It’s a Poll! It’s an email! It’s a Form!

Forms may not be as hip as Teams at the moment, but it sure is a cool tool, sometimes even cooler than I thought!

Something relatively new is the option to add a Poll in an email. It is a nice option to quickly add a Choice question to your message. There is some support information out there but let me show you the full picture.

1. Create and send

When you open a new email and click on the … on the bottom of the mail (in the toolbar) you will see an option called “Poll”.

Click on the bottom of the new mail for the option to insert a poll

Click that and you will get a sidepane with a Choice question.

Enter your question and answer

Enter question and response options and click “Insert Poll into email”.

The poll will be inserted in the mail; the title of your question will be the subject line of your email (you can change that) and in the email body and you are added in the cc. If you change the name of the poll before you send it updates in both places! 💪

This is the email; you will get title and the link to the poll, but you can add explanatory text.

You can now type the rest of your mail and send it to your audience.

TIP: If you want to have that poll option always available in your toolbar just click the gear wheel top right > View all Outlook settings > Email > Customise actions and then scroll down to Toolbar. Check the Poll box and Save.

How to make the Poll-icon always visible at the bottom of your mails

2. Receive

So what happens when you receive an email?
The question will be displayed on top of the mail, with the options visible. This makes it easy to respond, but if you have many options in your answer, you will need to scroll to see the rest of the email.

You can see all options and vote immediately

When you have cast your vote, you will immediately see the result. You do not have to reply as your vote has been saved.

You can see if you have picked a day that others selected as well

If you happen to click the “View/vote in browser” link you will be taken to the Form in its regular format.

3. View results in email

As an owner, you can view the results from that mail. That’s why you are in the CC!

4. View results in Forms

The sender of the email is the owner of the Form, and when they go to their Forms page, they will see the Form with a poll-icon to distinguish it from a regular Form.

You can see this is an in-email poll by the poll icon

If you open it, you will see a message that you can not edit the poll.

Apparently this is called a Quick Poll and it is read-only

Limitations

  • You can only add one question
  • You can only add a Choice-type question
  • You can not edit the Form on your Forms page
  • Everyone sees the results immediately – that may be good or bad, just be aware.
  • People may forget to scroll down to see the rest of the mail 😁
  • According to the support information, this should not work well with people outside your organization, but it worked perfectly well between my Microsoft365 and private Outlook or Gmail accounts.

I can imagine this could be a good option for a quick question, without having to go and create a complete Form with all the trimmings.

Most of all, I like the integration of Forms and Outlook. It is smooth, clever and elegant.

It is also available in the Outlook desktop app but I am no fan of that.

Have you used it yet? And have you encountered a scenario where it did not work with “externals”? Let me know!

Teams meetings for non-business users – getting into the meeting

Teamsclient-header2Right now Teams is being used by many non-business people, and I have had a lot of questions about “how it works” for non-business or external users, as in: “what do they get and what do they have to do in order to participate?”

In my former post we discussed the email invitation to the Teams meeting for non-business users, and how it can differ depending on device and email client.
This time, we will look at getting to the meeting.

It’s the browser, baby!

In this part of the process the main difference is not in the email programme, but in the browser that people use.  I have added a ton of screenshots so you know what participants can expect.

I use an up-to-date Windows 10 laptop with up-to-date browsers. This may already be different from what your “consumer” users have. I have no Mac, but I have used an iPad and an iPhone.

In the invitation you will see the link to join the meeting.

Teamsclient-joinmeeting
The link. Please note you can copy the link and share it with others.

1. What happens when you click on the link?

a. Firefox and Internet Explorer

If you are using Firefox or Internet Explorer as your browser, you will get the message that those browsers do not support Teams and a nudge to move to Edge OR to download the app.

Teamsclient-JoinfromFirefox
You are pushed to use Microsoft Edge or download the appEnter a caption

b. Edge or Chrome

If you are using Edge (the new one) or Chrome, you will get this nudge to either download the app or to join on the web:

Teams-gmail-chrome
You will have to make a decision: download the app or join on the web.

