Pin, save, follow, favourite the “Microsoft365 stuff you like”

While writing my latest post I came across the different words, icons and mechanisms to store “content you like and/or want to be able to find quickly later”.

So, I wrote this overview to know what is what. You may be able to use it when writing help texts and do not want to go and look what it’s called, or it may help you to understand what a colleague means exactly. There’s quite a few words and icons used for the same functionality.

I have captured the following for every application:

  1. Terminology for the action
  2. Terminology for undoing the action
  3. Icon
  4. Where you can find it later
  5. Anything remarkable

Homepage:

  1. Add to favourites
  2. Remove from favourites
  3. ⭐ (star)
  4. Favourites tab on the M365 homepage
  5. You can add everything that appears in the list to your Favourites. This is one way to save any interesting OneDrive or SharePoint documents for later.
    The other way is on the respective Word, Excel and PowerPoint online landing pages, where you can add them to favourites. These will be shown on the Microsoft365 homepage as well.
    There was an extra option in SharePoint but that has disappeared.
On the Microsoft365 homepage, you can add all content types shown to your Favourites by clicking the … . You can find them under the Favourites tab

Delve

  1. Add to favourites (popup text when you hover over it)
  2. Remove from favourites
  3. 🏷 (label)
  4. Left-hand rail in Delve under Favourites
  5. Not sure about the exact words in 1. and 2. as I had to test this on my work account and that is in Dutch. (My own tenant only has me, and that means no suggested content)
    You can also create Favourite Boards.
Screenshot from my work account, so it is in Dutch. You can click the label below a document and you will be able to find it under “Favourites” in Delve.

Forms

  1. Add to pinned
  2. Remove from pinned
  3. πŸ“Œ (pin)
  4. Forms Homepage under Pinned
  5. This action does not influence what is on your Microsoft365 homepage and vice versa
You can Pin a form from the Forms homepage and you will then see it under the Pinned tab.

Lists

  1. Favourite this list
  2. Remove this list from favourites
  3. ⭐ (star)
  4. Lists Homepage under Favourites
  5. This action does not influence what is on your Microsoft365 homepage and vice versa
You can favourite a list from the Lists Homepage or in the list itself. This one works like SharePoint sites, right? You can see your favourites on top of the Lists homepage.

OneNote

  1. Add to pinned
  2. Remove from pinned
  3. πŸ“Œ
  4. Pinned Notebooks are shown on the OneNote landing page, under the tab “Pinned”.
  5. So this is different from Word, Excel and PowerPoint while they are usually in the same range.
OneNote uses Pinning, contrary to Word, Excel and PowerPoint which use Favourite.

Outlook

  1. Pin
  2. Unpin
  3. πŸ“Œ (pin)
  4. Pinned mails are shown on top of your Inbox, see also my post “12 reasons why I πŸ’— Outlook on the web (owa)
  5. Only available in Outlook for the web, not in Outlook desktop
One of the reasons I love Outlook on the web! You can pin mails you want to keep to the top.

Planner

  1. Add to favourites
  2. Remove from favourites
  3. ⭐(star)
  4. Left-hand rail in Planner
  5. Plans only; you can not favourite an individual task
You can add a Plan to your favourites by clicking the star next to the name, or by clicking the … and then selecting Add to favourites. You will see your favourite Plans on the left-hand side.

SharePoint Sites:

  1. Not following
  2. Follow
  3. ⭐ (star)
  4. Follow block in left-hand rail on SharePoint homepage, world icon in the SharePoint app bar
  5. Followed sites also appear as target sites when you copy or move files from OneDrive or SharePoint
You can follow a site from the SharePoint home page or in the site itself, by clicking on the star. In this screenshot, I am NOT following the Communication site. You can find your followed sites on the top left of this page and in some other places.

SharePoint News:

  1. Save for later
  2. Remove from your saved items
  3. 🏷 (label)
  4. See my earlier post
  5. Will be shown together with favourited documents, see my earlier posts
One way to see your “Saved for later” items is on the SharePoint homepage.

Stream

  1. Add to watchlist
  2. Remove from watchlist
  3. πŸ“„ (list)
  4. My content tab > Watchlist
  5. You can also “like” a video but there is no list of your likes – “likes” are a compliment to the creator
You can add a video to the watchlist – all added video’s can be seen under My content > Watchlist

Sway

  1. Add to pinned
  2. Remove from pinned
  3. πŸ“Œ (pin)
  4. On the Sway homepage, tab “Pinned”
You can pin a Sway and it will appear under the tab Pinned on the Sway homepage.

