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. πŸ™‚

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 😁!

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚
  • 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. 😦
  • 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.

Is my collection of intranet promotion videos still relevant?

You may know I have been collecting intranet and digitalworkplace promotion videos from 2011 onwards. My aim is to collect and share videos to inform, inspire and amuse the community. They are often a good way to “look inside another organization’s kitchen”, both for the visual design and for the purpose of the intranet.

Below you see my first item, which made me think: “Oh, this is cool, I wonder if there are any more videos of this kind?” πŸ‘‡

Well, there were, and I guess I now have about 600 of those on my list.

I say “about”, because videos come and go. They are not mine, and it depends on the owner whether they stay or get deleted after some time. Additionally, I have had some issues with the hosting platform. About two years ago, it no longer embedded videos from Vimeo properly, so I decided to share some nice items on my blog and I have kept doing that, but I have only shared part of all videos and I really have no clue how many I have. πŸ™‚

Now, the Vimeo troubles have been solved and they have changed their business model and I need to pay to continue adding videos. So I am currently wondering what to do.

Should I stay or should I do something else?

I would like to spend more time on updating my collection, such as adding the last two years of finds, removing references to no longer existing videos, finetuning the tagging, etc. My main concern is not so much the money, but whether it is still worthwhile to continue. Are intranet launch and promotion videos still relevant? Does a collection of this kind still have its uses for people or organizations, or is it just my thing now? Would a Collection on Vimeo and a Playlist on YouTube work as well? Do you like the current mix of Office365 posts and video posts or do you prefer to have a place for each? Do you have any other ideas or suggestions for me?

Please help!

If you are involved in intranets, digital workplaces, internal social platforms, SharePoint etc. and you have an opinion, would you please help me out? I have created a Form to collect your thoughts (anonymously). It takes a minute or two and it would help me a great deal. It will be active until June 30, 2022.

Thank you very much in advance!

Image by Terje Sollie via Pexels

Troubleshooting images in SharePoint news

In recent blogs I showed what can go wrong with images in SharePoint news. So, here’s the recap for everyone who is publishing and sharing SharePoint news and everyone who is supporting them. It will save you time trying to find the cause and solution!

These are the issues, their cause and solution:

  1. No header image visible (News post, News web part and SharePoint landing page)
  2. Header image shows a placeholder image (News post, News web part and SharePoint landing page)
  3. No image visible on Yammer when promoted

1. No header image visible

Does your News post look like this?

This is an example of a news post template with no image
This is the same post, but then on the SharePoint landing page

You (or the publisher) may have selected the “plain” template, this does not have a header.

If this is by design, no action is needed.

If an image is desired, edit the post, click the pencil top right next to the title (1) and select a different template than “Plain” (2). You can now add a header image.

You can easily switch the template to add a header image

2. Header image shows a placeholder image

Does your News post look like this?

The news image is a generic grey image

A News post with a generic grey image on the left can have two causes:

  1. Intended readers have no access to the image.
    The image lives in a place (OneDrive, Document library, Site Assets library) that is not accessible for the intended readers. See my earlier post.
    The issue will be reported by someone who does not have access. The image is visible for the publisher and anyone else who has access.
  2. The image has been deleted or moved after publishing.
    It can take some time before this is noticed, especially by the publisher. The image sticks in the browser cache, so the post will look OK to them. But someone “new” to the post will notice immediately that there is no image.
    In my experiments, the post itself will quickly lose its image and show a grey header, on the News web part it will take some more time, and on the SharePoint landing page it may take even longer!
    In the screenshot below the image is still visible on the SharePoint landing page. (All screenshots have been taken at the same time)
    The SharePoint search index may also have a role in this.
While the image has been deleted, it stays visible for some time on the SharePoint landing page

This can be quite hard to troubleshoot if the publisher does not remember where this image came from. Due to the “stickiness” of the image the issue may only be noticed few days after deletion, which may be quite some time after publishing!

And before you say: “Why bother, the news is outdated after a few months anyway?” remember that this also goes for pages!

