“Why can I not set my document library to the New experience?” the user asked me.
“Of course you can, let me show you”, I said confidently.
Over-confidently, as it turned out. Because there was no “Exit Classic View” link bottom left.
And the Advanced Library Settings showed that the library was already set to display in New experience.
Sigh…I got my SharePoint Holmes hat and magnifying glass out of the cupboard and set out towards…
I remembered some other sites which did not display their “Exit Classic View” button. Those all have a banner on top of the page, a popular feature from our old intranet, that has been migrated to the new intranet.
I set the user’s page into Edit mode. There was a web part zone on top but there was no web part in it, so that did not give me any clues. Hmmm.
I looked at the other views in the library and those were in New Experience. Huh!
I created a new view and this was in New Experience as well, so the issue was with the default view.
To check my sanity, I did some searching (Yes, I know I should do that straight away but I like to look at things and push buttons 🙂 ) and what did I find? This.
So, I dove into that Classic View, edited the page, looked at Closed Web Parts…and found a Content Editor Web Part.
I added it to the page, then deleted it and that turned out to be…
So, there are two options when you can not get your document library to show in New Experience while it is set to be New:
Remove all web parts on the view page, open and closed.
Set the page to Edit mode.
If you see a web part, DELETE it.
If you do not see a web part, click Insert > Tab > Web Parts > Closed Web Parts. If you see one or more web parts mentioned, add part(s) to page, and then DELETE it/them.
Create a new view by copying the old view with a new name, setting it to be the default view if needed, and deleting the old view.
I must admit this did not work in my own tenant – all views showed and were created in Classic SharePoint. But I have seen this multiple times in our work tenant.
If you want to display a picture, you could also upload one or more pictures and pin it/them to the top.
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.
Many thanks for enclosing the complete email chain with all your colleagues. Apart from a good permissions puzzle, there is nothing I like more than going through a 40-message email chain, and find the hidden clues between the “FYI” and “Can you help” forwards. I am really pleased that you have tried to get help from so many people before logging a call in our incident system, and it is heartwarming to see your colleagues’ empathy and desire to help.
From this wonderful meandering narrative I understand that “editing the Monthly Forecast in the Marketing site does not work”. That narrows down the possibilities, because only 938 of our approximately 15.000 sites have Marketing in the title, so it will save me going through 14.062 sites which are definitely not called Marketing.
Now of course I assume the Marketing site has “Marketing” in its title 🙂
From the company address book I see that you work in the Dairy division, which has 297 Marketing sites, so I can increase the odds even further.
Then it is only a matter of finding a Monthly Forecast document in one of these sites and checking which one does not work. That should not be too difficult: I did a Search and found 6274 hits on Monthly Forecast – it is matter of checking URL’s against the Marketing sites to see which are eligible.
I assume you wanted to edit a recent document so will start from the most recent.
In conclusion, I will check the cross of Dairy Marketing sites and Monthly Forecast docs from the last 2 months, and see which one of them “does not work”. Now of course there are many ways of “does not work”, but do not worry, I will check them all, from permissions to document library opening behavior, checkout, and workflows to corrupted documents.
I have planned about two weeks to go through this and I am quite looking forward to this challenging quest!
However, should you be in a sort of hurry, or have a deadline, please let me know. After all it is the 21st already and I can imagine you will need to update this document before the end of the month. Sending me the URL of the site, the name of the document and the document library/folder it lives in, as well as a description of what you were trying to do and what happened, possibly even with a screenshot of the error message, will reduce the quest to an hour or so. Of course this will rob me of the fun of exploring this all by myself, but I know that this is business-critical content so I can not be selfish.
Looking forward to your information,
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
My SharePoint Holmes cases are not extremely technical or complicated. Most of the solutions to the issues that I encounter have been amply described in blogs and Microsoft support. So why do I sometimes feel at a loss when I have a new issue to solve?
I am still learning about SharePoint Online
Users generally do not know what the issue is and they do not use the most precise language. Nobody likes an issue that stops you doing your job and calls for submitting a support ticket, so I can imagine you want to spend as little time as possible on that ticket.
As a result, things may have a different cause and solution than I expect from the description. I may think that it is permissions-related (I often do), while it may be PC, browser or document library settings. Or vice versa.