Teams

  1. Save this message
  2. Unsave this message
  3. 🏷 (label)
  4. Profile picture top right > “Saved”
  5. You can also Pin a message, but that means you will add the message for everyone in a specific place, so this has a different purpose.
You can Save a message for later by clicking the … on the top right of the message, You can find all saved messages by clicking on your profile pic and selecting “Saved”.

Yammer communities

  1. None, just an icon underneath the community image + description
  2. Remove from favorites
  3. 🧑 (heart)
  4. Left-hand rail under “Favorites”
  5. There is also the option to Pin a post, but that is done by the admin for everyone, so this has a different purpose.
You can “πŸ’—” a Yammer community, it will be shown in the left-hand rail.

Conclusion:

The functionality to save a specific content item for later is available in most apps. I could not find it in Whiteboard, ToDo or Power Automate, and please let me know if I have missed anything.
Next to this personal action, there is often a group action where you can make something easily available for your team. This is usually called “Pinning” πŸ“Œ

The nomenclature and imagery vary widely, and I would appreciate some more consistency. Personally, I tend to prefer “Save for later”. That is very clear, even more so than “Add to favourites”. We can then use the word “Pinning” for group actions, such as pinning a document to the top of a SharePoint library, a message to the top of a Yammer groep or a chat to the right of a Teams channel.
I also notice that the location where you can find your darlings varies widely too.

So, Microsoft, is this in the roadmap for a little more streamlining? πŸ™‚

And while we are on this topic, I would also like to be able to categorize or group things using my own words, when I have more than 10, for instance. I seem to remember you could do that with SharePoint sites in earlier SharePoint versions. (On-prem, perhaps) And I know that Forms will have Collections (check out Mike Tholfsens’s video) in the near future, but I am looking forward to be able to do that with other content.

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!

Transferring your Forms when you leave

Are you leaving the organization? In an upcoming post I will write about everything you will have to think of, but for now I would like to focus on what to do with your Forms.

Before you leave

As mentioned earlier, a Form is by default owned by the person who has created it. You can share it with someone, but that person will not be the owner. So if your account gets deleted, your Form and all its content will be deleted as well.
Please be a nice colleague and do the following before you leave. This will save your colleagues and manager, AND your Microsoft365 admin, a lot of hassle. πŸ™‚ Of course your exact actions will depend on the “status” of the Form.

1. Forms that are still actively in use

You can move these to a Group (Team site) which will transfer the ownership to the Group.

  • Make sure you have a Group or Team site with the people who will be responsible for the Form after you have left
  • Move the Form to the Group/Team
    • Open your Forms landing page
    • Click the … on the Form to be moved
    • You will get a popup with the groups you are a member of
    • Select the correct one and click Move
    • Your Form will now be owned by the Group/Team
  • You will see a message about the move, and your name will be replaced with the Group name
  • All people whom you have shared the Form with earlier, will keep their permissions and see the Form on their Forms page
  • A new folder “Apps” will be created in the Document library, with the subfolders, but pictures uploaded before the move, will still live in your OneDrive. Move them to the correct folder in the document library
  • You can use the Form in your Team site by adding it as a Tab
Moving a Form. Please note that this form is owned by me
After moving, there is a message, your name will be replaced with the name of the group and you will also be unable to move it again.

2. Forms that are not currently active, but may be re-used later

Do you have a recurring survey that may be re-used later?

a. You can share it as a Template. The new owner can then create a new Form from your template and it will be theirs. Check this post on how to do that.

b. You can move it to a Group or Teamsite, see above.

3. Forms that have expired

Forms that have served their purpose can be left as they are.
If those Forms have File Uploads that you want to keep, please move the files to a Team/SharePoint site.
You may want to export the Excel file and store that in a Team/SharePoint site, for future reference.

4. Uploaded files

Did your Form(s) have a “File Upload” question? The files live in your OneDrive in a dedicated folder called “Apps”. (See my earlier post on the folders that are created by Microsoft365).

Please check your OneDrive and move the images manually to the new site. Files uploaded after the move will be uploaded to the Team/SharePoint site. (Again, in a folder called “Apps”)

After moving the Form, any File Uploads will be stored in the dedicated folder in the SharePoint site.