You can try the following:

  1. If the publisher remembers the site where it lives, (whether it is the OneDrive or another site) you may want to check the Recycle Bin to see if a deleted image is the problem. Restoring it will solve the issue.
  2. If the publisher remembers the site where it lives, check the permissions to validate the assumption. But rather than changing the permissions for one image, suggest the publisher to download and upload the image, and re-add it to the post.
    It means duplication, but now the image is within control of the publisher.
  3. If the publisher does not remember, things are more difficult.
    It is very unlikely that the Site Assets library or folder of the News site itself will have different permissions from the rest of the site. Nonetheless, to exclude that option, check if there is a folder with the name of the news item in the Site Assets library, and then check permissions of the folder and the image. If yes, inherit the permissions of the site or library again, as unique permissions for a News image are not good practice.
  4. Search for the image. “Images” is now a search vertical. It helps if you know the name!
  5. If this is not the case, there is not much you can do. I tried the F12 “underwater screen” to see if I could find a URL that shows the location of the image (like …my.sharepoint.com/… or the name of the site) but until now I have been unsuccessful. If anyone knows, please let me know!
    You’d better suggest to use another image.

So, this would suggest that using Web Search or Upload is the best source of News images, since you are in control. On the other hand, it means duplication of files which may lead to a lot of clutter all over your tenant.
This may also be your trigger to finally create an Organizational Assets library :).
Agree with the owner that images are not deleted, but hidden in a dedicated view when they are no longer in use, and wait a year or so before deletion. This will keep the images visible on News and pages, but discourage further use.

3. No image visible on Yammer when promoted

While it is very easy to “promote” (share) a SharePoint news post to Yammer, not all news posts show their image when shared.

Does your Yammer post look like this? (I am using “new Yammer”, but not “native Yammer”)

Promoted News item with image, but image does not show on Yammer

That is because the post has been created in an older (not Group-enabled) SharePoint team site. (and not in a modern Group-enabled Team site or Communication site)
There is not much you can do about it except confirm, and inform the publisher that this is how things work. This post explains it in more detail.

Does your Yammer post look like this?

This post has an image placeholder

If the promoted News post only shows an image placeholder, it has been shared from a modern site (Communication or Team) but here the image source is the issue. In my earlier post I found that when you use certain image sources there will be no image on Yammer.
In that case, please suggest to your publisher to use an image from one of the following sources and repost to Yammer:

  • Recent (but beware of copyright issues!)
  • Web Search
  • Upload
  • Organizational Assets
  • From a link to an image in an Assets library (not a regular Document Library!)

Hope this saves you time experimenting!

It is information I wrote before but now turned around into a guide for support folks to help their puzzled users! Hope it is helpful.

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.

5 steps to clean up your Outlook on-the-web mailbox

CleanOutlookheader

This post has been revised and updated May 1, 2022.

Some time ago we introduced the Microsoft365 F3-license into our organization. I work in a health care organization and the majority of our staff is providing care and counseling to our clients and patients. They work mostly with the official patient/client data application. They do not use Office365 heavily.

The F3-license differs in some aspects from the E3 or E5 license used in larger and more office-based organizations, for instance:

  • No desktop apps – it is all online
  • 2 GB Outlook mailbox instead of 100 GB
  • 2 GB OneDrive instead of 1 TB
  • No Delve app visible (on the Office365 landing page) or available (on mobile devices) – but I have a workaround

For more differences, please read my post “Some quirks of the F3 license“.

What happens when the mailbox reaches 2 GB?

When a F3-user reaches 1,98 GB of storage space, they will get a warning message. 1,98 GB is default, but the warning limit can be lowered by the Exchange admin if you want to give people more breathing space.
People will also no longer be able to send messages at that point. So it is important to keep well away from 1,98 GB.

When we made the change, about 10% of users had more than 2 GB in their Outlook on-the-web mailbox, so we sent them a message about what was going to happen and gave them suggestions for cleaning up.

What should you do to reduce storage?

