?

Let’s find out, shall we?

1. Promoting news from a Team site

Until now, I have only shared news from Communication sites. For the sake of completeness, I recreated all news items from my earlier post in an existing Team site in my tenant.

During Promoting to Yammer, the preview does not show the image, nor does it show on Yammer. This was the case for all options.

You may also notice that the display is slightly different than when you promote from a Communications site: there is no space on the left hand side for an image.

No preview when you promote a news item to Yammer.
None of the options display an image

Now this Team site was created in January 2018 and is not a modern, group-enabled site so I tried it again with a freshly created Team site. Experiments are marked with T2. I have no “recent” option as this was a brand new site.

The preview shows an image in most cases, and on Yammer the behaviour is the same as for the Communication site as mentioned in my preceding post.

One of the previews
A new, group-enabled Team site behaves like a Communication site in this respect

Conclusion: Very modern (group-enabled) Team sites work like a Communications site when showing images on Yammer, but if you have a slightly older Team site, your News header images may not be displayed. You may want to keep this in mind when troubleshooting!

2. Do different browsers show the same result?

I generally work in Microsoft Edge, but when I opened the Yammer page in Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, there was no difference. I also tried Safari on my iPad, same results.
So this is not browser-dependent.

3. Yammer iOS apps

The experience in iOS was rather disappointing ‚Äď no images are visible on iPad or iPhone, and for the Communication site, it showed just the link to the page. Not nice!

News from a Communication site. Only the link, not even the title!
New Team site – even the “Upload” option does not show an image

Conclusion

There’s quite a number of factors that influence the visibility of images on Yammer. Location of image, site type, site age, web or app, so there can be various reasons why the image from your News item is not displayed when shared on Yammer!

(I feel like creating a troubleshooting guide…)

SharePoint Holmes and the Promoted Post

The case

One of our news publishers shared a post on Yammer but it did not show up very nicely: the image was not displayed. What did she do wrong?

I remember having mixed experiences myself, and I also think Microsoft promises a beautiful sharing experience on Yammer (that prominent “Promote” button is not on every news post for nothing) so I asked SharePoint Holmes for help!

We are not the only ones to experience this, see this item from the tech community.

The investigation

1. Sharing news posts to Yammer

I confirmed that this was a Communication site.
I then used the “Promote” option to share every news post created in my earlier article on the storage of images. I also used the “Send to” option and that behaves similarly.

My own Yammer has the “new” experience, but I have not switched to “Native Yammer” yet. It may be different for Native Yammer users, but my own and work tenant have the same experience.

Options to share your news post to Yammer

The sharing interface shows the image in all news posts.

The promote/send interface

But this is the result on Yammer:

Not all posts show an image on Yammer

2. News posts with images in a regular Document Library

Seeing the results, and as the “From a link” is a bit of an exception (the image resides in the Site Assets library of another site) I added two extra experiments: I uploaded images to regular document libraries, one in the Intranet site where I created all news, and one in another site, created a News post with those and shared them on Yammer.

During upload to Yammer, both showed the image in their preview.

Normal preview with image

But on Yammer, they do not show their image.

Both posts do not show the image on Yammer

They look OK in the site and on the SharePoint homepage, though.

Both news post show the image in their own site
Both news posts show the image on the SharePoint homepage

The solution

So, it appears that you need to think beforehand whether you want to share a news item on Yammer, because your choice of image source makes or breaks your Yammer post!

I advised the news publisher to create news posts with images that will end up in the Site Assets, so that would be:

  • Recent (most likely – be aware of copyright issues as this might have been taken from the web)
  • Upload
  • Web Search – but be aware of copyright issues!
  • From a Link, if you know that the image lives in a Site Assets library

If you combine my advice from my earlier post and these results, “Upload” appears to be the best option. This is actually quite annoying – one would expect that all news posts would display their image!

According to Susan Hanley, images from Organizational Assets also show up when shared via Yammer. So there’s no more excuse…I have to learn how to Powershell this into my tenant! (I know the command, but I do not know where to enter it!)

This experiment triggered some new questions, such as the behaviour of News created in Team sites (as opposed to Communication sites), so that will be my next post!

