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 – 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’d 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! 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🤦‍♂️ 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. 🙂

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! 🙂 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. 🙂
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 ⭐ for my favourites. Feel free to disagree, I like learning from others!

Recent

👍 Convenient

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

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

Stock Images ⭐

👍 Good variety of images, freely available

👎 They might get over-used

📂 No new folder

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

👍 All images you can think of

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

📂 Creates new folder

Your organization ⭐

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

👎 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.

📂 No new folder

⭐ Easy to use and this allows you to use specific imagery that fits your organization

OneDrive

👍 Nothing

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

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

Site ⭐

👍 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.

👎 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.

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

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

Upload ⭐

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

👎 Nothing

📂 Will create new folder

⭐ 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.

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

👎 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!

📂 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!

SharePoint Holmes and the Invisible Illustration

Creating news in SharePoint is relatively simple compared to publishing on the old intranet, our news publishers have informed us. They especially like the many easy options to add images and web parts.

Still, the other day we got a small mystery to solve.

The case

One of the News items showed a strange header image. The publisher told us that she saw the illustration as intended, and that she had used the standard “Image and Title” template because she wanted to use a header image. The rest of our organization saw a grey/white image instead.

Strange image in the news post, not what the pusblisher intended!

She told us she had followed all the steps she usually did.
Time to wrap up in my SharePoint Holmes cloak!

The investigation

I looked at the news post but I could not see anything wrong with it, not even in admin view.

I checked the Site Assets library where images used on Pages are stored, but there was no folder with the name of the news post. This could either mean the image had not been uploaded, or that she had used a selection option that does not create a folder in the Site Assets. (More on that in my next post)

All images used on pages and news are stored in the Site Pages folder in the Site Assets library.

I then asked if she could reproduce her steps while I was looking, as just looking at people’s actions can give you a ton of extra information.
When it came to adding the header image, she selected “OneDrive” and selected the image of choice. She got a popup and clicked “OK” before I could read the message properly, so I asked her what the message said. She said she just clicked “OK” as this added the image to her post, and she had found that if she clicked “No”, she would go back to the image selection and had to start again, so that made no sense.
She then published the news post and it showed correctly on her screen, like this:

The News publisher sees this image from her OneDrive

But not on mine or anyone else’s.

This is the “image” everyone else sees.

It was time to look at that popup. This is it:

When you use an image located on your OneDrive, you need to share it with everyone in the site.

So, if you want to use an image from your OneDrive, which is private by default, you need to share it first with your intended audience. This makes sense, but there is no way to share it while you are in the process. Clicking “OK” assumes you have shared it, clicking “No” brings you back to the image selection. It would be nice if you could adjust the permissions then and there, like you can do with documents you upload in Teams chats!

The solution

In this case, I suggested to use the “Upload” option and select the image from her OneDrive client on her PC. This will upload the image and create a folder with the illustration, shared with everyone who has access to the site.
She could also have uploaded the image to the Site Assets in her news site, and then select “Site”.
It is also possible to share the illustration with everyone on her OneDrive, before adding it to the news post, but I thought that was too complicated. Not everyone knows that “Everyone except external users” is the group to share it with.

To fellow support folks:

Please notice the difference between adding a OneDrive “image” (1) and not adding a header image (2). This can help you find out if this is a similar case.

1: OneDrive image, not shared. 2: No header image (and no other images) added to the post.

My next post will discuss the various image upload options, so stay tuned!

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’d introduce SharePoint Holmes, SharePoint investigator, who will go through a few cases while working out loud.

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! 🙂
  • 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” which is one click away from the Forms landing page. If you have not seen the option yet, try your “All Forms” page!  🙂

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?

SharePoint Holmes and the Tricky Text

The case

One of our teams is using a SharePoint list to capture the goings-on in their department during each shift.

At the beginning of each shift they create a new list item, add info for date and shift and the name of the person in charge and save the item. During the shift they edit the item, adding all the things that need to be captured for later and/or handed over to the next shift.
Generally they are quite happy as the list is less work to update and easier to search through than the Word document they used beforehand.

However, they noticed a few things:

  • When they used interpunction, such as ; or : the results often ended up a bit weird, especially when they were editing an item (e.g. to add something to the list during the shift)
  • They could not list items properly in a text field. They can add something on a new line while writing, but the end result is one large text without any indentation.