I have noticed that there is a vast amount of support for Outlook on the internet but it is mainly for the desktop app and trust me, there is a BIG difference between the Outlook desktop and Outlook on-the-web.
BTW, I just found Nate Chamberlain’s tips to clean up your Outlook desktop!

So, here’s what we advise our colleagues. Feel free to re-use and embellish!

1. Empty the Deleted Items folder

Apparently there is no tenant-wide option for Outlook-on-the-web to empty the the Deleted Items folder when you log out. (It is possible for the desktop app)
So, it is possible that you have years of Deleted Items in that folder, eating up space! If you know your Deleted Items are there to be deleted, the fastest way is this:

  • Right-click on the name Deleted Items in the left-hand menu
  • Click “Empty Folder”
CleanOutlook-deleteditems
You do not even have to open your Deleted Items folder in order to empty it!

If you have > 500 messages in there, or if you want to check what you are deleting, it may be best to do this in batches:

  • Open the Deleted Items folder
  • Select a number of messages
  • Click “Delete” from the top bar
  • Repeat when the selected items have been deleted
CleanOutlook-selecteditems
Open folder, select items and click Delete is a more gentle way to clean up.

The deleted messages will be stored in a new place. You will see this in your Deleted Items folder, called “Recover items deleted from this folder”.
The “Recoverable Items” works like the SharePoint or OneDrive Recycle bin. You can restore messages back to their original location within 14 days (default) or longer (tenant setting) after deletion.
Items in the “Recoverable items” do not consume storage space.

CleanOutlook-deleteditemsrecoverable
I only recently discovered this nifty option to recover deleted emails! It is in the Deleted Items folder.
CleanOutlook-recoverable
You can restore deleted items back to their original location, just like OneDrive.

Select an item, click “Restore” and your message will be back to the original folder, i.e. Inbox or Sent Items or what not.

Now that your Deleted Items is empty, let’s go to the next step.

2. Check storage space

Which folders consume most storage space?

  • Click the Gear Wheel top right and then “View all Outlook settings”
  • Β Go to “General”, then click “Storage” and you will see how much you are using, both graphical and numeric. Nice!
Here you can see how much you keep in each folder, sorted by size.

You can quickly delete from here, by clicking the arrow next to Delete, and selecting an interval. I expect that in most cases you will want to check the contents first, however. (Although I once sat with a user who discarded the “12 months and older” from her Inbox without blinking an eye, as she had switched jobs a few months before and did not need the content from her old job.)

You can remove mails based on their age on this page.

3. Clean up your largest folders

Deleted Items, Inbox and Sent Items are generally the main storage space hoarders. Depending on your organization’s settings, Junk Mail can be a biggie, too.
So let’s start there with two sorting exercises:

a. Delete largest items

In your Inbox, click Filter (top left), then Sort on Size, largest on top.
Check if you still need these messages. If they contain large attachments, save the attachments to OneDrive. You can move them to SharePoint later, if needed.
If the email text is important, you can save it as a PDF and store it on OneDrive or SharePoint.
Delete the message once you have safeguarded the content in another place. Or just delete it if it is no longer of value.

CleanOutlook-filterlargest
How to sort the contents of a mailbox folder on size.

b. Delete oldest items

In your Inbox, click Filter (top left), then Sort on Date, oldest on top.

Do you really still need the oldest messages? If yes, turn them into a PDF and store in OneDrive or SharePoint before deleting.

c. Repeat for other folders

Repeat steps a. and b. for Sent Items and any other folders that contain a lot of data.

4. Repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 if needed.

I have helped a lot of colleagues through this process and these steps were usually sufficient to get below the 1,98 GB threshold. If not, you will have to redo it and be a little more strict.

5. Auto-empty the Deleted Items folder.

Now that you have a cleaner mailbox, you will want to keep it that way! You can empty your Deleted Items automatically after sign-out as follows:

  • Click the Gear Wheel top right and then “View all Outlook settings”
  •  In Email, go to Message Handling, check the first box and click Save.
CleanOutlook-emptydeleteditems
How to make sure your Deleted Items is emptied on a regular basis.