For instance “I can not manage my site” (to me, this sounds like a permissions issue) has meant different things in different circumstances:
“I can not edit my site’s homepage” (because the page has been checked out to someone else – this is a document management issue, not a permission issue)
“I can not manage permissions” (because I am not the owner of the group I want to manage – a permissions issue)
“I can not manage this content in my site” (because this content has unique permissions and for one reason or another I am not in the site owner’s role here – a permissions issue)
“I do not know how to manage my site” is a training issue
With this SharePoint Holmes series I try to start with the issue as described by the user. As that is not always clear or correct, I sometimes start off on the wrong foot.
“Hyperlinks in a document on SharePoint are not working” the title of the incident read.
Well, “not working” or “is broken” are always great and accurate descriptions that any support person loves to see 🙂 . So I called the owner and asked him to demonstrate the situation.
The issue was with a manual (in Word) that lived in a document library. The document had some embedded documents as well as some hyperlinks to a company system.
The real problem was: “In this document, the embedded documents as well as some specific links can not be opened – they appear unclickable”
I opened the manual – I noticed that the document opened in Online format.
I clicked on a number of links – all links to pages worked OK but I could not open the embedded docs. There was no “hotspot” or “zone” where the cursor showed something clickable.
The special links (to a certain system) looked properly configured, but they gave an error message.
I could not find anything strange in versioning settings (no mandatory check out) or advanced settings. The opening behavior was set to “use the server default (open in the browser)” which is standard practice.
I determined to take a better look at the document, because only that document caused the issue. I did not want to make changes to the content, so I downloaded it.
I opened it in Word. The embedded documents could be opened – they had an active window. And I could open the special links too!
OK, this was easy. I changed the library’s opening behavior to “open in the Client application” and opened the document again. Yes, the embedded documents and the links were now clickable and opened without problems.
I can not explain what was happening with the links but they could be opened in the Client software.
The owner of the manual was happy, but I suggested to upload all embedded documents into the document library and making links to them from the “Master Document”, instead of embedding. If they are in a document library, you can manage and update them online when needed, and the link in the Master document will always lead to an up-to-date document. If you embed the document, it will live on its own and there will be no history of changes or anything.
After all the recent permissions issues it was nice to get a Document Management case for a change.
The issue was: “Every time I edit a document and save it, it is checked out and we need to check it in again and add the metadata. We have not set mandatory check-out in this library – what is going wrong?”.
I put on my SharePoint Holmes paraphernalia and set out to solve yet another case. Or so I hoped 🙂
I looked at the recently edited document. Indeed, the document was checked out with the yellow box where the metadata should have been.
I checked the Library Settings. Set to modern view, to open documents in the Client application, indeed no check out required. The “Topic” field needed a value.
I uploaded another document and edited it without any issues – the document stayed checked in and retained the metadata. I edited the properties, no problem.
I selected the checked-out document to view the properties. I quickly scrolled down the details pane to see the metadata. Yes, no topic selected, as expected.
I Googled on the check-out issue as I had no clue what happened here.
The solutions all pointed to something with “metadata” so I selected the document again to have a closer look at the metadata, and hoped that permissions and edit history would provide some extra clues.
Someone called me on Skype so I left the details pane open without scrolling down.
When I came back from my call, the answer stared me in the face.
I had seen this “No preview” message before on a password-protected Excel file. The owner confirmed this.
After some searching I came across several posts describing this behaviour. Apparently, SharePoint does not only respect the content of a password-protected document, but also the metadata. Hence, you have to re-add the metadata after each edit.
I discussed with the owner whether password protection was really needed as SharePoint has its own protection. As it turned out, the people who had the password were the same people who had access to the document and the document library, so she decided to remove the password.
I also checked what happens if this would have been a document library that opens documents in the Online version.
First, you get a warning message:
After editing in the client, you have the same result in the document library: the document is checked out and has missing metadata.
Another reason not to use password-protected documents in SharePoint!
Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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.
“Oh, Ellen, I think I have done something terrible to my site”, the site owner said, a note of panic in her voice. “I keep getting requests for access, while this is a site for all employees, and I do not know what I have done wrong”.
