While I have been trying to adjust to the new vertical rail of apps (and I still do NOT like it) I came across something – which may be in the Roadmap but I have not seen it yet.
A line next to the app icon
Some apps get a vertical line next to them when you are on their landing page, to signify where you are. It is comparable to the line under open apps in your Task bar. I have seen it on Excel, Forms, OneNote, PowerPoint, Word, the Homepage itself and the All apps page.
Nice detail: The All apps icon changes colour when clicked and the Homepage icon turns black at that time – and the other way around.
So, does this mean that this will be applied to all apps? Could that be the reason of the upcoming redesign of the SharePoint landing page – to make room for the app rail? The Lists app landing page appears ready for this, but Outlook, Planner and many more might be in for a redesign.
Other landing pages
I thought that the SharePoint landing page looked slightly different in the last few months, so I compared the image from my earlier SharePoint News posts with the current one, and it appears that the typeface has changed slightly – it is smaller, more condensed and bold. It looks very much like the letter used on the Forms landing page…so my guess is that this will be rolled out further until every app has a landing page like this.
The “waffle” in Teams
When using the “Waffle” from the Teams web app, I noticed that the menu is different than other apps – there’s only limited apps, no documents and look what it says top right…
The other day I showed the Net Promoter Score question during a Forms webinar, told my audience how it worked and that “I honestly do not know if it is very useful” (as I hate it when I get an NPS question myself and I think I am not alone).
Immediately three people jumped in to say that it was very useful for student and intern evaluations and based on scientific evidence and that it has great predictive value. They were very interested in the results and were impressed with the fact that the calculation is built-in in Forms so you get the score without having to do any work.
So, from now on I will treat the NPS question option with a little more respect! 🙂
Closed form on a SharePoint page
By accident I recently opened an old SharePoint News item in which we advertised a (now expired) series of webinars. I had embedded the Form to make it easy for people to enroll.
To my delighted surprise I saw the “this poll is closed” message from the Form displayed on the page. Neat!
That text comes from the message that you can enter when you uncheck the box “Accept responses”, in Settings.
A new Forms landing page!
I knew that the Forms top bar would be replaced by the Office365 bar, but there have been more changes. Let me show you:
The following changes have been made:
There’s a new, smaller, button to create a new Form (1). If you click the arrow, you can also create a new Quiz.
New title font.
The cards are landscape now, and smaller.
You land on “Recent Forms” which includes Forms that have been shared with you. This is quite nice as those are now easier to reach and they display the number of answers on the card.
Clicking the … on the card does NOT allow you to copy or delete the Form, you can only Pin it or remove it from this page.
You can Pin forms you want to keep on top; they will show in the Pinned Tab. Interestingly, the empty Pinned page says: “No pinned Office documents”. I know a Form is a document but it is just strange. I still do not know why my Forms are not in my OneDrive, if they are documents!
You have the option to show Forms in Tiles (cards) or in a list.
At the bottom right, just behind that “Feedback/Need Help” buttons there’s a link to All My Forms (2), which shows all your Forms.
If you scroll down, you will see a list of Groups with the number of Forms, if you have any.
If you click on “All My Forms” you will get to a page where you can click the … (which is now next to the title, instead of top right on the card) where you can Open in Browser, Move, Copy or Delete your Form. Next to that you will see the Deleted Forms tab.
The Forms themselves have not changed – you will see the green Forms bar when you open or create a Form, and Theme, Sharing or Settings are still what they were.
But the behaviour has changed – Forms no longer opens in a new window from your Office365 landing page. I do not like that, I prefer to have my Office365 landing page always available.
Other than that, I am quite happy with these changes, especially the integration with Shared Forms. I was grumbling when I saw it at work, though, as I had just renewed my Forms webinar deck the day before and now I have to do it again!!! 😭
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 that and you will get a sidepane with a Choice question.
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! 💪
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.
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.
When you have cast your vote, you will immediately see the result. You do not have to reply as your vote has been saved.
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.
If you open it, you will see a message that you can not edit the poll.
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!
While List.ly is doing their best to get their Vimeo videos displayed properly, I thought I’d share a number of recent finds with you.
Where available, I have added related videos so you do not have 5, but 8 items to look at. In total, this should keep you busy for a little more than 30 minutes! 🙂
The logos are outdated so I guess the video is older than the upload date of February 2020. But as far as I can check in my one-person Delve, the functionality is still correct.
2. Your new intranet (in Portuguese)
Teaser for the upcoming new intranet at Samsonite Brazil. Uploaded March 2020.
3. CM3 SharePoint – your first walkthrough
Quite a long demo of this SharePoint intranet for a USA-based building services organization. This demo starts with the log-on process and it starts to get really interesting from 1.40 onwards, when the homepage is shown. I am fascinated by the colour scheme! It has a lot of useful content and other stuff. In their next video, they look a bit more at the homepage and the SharePoint functionalities and invite you to name the intranet (by completing a Form, of course!).
Uploaded March 2020.
4. Mobile app for real estate organization (builder) – in Dutch
Nice overview of the mobile (SharePoint-based) intranet-app for this Dutch real estate organization. They build houses but also own some DIY-shops in the Netherlands.
This mobile app has a ton of good stuff – News of course, colleague search, employee-stuff. It does not look like the native SharePoint app though.
Uploaded March 2020.