It was fun writing this post – my own mailbox is smaller now as well πŸ™‚

8 steps to retrieve a lost SharePoint document

SPdocgone-header2We frequently get calls from colleagues whose documents have “disappeared” from their SharePoint site. Over time, we have come up with a few steps to investigate and (often) find them.

They are comparable with the steps taken when you misplace a OneDrive document, but finding lost documents in SharePoint is a bit more complicated than finding them in OneDrive:

  • Other people can edit or delete documents
  • You only have 1 OneDrive (which is one document library), but you probably work in multiple document libraries in multiple SharePoint sites
  • Permissions can vary within and across sites

On the plus side, there is a Site Owner and a SharePoint admin who may be able to help you out!

What could have happened?

These are the most frequent “disappearing acts” of documents:

  • Deleted (deleting a synced folder without disconnecting it first also deletes the documents from SharePoint!)
  • Renamed
  • Moved to another folder in the same document library
  • Moved to another library in the site
  • Moved to another site. This means the original document has been deleted.
  • Moved to your OneDrive
  • Permissions have changed and you no longer have access
  • Metadata have changed so it appears in a different view than usual

Which tools are available?

  • Search
  • Recycle bin
  • The document details pane
  • The site owner or your SharePoint admin

Where to start?

Just like my post about the disappeared web parts and lost documents on OneDrive, I have thought about the best possible order to use the available tools. It may appear to be fastest if you go to the Recycle Bin first, but that may be quite a chore if your site is active, your document has been deleted some time ago and/or document name, the author or the suspected deleter starts with M or N. Sadly you can only Sort, and not Search, in the Recycle bin.

My suggestion would be to first try and find the document in the original library. But please, feel free to disagree! It also depends…:)

1. Search in the Document Library where it used to live

Found it? Open it to see whether this is the document you are looking for. It has most likely been moved from one folder to another, or metadata has changed so it appears in a different view. Take step 2 to find the location if you do not see it straight away and/or confirm with step 7 to see what exactly has happened if you are curious.

SPdocgone-searchlibrary
There are two documents in this library. You can click to open them from there or click “Show more results”

No luck? Move on!

2. Search in the SharePoint site

You can easily do this by clicking “Expand search to all items in this site” on the bottom of the Search results page from step 1.

SPdocgone-searchlibrary2
You do not get any more results in this case, nor the exact location of your documents, but this view allows you to expand search and that will give you more info.

SPdocgone-searchlibrary3
So there is another result if you search in the site. If you get too many results, you may want to use the Files tab and/or the Filters to narrow down. And…this view will show you the path of the document!

Found it? Note down the path and navigate to it to confirm this is the correct document. The document has been moved to another library. Confirm with step 7 if you feel the need.

No luck? Move on!

After this, you can do what is most easy for you.

3. Search from the SharePoint landing page

Found it? Well you are lucky! Unless your document has a very unique name, it will be hard to find between all the other documents in your organization. (Of course, using the Files tab and the Filters should help a little). So, it has been moved to another site. Note down the path and confirm it is the correct document. Confirm with step 7.

SPdocgone-spsearch
Results from SharePoint search. In this case you get results from all of SharePoint, so it will be necessary to narrow down the results by using the Files tab and the Filters. You see there is also a result from OneDrive.

Results from OneDrive are also shown in SharePoint search, so if you have accidentally moved the document to OneDrive, you will find it there as well. Unless you want to know WHEN you did this, there’s no need to confirm with step 7 as you are the only one who could have done this. πŸ™‚

No luck? It has probably been deleted, renamed or had its permissions changed (with or without moving). Take any of the next steps to find out.

4. Search in Office365

Frankly, chances are slim that you will find it here but you can try! If it is not in OneDrive and not in SharePoint (including Teams) it may be in Outlook or Yammer but would you not remember if you have done that? But, just to be on the safe side, give it a try.

Found it? Congratulations! Now move it back to where it belongs!

