Where do you find news posts saved for later?

We launched our new intranet this week. Although it is vanilla SharePoint (and what a joy NOT to have complicated requirements and unmaintainable customizations) I have had to create some help materials for users, as we have some organization-specific information to share, and the Microsoft support documentation has not always been translated correctly.

One of the help items is “Where to find the news items you have saved for later”.

Saving is easy: click the label. When you see the post on the SharePoint start page, the label is on the card. When you have opened the item, you see the label on the bottom of the post.
Unsaving: click the label again.

The image to look for when you want to save a news post for later

But where can you find them later?

There is only one place where you can view your saved news items only. Most places I found also contain favourited documents and even other types of content. Most confusing!

Let me list the locations:

1. Clicking “Save for later” or “Saved for later”

When you accidentally hit the text next to the label you get a popup with your latest saved or favourited items.

If you click the text next to the label, you will get this popup

When you click “See all saved items” you get a page with all your darlings.

All my six saved items

You see this is a mixed bunch: news items and documents.

2. “My saved items” web part

We have this web part on our main news page, to make it easy for our colleagues to find their saved items. Again, it shows news posts and documents. (More info from Microsoft)

This web part shows news items and documents

When you click “See all” you get that page with all saved items. Mind you, while the overview above appears to be a page in the SharePoint landing site, this is now shown within the site where the web part lives.

All my six items, but now in the same site as where the web part is added

3. “Saved for later” on the SharePoint start page

In the left hand rail of the SharePoint start page, underneath “Following” and “Recent” there is a block displaying your most recent 5 darlings. I would have expected to have an option to “See all” here, but no.

The Saved for later web part on the SharePoint start page.

4. SharePoint mobile app: “News” and “Me”

The only place where you can list just the news posts is the SharePoint mobile app.

  • “News” shows all your news posts, and allows you to filter the saved items.
  • “Me” shows your recent and saved items, and in the Saved items you can again filter for news posts only.
This is the News part; you can filter for “Saved items” on top.
This is the “Me” portion. In the saved items (“Opgeslagen”) you can filter for just news items.

5. The Microsoft/Office365 landing page

Here is where it gets really confusing.
At work I see my opened news posts in the “All” tab of content, and in my Favourites tab when I have saved it for later. In my personal tenant I do not see those. I have been unable to find out why. 🤯

Saved news items do not appear in Favourites in my own tenant. I made the one shown here a favourite when it appeared on this page.

While we are on this page, let me inform you how to make something appear in your Favourites. On the All tab you will see all items (Lists, news, Forms, recordings, images) that you have recently looked at or edited. Hover over an item you would like to add to Favorites, click … and then “Add to favourites”.
(Remember you could briefly do this from SharePoint? That has been gone for some time)

How to make a content item a favourite so it is shown in the Favourites tab

It is a star icon, just like when you want to “follow” a site. 🤯
The Forms that you “pin” on the Forms landing page will also appear on the Favourites tab. 🤯

You can also make a List a Favourite from this page. But if you go to the List itself, and click the star near the list name, it will appear as a Favourite on the Lists landing page, but not on the Microsoft/Office365 landing page. 🤯

Well, this homepage functionality appears to be a bit messy. Does anyone know if this is being worked on?

In any case, did I miss a location where you can see your saved news posts? Let me know in the comments!

Watermark in Word on the Web

As mentioned earlier, the majority of my colleagues have an Office365 F3 license. This means they work exclusively with the web and mobile apps.

That can be a surprise for new employees, who are used to the desktop variety of everything. The fact that you can not open documents from your desktop Explorer causes a lot of confusion, for instance. And the fact that documents look different in editing and reading view is another frequent complaint, although this can be solved by pointing people to the Reading View. The web apps have improved greatly over the past few years, but they do not have all functionality of the desktop version. So in some cases you really need to rethink your processes to mimic a desktop function in a web app.

Microsoft has an overview of differences. Differences between using a document in the browser and in Word – Word (microsoft.com)

One of the questions we received was adding a watermark to a Word document. This functionality is not available in the web app. When you look for “watermark” in the web app, you get a prompt to open the document in the desktop version.

This shows that the watermark is only available in the desktop app

How to add a watermark in Word desktop

The option is in the Design tab, which is missing from the web version. You can select one of the mentioned marks, or create a custom one.

Adding a watermark in Word desktop

How to add a watermark in Word for the web?

In this case, we needed “Confidential” in a diagonal style.

My colleague and I brainstormed a bit and we came up with three alternatives:

1. Add a blank Word document with the watermark as template in a SharePoint library

This works well when you and you colleagues have a SharePoint site and you regularly need to use the watermark.

  • Ask someone to create a Word document in the desktop version with the desired watermark
  • Add this as a template to a SharePoint document library (item 6 in that post)
  • Whenever you need a document with watermark, create a new instance using the template. You will not see the watermark when in editing mode, but if you click the tab View > Reading View you will see what the final document will look like.
The template is added to the document library, and when you click “New” you can select it to create a blank document with the watermark
While you won’t see the watermark while you edit, you will see it in the Reading View

2. Add an image with the watermark to the document

This works well when you do not use this very often or have no SharePoint site at your disposal.