5. SmartSpace SharePoint intranet
Walkthrough of a SharePoint intranet for a software organization with offices in UK and USA. The look and feel is quite basic (just the company logo, not even their corporate colours) compared to the design of their proposal templates and website. They appear to do almost everything “corporate” in one site.
Having your Mission and Vision statement on the landing page must become boring after some time, but they may want to change that over time into News or something used frequently. I really like the fact they have a list of approved software (with details) as well as their project portfolio also in SharePoint lists.
Uploaded March 2020.
Forms appears to be top of my mind these days. It’s near the end of the year and lots of evaluations need to be done 🙂 so I am searching the organization for opportunities to make the switch from other tools or processes to Forms.
Every year my organization has a week where you can spend (half) a day with another department. This has mutual benefits as you can well imagine. This process involves:
Making an inventory of which departments are open for receiving visitors that week
Asking employees which one of the “open” departments they are interested to visit and when
When I joined the organization last year, I had seen the Google form for item 2. and I made a resolution to try and help the organizer move that to Microsoft Forms this year. So recently we sat together to create the Form and it turned out she had some doubts about the inventory. Last year she had sent out emails to various departments with some questions, and it was a lot of hassle to collect the data and get the overview. So I suggested she create a Form instead in order to
make sure that everyone replies to all questions
get everything collated into a tidy Excel sheet without having to copy it all manually
So, we created a Form and she sent an email with the request to complete the Form. (Which is additional advertising and awareness for Forms, I hope!)
Then we set about to create the Form where employees can specify their interest and preferred date. As this had already been set up as an online form, this was rather simple. We could even shorten the form because we decided to collect people’s name and email address automatically.
When the inventory is completed, she just needs to add the dates and departments to the Form and the announcement can be posted on the intranet with a link to the Form.
So, unexpectedly we could move two processes to Forms! Yay! (Those little wins always put a big smile on my face)
Handing over ownership of a Form before it has been distributed
According to Microsoft, you need to add a Form to an Office365 Group if you want to hand over ownership. This will make sure that the data will be handed over as well.
If you do not have a Group for this purpose, and the Form has not been distributed yet, the original owner can Share the form with the new one, and the new Owner can then Copy it to make it his/her own.
This may come in useful when someone is leaving the organization (and whose account and content will be deleted) has created a Form that still needs to be introduced to the organization.
Top 3 differences between Forms and Forms Pro
In my earlier post I mentioned I did not quite get the benefits of Forms Pro, but then Doug Allen wrote a post that made things clearer to me. Especially the options for sharing of the survey, and the analysis and follow-up of survey results are much better than regular Forms. Those examples were quite an eye-opener for me.
Be a quiz-master!
I have done some experiments with the Quiz option but I was not overly impressed. It only works well for multiple-choice questions. I think it needs some more work, either from Microsoft or from myself 🙂
Have 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:
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?
You can create really good looking surveys with Microsoft Forms these days, just by using colours and images.
There are 4 places to add an image:
You can use a standard theme, which will add a predetermined background image (optional) and colour scheme to your Form.
If you want to use your own theme, click Theme and then the +. This will open a screen allowing you to upload an image and/or set a background colour for texts and buttons.
2. Forms title
You can add a small image to the title and introduction text of your form.
You can add an image to a question. You can choose between small and large.
If you want to create a new page for a new question or set of questions, you can use a section. A section header can also contain an image, large or small. It behaves like an image in a question.
Size requirements for images – a test
I recently received a question from one of my users, who wanted to know the size requirements for images in Forms. The background image she used turned out to be a bit blurry. Of course, and fortunately, you no longer have to use exact dimensions in Office 365, but not every size works well in every application, so I did some tests.
I photographed a few scenes with my iPhone, using square, landscape and portrait orientation. (4:3 aspect ratio except for the square of course)
I resized them using good old Paint, making a 50, 38, 25, 10 and 5% of the original. All images were 72 dpi.
Then I created a Form with 2 questions and one section.
I started with the 5% size and uploaded this image as background, as title, as question (large and small) and as section image.
Whenever the image displayed blurry, I repeated the exercise with the 10% and so on, until I had a good idea of what worked.
The background needs an image of at least 750 pixels wide, but 1000 is better.
The orientation of the image (square, landscape or portrait) does not matter. The background focuses on the center of the picture.
In the title you can use an image as small as 150 pixels wide. It does not display a lot of detail, so you can get away with a small image.
The height of the image display is fixed, and the orientation of the image does not matter much.
If you use a small picture in your question or section, go for at least 150 px wide.
Use landscape where possible, as it will keep your form shorter. Check out the differences in the screenshots with the background, above.
For a large picture in a question or section, at least 400 pixels wide is best.
Please note that landscape pictures cover the whole width of the forms, and the question is shown on top. This makes for a very nice image, but as it is blown up a lot compared to the other formats, you really need to make sure the image is sharp.
If you use the same image in every section, you can create a nicely consistent experience. (But do not go overboard, every new section is a click!)
Use landscape imagery where possible – it just displays nicer
Keep in mind that different purposes need different image sizes. If your image is too small, do not use it as background or the large image.
150-400-750 is just a guideline – with a different aspect ratio in your photos and pictures, more dpi and different viewing screen size, you may find that other sizes work better for you. And perhaps you WANT the background to be a bit blurry!