I have occasionally seen this image, which is the new experience, or so I think:

Teams-yahoo-chrome
I think this is the new experience – it is more obvious you have 3 options

c. Safari on iPad

If you use this, you will get a similar screen as for Internet Explorer or Firefox, except that you will only have “Get the Teams app” as suggestion.

Teamsclient-ipad
Safari does not support this – downloading the app is the only suggestion you get.

d. Safari on iPhone

If you are on an iPhone you will get a warning that Safari does not support it, and a nudge to download the app.

Teamsclient-iphonedownload
It’s in Dutch but I guess you will understand that you are nudged to download the Teams app

2. What happens when you join on the web?

a. Edge or Chrome

When you have decided to open Edge or Chrome (if you are using Chrome as your default browser) you will get to this screen. You are requested to enter your name and click “Join Now”. Look at the bottom, where you are again enticed to sign in (if you have a Microsoft account) or to download the app.

Teamscliententermeeting
Strangely enough the name of the meeting is not shown. Enter name, select camera and phone settings and click “Join Now”.

After clicking “Join Now” you get into the lobby. As you may know, recently Microsoft changed the default settings for all meetings to “People outside your organization will have to wait in the lobby”. While I agree with this setting, especially now that so many new (and often non-business) people are using Teams, it led to a lot of questions in my organization because we had just been telling everyone that by default everyone could get into your meeting immediately. 😤

TeamsClient-lobby
The lobby

In any case, you will enter the meeting as a Guest with the role that the organizer has given you. 

If you have a paid subscription to Microsoft365 it is worth signing in, because you will get the full web experience. The link to the meeting is accessible for everyone, so you can just sign in even if your Microsoft365 account has a different email address than the one that you have been invited with.

3. What happens when you download the app?

a. Laptop (Windows 10)

Downloading and opening the app can take a few minutes, so you may want to warn your newbies to start early or do a test run well before the meeting. 

Once you have the app installed, and you click the meeting link from your email, you can use the “launch it now” button or your browser will ask you to open the link in the app. Internet Explorer just opens the app.

TeamsClient-chromeandapp
Chrome and app

TeamsClient-firefoxandapp
Firefox and app

TeamsClient-edgeandapp
Edge and app

Once the app has opened, you will be requested to add your name and click “Join Now”, like when you join on the web. Please note that the app has two extra features:

  • You can enter the meeting with a blurred or custom background (the toggle between camera and microphone)
  • You can check your microphone by clicking on “PC Mic and Speakers” and then selecting “Test Call”. (Functionality that I know and ❤ from Skype)

Teamsclient-enterwithapp
Some extra functionality when you join a meeting with the Teams app.

You will enter the lobby as usual.

TeamsClient-applobby
Again, you will see the extra options that the app has to offer. While you are waiting, why not select a nice background! 😄

If you download the app and you do not sign in with a Microsoft account, you will enter the meeting as a Guest with the role that the organizer has given you

b. iPhone.

If I download the app on my iPhone, give permission to use the microphone, and click that horrible long link from my email, it will ask me if I want to open the link with Teams and then I get this message (Time to meet):

Teamsclient-iphoneintomeeting
You can enter as a guest or again, sign in.

After entering your name and clicking Participate you will get the lobby message, which looks similar to the ones above.

TeamsClient-lobbyiphone
iPhone lobby message (in Dutch)

c. iPad

On my iPad the “Open in Teams?” message did not happen so I could not make the switch from my email to the app. I was also forced to sign in with an account, which is not the purpose of this exercise. Anyone out here who had more luck?
Copying the link to the meeting and pasting it into the Edge app on my iPad worked. It switched over to the app and I could enter as a guest, with the same image as above for iPhone (but wider).

What have I found so far?

  • Your non-business participants do not need to have a Microsoft account to participate.
  • You do not need to download the app on your PC, as you can participate on the web if you use Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome as your browser.
  • Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox can not be used for a Teams meeting.
  • If you do not have a Microsoft account (or if you do not sign in with it), you will have to enter a name when you log on, and you will participate as a Guest.
  • The Teams mobile app is a must if you want to take part from an iPhone.
  • Both the mobile and desktop apps may take a few minutes to download and install, so always ask your participants to download and test-drive well in advance, or start at least 10 minutes before the meeting.
  • The desktop app will give you more options such as the custom backgrounds and the option to do a test call.
  • If you have an external presenter or discussion leader, strongly suggest to use a laptop and download the desktop app as the extra options will be very useful especially for them.