After you have left

Until your account has been deleted, (in our organization 14 days after your official leaving date), nobody can do anything. I recently was in this situation, and it was very annoying that the Form could not be used until that time had passed.
When your account has been deleted, an admin has 30 days to dive into the system and move any Forms that your organization wants to keep, to a Group/Team site, following these instructions (under the heading: Form Ownership Transfer). Just make sure your admin account has a license and that there is an appropriate Group/Teamsite.

Your manager will have 30 days ( or longer, depending on system settings) to move your File Uploads to a shared location.

I think you will understand now why I asked to do it before you leave the organization, right? πŸ™‚ All the best in your new role!

Update May 29, 2021:

On LinkedIn, Deb Walthers suggested to use a service account for creating the Forms that need to stay. That is an excellent suggestion if you know beforehand that this will be a long-term Form. In real life, I find that not everyone knows the lifespan of their Form when they create it.
I like the fact that Forms are completely democratic and can be created and adjusted by everyone in the organization. Using a service account (which I assume are owned by IT, at least in my organization) would put ownership in the hands of IT. But it would definitely be a good option for long-term and organization-wide Forms.

3 ways to share a Form with colleagues

We are using Forms for almost everything these days. We have used it to sign up for webinars, to register who enters the building, to request research and that is outside the “formal” use as a way to get people’s opinion.

As Forms is a personal tool, all Forms you create are by default for your eyes only. You are the only one who can adjust your Form and can view the responses. Moreover, when you leave the organization, your Forms are deleted. And while your Form appears to be a sort of document (it appears in your All files on your Microsoft365 start page), it does not live in your OneDrive nor SharePoint so your manager can not save it when you leave.

Fortunately, there are a few options to share Forms with others (in or outside your organization).

1. Just the responses

If you would like your colleagues to view results, you can share the responses page with them.

  • Click on the Responses tab and then the … on the right
  • Click “Create a summary link” from the popup
  • Share the resulting link with the person(s) you would like to share with.
How to give your colleagues insight in the responses

The people you share the link with will only see the response page, and can not see anything more, such as all results or individual results. In case you have asked text- or date-questions, they will only see the 3 latest responses.

Colleagues will only see responses and nothing more.
This is what you see if you are the owner of the Form – you have many extra options.

So, this can be useful if you want to share preliminary results with your colleague or team. They can watch progress and get an idea of the responses. But they will only get the complete picture when you share the final results with them.

2. Share the Form to collaborate

My colleague and I organize webinars, and one of us creates the Form to sign up and then shares it with the other. We can both adjust the texts, questions and settings, which allows us to make modifications where needed, e.g. add a warning that a certain webinar is fully booked, share the link or close the Form when we are at the end of a series.
Additionally, we can both see all the results, and export them to Excel, so we can both see who we need to invite for each webinar.
This is useful when your Form is part of a team project, or when the Owner is busy or on a longer leave during the run.

The Form will still be deleted once the Owner leaves the organization and their account is deleted. If the Form needs to run after their departure, the new owner will have to make sure to download the Excel, make a copy or use the template (see option 3), and share the link to the copy before the original Form is removed.

How do you share to collaborate?

  • Click the Share button, and in the popup go to “Share to collaborate”
  • Click “Get a link to view and edit”
  • Select the option on the bottom: “Specific people in my organization can view and edit” (assuming you do not want the whole world to be able to edit your survey)
  • Start typing the name of the person(s) or Group you want to share the Form with, and click on the correct suggestion
  • If it is urgent, copy the link and share it with your colleague(s), but the Form will show up on their Forms page anyway under “Shared with me”.
This is the place to be when you want to share a Form to collaborate
Enter the name and click on the correct suggestion.

3. Share as a template

If you have created a nice Form, and someone else wants to use it for their own purposes, you can share your Form as a template. They will then create one or more stand-alone copies of your Form. I often use this when creating a “solution” for a specific question. In that case I create the Form and after testing and approval from the requester, I share it as a template. They are then free to do with the Form whatever they want.

  • Click the “Share” button, and in the popup go to “Share as a template”
  • Click “Get a link to duplicate”
  • Share the resulting link with the people you want to share it with – these can also be outside of your organization
How to share your Form as a template – this will create a stand-alone copy

The receiver clicks on the link and sees the Form with a text on top: “Duplicate this form to use as your own”. If they then click “Duplicate it” they will have a copy of the Form. The word “Copy” is added to title, but the new owner can remove that easily.

The new owner of the Form will get this message – easy-peasy!

Stop sharing

As far as I know, you can not stop sharing the response page or the template, but you can stop the sharing to collaborate.