No luck? Well, you really did not expect to find it after all your other trials, right? Time to look in the Recycle bin.

5. Check the Recycle bin

Found it? Restore it.

No luck? Move on!

6. Ask the site owner if they know, or to search in Library or Site

Found it? It has probably moved to a place to where you do not have access, or you have actively been removed from the access group. Discuss with the site owner to give you access again, if possible.

No luck? Move on.

7. Check the Document Library’s details pane

In some cases you may want to do this earlier, but especially in a busy SharePoint site you need to scroll a lot! If someone knows a good way to export the data into a nice Excel file or something, please let me know.

The details pane is context-sensitive and will display different details depending whether you are on the document library landing page or in a folder.

DisappearedDocs-infopane
Nice icons, clear descriptions and clickable links for documents that are still in this folder or library. Deleted documents are not clickable.

Found it? Confirm it is the correct document and note down the path and/or new name.

No luck? There is one last option…to be done when all else fails.

8. Ask your SharePoint administrator

Your SharePoint admin will likely have permissions to everything so if they can not find the document in Office365 search, it will not exist in its original shape anymore.
Additionally, they can also check the 2nd stage Recycle bin to see if it has been deleted.

Found it in Office365 Search? Confirm it is the document, note down the path and ask the site owner to give you permissions again.
Found it in the 2nd Stage Recycle bin? Ask your SharePoint admin to restore it.
Confirm what has happened with step 7 and give your SharePoint admin a compliment on Yammer or Teams for everyone to see! πŸ™‚

No luck? Sorry….

Any other thoughts?

Did I miss something? Do you think there is a better order? Any other tricks to share? Please let me know!

Image courtesy of ronnieb on Morguefile.com

4 steps to retrieve a lost OneDrive document

onedrivegone-headerWe sometimes get calls from colleagues who have lost a document in their OneDrive. Over time we have learned some procedures to try and find it.
Please be aware that the majority of my colleagues has a F3-license, so I am focusing on OneDrive Online only.

What could have happened?

  • Deleted
  • Renamed
  • Moved to another folder
  • Moved to SharePoint (which means deleted from your OneDrive)

Which tools are available?

  • Search
  • Recycle bin
  • Document details pane

Where to start?

I would suggest to start either with Search or the Recycle bin. I love the details pane, and it has greatly improved since I last wrote about it, but as almost every change is captured, you will have a lot of scrolling to do.

So let’s start with

1. Search in OneDrive

OneDrivegone-search
The search results will show you where the document lives now. If you have many results, use the Filter option top right to narrow down the options. You can filter on modified date, document type and people’s names.

Found it? Phew, that was quick! That means it has been moved to another folder. Confirm it is the correct document and note down the new location. If you want to know WHEN you did this, check out the document details pane. Move the document back to its original folder if the move was an accident.

No luck? Well, there’s other ways to look!

2. Check the Recycle bin

onedrivegone-recyclebin
The search box does not work for the Recycle bin. You can only sort.

Sadly you can only Sort in the Recycle bin, not Search, so if your document’s name starts with M or N, and it has been deleted some time ago, you will have to scroll a great deal.

Found it? Restore it! It will be back into its original folder, but if you forgot which one that was, you can Search again.

No luck? Well, it has been deleted or… it may have been moved to SharePoint more than 93 days ago, so let’s just have a look there.

3. Search on the SharePoint landing page

onedrivegone-sharepoint
You will see where the document has moved to. If you get a lot of results, use the filter option!

Found it? Congratulations! Confirm it is the document you are looking for and remember where it is.

No luck? Most likely you have either deleted the document more than 93 days ago, or renamed the document. There’s only one way to find out!

4. Look in the document details pane

As I mentioned above, you can do this as step 1 or 2 but if you are using your OneDrive intensively, you may need to scroll a lot and the other steps may be quicker.