That was new for me, so I put my SharePoint Holmes hat on and started investigating. Incidentally Marc Anderson has just showed that you can edit columns on the List side , as well as on List Settings side, and you can get different results, so I checked both.

The investigation

I asked him to show me his issues during a Teams meeting. He shared his screen and I noticed the issues.

I checked the list setup. As it turned out, almost all columns were multiple lines of text (MLOT), Rich Text. (RT)

Rich Text (RT) promises more options than Plain text, yet is easier to work with than Enhanced Rich Text. (List Settings side)

I have always preferred Rich Text, as it has slightly more options than the plain text, while being less cumbersome than the Enhanced Rich Text. That one has more design options, but needs an extra click to access.
You create this Text field after creating the MLOT as Plain Text or Enhanced Rich Text, and then editing the column in the List Settings. (The option is not available when you create the column, and only available in the List Settings)

When you create a column (List side, shown here, OR Settings side) you can only choose Plain Text or Enhanced Rich Text.

I set up a test with three multiple line of text columns, each with a different configuration, and off I went. The strange thing is that I remember that a MLOT in RT always had a few formatting options, but the entry field looks exactly like the Plain Text.

The Rich Text looks and behaves exactly like the Plain text, even when you add and select some content. No formatting options whatsoever.

However, when you save the entries and check what it looks like , the RT field looks different than the others, and indeed, the behaviour is as described.

The Rich Text displays differently than the Plain and Enhanced Rich Text. It does not align texts properly.

Addtionally, when I edited Experiment 2, you see the : behaves strangely:

Strange behaviour with this : in Edit mode. It looks OK in view mode.

Additonally, when I checked the configuration of the Rich Text column from the List side, I noticed that the “Enhanced Rich Text” option was selected. When I pressed “Cancel”, nothing happened, but when I clicked “Save” the columns changed into Enhanced Rich Text.
It is not relevant for this case, but it confirms that there is something strange with this option.

The option appears to be already on, but not really implemented until you click Save.

The solution

You might have guessed: I changed all Rich Text fields to Plain Text, as that is sufficient for their needs and behaves a bit better.

Does anyone know if my beloved Rich Text is going away? As we are moving more towards configuring from the List page rather than from List Settings I am afraid so. I could not find anything about it, but if I have overlooked something, please let me know!

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’d introduce SharePoint Holmes, SharePoint investigator, who will go through a few cases while working out loud.

Pin, save, follow, favourite the “Microsoft365 stuff you like”

While writing my latest post I came across the different words, icons and mechanisms to store “content you like and/or want to be able to find quickly later”.

So, I wrote this overview to know what is what. You may be able to use it when writing help texts and do not want to go and look what it’s called, or it may help you to understand what a colleague means exactly. There’s quite a few words and icons used for the same functionality.

I have captured the following for every application:

  1. Terminology for the action
  2. Terminology for undoing the action
  3. Icon
  4. Where you can find it later
  5. Anything remarkable

Homepage:

  1. Add to favourites
  2. Remove from favourites
  3. ⭐ (star)
  4. Favourites tab on the M365 homepage
  5. You can add everything that appears in the list to your Favourites. This is one way to save any interesting OneDrive or SharePoint documents for later.
    The other way is on the respective Word, Excel and PowerPoint online landing pages, where you can add them to favourites. These will be shown on the Microsoft365 homepage as well.
    There was an extra option in SharePoint but that has disappeared.
On the Microsoft365 homepage, you can add all content types shown to your Favourites by clicking the … . You can find them under the Favourites tab

Delve

  1. Add to favourites (popup text when you hover over it)
  2. Remove from favourites
  3. 🏷 (label)
  4. Left-hand rail in Delve under Favourites
  5. Not sure about the exact words in 1. and 2. as I had to test this on my work account and that is in Dutch. (My own tenant only has me, and that means no suggested content)
    You can also create Favourite Boards.
Screenshot from my work account, so it is in Dutch. You can click the label below a document and you will be able to find it under “Favourites” in Delve.

Forms

  1. Add to pinned
  2. Remove from pinned
  3. 📌 (pin)
  4. Forms Homepage under Pinned
  5. This action does not influence what is on your Microsoft365 homepage and vice versa
You can Pin a form from the Forms homepage and you will then see it under the Pinned tab.