  • Create an image with the correct words. You can do this in PowerPoint, with a text box, which allows you to rotate to the correct slant. Use soft grey letters. Save the image.
  • When you have finished writing your document, click the Insert tab and select Picture from this device. Then, under Wrap Text (will appear after insertion) select the option “Behind text”.
  • Make sure it looks good before you exit the picture editing, as it is hard to go back and re-edit location and size of image.
  • Repeat for the next page. It can be sensible to decide beforehand where in the document (height) the image sits best so you can create a consistent appearance.
  • It may be wise to save and share this as a PDF document as the image can easily be taken off.
When you select the image, you will get options to add it behind the text. You can also move the image and change size for a good fit.
The end result, viewed with the Reading View. Not bad, huh?

3. Use header and/or footer

A watermark is an established option to create a message about the status of your document, but it is not the only way. Headers and footers will be visible on every page of your document, too! So you can also use those.

  • In your document, click Insert > Header and Footer.
  • Add the text as a header and/or a footer. You can change the font size and colour; just click on the word and an edit menu will pop up.
  • You will not see the texts when you are in editing mode, but the words “header” and “footer” will be visible next to the top resp. bottom of your page to remind you that they are there.
  • Use the Reading View (under the View tab) to see what it looks like.
The header and footer can also be used for a message about the status of your document.
The end result, in Reading View.

Do you have any workarounds for desktop functionality in the web versions? Please share in the comments!

Leaving the organization gracefully

We all know that your personal mailbox, agenda and personal documents will be deleted some time after you leave the organization.

But recently we have seen that more and more team content is stored (and automagically shared) on personal OneDrives, which means that when someone leaves, that shared content will be deleted and lost.
Owners may not be aware that they are the owner of the video, file or Whiteboard, and that these resources live on their OneDrive.
Colleagues of leaving employees may be in for several unpleasant surprises.

I tried to compile a list of things to look for, so if you are the leaver, you can check these items and decide if they needed to be handed over. You will save your colleagues, your manager and your Microsoft365 admins a lot of hassle!

Yes, the manager will have control of your OneDrive for some time after you have left, but

  • do they know enough about the details of your work to know what to keep and what to let go?
  • do you really want to burden them with this?
  • do you want to leave your remaining colleagues in the dark about team stuff?

If you know that a colleague is leaving, you may want to help him/her with checking NOW which content you need after they have gone.

Step 1: Teams Meetings

Are you the organizer of a regular Teams meeting? The meetings will keep running, but nobody will be able to change dates or times, add or delete invitees, or manage the meeting details. At this moment it is not possible to transfer the ownership, but I think that is in the Roadmap.
It is therefore important to either

  • Stop or cancel the meeting, and ask a colleague to re-schedule it. This will mean that meeting links and resources will change. This is the best suggestion for smaller meetings.
  • For meetings with many attendees, a collague can duplicate the event by opening the meeting, clicking on the … and then “Duplicate event”. The meeting will the be copied with the same invitees. The new owner can then remove the old organizer and make sure times and recurrence is OK. This will send a message to all people in the meeting, but in any case you do not have to add them all again.
    This will also change link and resources.
  • Check meeting chats for important files or attendee reports or recordings that needs to be safe-guarded in SharePoint.

Step 2: Regular files – copy or move to Teams/SharePoint or delete

  • Documents
  • Attachments (from Outlook)
  • Notebooks
  • Pictures
  • Office Lens
  • Transcribed files

Step 3: Special files

I have based this list on the various OneDrive folders as described in my earlier post “Who created those folders in my OneDrive?

Microsoft Teams Chat Files : everything you have shared in private chats

Do you realize that all those screenshots, funny videos and other stuff, that you have ever shared in a private chat (which means: not shared in a Teams channel) live on your OneDrive and will therefore be lost when you leave? It will not be big issue for that silly gif that made your colleague smile when they were feeling down, but there may be relevant documents or screenshots that your colleagues want to keep.

So, you can either check the Microsoft Teams Chat Files folder in your OneDrive, or scroll through your private chats. Upload the files to a relevant Teams/SharePoint site or send them as attachment to your colleagues. (Usually not recommended, but they will need their own document)

Now you will understand why Matt Wade, in his Definitive Guide to Everyday Etiquette in Microsoft Teams, says: “Work should not be completed in private chat”. (Page 14) 🙂

Microsoft Teams Data: Meeting notes from Teams meetings

This contains the Meeting Notes you have created in Teams meetings. I personally do not use this very often to take notes, as I think the functionality is rather limited, but it is helpful in emergencies. Additionally, it does not open easily from OneDrive, I had to select an app to open it (it is an .mht file).

Do you have Meeting Notes that you would want to keep? Copy the text into a Word or OneNote document in the relevant Teams/SharePoint site.

Recordings: Videos from Teams meetings

Another shared resource that is being stored in a personal location. Make sure you move the video(s) that need to be kept to Stream or Teams/SharePoint.