Next time, we will look at the meeting experience.

 

Teams meetings for non-business users – invitations

Teamsclient-headerTeams may have originally been intended as a business-to-business meeting and collaboration tool, it is now, in COVID-19 times, used heavily for all kinds of gatherings. The education sector is using it big time, my own organization is using it temporarily as a group therapy session tool, and I use it to meet with my fellow “citizen activists” who want to keep our lovely home town a great place to live in for real people.

So, right now Teams is being used by many non-business people, and I have had a lot of questions about “how it works” for non-business external users, as in: “what do they get and what do they have to do in order to participate?”

The fun part when you use Teams for “consumers’ is the variety of systems that people use – devices, browsers, email clients. So, I tried a few things, starting from my own Office365/Microsoft365 tenant.

I created a meeting from Outlook Online, as described earlier.

  • It does not show attendees
  • You can not forward the invitation
  • Externals need to wait in the lobby
  • Externals are an attendee, not a presenter

I sent this to various online emailclients: Outlook.com, Gmail.com, Yahoo.com

I opened the mailboxes with various browsers on laptop and the Outlook one on Iphone and Ipad.

I looked at the invitation and accepted the meeting (where possible).

What does the invitation look like?

Teamsclient-OutlookChrome
Laptop/Outlook.com mail. This invitation looks the same in Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. The yellow bar mentions that the invitation can not be forwarded. (in Dutch)

Teamsclient-YahooFirefox
Laptop/Yahoo mail. Invitation looks the same in Edge, Chrome and Firefox. Internet Explorer shows a basic version. There is no Accept/Tentative/Decline option and no mention of the non-forwarding. And what is that silly logo next to my name?

Teamsclientgmailchrome
Laptop/Gmail. Invitation looks the same in Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. There is an option to respond, but no mention about the non-forwarding. Although the time is technically correct, it is not the “natural” Dutch time and I could not find a way to correct it.

Teamsclient-outlookapple
iOS: Outlook.com mail via Apple Mail app. Yikes, this is all you get. The top says: this message is plain text, download the full message. If you do that, you get this:

Teamsclient-outlookappleexplanded1

Teamsclient-outlookappleexpanded2
Well, double Yikes. While iOS is usually so cool and user-friendly, this is awful. You have to download the message to make sense of it, and then you get a ton of ugly links and then at the bottom your instructions and the .ics file. No mention of the non-forwarding.

Teamsclient-outlookandroid
Android. Microsoft365 account, Outlook app. Response options but no mention of the non-forwarding.

What have I found so far?

  • Do not expect a response message if you are inviting external non-business users. I did not receive any responses except from the Microsoft365 user, even though I did accept the meeting on Gmail and Outlook.com.
  • Invitations to Gmail often go into the Spam box, especially when I used the “hide meeting attendees” option. You may want to check with your externals that they have seen the invitation.
  • Check if the meeting is on the right date and time on the receiver’s end. If people have their mailbox on a different timezone, they may want to adjust it.
    Or in case of Gmail, do they realize that the time is in UTC and what UTC means? 
  • Tell people that the invitation may move out of their inbox after accepting or declining it and that they can find it in their Deleted Items if they want to keep it. 
  • Sending an invitation does not mean that the date and time are added to the Calendar option of the email client automatically. In some case you need to download the .ics file (which not everybody may understand) or specify to the email client that invitations should always be added to your calendar.
  • “Do not forward” appears to work only within Microsoft email – the option to forward is greyed out in Outlook, but the emails sent to Yahoo and Gmail could be forwarded and the recipient could enter the meeting. ☹
  • Please note that I have an up-to-date Windows 10 laptop with current versions of browsers – be aware that non-business users may have different setups and different versions!

Do not assume!