The details pane has improved a lot since I last wrote about it. It is now available for OneDrive for Business,Β  has clear icons and displays almost every change. It is context sensitive, so will display different things depending whether you are on your OneDrive landing page or in a folder. It also has clickable links for all documents that are still there. So please use this to check if the document has been renamed and/or moved.
If you have not been able to find the document in another way, this is the one option left. Scroll down until you see a “Deleted” or “Renamed” action for the document in question.

Onedrivegone-detailspane
To create this screenshot, I created a new document from OneDrive, gave it a name, added text in the document, deleted and restored it, and then moved it to another folder. Now you have all the icons and descriptions!

Moving a document to SharePoint only results in a “Deleted” mention, so you have no indication whether it has been moved to SharePoint or just plain deleted.

Found it? Hopefully you renamed it! Click on the title and find out where it lives.

No luck? Sorry, this is all that I can think of…

Can you blame the person with whom you shared the document?

No. If you share the document with someone, they can only edit the text in the document. They can not rename, move or delete the file.

Any other thoughts?

Did I miss something? Do you think there is a better order? Any other tricks to share? Please let me know!

Next time…

…We are going to complicate things by trying to retrieve lost documents from SharePoint!

Picture by ronnieb on Morguefile.

And even more about Forms

Forms appears to be top of my mind these days. It’s near the end of the year and lots of evaluations need to be done πŸ™‚ so I am searching the organization for opportunities to make the switch from other tools or processes to Forms.

GlurenbijdeburenAnother “win”

Every year my organization has a week where you can spend (half) a day with another department. This has mutual benefits as you can well imagine. This process involves:

  1. Making an inventory of which departments are open for receiving visitors that week
  2. Asking employees which one of the “open” departments they are interested to visit and when

When I joined the organization last year, I had seen the Google form for item 2. and I made a resolution to try and help the organizer move that to Microsoft Forms this year. So recently we sat together toΒ  create the Form and it turned out she had some doubts about the inventory. Last year she had sent out emails to various departments with some questions, and it was a lot of hassle to collect the data and get the overview. So I suggested she create a Form instead in order to

  • make sure that everyone replies to all questions
  • get everything collated into a tidy Excel sheet without having to copy it all manually

So, we created a Form and she sent an email with the request to complete the Form.Β  (Which is additional advertising and awareness for Forms, I hope!)

Then we set about to create the Form where employees can specify their interest and preferred date. As this had already been set up as an online form, this was rather simple. We could even shorten the form because we decided to collect people’s name and email address automatically.
When the inventory is completed, she just needs to add the dates and departments to the Form and the announcement can be posted on the intranet with a link to the Form.

So, unexpectedly we could move two processes to Forms! Yay! (Those little wins always put a big smile on my face)

Handing over ownership of a Form before it has been distributed

According to Microsoft, you need to add a Form to an Office365 Group if you want to hand over ownership. This will make sure that the data will be handed over as well.
If you do not have a Group for this purpose, and the Form has not been distributed yet, the original owner can Share the form with the new one, and the new Owner can then Copy it to make it his/her own.
This may come in useful when someone is leaving the organization (and whose account and content will be deleted) has created a Form that still needs to be introduced to the organization.

Share-ShareOne
Step 1: As the current owner, use “Share to Collaborate” if you want to share or handover Form ownership

Forms-Copy
Step 2. As the new owner, on the “Shared with Me” tab, click the 3 little dots top right of the Form to be copied, and click Copy

Top 3 differences between Forms and Forms Pro

In my earlier post I mentioned I did not quite get the benefits of Forms Pro, but then Doug Allen wrote a post that made things clearer to me. Especially the options for sharing of the survey, and the analysis and follow-up of survey results are much better than regular Forms. Those examples were quite an eye-opener for me.

Be a quiz-master!

I have done some experiments with the Quiz option but I was not overly impressed. It only works well for multiple-choice questions. I think it needs some more work, either from Microsoft or from myself πŸ™‚

However, Rebecca Jackson has dug a bit deeper and she says you can be quite a quizmaster, so I guess the “more work” is on MY ToDo list πŸ™‚

So, what have you found out regarding quizzes?

Photo by Gigi on Unsplash