About SharePoint Holmes:
Part of my role is solving user issues. Sometimes they are so common that I have a standard response, but sometimes I need to do some sleuthing to understand and solve it.
As many of my readers are in a similar position, I thought I‚Äôd introduce SharePoint Holmes, SharePoint investigator, who will go through a few cases while working out loud.

Stay true to your Form

In my most recent post I showed what happened when you make a change in one of the answer options in a choice question in Forms. That case was based on a real-life scenario.

You will know by now that these things trigger my curiosity, so I decided to find out what happens to other question types when you change them halfway?

I thought about question types that can be changed significantly and came up with Text, Rating, Ranking and Likert.
So I started out with this questionnaire:

The survey start – 4 changeable questions

And after entering 10 responses randomly, this was the first result:

Results 1

With a score of 4.20 this must be a good blog post! ūüôā

Then I made the first set of changes:

  • In the Text question, I changed from short text to long answer
  • In the Rating question, I changed the 5 stars to 5 numbers
  • In the Ranking question, I replaced “Darts” with “Figure-skating”
  • In the Likert question, I changed “Forms” to “Visio”

Again, I added 5 random responses, and ended up with these results:

Results 2

Results after the first change

You only see the last 3 responses for the Text question, the answers appear a bit more wordy. The word cloud is a bit fuller, but that’s it.

Exchanging stars in the Rating question does not make much difference, you get a number rather than stars, but that is not significantly different.

For the Ranking, the change is rather more alarming as the results for Darts are replaced by those for Figure skating, and the name Darts completely disappears. I had expected that the results would be separated, and that Darts would be called “Other”, like with the choice options, but apparently not.

For the Likert question, again all votes for Forms are now turned into votes for Visio, and the word Visio has disappeared, there’s no “Other” like in the choice question.

So, it was time to make some more changes:

  • In the Text question, I changed to a Number
  • In the Rating question, I changed the 5 numbers to 10 numbers
  • In the Ranking question, I added “Cycling” as an option
  • In the Likert question, I added an option “N.A. or don’t know”

And when I had added 5 responses, the results looked like this:

Results 3

Results after the second change

The Text question now shows the last 3 numbers PLUS the old word cloud. Most confusing!

For the Rating question, the average was 4.9. I had made several entries in the 6-10 region, but as there were at least15 entries with a lower number, the average had not increased that much.
But…when you have a 5-point scale and score a 4.2 (as in the second result) you are doing very well. If you have a 10-point scale, 4.9 is pretty low.

For the Ranking question, the new sports gets added to the results. There’s only 5 responses for this option, which skews the results. 20% firsts for this sport is not as many as 20% for the sports that have been there for the entire ride. ūüôā

For the Likert question, a change of colour may confuse you. The “Yes” option was blue, but has turned to grey. This makes perfect sense from a visual design perspective, but is a bit confusing otherwise. Again, as with the Ranking, there’s only max. 5 responses of “N.A. or don’t know” possible, compared to max. 20 for the other options, so this will skew results.

I also looked at the Excel.

The detailed results in Excel

The Text results are a mess. Yes, you could score all answers as a number, but then you might have as well sent an email or interviewed everyone.

You see that the first 15 Rating scale answers are not multiplied by 2 after moving from a 5-point scale to a 10-point scale. This will result in a much lower score than you would have had if you had started out with a 10-point scale straight away. This will lead to the wrong conclusion: that people do not like this blog topic, while in fact they do!

For the Ranking, you see that the word “Darts” no longer appears in the responses, it gets overwritten after the change. So that darts fan is now suddenly a lover of figure skating. ūü§¶‚Äć‚ôāÔłŹ It also means that cycling fans will hardly ever be in the majority as that option was added quite late in the process.

For the Likert question, the results between the options are not comparable. Everyone who thought they were answering a question about Forms, have now answered the question for Visio. And “N.A. or Don’t know” may have scored differently when the option had been there throughout the survey.

I could have made more changes, but I trust you will get the gist.