In other words, do not assume that everything will work in the same way as with your external business contacts. Your “consumer” audience has a much larger variety in devices, mail clients, updates and browsers than your business contacts (who in many cases use Outlook, if not the full Microsoft 365suite). Your “consumer” audience may also be less exposed to formal meetings and be not as tech savvy – or be more savvy with other systems than Microsoft365.

Next time, I will discuss what happens when you click on the meeting link

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?

12 reasons why I ❤Outlook on the web (owa)

OutlookheaderAfter many years of using the Outlook desktop app at work, I now find myself using the web app more and more. Partly this is because the majority of our workforce only uses the web and mobile apps, so knowing the web app is important to provide support, but partly because it is starting to grow on me.

Why would someone prefer the limited options of Outlook on the web over the full functionality of Outlook desktop?

1. You can select the colour scheme that works for you

In my organization, we allow everyone to select their own theme. After 35 years of corporate multinationals with a “Brand Police” 🙂 it was a bit of a shock to discover that my current employer does not think it is that important to have the same Office365 top bar in our house style colour for everyone. It is the default, but if you prefer something else, that is fine.

This means that everyone can choose what works for them:

  • a few colleagues have chosen black, “because it is least distracting”
  • one of my colleagues loved and applied the rainbow unicorn theme at first sight
  • I change once every few months and usually go for something colourful
  • many people have never changed their default bar
  • and everything in between

Seriously, it looks so much nicer and more colourful than that boring grey-and-blue desktop and those cluttered wiry icons! (Yes, I know I can minimize the ribbon)

Outlookdesktop1
Desktop. Booooooring! 🙂

Outlookwebapp
Web app. Nice and colourful! BTW, who will I see at Ignite the Tour Amsterdam? 🙂

2. You can visually separate your personal from your group mailbox

We suggest those who have a group mailbox, to select a different theme for their group mailbox than for their own mailbox, so they can easily see in which mailbox they are. You can’t do that in the desktop app!

3. You can “like” an email

This sounded trivial when I first encountered it, but it is actually a nice feature. I frequently see that “like” in my notifications when my colleague has read one of my proposals for a text or something, but also when I have sent someone an answer to their question.

That like is often sufficient. It means people have read it and appreciate it. They do not need to send another email to say that.

Outlookweblike
Instead of hitting Reply, why not send a “like” if that is all you want to say?

4. It supports charms and coloured emoji

Again, very trivial but it is a nice touch.
The charms are added automatically to an event when you add a certain word in the title-field. They display on your agenda in the web app, but not in the desktop app.

You can also add a charm after creating the event. Just rightclick on the event in your agenda and select “Charm” from the menu.

Outlookwebcharm2
If you like to add a charm (icon) to your event you can do so – in the web app only.

And, as mentioned in an earlier post, you can use coloured emoji in folder names or other texts of the web app, but they are displayed in black-and-white in the desktop app.

5. You can pin an email to the top

This is very useful if you want to keep an email top of mind – and top of inbox. For instance, I have an email with directions and participants, for when I give a training in a few weeks. I do not want to have to search for it – and I can easily delete it after the event.

outlookpin
Just hit that pin to keep it on top of your mail.

I am sure that Outlook has a Quick Action or so to keep track of these emails, but pinning them to the top is very easy!

6. Easy interface

In the web app, if any action or setting is not on the page itself, it is in the Outlook settings. Simple!

In the desktop app actions can be on different tabs on the ribbon, or sometimes they are hidden and need to be added to the ribbon first.
And for settings, there’s the File tab which gives you a number of buttons and a gazillion tabs and options under the button “Options”. Pfff, complicated!

Yes, you can do much more with Outlook desktop, so the extra complexity is understandable, but until now I have not missed anything while working with the web app. I do not feel a big need to use Voting buttons (I would use Forms!) or to delay sending an email or…

7. Sweep

Sweep is a neat way to clean up. Per sender you can determine where to move their mails and when. I use this to delete newsletters and RSS-feeds after 10 days. If I have not read them by then, I never will and now I can rest assured they will not pile up.

Sweep is in fact a limited form of Rules. You can create a Rule (in both apps) that does the same. But Sweep is just there, readily configured!

outlooksweep
You will find Sweep on the top bar. This is the setting I use for newsletters and RSS-feeds.