Whiteboards: Sketching sessions (can be from Teams meetings)

At this moment Whiteboards are still stored in Azure, but they will follow the Recording path and be stored in the OneDrive of the person who creates the Whiteboard. This is expected to happen in October 2021, according to the Microsoft Roadmap.

I expect you will be able to copy/move Whiteboards, and I will update this post when I know more.

Step 4: Applications

Forms – the Forms themselves

Please check out my earlier post on how to handle Forms when you leave.

Forms – files from “File Upload” questions will be in a folder called Apps

If the Form will still be running after you leave, please move ownership of the Form to a relevant Teams/SharePoint site as mentioned above.
If you still need these uploaded files, whether the Form is still running or not, please move them to the appropriate Teams/SharePoint site.

This question type will create a folder in your OneDrive to store the documents – please make sure they are preserved if they are still needed!

Workflows

Power Automate workflows are not stored in your OneDrive, but they are personal. Your Flow will keep running (if it is not something in your personal apps, of course) but if it needs an authentication, or needs an edit, it will need a new owner.

You can simply share the Flow with a colleague, so you co-own the Flow.

In your “My Flows” you can select the workflow and share it with your successor. Make sure they have permissions to the source info!

If you have not done that before you leave, your Administrator will be able to hand it over to your colleague. But hey, your Admin is usually busy enough and all those individual fixes take a lot of time! 🙂

How to manage orphan flows when the owner leaves the organization (microsoft.com)

Stream

Do you have any instruction videos that may be useful later, or do you have any old meeting recordings that should be kept?
In Stream, go to “My content” and then “Videos” and see what needs to be transferred. Open the video in question, click the … and select “Update video details”. See screenshot.

More info: Permissions and privacy in Microsoft Stream – Office Support

Here’s how to start changing ownership of a video. Not the most obvious wording 🙂

PowerApps

I do not have too much experience with PowerApps, so I have found a blog that explains how to transfer PowerApps: HOW TO: Change PowerApps Owner | Todd Baginski’s Blog

Lists

For lists in a SharePoint site, you do not necessarily have to change ownership, as generally all Owners will be owner of the List.

For personal lists, that live somewhere in your OneDrive, it may not be so easy. You will have to recreate the list in a SharePoint site. You can use the Excel file as a basis (see my earlier posts on the topic). I hope Microsoft will make moving a personal list to a SharePoint site easier in future!

SharePoint sites

Make sure you appoint another Owner if you are the only one (which is not a good idea, I always suggest to have at least 2 Owners for backup)

You may also want to check the permissions to content that is important for the team, and make sure it will still have an Owner after you have left. Appoint another Owner or, even better, make sure that the permissions of that content follows the permissions of the site.

Have I missed anything?

Or do you have any experiences or suggestions to share? Please let me know!

Update 7 June 2021:

Good addition from Loryan Strant, I do not have too much experience with the apps mentioned (except for OneNote, of course) but be aware if you are using them!

Your very own SharePoint page

As we are currently working on a new intranet (SharePoint! At last!) we are thinking about “personal” information on the intranet. So I am looking into web parts that can be added to a page, which will present information especially for you.
Of course, you can add document library and list web parts with a default view of “Created by = [Me]” or “Assigned to = [Me]” etc. but that is generally for a specific site that you work in, rather than being applicable to anyone in the organization.

But there are a few web parts which can be used centrally, on an intranet page called “My Page” or similar, that shows information just for you.

1. My News

The News webpart allows you to show News from the site where the web part lives, or from selected sites. Quite a pleasant functionality, I must say. But you can also select “Recommended for current user” and that will show you YOUR News.

This looks as the same News that is shown on the SharePoint landing page, but it will bring it into the intranet, which saves switching apps.

Microsoft info: Use the News web part on a SharePoint page – Office Support (microsoft.com)

Select this News source to give everyone an overview of their personal News on the intranet

2. Saved for later

This web part will show you documents and News items that you have saved for later. It corresponds somewhat with the “Favourites” on the Microsoft365 landing page, but it will only take news posts and “real” documents, presumably from OneDrive and SharePoint.
And of course it shows the same content as the Saved for later web part on the SharePoint landing page.

There are a few display options to choose from while configuring.

Microsoft info: Use the Saved for later web part – SharePoint (microsoft.com)

The configuration

For comparison: above you will see the items shown in Saved for Later, below are My Favourites on the M365 landing page. You see that Forms, Lists and an attachment in my Outlook are not shown in Saved for later. That is a little inconsistent.

My Favourites on the M365 landing page. The highlighted items are shown in “Saved for later”.

3. Recent documents

This web part shows documents you opened or worked on recently. There’s not much to configure, just the number of documents. It corresponds to the “Recent” tab of the M365 landing page, but then if it would be filtered for Office documents.

Microsoft info: Use the Recent documents web part – SharePoint (microsoft.com)

Recent documents appear to show only Office documents, not recordings etc.

4. Sites

This web part can show your frequently visited sites. You can select the layout and the number of sites shown. It corresponds with your “Recent” list on the SharePoint landing page. In my experiment, it did not show a webpart title upon publishing, so I had to invent my own.

Microsoft info: Use the Sites web part – Office Support (microsoft.com)

The Compact view shows small icons, the Grid view is larger but takes up more space.