Conclusions

  1. Mid-survey changes are technically very easy to do.
  2. Mid-survey changes are not visible as they are not logged (not even in the Excel file). This will make it very hard to interpret the results. It will even be difficult for the owner, as they do not know at exactly which moment between entries the change has been made (except when adding an extra option).
  3. The good news is, that for Rating scale and Likert questions you can easily correct a typo. In the Choice question types even that creates a new option, as we have seen before.
  4. Mid-survey changes can create havoc in the results. In fact, you are changing the rules in the middle of the game. Results become incomparable or and conclusions may be completely incorrect (such as changing Rating from a 5- to a 10-point scale).
  5. You may want to check the Excel for the exact results, but that does not help when drawing conclusions. Are you sure that someone who likes to watch Formula 1, would have the same preference when (s)he would have had the option to select Cycling?

This will not come as a surprise, of course. I only hope I have made things more clear by having shown what happens exactly when you make a change. It is tempting as it may look like a small and easy change, but it can have unpleasant consequences.

As mentioned in my earlier post, I would rather suggest that before launching your survey, you

  • discuss the setup of your survey with your colleagues – e.g. which sports do they want included in the answer options?
  • ask one or more colleagues to complete the survey to see if they understand your questions and the answer options are logical, complete and spelled correctly
  • remove all test entries or copy your survey before it goes live
  • resist any push to make changes when the survey is running, even if it comes from higher management. Show them this blog when they insist. ūüôā

Do you have any experiences with making mid-survey changes?

Funny Forms response

Recently a colleague saw something strange in the Forms survey she was running: she had 5 potential answers, but the results showed 6, including one “Other”. What had happened here?

Let me show you with some screenshots.

I created a survey. By the way, does anyone know the mechanism of that lightning symbol that sometimes shows up at the Theme-button, providing you with a number of additional images? Sometimes it is there, sometimes it is not. Most confusing!

So, this is the Form I created.

The form, 5 answer options, shown randomly

I added some results until it looked like this:

The results so far

Then I did something and then the results showed 6 answer options, including “Other”. It also changed to a bar graph instead of a pie.

Suddenly an extra option appears

Do you notice what I did? I changed “Text message” into “Text”. This means that my earlier entry is a different entry than the current choice options, so it is “Other”.

Any new entries after the change will be added to the new option:

New entries will be added to the new option

Conclusion

If you see an unexpected “Other” option in your survey responses, remember if you have changed one or more of the options during the survey.

How to remediate?

You can go back to “Text message” but if your survey is already live, you may have received entries with “Text” in the mean time and that will mean that those will now be in “Other”, so that does not really help.

Entries with the new option will be “Other” when you change back to the original wording

Fortunately, the Excel file will give you the exact responses, old and new.

Old and new responses

How to prevent?

Of course, prevention is better than fixing, so I always advise my colleagues to:

1. Ask colleagues to review before going live

Ask one or two others to review any survey before it is made live. A fresh pair of eyes can help a great deal in removing any overlooked typos, weird questions or answer options, or formatting mistakes. Additionally, Forms mentions the average time to complete the survey, and this may help you to “sell” participation – “it only takes 2 minutes”.

2. Remove any test data before going live

Have you or your reviewers completed the survey while checking? Make sure you remove these responses before you go live, especially when you have corrected anything during the review. This way you will start with a fresh survey.

Hope this is helpful!

Images in SharePoint News and Pages

We have established that creating pages and news in SharePoint is easy and gives excellent results. As our intranet publishers get more experience, they are also asking more questions, such as “where are my page/news images stored?”

In proper SharePoint style: It depends! ūüôā on the original location of the image.
Let’s take a look at the various image sources. These are your 8 options when you add an image to a news item or a page. If our admin has NOT enabled the Organization Assets option you will not see “Your organization”.

Your sources for images for news or pages

A copy of the images used (for any page or news post) may be stored in the Site Assets library in your site, in a folder Site Pages. If yes, the page/post will get a new subfolder with the name of the page/post and the images used.

Experiment

To check what happens exactly, I created news items using each available option. I have no Organizational Assets library enabled in my tenant, but I know from work how it behaves.

These are the news items I created, with the name of the image source:

7 news item, each with a different image source

Results

Only Web search and Upload create a new folder.