We had already noticed a number of tickets where people complained that they had lost access to this important site (and it was period-closing time so many people had to upload reports).
SharePoint Holmes to the rescue! I put on my admin cap and ventured into the site.
I opened the site. No problems for me, but then I am an admin so I have permissions for everything.
Gear wheel > Site Settings > Site permissions. Phew, “This web site has unique permissions” was still there. So permissions had not been inherited.
There were a number of groups with a variety of permission sets, including a Visitors group with Read permissions, which included all company employees. That looked OK.
Of course there were also a few items with unique permissions, but that is not unusual and it hardly ever leads to a sudden flood of support tickets.
I looked at what had been set as the homepage. (Site Settings > Welcome Page). “Homepage_New”. That made sense.
I checked the Pages library. Yes, there was a page called Homepage_New and it was the page I had seen when I entered the site.
It was time to check the permissions for the Pages library. Aha, “This library has unique permissions” and only the Owners (Full Control) and Visitors (Read) were mentioned. Good idea – you do not always want everyone with Edit or Contribute permissions to manage (and mess up) your pages.
Then I noticed something in the yellow box: “Some items of this list may have unique permissions which are not controlled from this page”. And yes, one of the pages was “Homepage_New” to which only the Site Owners had access…
I quickly deleted the unique permissions from the page so at least Visitors could access the homepage again. Then I informed the site owner what had been causing the issue.
So yes, this was a permissions issue, but everyone still had access to the site. It was only the Homepage that was restricted, leading everyone to believe that they could also no longer reach the content of the site.
When this ever happens to you or your audience, and you expect that you have access to this site (e.g. because you have always had access or you have just been invited), try checking Site Contents.
Take the root of the site (https://company.sharepoint.com/…/sitename/) and then add “_layouts/15/viewlsts.aspx?view=14” to it. Create the link and paste it in the browser.
If you still get an access denied, you likely have no permissions.
If you see the content, it means there is something wrong with the welcome page.
Has this ever happened to your users?
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
One of the myriad changes announced at MSIgnite was the mention that all files in OneDrive will soon open in edit mode directly, so you can work faster.
I hope Microsoft will wait a bit before rolling that out for SharePoint as, since moving to SharePoint Online, we have had a number of incidents where users have inadvertently overwritten or otherwise messed up a shared Excel Online file, resulting in incorrect data.
I do not quite get how that has happened, as Excel Online files always open in read mode (in Internet Explorer and Edge, in any case, and only very few people have another browser) and you have to specify whether you want to edit in Browser or in Client.
But it has happened more than once, also with people who are quite SharePoint-savvy, so I guess it is a thing. Perhaps it is the “autosave” option when you are in Edit mode, so your changes are saved, even if you do not intend to?
This is a major annoyance, as we can not restore a single file from Office365. We can only restore the full site collection…
So more than ever before, prevention is key! Here are a few ideas to prevent and remediate incorrectly overwritten (Excel) files – pick the option(s) that suit your situation best:
1. Adjust permissions
Make sure only those people who really need to edit the file can do that.
If people have to consciously check out a file, they will be made aware they are going to edit it, and they can stop if they do not want that. It does not change the auto-save, however.
How: Gear Wheel > Library Settings > Versioning settings > At the bottom, check “Require documents to be checked out before they can be edited” and click OK.
This can be a pain for users, as they will have to remember to check the file in when it is finished (and preferably before they go on holiday 🙂 ). On the other hand, a checked out file can not be edited, so it may also be a blessing!
Remember that a Site Owner or site collection admin can always override the checkout or check the file in.
If many people need to edit the file in a short timeframe before a deadline (e.g. end of month), option 7 may be a better solution.
3. Always open the document in the Excel client
SharePoint Online allows you to select the opening behaviour of a file. If you set this to “Client” the file will always open in Excel desktop version, read mode, which will need a conscious effort to edit the file. (Unless you have “Autosave” enabled in your Excel client!)
How: Gear Wheel > Library settings > Advanced Settings > In the 3rd paragraph from the top, select “open in the client application” and click OK.
In general, the Online version is limited; it is useful when you just need to make a few simple content edits. The Client version is more powerful.