Lists

  1. Favourite this list
  2. Remove this list from favourites
  3. ⭐ (star)
  4. Lists Homepage under Favourites
  5. This action does not influence what is on your Microsoft365 homepage and vice versa
You can favourite a list from the Lists Homepage or in the list itself. This one works like SharePoint sites, right? You can see your favourites on top of the Lists homepage.

OneNote

  1. Add to pinned
  2. Remove from pinned
  3. 📌
  4. Pinned Notebooks are shown on the OneNote landing page, under the tab “Pinned”.
  5. So this is different from Word, Excel and PowerPoint while they are usually in the same range.
OneNote uses Pinning, contrary to Word, Excel and PowerPoint which use Favourite.

Outlook

  1. Pin
  2. Unpin
  3. 📌 (pin)
  4. Pinned mails are shown on top of your Inbox, see also my post “12 reasons why I 💗 Outlook on the web (owa)
  5. Only available in Outlook for the web, not in Outlook desktop
One of the reasons I love Outlook on the web! You can pin mails you want to keep to the top.

Planner

  1. Add to favourites
  2. Remove from favourites
  3. ⭐(star)
  4. Left-hand rail in Planner
  5. Plans only; you can not favourite an individual task
You can add a Plan to your favourites by clicking the star next to the name, or by clicking the … and then selecting Add to favourites. You will see your favourite Plans on the left-hand side.

SharePoint Sites:

  1. Not following
  2. Follow
  3. ⭐ (star)
  4. Follow block in left-hand rail on SharePoint homepage, world icon in the SharePoint app bar
  5. Followed sites also appear as target sites when you copy or move files from OneDrive or SharePoint
You can follow a site from the SharePoint home page or in the site itself, by clicking on the star. In this screenshot, I am NOT following the Communication site. You can find your followed sites on the top left of this page and in some other places.

SharePoint News:

  1. Save for later
  2. Remove from your saved items
  3. 🏷 (label)
  4. See my earlier post
  5. Will be shown together with favourited documents, see my earlier posts
One way to see your “Saved for later” items is on the SharePoint homepage.

Stream

  1. Add to watchlist
  2. Remove from watchlist
  3. 📄 (list)
  4. My content tab > Watchlist
  5. You can also “like” a video but there is no list of your likes – “likes” are a compliment to the creator
You can add a video to the watchlist – all added video’s can be seen under My content > Watchlist

Sway

  1. Add to pinned
  2. Remove from pinned
  3. 📌 (pin)
  4. On the Sway homepage, tab “Pinned”
You can pin a Sway and it will appear under the tab Pinned on the Sway homepage.

Teams

  1. Save this message
  2. Unsave this message
  3. 🏷 (label)
  4. Profile picture top right > “Saved”
  5. You can also Pin a message, but that means you will add the message for everyone in a specific place, so this has a different purpose.
You can Save a message for later by clicking the … on the top right of the message, You can find all saved messages by clicking on your profile pic and selecting “Saved”.

Yammer communities

  1. None, just an icon underneath the community image + description
  2. Remove from favorites
  3. 🧡 (heart)
  4. Left-hand rail under “Favorites”
  5. There is also the option to Pin a post, but that is done by the admin for everyone, so this has a different purpose.
You can “💗” a Yammer community, it will be shown in the left-hand rail.

Conclusion:

The functionality to save a specific content item for later is available in most apps. I could not find it in Whiteboard, ToDo or Power Automate, and please let me know if I have missed anything.
Next to this personal action, there is often a group action where you can make something easily available for your team. This is usually called “Pinning” 📌

The nomenclature and imagery vary widely, and I would appreciate some more consistency. Personally, I tend to prefer “Save for later”. That is very clear, even more so than “Add to favourites”. We can then use the word “Pinning” for group actions, such as pinning a document to the top of a SharePoint library, a message to the top of a Yammer groep or a chat to the right of a Teams channel.
I also notice that the location where you can find your darlings varies widely too.

So, Microsoft, is this in the roadmap for a little more streamlining? 🙂

And while we are on this topic, I would also like to be able to categorize or group things using my own words, when I have more than 10, for instance. I seem to remember you could do that with SharePoint sites in earlier SharePoint versions. (On-prem, perhaps) And I know that Forms will have Collections (check out Mike Tholfsens’s video) in the near future, but I am looking forward to be able to do that with other content.