  • Click the “Share” button
  • Click the arrow to the right of the people that have access
  • In the next pane, hover over the person or group to be removed and click the trash can symbol
You can easily see who has access, and manage access from here as well
Just click on the trash can symbol to remove access

What type of link did I receive?

You can see from the first part of the link what your colleague shared with you:

  1. The responses page: https://forms.office.com/Pages/AnalysisPage.aspx
  2. The link to collaborate: https://forms.office.com/Pages/DesignPage.aspx
  3. The template: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ShareFormPage.aspx

Thoughts?

Do you often share your Forms or do you mostly keep them to yourself? If you share, what do you use most often?

Create a List based on Forms responses – 2

In last week’s episode, we learned that you can use the Excel spreadsheet you get as a result from your Form, to create a Microsoft List. In this case I needed the easy data entry in Forms, but wanted to move the data (using a workflow) into a corresponding SharePoint list in order to facilitate a process.

This time I checked what happens if I use the other answer types (Date, Ranking, Likert, File Upload and Net Promotor Score) as a basis for a new List. I set up a Form with those fields, entered one response, downloaded the Excel and imported that into Microsoft Lists.

Let me share the full “Translation” here, so you have everything in one place.

Field type in FormsSuggested Column in Lists
IDDo not import
Start TimeTitle
Completion TimeNumber
Choice Single line of text
Text shortSingle line of text
Text longSingle line of text
Text numberNumber
RatingNumber
DateNumber
RankingSingle line of text
LikertSingle line of text (one per statement)
File UploadSingle line of text
Net Promotor ScoreNumber

Please note that the “Number” columns have more options to select from than the columns identified as “Single line of text”.

A number column and its options
A Single Line of Text column and its options

More findings:

  • By default, the Date answer from Forms is translated into a Number column in the List. If you want a proper date in your List, make sure you change these during import, as you can not change into a Date and Time column after import.
  • A Likert scale answer will provide you with one column for every statement (=row). I have never liked these question types, as they are a lot of work, but they also provide a ton of clutter in your list 😁
  • The NPS gives you just a number, not the calculation of course.
  • The File Upload option in Forms gives you an ugly URL. Sadly there is no option to change this column into a Hyperlink column.
Yikes (The link to the file that has been uploaded in Forms and now lives in my OneDrive)

Suggestions

I will repeat my suggestions from last time, and have added some new ones, so you have them in one place.

Forms design suggestions:

  • Collect requesters’ email addresses (and names) by default in the Form. Those will be captured in the Excel automatically and can be pushed to the List, saving your users time in entering this info manually.
  • Try to think of a unique identifier in your Form that you can use to fill the Title field in the List.

Import suggestions:

  • When you enter your first item to create the Excel, use short dummy text to avoid scrolling when importing the Excel. (How do I know that, you ask? πŸ˜‰)
  • Select β€œDo not import” for the Excel columns β€œID”, β€œStart Time” and β€œCompletion Time” unless you really need those. (see next item)
  • Make sure you map the Title column first when you create your List, or Lists will keep making suggestions until that field is mapped.
  • If you have a Date column in your Form, other than the Start and Completion time, change that into a Date and Time column during import, as you will be unable to change it later.
  • The Net Promotor Score will only return the number of each response, so think carefully if you really want to import this column into the list. The complete calculation, and the graphic, is nicely done in Forms and it may be easier to check that.
The NPS is a calculation based on all responses – you can not capture this in a Calculated Column.

List suggestions:

  • Is the Start Time of the Form entry important, e.g. if these are requests and you need to sort those in order of entry, or calculate a response time? Use the default β€œCreated” date/time of the item in the List. The workflow may have a few seconds delay, but it is usually the date that is important, not the exact time. This allows you to skip the date columns from the Forms/Excel during import.
  • If you have Choice fields in your Form, it makes sense to configure the corresponding columns in the List as Choice fields and add the values. This will allow you to make use of List column formatting, such as displaying each value as a β€œcoloured choice pill” for easy recognition. You can do this after import.

Conclusion:

Yes, it is certainly possible to use the Excel spreadsheet that is produced from your Form, as a basis for a Microsoft List. However, the import is pretty basic (Numbers and Single Line of Text fields by default), so you will need to think carefully about how to import each answer, because you can not change all of them afterwards.

If your Form is very long it can certainly help, but if your Form only has a few questions, I think you can just as quickly make a list from scratch and make sure that all columns are correct from the start. But of course one wonders if a scenario like this was in scope when developing all this functionality.