4. Set versioning
This is remediation, not prevention. Having versioning set means you can restore an older correct version if the current one has been corrupted. By default, SharePoint Online document libraries have 500 major versions already enabled, which should be sufficient. 🙂
How to set versioning: Gear Wheel > Library Settings > Versioning settings > Document Version History > make sure this is set as below (or use a smaller number) > Click OK.
How to restore a version: Select the document > Click version history from popup or command bar > Hover over date and time of version to restore and click the black triangle that appears > click Restore from the popup. Please note this version will be copied to the top as a new version.
Options 2, 3 and 4 (and ideally, 1 as well) have to be set for the complete document library in which this document lives. If that is difficult or unpleasant, why not create a new document library especially for this document?
How: Gear wheel > Add an app > Document Library > Specify name > Create.
6. Use a password-protected workbook or worksheet
You can protect your Excel file with a password and only give the password to those people who need to change the data. You may need to rearrange your Excel for that, since you can view a password-protected sheet, but not a password protected workbook, in the browser.
This is never my preferred option, as I think we have SharePoint permissions for this scenario, but in some cases it can be useful.
How: Open the file > click File tab > Info > Protect Workbook > select “Encrypt with Password” (for the complete file – if you want to open in the client) or “Protect Current Sheet” > add password and options > OK.
7. Turn this Excel file into a SharePoint list
This can be a good option if your Excel file is relatively simple and does not contain complicated calculations or relationships between sheets etc.
You can use the SharePoint list to collect the data, export the data into Excel and do your advanced data processing in Excel. In case of many people having to process data before a deadline, e.g. end of month, this method is preferably over mandatory check-out of a file as everyone can work on their own lines without having to wait for others or messing up other people’s data.
How: The simplest way is to use the Import Spreadsheet app.
Then create good views so your audience can view or edit their data according to their needs with the least amount of hassle.
I have streamlined a lot of processes in this way, check out my Business Examples.
8. Instruct your users
Once you have taken your measure(s) of choice, let your users know how they should work with the file. For instance, how to disable Autosave in their Excel client, or how to properly check out and check in.
Add the info on your site’s homepage, create a document that you pin to the top of the library, record a short demo, etc.
Have you had this issue as well and if yes, how are you trying to prevent it?
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Users can not access links”.
What a boring title, I thought when this incident was assigned to me. But, as usual, there was a twist to it.
Several users of a local site received a “you do not have access” when they clicked a link that was added to a news item on the homepage. This link directed to a pdf-document. According to the site owner, they should have access.
So I put my SharePoint Holmes Admin Hat on, and dove into the site.
The homepage contained an Announcement list in Newsletter Style. The text “read more” (I know, not the best way to name a link) led to a pdf in a document library in the same site, called News Documents.
The News Documents library contained 2 items.
The document library inherited permissions from the site.
The audience included myself, so I decided to take a look as my “normal” self.
Yes, I could access the page. But when I clicked on the link “Read more” I got a “Sorry, you don’t have access to this page”.
I looked into Site Contents and saw that the library contained 2 items, but when I opened the library, I saw no documents. Hmmm.
I went back into admin mode, and checked again.
I checked the link on the homepage – was it perhaps a broken link? No, it looked solid and led to the pdf without further ado.
Did the documents open in browser by default, which might hamper the opening of a pdf? I checked the Advanced Settings but it opened by default in the client.
Had the documents been checked out? No, I did not see the green tell-tale mark.
I wanted to take a better look at the views, to see if those could tell me more. There were rather a lot of columns in the default view, so I had to do some horizontal scrolling to get to the Views link.
“Draft” I suddenly noticed in the right-hand column.
“0.1” I saw in the column next to it. That column was called Version.
In the Versioning settings I noticed that content approval was enabled, and only people with approve permissions and the author could see drafts.
Both documents had never been approved and were therefore visible for only a few users. Everyone else got a “you do not have access” as for the majority of users, these documents were not yet accessible.
That explained why I could see it as an admin, but not as a normal user.
The site owner was not aware of the versioning as he had inherited the site. When I explained, he decided to turn of the content approval as that was not really needed for these documents.
Another issue solved! Now would you classify this as a document management issue or a permissions issue?
Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net