5. Conversations (Yammer)

This Yammer web part shows what’s on the Yammer feed. Use the option “Home Feed” to make it personal. My web part is empty, as I am the only person in my tenant and have written all messages, but I hope you will get the gist. 🙂

Microsoft info: Use a Yammer web part in SharePoint Online – Office Support (microsoft.com)

The Yammer conversations web part can also be made personal

6. My Feed

This will show a variety of items, such as appointments and files that you have shared or updated. In my own tenant it does not show anything, so I have used another tenant, hence the blurred info. You will also see more of the Yammer conversations web part 🙂

Microsoft info: Use the My feed web part – Office Support (microsoft.com)

My Feed and the options for configuration

7. Tasks?

I have heard rumours about a Tasks web part but I have not seen it yet, so I do not know if it can show your personal Tasks from Planner and ToDo.

“See all”

All web parts have a “See all” option to display more. This is all shown in the site where you are, and generally in a card format.
The only exception is the Conversations web part, where the option is called “View all” and takes you to Yammer.

What do I think?

In general, this is interesting functionality. Some of these web parts are already available in other places in Microsoft365, but it can give your colleagues a good overview of their stuff, and save time switching apps. It is not new – at an earlier employer we already had personal tasks web parts back in 2005, on SharePoint 2003. But that did not look as good and was not as easy to configure as this 🙂

It can also help bring home the message that Microsoft365 is a fully integrated suite of tools.

The look-and-feel is quite pleasant, but be careful with the number of items you make available, and the layout, as it can easily become a very long page. Below a screenshot of what I ended up with, while finding out what was available.

Of course it will be interesting to see how people will respond to a page that has all their own information “on the intranet”. We need to inform people that the content will be different for everyone.

Are you using this in any way? Any thoughts and suggestions as for the perfect page layout? Please let me know – screenshots also welcome!

The end result, but I am sure this can be layed out a bit better.

The new Microsoft365/Office365 Homepage

Over time I have captured the various appearances of the Office365/Microsoft365 Homepage. As you may know, I quite like this page as the page where I start work. 

That page is updated quite frequently, and I keep all versions in this post. Please scroll down and get some nostalgic feelings. 🙂

Update February 2021 👇

A few quite subtle changes this time, mainly dealing with filtering and the tabs names and functionalities.

The page looks like this; you will notice that, besides the regular file types Lists are shown, as are Forms, videos in Stream and SharePoint News items. (See bottom). It also shows attachments from emails!

The changes in the new version are in the red-lined area: Tabs and filters.
You can see a number of file types that I would not consider “Documents”.

The first change is the option to filter, both on a word (top right above the list of files) and the file type (top left)

You can filter for file type to the left, and on a word on the right.

The second change is the name and contents of the tabs. The first tab is now called “All” and shows all kinds of items, the second one contains the “Recent” files you looked at or worked on, the next one is “Shared” (no change) and the “Discover” tab has gone and has been replaced by “Favourites” which used to be called “Pinned”.
On the one hand, I prefer the word Favourite but in many other places (Teams channels, chats) you can still “pin” things so I hope we will end up with one and the same word.
I personally will not grieve over losing the Discover tab, but this was the only Delve-mimicking functionality available for F3-licensed users.

The menu that you see when clicking the ellipses next to a file, will also show the word “Favourite” with the little star that we know from “Following a Site”. Hmm, this might get confusing. 🥴

You can now “Add to favourites” instead of pinning – it works the same. The star appears already when you hover over the file name.

All in all, a decent update. I like the word Favourites, I appreciate the filtering options and I am happy that that confusing Discover tab has gone.
I am less happy with Lists and all the other stuff on my “All” tab – it looks rather messy.
I hope we will get consistency in the use of “Favourites/Bookmarks/Pinned/Followed” and the symbols that go with it. 🥴

Update August 2020 👇

The new design has finally arrived at my personal tenant, but it is still a bit wobbly (on and off) in my work tenant. In case you think you need to communicate this: a 3-part explanatory popup is part of the rollout, so it should not be too much of a surprise to users.

  • All icons have moved to a left-hand side rail and are much smaller.
  • There’s a new Home icon (not sure what that does) and the + icon to create a new document looks a bit different too.
  • There’s also a new “All Apps icon”. This “floats” on the bottom of the rail, so it is always visible. Screenshots are below as the new WordPress Block Editor does not allow me to add images in a list block. 😦
  • The app names are no longer displayed, unless you hover over with your mouse, which is OK for me but may be rather daunting for new users.
  • As I have rather a lot of apps it means I need to scroll down to open some, especially when using my laptop screen.
  • Apparently the focus is on documents even more, but I do not see that as a major benefit. However, I have always liked the “Recent” and “Pinned” tabs, and so do my colleagues as they tend to lose track of their documents.
  • Still hoping for badges with the icons telling me if and how many unread messages I have in Outlook, Teams and Yammer – I prefer that over an endless slice-and-dice of documents. 
NewHomepageaug2020

The new Home icon:

Home and Create document icons

The new “All Apps” icon:

It’s the bottom one

Update July 2019 👇

The top part of the page has changed again, and now has more visibility of the + option to create a new document. I personally am not a fan of starting a document from the Office365 landing page. Navigating to the intended OneDrive or SharePoint location makes more sense to me, and is something I teach my users as they frequently complain of “losing documents”. The “Explore all your apps” link under the apps has been replaced by “All apps” next to the apps which makes sense.
And…the “Good day” message is back! Which I know is calculated and nothing personal, but I like it. 