8. Three options to change a recurring meeting

This has been a life-saver for some of our secretaries. If you want to edit a recurring meeting, there’s always the question: do I change this for all instances, including those from the past, or do I stop the meeting and create another?

outlook recurring meeting 1
In the desktop app, you can only change one meeting or the whole series – changing the series means you are also changing the history.

In Outlook on the web you have the additional option to change “This event and all following events”. This means you can keep your history intact and just make changes to future events. So, if you are an Outlook desktop user but want to change only events in the future, switch to the web version and make the change there!

outlook recurring meeting 2
You have more options, including only making changes to future events.

9. See all email attachments on one page

Outlook-files
The Files link. Hello!

Not sure if this is widely available yet, but bottom left you will now see a little paperclip. If you click it, you will see all attachments from emails on one page, allowing you to quickly find that one document of photo without having to go through each email. You can filter the results on file type and date, and you can preview, download or email each document by clicking the ellipses to the right of the file name.

Outlookfilesresult
You can toggle between photos and files, but also filter on file type and time range.

 

It may be so convenient that it will not help people to clean up their mailbox though. 😦

10. RSVP to a meeting request without opening the email

In Outlook web app, invitations show an RSVP-button in the title field. It also shows immediately if there is a conflict. You can accept or decline from the inbox interface, without opening the full email. BTW, this is also available in the mobile app – really nice!

Outlookaccept
Outlook shows your availability, and if you click RSVP you get a popup with response options.

 

11. Nobody blogs about it 😁

A blogger needs to find a niche!  I search the internet frequently for answering user questions or issues, and it is really hard to find stuff about the web version as the desktop app is featured all the time. Many bloggers who write about Outlook write about the desktop version exclusively.

So, I have decided to include some more Outlook web app stuff for all those organizations where people are not desk-bound. But I would be happy if someone could point me to another blogger who writes about this topic.

12. Just in case 🙂

Originally this was titled “10 reasons”, then I found two new ones, so I think it is a safe bet to save one item for anything new that pops up!

Conclusion

Outlook on the web is, in my humble opinion, much more visually appealing and easier to work with than the desktop version. It even has a few cool options that the desktop does not have! It may have “limited functionality” but for someone who is not a heavy user, it works perfectly.

Do you prefer the web version as well? Any option I forgot to mention? Or are you enamoured of the desktop?

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

CleanOutlookheaderSome 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 the following aspects from the E3 or E5 license used in larger and more office-based organizations. (See also Marijn Somers’ post on this topic)

  • 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
  • A few limitations in Skype-for-business – as F3 users can not organize meetings or share content. Teams meetings appear not to have these limitations, by the way. (I have had varied results so I am a little careful)

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.
I have noticed that there is a vast amount of support for Outlook on the intranet 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 Online 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

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.

There used to be a cool function in Outlook On The Web that showed you the storage space usage of each folder. However, with the most recent version (August 2019) that option has gone, so you can only see the total storage now.*

  • Click the Gear Wheel top right and then “View all Outlook settings”
  •  Go to “General”, then click “Storage” and you will see how much you are using.

CleanOutlook-storage
Sadly, not a lot of detail here.

When a F1-user reaches 1,98 GB of storage space, they will get a warning message. (This is default, but the warning limit can be lowered by the Exchange admin if you want to give people some more breathing space)
They will also no longer be able to send messages at that point. So it is important to keep well away from 1,98 GB.

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. Sort on 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. Sort on 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, store them in OneDrive or SharePoint as above before deleting.

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

4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 (and perhaps 3).

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 take step 3 again 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.

Another time, I will discuss a few more ways to save space and hassle!

It was fun writing this post – my own mailbox is smaller now as well 🙂

——————–

* For as long as it lasts (November 2019), there IS a way to see the individual folder size.

Use this link and this will take you to the old interface where you can see the individual folder’s size: https://outlook.office.com/owa/?path=/options/mailboxcleanup

CleanOutlook-foldersizeindiv
For as long as it lasts: the old Outlook interface. You can see individual folder size + do some deleting from here based on message age.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More about Forms

New icon!