Do you have any experience with this kind of set-up, and if yes, do you have any tips or tricks to share?

Create a List based on Forms responses – 1

A colleague asked if we could make his process easier by collecting requests through Forms instead of completing a Word document and then emailing it.
After discussing his process it appeared that the regular Forms output (the graphs and the Excel file) was not sufficient for his ongoing process. So we decided on a different approach:

  • use Forms to collect the requests from colleagues across the organization.
  • use Power Automate to send the responses into a List in a (restricted) SharePoint site. We will not go into details about the workflow itself, but please be aware it is part of the process.
  • the team can process the requests from their SharePoint site.

This has advantages and some risks:

  • πŸ‘ Forms has nice interface for the requester
  • πŸ‘ Requests can be made from phone if desired
  • πŸ‘ Form can be accessed by QR code if needed
  • πŸ‘ Branching in Forms (skipping questions based on earlier answers) is possible, making the workload for the requester as small as possible
  • πŸ‘ As the workflow is user-based, there is no need to manage extra permissions to the SharePoint list (the requests can be entered by more people than currently have access to the SharePoint site)
  • πŸ‘ Many options to slice and dice the requests into reports: open and completed, most popular request types, how many requests in a year, etc.
  • πŸ‘Ž The workflow can break
  • πŸ‘Ž Workflow and list need to be adjusted when the Form changes

Using the Excel file to create the List

I wanted to see whether I could use the Excel file from the Form as the basis for the List, as I was curious if this would save time.

  1. I created a Form, using a sample of each question/response option in Choice, Text, Rating. (In my next post I will use the other response options)
  2. I completed one request to create the Excel
  3. I downloaded the Excel file to my PC – you can also save it to OneDrive
  4. I then went to the Lists homepage, clicked on “New List” and then “From Excel”
  5. I uploaded the Excel (or select from OneDrive)
  6. For each column I had the option to “Do not import” or check and adjust the column type
  7. As any List needs a Title field, the system proposed to use the “Start time” (which is unique, so although not very informative, I used it). I can imagine for a real life situation, you will need to think about this.
  8. When I was done adjusting column types, I clicked “Next” and then I could adjust the title, add a list description, select colour and icon, and determine whether it will “live” in my OneDrive (personal list) or in a SharePoint site.
  9. I then checked the result
The import screen. For each field you get a proposed column type that you can change. “Do not import” is also an option.
You scroll to the right to map each field to a column.

Findings:

πŸ‘‰ The columns proposed were moderately adequate. The Ratings were all Number columns (good), but the Multiple Lines of Text and the Choice columns were all proposed as Single Line of Text.

If you do not adjust column types, this is what you will get. The blue columns have not been set correctly.

πŸ‘Ž The “Start Time” and “Completion Time” are in a regular date/time format in the Excel, but if you do nothing they turn into a sort of strange calculated number during import. It is a Number column that you can not change after creating the list. I am sure it is extremely unique to the millisecond, but not usable for real humans, so I would suggest to “Do not import” this column unless absolutely necessary. In that case, make sure you turn it into a Date/Time column while importing your Excel file.

The title field, which is a single-line-of-text column with a weird start time notation. Completion time is a number column.

πŸ‘‰ Changing the Choice fields into Choice columns during import made the columns into default choice columns, with dropdown and no values.

Suggestions:

  • Collect requesters’ email addresses (and names) by default in the Form. Those will be captured in the Excel and can be pushed to the List, saving time in entering this info manually.
  • Try to think of a unique identifier in your Form that you can use to fill the Title field in the List.
  • When you enter your first item to create the Excel, use short dummy text to avoid scrolling when importing the Excel. (I entered a ton of text into the Multiple Line of Text field, but that was not a good idea πŸ₯΄)
  • Is the date of the request important, e.g. if you need to sort the requests in order of entry, or calculate a response time? Use the default “Created” date/time of the item in the List. The workflow may have a few seconds delay, but it is usually the date that is important, not the exact time. This allows you to skip the date columns from the Forms/Excel.
  • Make sure you select the Title column first when you create your List, or Lists will keep making suggestions until that field is mapped.
  • Select “Do not import” for the Excel columns “ID”, “Start Time” and “Completion Time” unless you really need those
  • If you have Choice fields in your Form, it makes sense to configure the corresponding columns in the List as Choice fields and add the values. This will allow you to make use of List column formatting, such as displaying each value as a “coloured choice pill” for easy recognition.
If you configure your Choice values as Choice columns and enter the values, you can give the options a different colour each, using Column formatting.