Office365Home-July2019
Start a new document and the link to all apps are the changes for July 2019. 

The bottom part of the page has not changed.

Update February 2019 👇

The new icons have arrived! The “Good morning” message has disappeared, which is a pity, especially as the words “Apps” does not really add much to the party. And the Search bar is now in the top middle. I think this is the reason that the company logo has moved from this position to the left some months ago. It breaks up the nice colour gradient of my pencils though 😦

The bottom part has not changed. I am still looking for non-document updates, such as emails or notifications from Teams or Yammer.

Please scroll down for older versions of the Office365 landing page.

Office365Homepage23-02-2019
Top part of the Office365 Homepage as per 23-02-2019. New icons and the search bar is top middle.
Office365Homepage23-02-2019bottom
The bottom part has not really changed with the changes in Feb 2019.

Update February 2018 👇

Microsoft has recently made some changes to the Office365 Homepage. You know you will never have a dull moment when you subscribe!

The landing page now looks like the screenshots below. Compared to the last version, it has more white space and the icons are less bulky and coloured (I hope you have not created custom icons in white 🙂 )

It is more gentle on the eyes than the previous design, although that may also have been my own choice of theme.

The profile photo is also better integrated into the design, and my name is displayed.

O365Home-NewTop
The new Office365 Homepage top part as from end 2017.

It now shows more than just “recent” documents, and it shows folders in OneDrive and your Frequent and Followed sites, meaning you will be able to access your favourite sites from this page. This means it is becoming more relevant as the landing page.

O365Home-NewBottom
The new Office365 Homepage bottom part as from end 2017.

My desire to see more non-document updates is still there though. I would be perfectly happy to have this as the landing page to start my working day from, but then it needs different content as well.

In my original post below you will find screenshots of the two most recent versions, as well as what I would like to see next.

Original post from June 2016 👇

Yesterday I logged in to my Office365 and I immediately thought : “Wow, that looks nice”. It is not often that I am struck by a beautiful page, so I decided to write about it.

This is the top of the page:NewOffice365Homepage-NewMine

NewOffice365Homepage-Bottom
And this is the bottom of the page. You can decide to show more documents.

First good impressions:

  1. The small top bar is much larger now and that really looks good. It must be my Raspberry theme, although it also looks cool with Cats 🙂
  2. The welcome message is nice, although I know it is calculated from my time zone and my account. Still, it looks vibrant and cheerful.
  3. Your most recent documents are displayed underneath.
  4. You immediately see you can install software. On iPad, you can download Office apps.
NewOffice365HP-iPad
This is the new Office365 Homepage on iPad

What would I like to see as improvements?

  1. It would be nice if you could also search for other things than documents. I am trying to wean myself (and my colleagues) of documents where possible, and this does not help.
  2. That also goes for the recent documents underneath the apps. I would like to see my unread email, or my unread Yammer messages, or the Tasks due today, as well as documents. If Office365 is going to be my Digital Workplace, it should display more than just documents.
  3. A little badge on each app to show the number of unread messages, or new tasks, or something like that,  would also be nice!
  4. The coloured bar overlaps the profile picture a little, so that needs some tweaking.

And this is the page as it used to look (on a different tenant) or still looks, if you are not on First Release.

NewOffice365page-old
The “old” Homepage

All in all, I quite like this change and I think it can be made even better!

10 things about protecting documents from being overwritten

Did you know you can Protect a document in SharePoint and OneDrive from being accidentally altered or overwritten? If that has been enabled you will need to take conscious action to edit the document. Very useful for Excel files, especially when “auto-save” is on! This has been around for a few months.
Review mode is a relatively new option in SharePoint, allowing people to only make Comments in your documents, and not change the original text. Together they can be a good way to prevent accidents.

I guess you know me by now: I had to find out how these things work, also related to the permissions you have in the site.

How to protect a document

If you protect a document, you protect it against accidental changes.
Go to the document, click File > Info and then you can select “Protect document”

This is where you protect a document. The yellow bar signifies it is protected.

When you open a protected document, you see this:

When you open the document, you will get a message.

When you want to add comments or edit the file, click on OK and then “Viewing” and you will see these options:

Now you can add comments or edit

How to share a document in review mode

When you want to allow people to give feedback, but as comments only, you can share in review mode. Select the document, click Share and then click on the “People you specify can edit” link on top. This will give you the advanced sharing options. Make sure the “Open in review mode only” is toggled (as in screenshot) and click “Apply”.

Here’s how you allow comments only

This option is only available if you allow editing.
Recipients can only add comments, and can not edit the text itself, so this will keep your original text intact. This is especially helpful when many people may want to add feedback. If everyone is allowed to edit the original text, you may end up with something incomprehensible.
When you write the message to the recipient, the sharing popup will show a little icon next to the “People you specify can edit” link.