FormsHave you noticed that Forms has a new icon? I have been unable to get a good large file but here’s a screenshot from my tenant.
Planner and To Do have new icons as well.

Comparison of Forms and Forms Pro

Megan V. Walker has recently created an excellent comparison of Forms vs. Forms Pro.  Apart from more options in the typeface part, you have more options to integrate data from other Office365 applications.
However, the licensing cost for Forms Pro is quite high in my opinion, so I will try to guide people to the regular Forms as much as possible.
A few colleagues had the Forms Pro Free Trial and they experienced issues when their trial expired. Once I removed the Pro Free license from their accounts, all worked well again, except that your Forms created in Pro are no longer accessible. Any results you captured, are still available. Be aware!

Check out Megan’s blog as she has tons more info on Forms and Forms Pro.

I do not think anyone will ever create a SharePoint survey any more 😦 , but if you are still interested, or want to know how if Forms is a good replacement for SurveyMonkey or GoogleForms, here’s my earlier comparison of survey tools:

Forms or survey – that’s the question (on the question/answer types)

Forms or survey – what are the settings? (on the general settings)

Forms or survey – responses and results (on the way responses are shown and general opinion)

And a beauty contest!

Some months ago I shared an invitation to a farewell party in our Yammer group, as an example of Forms. It was to invite internal and external attendees and ask them for their attendance and dietary preferences. I had helped the organizer create it, and he got it immediately and included some lovely pictures.

This was the start of an informal “contest” in my organization on who can create the best-looking form. 🙂
One of my colleagues no longer sends Outlook invitations for large meetings, but creates a nice-looking Form, which means she gets fewer emails and has all responses in a tidy Excel sheet.  I guess the receivers are pleasantly surprised by a nice-looking invite rather than a plain Outlook one.
Another colleague is carefully matching images and colours in her themes, and has even added a link to a hexcode website to her browser favourites!
I wonder if they are now thinking up new events just to be able to create a great-looking Form for it! 🙂
I freqently get calls where people mention “this person has created a beautiful survey and now I want one as well – how do I do that”.
And if all goes well we may replace a third-party application with a simple Form in the next few months. Fingers crossed!

This all delights me as I am working in a health care organization and most colleagues have different priorities than sitting at a desk at a computer.

(Something similar is happening with the SharePoint modern pages by the way, which is another pleasant surprise. More about that later)

So, invitations for larger meetings appear to be THE Forms application in my organization. What’s your number one scenario for Forms?

An alternative way to dive into Delve

Delve-headerDelve is an interesting part of Office365.

In my previous organization I often received complaints about what was shown in Delve. Exactly like the results you see in Search, what you see is what you have access to, and for many people this was hard to understand. Every time the Search or Delve results got questioned (“Search is broken!”) I could prove that this person saw this search result or this document card on Delve because they had access to it, whether that was desired or not. I loved this demonstration of the importance of proper permissions management 🙂
In Search, any mismanagement of permissions only becomes apparent when you are actively searching, but in Delve “content finds YOU” so it is ruthlessly in-your-face.

Joanne Klein has written a great post on Delve and how to disable it – entirely or partially.

In my current organization we have not promoted it very much yet, so when we recently changed a number of licenses from E1 to F1 and then to F3, we did not consider the fact that the Delve app would no longer be visible for the F3-users, a big risk.
However, we received a question from someone who uses the people-part for looking up managers and direct reports, so I found three alternative options.

1. Via “My Office Profile”

After all, the Delve “Me” page is your profile page, so that should be available for every user. Just click on your picture top right and select “My Office profile”.

Delve-myprofile
“My Office profile” leads to your Delve “Me” page

 

2. Via the URL

Delve is available for users if they are logged in to Office365 and use the following URL: https://<datacenterlocation&gt;.delve.office.com.
For our organization and my own tenant this is https://eur.delve.office.com and for a tenant in the UK this would be https://gbr.delve.office.com
I do not have access to any other tenants so I can not give you the “code” for other data centers but please take a look at your Delve to see what it is. It may come in useful one day.