Web Search and Upload create a new folder

The good thing is, that adding images is very economic; you seldom get copies taking up storage space.
I know storage quota is not really a thing anymore in modern SharePoint, but I have spent so many years worrying to keep SP2007 site collections within their 2 GB storage limit, that this topic will always be on my mind. ūüôā
The bad thing is that you will not collect your used images in your site, if you plan to re-use them again. Also, if someone decides to remove their image from the internet or their SharePoint site, you may end up with no image. For News this will not be so serious as most news is volatile. For long-term and important pages, it may be worth keeping your images under your own control.

Results

In the overview below I am sharing my opinion on the various options, based on my experiences, together with their storage behaviour. I have added a ‚≠ź for my favourites. Feel free to disagree, I like learning from others!

Recent

ūüĎć Convenient

ūüĎé You have probably used this recently, so do you really want to use this again?

ūüďā No new folder, image is stored in its original folder.

Stock Images ‚≠ź

ūüĎć Good variety of images, freely available

ūüĎé They might get over-used

ūüďā No new folder

‚≠ź This is the simplest solution if you need an image and do not want to spend too much effort

ūüĎć All images you can think of

ūüĎé Beware of copyright – finding out can be time-consuming, not finding out can be costly

ūüďā Creates new folder

Your organization ‚≠ź

ūüĎć Custom images suitable for your organization, no copyright issues (assuming you use your own and bought images)

ūüĎé You need someone to manage these assets. I am lucky as our Communications manager is both a keen and expert photographer AND a tenacious intranet manager, so she really keeps an eye on this collection and is always happy to add new images when you ask.

ūüďā No new folder

‚≠ź Easy to use and this allows you to use specific imagery that fits your organization

OneDrive

ūüĎć Nothing

ūüĎé Private by default, so you need to share them first with your intended audience (see my earlier post, SharePoint Holmes and the Invisible Illustration)

ūüďā No new folder, the image stays in your OneDrive.

Site ‚≠ź

ūüĎć Easily available, good if you have custom images for your site, e.g. with specific theme or branding. Best option for long-standing pages as deletion is within your own control.

ūüĎé Might become repetitive if you have used them before. When you are storing images in a separate library, you or fellow publishers need to remember where they are.

ūüďā No new folder, the images stay in the library where you have stored them.

‚≠ź Useful when you create content that will be relevant for a long time, and/or when you have custom illustrations.

Upload ‚≠ź

ūüĎć Familiar experience for most users. Best option if you want to use an image from your OneDrive – upload it from your OneDrive client.

ūüĎé Nothing

ūüďā Will create new folder

‚≠ź Especially when you start using SharePoint you will probably have to dive into your own collection on your PC quite often. After some time you will probably be using your Site images, see above.

ūüĎć Good way to re-use suitable images across the organization

ūüĎé This can only be a link to an image within your organization (OneDrive or SharePoint).
You need to know where the image lives and be sure that your intended audience has permission to see it.
The owner can remove it, leaving you with no image.
Once you have used it, it is quite hard to find the link to the image and the site. I could find it using F12 (developers tool) and search for the name of the site or the image (if you know) but that is not very convenient. Please let me know if you know an easier way!

ūüďā No new folder

Conclusion

My suggestion would be to use Stock Images, Organizational Assets, Site or Upload; they appear to be most user- and maintenance-friendly for short and long term.

Your experiences/opinion

Did I forget anything, or is there an option you really like or dislike? Please let me know!

How to transcribe a meeting with Teams or Word

I am quite happy with the speech-to-text options that the Microsoft365 suite provides, such as Dictation and Transcription. And while the Dutch language is apparently not fully out of beta yet, I am impressed with the accuracy of Dictation. It has saved me a lot of time, for instance when writing instructions or reports.

Transcription is a recent addition to the stack, and it comes in handy when you want to report an interview, create subtitles for a video or when you need a word-for-word report of a meeting, one with legal implications, for instance.

There are 3 ways to create a transcript:

  • Transcribe an existing recording in Word online
  • Transcribe directly in Word online
  • Transcribe directly during a Teams meeting

1. Transcribe an existing (meeting) recording in Word online

This is useful if you have an older meeting recording, if your organization does not have automatic transcription enabled, or if it is a non-Teams recording. You can transcribe up to 300 minutes per calendar month. This is calculated from the length of the video, regardless of the amount of spoken content.