This little icon will tell you that you share as “review only”

Test programme

In one SharePoint document library I created 4 new documents from the New button:

  • Plain document as is, shared as is
  • Document with protection, shared as is
  • Plain document, shared in Review mode
  • Document with protection and Review mode

I did that for each of the following apps, both online and desktop:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • OneNote

I shared the documents with each of the following permissions:

  • Owner
  • Member (can edit)
  • Visitor (can read)
  • Someone with no access to the site

Afterwards, I repeated relevant experiments with documents in my OneDrive.

What do you need to know?

  1. You can only protect individual documents, not a complete document library.
  2. You can not protect OneNote documents, in desktop nor online nor that half-baked OneNote for Windows 10.
  3. In the desktop apps you can protect Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents against overwriting.
    (You can also use other ways of protection, but that is out-of-scope for now)
  4. In the online apps you can only protect Word and Excel, but not PowerPoint.
  5. You can protect Word and Excel files in SharePoint and OneDrive.
  6. You can only send with “review-only” in Word, not in Excel, PowerPoint or OneNote (I hope that will change).
  7. You can only send with “review-only” when you share with “people you specify” or “people in [tenant] with the link”.
  8. You can use “review-only” in Word in SharePoint and OneDrive.
  9. When you share the document from SharePoint with an external person who has no access to the site, they receive a code via mail as soon as they try to open the document. Not sure if that is a tenant setting, but I thought I’d mention it.
  10. How does a Word-document open, and which options do you have when you share the document with or without protection, with our without “review-only” and with people with various roles in your SharePoint site? See the table below. The first word is the option that the document opens with.
Full Control Edit ReadNo access
Plain documentEditing EditingEditingEditing
Protected documentViewingViewingViewingViewing
Plain document “review-only”EditingEditingReviewing,
can view,
editing greyed out
Reviewing,
can view,
editing greyed out
Protected document “review-only”ViewingViewingViewing,
can review,
editing greyed out
Viewing,
can review,
editing greyed out
Various sharing options – the first word in the cells shows the “landing” option.

What do I think?

Protecting a document can be a good way to avoid accidental changes, as it opens the document consistently in “Viewing” mode, regardless of your own role in a SharePoint site. 👍
It also works on OneDrive. 👍
It is not available for PowerPoint Online. 👎
It is per document only, while per document library might be nice as well.

The “Review Only” mode is disappointing as you can only use it on Word files. 👎
Additionally it allows site users with Full Control and Edit permissions to edit the original text, even if you ask for comments only. 👎
However, this is a useful option for sharing with people who have no access or who can only Read in your site, as they will have no permissions to Edit the original text. 👍
It is also useful for sharing files on your OneDrive as everyone will be unable to edit the original text. 👍

I hope there will be some developments in both functionalities, so it can be used with more file types and “people with existing access”.

Are you using this in your organization? Do you have any additional tips or lessons to share?

Where have all the features gone?

We always think very carefully if and how we communicate changes to our Microsoft365 environment.
Generally, changes that affect all users, and may lead to questions or confusion, will be posted on the intranet. We do this for about 2 or 3 changes a year. Think about “the new Outlook on the web” last summer, and the new design of the SharePoint homepage earlier this year.
Changes with a lesser impact are communicated through our dedicated Yammer group for people who take an interest, and during webinars.
Additionally we regularly revise our training and webinar materials.

So, we were a tad worried when we found that some new functionality that had been in our tenant, and had been communicated, suddenly disappeared. In one case we found out that the functionality had been retracted, but we have no clue about the others.

Perhaps one of my readers can help?

1. The SharePoint start page

A few months ago we published an article on the intranet that there would be a new SharePoint start page. The column on the left hand side would be removed and some of the info there would move to below the site cards. We prepared the communication and an explanatory screenshot.
When we could finally confirm that also our non-targeted release users had it, we published the article.

Around March and the start of the Corona-crisis, I noticed that my SharePoint start page had reverted back to the old setup, both at work and in my own tenant. I checked the Roadmap, the tenant Message Center, the internet, but nothing came up.

Only half May I found out that I had missed this article, which has a small paragraph on this topic.

Gone-SPstartpage
As the article above is quite long, this is the message.

Well, thanks for that. And I could not find the #192001 in my Message center, nor in that from my work tenant. 😦

2. Save documents for later in SharePoint

I was already aware of the Save for Later options in SharePoint News, but I was happily surprised to find that this function would also be available for regular documents in SharePoint sites. I saw it a few months ago, immediately saved a few documents and told our Yammer group.

I still have them saved on my SharePoint page. But the functionality is gone in both my private and my work tenant!

I have not imagined it, as this SharePoint Roadmap Pitstop from November 2019 shows. It points to a Roadmap #49095 which mentions the functionality for OneDrive…with a launch date of Q4, 2020.

What has happened in the mean time? What retraction or delay announcement have I missed?

BTW, this blog shows the Saved for later files on the new SharePoint home page.

3. Files tab in Outlook

Some time ago, my colleague and I noticed a paperclip icon in the bottom left of our Outlook-on-the-web app.