Delve-Mepage
My Delve page. The URL will resolve itself to yours as soon as you enter the URL.

3. Via Outlook (people data only)

Like Delve, Outlook also uses Active Directory so all people data is also in Outlook.
Users with an F1-license use the Outlook On The Web experience and they can see people’s managers and direct reports in the people card.
When you hover over a person’s name (searched or from an email) you will first see the small card, which expands into a larger card. When you click “Show more” you will see a ton of info, including the “Organisation” which will allow you to see a person’s manager and direct reports. In my case the tab is greyed-out because I am the only one in my tenant and have not set up AD.

Delve-Mepage2
Lots of info available if you click “Show more” on the extended hover card. The “Organization” tab will show you direct reports and managers.

4. “Discover” on the Office 365 start page (documents only)

The Home page in Delve shows a mix of documents that are popular or have been edited recently by people you work with.
The Office365 homepage has a tab called “Discover” which shows you a mix of recent documents from others.

Delve-discover
The “Discover” tab, showing you a mix of documents from your “circle”.

When I compared the two I found these were very similar except for

  • Content: the “Discover” tab on the Office365 homepage only shows documents from OneDrive and SharePoint, while the Delve page shows documents from OneDrive, SharePoint and Outlook
  • Display: Delve shows cards, the “Discover” tab can show tiles or list items

Delve-documentcard
A Delve card, which shows modified date, preview, views, and allows adding to favorites and boards

Delve-documenttile
A tile in the Office365 homepage, showing much less info than the card

Sadly I can not share any comparative screenshots as I can only see this in my work tenant. I am the only user in my tenant so there is nothing to share from others.
But trust me, the Discover tab is an alternative, albeit not a full one, for the Delve Home page.

What’s next for Delve?

My colleague was happy with the alternatives provided.

But when I found this all out I wondered if Delve may be going away as a separate workload as the functionality is now embedded in other, more frequently used, tools. It also has not been included in the recent icon redesign, which may be a clue as well. Would anyone know?
Just as I was writing this post, I found this post from John Liu (in response to a Tweet about Delve from Joanne Klein) who is also wondering about the future of Delve – he has a good idea for its development.

So let’s wait and see if Delve keeps being a separate app, but with added functionality, or will be absorbed into relevant other workloads in Office365…

Photo by Matthew T Rader from Pexels 

7 ways to re-use texts in Office 365

Template headerDo you have to write the same text time and time again? For instance, an email confirming an appointment, a work instruction or an in-company invoice?

There are a few ways to do that.

1. Re-use and existing mail or document

I guess this feels as the easiest way. But how often have you forgotten to remove the “FW” when you forwarded that email, or forgot to change the salutation? And have you ever overwritten and saved a document that you wanted to keep intact?

Yeah, thought so 🙂

2. Store the text in Word or OneNote and copy-paste

You will have fewer accidents with this option, but now you may suffer from extensive but invisible make-up. This may cause your texts to have weird indents or line spacing when you have pasted them. The best way to strip off the code is to copy-paste to Notepad and then into the final message, but this is often forgotten and also not 100% guaranteed.
Besides, you will have to store that document or note and look for it whenever you need it.

3. Email template – text only

An easy way to manage your email texts is with an email template. That lives in Outlook so it is easily available when you need it – no need to search!
You can create as many templates as you want. You can store about 2100 characters in a template.

Outlook Client/Desktop:

  1. Open new email
  2. In the ribbon, top right, click the … and select “View Templates” from the popup

    Templates-OfficeClient
    Find your email templates in the Outlook Client
  3. You will see a few standard templates

    Templates-MyTemplates
    Standard email templates in the Outlook Client and the place to add a new one
  4. To create a new template, click on +Template
  5. Give your template a title (e.g. “Appointment confirmation”), add text and/or images and click “Save”

    Template-newtemplate
    Give your template a good name and add the text (and any embellishments)
  6. To use a template, click on the title and the text will be added to the email.

    Templates-Applied
    Adding the text to your email is very easy! 

Outlook Online – Current Outlook

  1. Open new email
  2. Bottom right, click the Templates icon
  3. Proceed with 3 as above

    Templates-OnlineOld
    The Templates icon is bottom right in Outlook Online – it’s highlighted in yellow! 