  • You need to have a recording of your meeting, or other recording in .wav, .mp4, .mp3 or .m4a format
  • In your location of choice (OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams) open a new Word online document and give it a meaningful title
  • Click on the microphone on the Home tab, and select “Transcribe”
  • Make sure you select your desired language
  • Click “Upload audio”
  • Upload your recording and the transcription will begin
  • When the recording has been transcribed, click “Add to document” and you will be asked to add time and speaker name, if that makes sense
Clicking “Add to document” will create a popup with the options.

The document will then look like this. You can edit the text where necessary.

Your transcript from a recording.

Please note that the recording you upload will be copied to your OneDrive in a new folder, “Transcribed documents”, even if it is already in the “Recordings” folder! As recordings are generally large files, this can cause storage space issues. Remember, colleagues with an F3 license only have 2 GB of storage space.
Remove at least one copy of your video.

I have this video also in my OneDrive but a copy gets added to a newly created folder: “Transcribed Files”

This was only a small upload to transcribe so it only took 2 minutes of my monthly allowance!

Language and minutes left.

Tips:

  1. If you find 300 minutes is limiting, check if you can win time by cropping your video as much as possible (you can do that in Stream if you have no other software).
  2. Alternatively, you can use the free Word online that comes with your Outlook.com email address! (If the topic of your meeting and your company policies allows to store data there)
  3. If your recording is >200 MB and resides in your OneDrive, you may want to download it to your Downloads folder or Desktop before uploading. We have found that this reduces error messages on file size.

2. Transcribe directly in Word online

Check out the first of these two videos.
This will be useful for an interview, as shown in the video, but it can also be used for a meeting. Please make sure to warn the meeting participants that you are going to do this, as they will not get a system warning when you do!
Open a fresh Word online document and click Start > Dictate > Transcribe.
Click “Start recording” and your online meeting will be recorded and transcribed.
Next to the Word file with the text, you will get an audio file in the “Transcribed documents” folder in your OneDrive. There appears to be no limit in the amount of transcriptions you can execute this way.

3. Transcribe directly during a teams meeting

If you want to use this option, your Microsoft365 admin must have transcription enabled in the Teams admin portal, under Teams > Meetings > Meeting Policies.

Where to enable Meeting transcription

You can check whether it is available by clicking the … in your meeting control bar and then looking for “Start transcription”. This is available in the Teams desktop app only! If it greyed out, it has not been enabled.

Where you start to transcribe

When you click Start Transcription all participants will get a notification, just as when you start a recording.

All participants will get a warning that they are being transcribed.

During the meeting, you can watch the transcript by clicking … in the meeting control bar and selecting “Show transcript”. This will be shown in a panel on the right side of the meeting screen.

Open the transcript
The transcription pane opens on the right-hand side. With the … top right you can select the language.

After the meeting, you will find the transcript on the Chat tab.

All info is condensed on the Chat tab.

You can also see the transcript in the meeting itself in the Teams agenda, on the Recording and Transcriptions tab. The text is written on the tab, and you can download it as .docx or .vtt

The transcript is also visible on a separate tab in the meeting in the Teams agenda.

Tips:

4. You can download the transcript in .docx or .vtt format. The latter can be uploaded to the recording in Stream to provide subtitles.
5. Make it easy for yourself and your colleagues to identify you in captions and transcriptions. Toggle the button to automatically identify you. Anything you say will then be attributed to you.

If you have this setting enabled, your name will be added to everything you say. Otherwise you will be “Speaker x”.

My experiences

We have enabled option 3 as a test, but we have disabled this after a few weeks, as it was very confusing for our users:

  • Transcription in Dutch works well, but you will need to change the default language for every meeting you want to transcribe. Not everyone knows or remembers this, so chances are that you will end up with a Dutch meeting transcribed into English – and trust me, that is very very weird! ūüôā
  • We found that F3-licensed users do NOT see the “Show transcript” in their menu, but it may be that our experiment was too short to fully roll out to my test account. According to Microsoft, they should be able to. They can use the Word options, though.
  • You can start a Transcription without recording but…
  • You can NOT start a recording without starting transciption. This can be confusing.
When starting a recording, all participants will get a message that they are not also recorded, but also transcribed. You may have some explanation to do!