The paperclip

When clicked, it would give you a page with all attachments in your mailbox. Very convenient for cleaning up! However, it has not been seen for several months.

Once again, I have not imagined it. I wrote about it in this blog about my love for Outlook-on-the-web.

Update July 8, 2020:

The files tab in Outlook is back! I just received a comment from Eric (see below) and I immediately checked. I wish I could sort them on file size, but it is already a big plus that I can see how many files live in my Outlook!

Does anyone know?

You know I like to play the detective, but I could not find the answers this time 😉

Title inspired by 1955’s song “Where have all the flowers gone” by Pete Seeger.

Who created those folders in my OneDrive?

ODFolders-header

(Updated 20-06-2021)

Have you ever started a brand new Microsoft365 subscription and looked at your OneDrive? I haven’t – but when I recently gave a basic tour of the Microsoft365 suite to a new colleague she asked me what I meant with the “Attachments” folder in OneDrive, as she did not see it.
Nor did I when she shared her screen.
But once she saved a file from Outlook to her OneDrive the folder was created.

I had already noticed earlier that I sometimes get these folders in my OneDrive, which I could not remember creating, so I decided to find out.

I removed all folders in my OneDrive and ended up with a completely empty page:

ODfolders-empty14-05-2020
An empty OneDrive at the start of the experiment. In fact, when I refreshed the page I got that “Let’s get started” popup as if I was a newbie!

And then started to do a few things and noted when a folder was being created and what it was called. The end result 👇

ODFolders-allfolders
This was the result of my experiment. 

1. Attachments

When you save an attachment from Outlook to OneDrive, the Attachments folder is created. By default you add all attachments there, although I wish you could select a folder of your own choice, which saves time.

ODFolders-attachments
Attachments from Outlook – I guess we all know this one!

2. Notebooks

When I created a new Notebook, this folder was added. It is pretty straightforward. I think your personal Notebook gets created in the top level but as I do not have it anymore, I am not 100% sure.

ODFolders-notebook
This is where your Notebooks are stored.

3. Apps

This folder is created when you create a Form with a File Upload as a Q&A type.
Fortunately, you get an explanation of this behaviour.

ODFolders-FormsFileUpload
As soon as you select this Q&A option, you get an explanation

Apart from the name of the folder being rather generic, you have to click through 3 nested subfolders before you get to the file that has been uploaded.
I sense an opportunity for optimization. 😉

ODfolders-Forms
The “Document Upload” is the name of the Form, so that is a logical structuring.

4. Microsoft Teams Data

Have you ever seen the option “Open meeting notes” when you were on a Teams meeting? I am still finding out why I sometimes see it and sometimes not. At first I thought it was an organizer’s privilege (like “End Meeting”) , but the organizer of our daily work meeting does not see it either.
But I digress! If you click “Show meeting notes” in your Teams popup behind the … you will open a small side panel where you can start typing meeting notes. They will be stored in the Microsoft Teams Data folder in a subfolder called Wiki.

ODFolders-MeetingMinutes
Your meeting minutes. The document name could have been a tad more intuitive.

5. Microsoft Teams Chat files

This folder is created to store files that you share during a chat. This can be both a 1:1 chat, a group chat (outside of a Team site), or a chat in a meeting.

ODFolders-chatfiles
Files you have shared in a chat. No subfolders to distinguish meeting chats or other chats.

6. Pictures

This folder gets created when you connect your phone camera to OneDrive. After that, your pictures will automagically be added to OneDrive. Unfortunately it has a lot of nesting, like year and month.
👉 Be careful if you have a F3 license – you only have 2 GB of storage space so using this option may fill your OneDrive quickly.

ODfolders-Pictures
If you want to see your pictures, you have to click a lot!

7. Office Lens

If you install the Office Lens app on your telephone and you select OneDrive as the storage place of choice, a new folder is created with your first image. It is a plain list of files. I prefer to use the Office Lens functionality that comes with the OneNote, OneDrive and Teams apps, however. It saves me an app. 🙂

ODFolders-OfficeLens
Your Lens pictures will be stored in this folder. 

8. Recordings (added 21-10-2020)

Soon, or now if you have already made the switch yourself, your recorded Teams meetings will be no longer stored in Stream, but in OneDrive (mostly) or in SharePoint (for channel meetings in Teams). According to Microsoft this will simplify sharing the recording.

The good news is that our F3-licenses colleagues can not upload to Stream, so in the new situation they are able to record their meetings. The worry is that their OneDrive will fill up quickly as these are generally large files which may quickly fill their 2 GB of storage space.

9. Transcriptions (added 13-05-2021)

I assume you have already tried the Dictation options on Word or OneNote, which are absolutely wonderful. Dutch is not yet an official language, but it already works very very well, and we plan to advise this instead of (expensive) dedicated dictation tools, as soon as Dutch is out of beta. (or whatever it is).

But there’s also Transcriptions, which will write down everything everyone says, in a dialogue format. Pretty cool and very good for processing meeting notes or interviews, or creating video subtitles. It is available in Word for the web only, as far as I know.