Outlook Online – The new Outlook

  1. Open new email
  2. Click the … at the bottom of the mail and select “My Templates” from the popup
  3. Proceed with 3 as above

    Templates-OnlineNew
    When you are using the New Outlook Online, you will need to click the …

4. Email template – text and make-up (Outlook Client)

If you need to use a template that contains both text and make-up, for instance for an email newsletter or other format, you can do this in Outlook Client/Desktop. It is a much more complicated process, so I would suggest to use this only if the look-and-feel is important and needs to be consistent.
BTW, you get a free email Newsletter when you use SharePoint News, of course, but for all those other occasions this option will be useful.

Microsoft has good instructions on how to create and save a template. It includes sending an email using the template as well.

5. Email signature

Before I discovered the templates, I used to store repetitive texts in an email signature. I have shared dial-in information for my personal Live Meeting (I think that was what web conferencing was called in those days 🙂 ), and shared help and support information in that way. Although I only use templates now, there may be cases where you prefer an email signature.

Outlook Client/Desktop

Microsoft has good instructions for creating signatures.  However the screenshots are a tad outdated. Now, you either use “Tell me what you want to do” or open a new email and click the Insert tab > Signature” to get to the signatures location.

You can have multiple signatures in the Outlook Client, but please be aware you can only add one per email, so always make sure your name and other information is included.

Templates-Clientsignature
How to add a signature in the Outlook Client

Outlook Online – current Outlook

  1. To add a signature, click the Gear Wheel in Outlook
  2. On the bottom of the popup, under “Your app settings” click “Mail”
  3. Under “Mail > Layout” on the left of the screen, click “Email signature”
  4. Add text and optional image, check the desired box if applicable, and click “Save”

    Template-signatureoldoutlook
    In current Outlook Online, this is where you add your signature
  5. To add a signature manually, open a new email, click … on top of the message and select “Insert signature”

Outlook Online – the New Outlook

  1. To add a signature, click the Gear Wheel in Outlook
  2. Click “View all Outlook Settings” on the bottom of the popup
  3. Select “Compose and Reply”

    Templates-NewOutlook-Signature
    In the new Outlook Online, this is where you add your signature 
  4. Add text and optional image, check the desired box if applicable, and click “Save”

Please note you can only have one signature in Outlook Online.

6.  Document template in SharePoint – general

You can add a template to a SharePoint document library for your team’s recurring documents. Think about reports or work instructions. You can do this for all Microsoft documents and you can have multiple templates in one library.
Anyone who can manage the document library can do this, so you will need at least Edit permissions.

I use and suggest this very often right now and wish it was also available in OneDrive!

  1. Create the document you want to use as a template and save it with a meaningful name – it may help to add “template” to the name
  2. Open the document library in question, click “New” and then “Add Template”

    template-SPNew
    Where to add the template
  3. Upload the template
  4. Check that it displays correctly.

    Templates-SPAdded
    Giving a good name is important – you will want to notice the template easily
  5. To create a new document in the template, click “New” in the Document Library and select the template. A new instance of the template will open.
  6. To move position of the template, or to make changes to the template itself, click “New” > “Edit New menu”. A popup will appear on the right-hand side of the page.
    Hover over the document to be removed, repositioned or edited, click the three dots that appear to the right of the name and you will get a popup with options.

    Template-SPeditmenu
    Editing, deleting or changing the position of the template is very easily done 

7. Document template in SharePoint – custom

It is also possible to add a custom template document as the default document. I can imagine this may have its uses when you want to use it for very formal documents, such as contracts or financial reporting. Those documents will have a strict format that needs to be adhered to.
In that case you can do that via the Library Settings > Advanced Settings. Microsoft describes the steps here. Although they mention SharePoint Online, they talk about “email-enabling” the library, which has been deprecated for several years by now, so I wonder when this has been last reviewed. (Of course I gave feedback to this article)

This needs Site Owner permissions but may also be done by an admin or IT.

Have I forgotten an option? Please let me know!

Image by Cohdra on Morguefile.com