We may try again when we can enable Dutch as the default language, either by following the language settings of transcription starter (see this Feedback item – please vote!) or by following the tenant language.

Conclusion

If you need a word-by-word report of your meeting, Transcription can be a great help.

The Teams options is the easiest way to create a transcipt, but currently it works best if your organization speaks English and you have instructed your colleages about the use of transcription.

If your organization does not have English as their preferred language, and/or you do not have it enabled in Teams, you can still record the meeting and use Word online, or transcribe it directly in Word (but this is a bit sneaky). It is a bit more work, as you will have to adjust the speakers names, and you will get a additional audio file in your OneDrive, but it still works well.

Have you been using it and do you have any experiences and tips to share?

Things to know about Forms collections

Have you tried the Collection option for Forms yet? It is meant to group your Forms together in a meaningful way.  Mike Tholfsen explains it in this video. Microsoft has a support article as well.

It is not a functionality I have ever missed. Until now, pinning the Forms that I need on a regular basis has been sufficient for me. I do not have that many Forms, and I generally delete the ones that are no longer relevant.

So, I thought I’d check out what Collections do and why this is a useful functionality.

When is a Collection useful? 

I can think of the following use cases that could work for me: 

  • As archive¬†for¬†complicated¬†Forms¬†that¬†took¬†a long time¬†to¬†create¬†and¬†that¬†I¬†may¬†want¬†to¬†reuse one day. Simple Forms I¬†discard¬†when done and¬†create¬†from¬†scratch¬†when¬†needed again.¬†¬†¬†
  • To store templates,¬†so I do not mix active Forms with templates.
    Templates are¬†stand-alone¬†copies,¬†and¬†have¬†everything¬†from¬†the¬†original,¬†except¬†the¬†answers. Templating them adds “Copy” to¬†the title, but that’s it and it is easily removed. Grouping them in a collection would make sense.
  • The same goes for Quizzes.¬†I do¬†not¬†use¬†those¬†very¬†often,¬†and¬†I would¬†not¬†want¬†them¬†mixed up¬†with¬†my¬†Forms¬†either.¬†There is also no visual clue to identify a Quiz.
  • If I had many Forms I could imagine I would want to group them by theme, but right now I do¬†not¬†have¬†enough¬†Forms¬†to¬†have¬†that¬†need.¬†

What do you need to know about Collections?

a. You¬†only create¬†them¬†in “All¬†Forms‚Ä̬†which¬†is¬†one¬†click¬†away¬†from¬†the¬†Forms landing page. If you have not seen the option yet, try your “All Forms” page! ¬†ūüôā

b. On your Forms¬†landing page¬†you¬†will see¬†all¬†recent¬†forms¬†displayed¬†whether¬†they¬†are¬†in a¬†¬†collection¬†or¬†not.¬†Collections¬†are ONLY visible on¬†that¬†“All¬†forms” page. This¬†can¬†be¬†confusing¬†as you may accidentally¬†select¬†an incorrect Form.

Forms landing page – all Forms together
All my Forms page. Forms are shown within their Collection (Templates).

c. You can see the images, but not the titles of Forms in a Collection. (See screenshot above.) I would have liked to see the titles. But then, you can only see the first 4 so perhaps that is not a big deal.

d. You can not add a shared Form to a collection. This is sad, as I share many Forms (including templates) with colleagues, for instance for our webinars.

e. You can not add Polls from Teams meetings or from Outlook to a collection. Those polls have very few options anyway, so this was no big surprise.   

Polls (recognizable by the icon) can not be added to a Collection

f. When you show your Forms as a list (instead of Tiles), the Collection is shown on top, and the other forms are called Uncategorized forms, so this implies that a collection is a category. It’s just language, but as we have seen in an earlier post, different wording can be confusing.

The List view of my “All Forms” page.

My conclusion

In case you have many Forms, the Collection option is excellent to categorize your various types of Forms. In my situation, having just a few Forms at any given time, the ability to Pin the most current ones to keep them readily available is sufficient.

How are you using Collections?