Transcriptions are stored with a rather generic name, which is not the name of the Word document that I used for the transcription.

10. Whiteboards (added 13-05-2021)

I can not show it yet, but according to the Microsoft Roadmap Whiteboards will also be stored in OneDrive in the second half of this year. It will work similarly to the Teams meeting recordings: the person who creates the Whiteboard will be the owner and get it in their OneDrive. I expect this will get its own folder too. I will share screenshots as soon as I can make them!

11. Power Apps (added 20-06-2021)

When you create a Power App and use an Excel file as part of the data source OneDrive creates a PowerApps folder for the file. Thank you Andy Huneycutt for mentioning this! I am not really creating PowerApps so this is a helpful addition.

Wait, there’s more!

I tried adding documents to a few other applications (Yammer, ToDo, Planner) but they do not store files in OneDrive. I expected it in ToDo, being something personal.
The other day I installed Visio Data Visualizer which also created a folder. As I could not get it to work and it kept popping up in an annoying fashion I deleted it, and did not want to install it again just for this test. Guess I am not alone in my dislike according to the reviews.

Have I missed any?

Conclusion

👍 Your OneDrive serves as the hub for your personal documents in Microsoft365, so it makes sense that documents from all kinds of actions and applications are stored here. I expect that more applications will create folders over time.
👍 You can delete these folders and their content; when you start using the app again they will be recreated.
👍 Everything stored in OneDrive benefits from all document management options.

👎 Behaviour is explained for Forms, Pictures and Teams meeting recordings, but it should be explained everywhere.
👎 The naming convention and experience could benefit from streamlining, e.g. folder names, or the structuring of subfolders.
👎 I would like to see this also for attachments in ToDo, as this is your personal task list
👎 Users with an F3 license only have 2 GB of storage space in their OneDrive and they should be made aware of these folders, to avoid unpleasant surprises with a full OneDrive. I have written about cleaning your OneDrive before.
👎 There is a downside to having shared information in one person’s OneDrive…which will be another post soon!

Has my colleague edited a file on my OneDrive?

OneDrivealert-headerWe received an interesting question the other day: “I am sharing a document on my OneDrive with a colleague. Where can I set an Alert to know when she has made edits?”

The Alert option is available on SharePoint, so it feels a bit weird that it is not available on OneDrive. There is a suggestion in User Voice, which has been posted in 2014 (that is 6 years ago!) with the response that it is “in the Plans”. Let’s hit that voting button, folks – it should not be that hard knowing that SharePoint and OneDrive are basically the same thing. Please vote here!

So I had to resort to a few workarounds:

1. Move to SharePoint and set an Alert.

If you are sharing a document or folder for a longer time, and expecting regular edits, you’d better move it to SharePoint. SharePoint is designed for long-term team collaboration and allows you to receive an Alert.
Remember, your OneDrive will be removed when you leave the organization, so do not hoard documents that belong to your team or department!

Moving a document from OneDrive to SharePoint is easy – see my earlier post about Copying and Moving documents.

2. Look at “Shared” and then “Shared by you”

Under “Activity” you can see if, and who, has edited your document, and when this has happened. Sadly you can not sort or filter so you will just have to scroll to find that file. This may be another good reason not to keep a lot of shared documents in your OneDrive forever 🙂

OneDriveAlert1
Here you can find if your document has been edited.

3. Make it a habit to add comments with an @mention

This one will need some training for all parties involved, but it is like learning html: you will forever benefit from knowing this 🙂
If you use Comments on the document, and @mention the other person, this person will receive an email that the document has been edited.

  1. Open the document and make the changes
  2. Put your cursor near the change and open the “Review” tab from the ribbon
  3. Click “New comment” and a panel on the right side of the document will open. It already invites you to add a name (you will get suggestions as you type) – it is sufficient to do this in one comment, only.

    OneDriveAlert3
    How commenting looks
  4. When you are done commenting click the arrow button to send the comment
  5. The @-mentioned person will receive an email notifying you of the comment, and you will of course see a more recent change in your “Shared by you” view.
    Please note that the person will receive an email for every comment that @mentions them, so doing this once is sufficient!
    BTW, this only works within your organization as far as I have found. 
  6. In the application (Excel in this case) under “Recent” you will see that Mystery Guest has commented.

    OneDrivealert5
    You can see that a comment has been made (This is Excel web app)

4. Use Power Automate

We have not really rolled out Power Automate throughout the organization yet, so this is just a quick test for myself. I used the recipe “When a file is modified, complete a custom action” and it looks like this:

OneDriveAlert6
A basic workflow for testing purposes.

It provides a basic email, that could be improved with the link or more details about the file and the author:

OneDrivealert4
The email

I would suggest to use this sparingly, and only for those folders you share (but then again, why not store them on SharePoint?) or you will get inundated with messages that you have edited a file 🙂

Conclusion:

There are a few options to know if someone else has edited your document. If this is a regular process, please move the document(s) to SharePoint! However, it would be so much easier if Alerts were just standard functionality for OneDrive. So, remember to hit that Vote-button!

Have you received this question as well? How did you respond? Did I miss an option?

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. 🙂

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! 🙂

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