Conclusion

I am not so sure if using the Excel file as the basis for the list saves much time. You need to carefully select and adjust the column type during and after import. I am sure that practice will make perfect, and I will test that in my next experiment with the other Forms-options, but if you are a practiced List creator (and I am one) you may be faster when you create your list from scratch in your SharePoint site.
It was one of my first experiences with the Lists app, however, and I have seen a few things that I like! 😍

Recent updates of my posts

With all those rapid changes in the Microsoft 365 suite, some posts age quickly. I have recently updated a number of my most-read posts to keep up with the current situation.

Office Home

Did you know I keep screenshots of all the varieties of Office Homepage since 2016? It is great to see subtle and not so subtle changes. And since there is a new Homepage being rolled out right now, featuring some more filter options and with new Tabs for your files, I updated The New Microsoft365/Office365 Homepage.

Teams

Most changes occur within Teams at the moment, so I have updated the following articles:

The importance of being Organizer, with an Excel spreadsheet (download if you like) of what each role can do in a Teams meeting. I have updated this for breakout rooms and the option to turn off chat.

Take control of your Teams meeting, where I added the options to allow attendees to unmute and the option to control the chat. I also updated some screenshots.

Forms

I just found out that you can create a QR code from Microsoft Edge so I added that to Long live the QR Code or you can read this:

SharePoint

In my most recent post I noticed that the elusive “See all” info, that allows you to create a lovely SharePoint News Digest, does not always appear on your web part even if you have posted the required 5 items.
I wrote 10 things to know about the SharePoint News Digest in 2019 and I am shocked that it took me until 2021 to find the quirk to fill item #10! πŸ˜‰

Delve

With the new Office homepage, the tab “Discover” has gone and with it the option for F3-licensed users, who have no Delve icon, to see suggested documents. So I also had to update An alternative way to dive into Delve.

Long live the QR code

(Updated: 31 January 2021)

When I first learned that a Microsoft 365 Form can be shared by a QR-code, I thought “Nice, but who uses a QR code anyway?”. I am an op-art fan and love the black-and-white pattern, but I had read a lot of articles saying that “the QR code is dead”.

I do not know if COVID-19 has anything to do with it, but suddenly I see QR-codes everywhere. I get printed food-to-go flyers with QR codes in my (physical) mailbox, stickers with QR codes are in shop windows and on restaurant walls, I see them in paper magazines and they are on paper tickets for concerts and exhibitions.

It turns out that QR codes are still very much alive as they are a perfect bridge between paper (or plaster 😁) and the internet.
Even better, I found out I no longer have to use a QR-reader app, I can just use my smartphone’s camera! (For older smartphones a QR reader app may still be required though)

So I thought to share a Form with you. Feel free to scan the code or click here.

Update January 31, 2021:

I just learned that you can create a QR from any URL (< 256 characters) in Microsoft Edge!
Here’s how:

6 more lessons from Teams Live Events

After producing two Live Events for our “Convention bureau”, and sharing the lessons learned, I thought I knew it all!
So for another event, I handed over the producer role to the organization. One of our psychiatric nurses was eager to try it. I briefed him and his presenter colleagues, told them how it works, what to do and what to think of during presenting.

I told them that switching presenters was a bit of work, as you can not “line up” the next presentation properly and wait for the proper time to make it live. (Presenters overwrite each other, so changes of presenter are messier than I had expected)

But they already had a solution.

1. Switch less by making one big presentation

That was clever. They collected all research slides as well as the intro and break slides into one big PowerPoint, and shared that on one laptop. As the presenters were in one room, it meant that each presenter in turn walked up to the laptop, cleaned keyboard and mouse (COVID-19!) and gave their presentation. The producer only had to switch layouts to start and end each break.
This can certainly not be done in every situation, but it worked here and made the producer’s work much easier.

2. You can not organize a Live Event with a F3 license

After my run-through, the producer wanted to create the Live Event, but he did not have the option.
That was an unpleasant surprise, but it was later confirmed in the Microsoft information.

If you have an F3 license, you do not see the dropdown option to create a Live Event

As it turned out, you can produce and present with the F3 license, as long as you use the desktop app. Everyone in my organization has the desktop app, which makes things a lot easier.

3. Attendee’s devices may go to sleep during a long break

I have not seen this myself, but apparently, after a 30-min break, the “crew” got some messages that people had to go into the meeting again because their devices had gone to sleep.

4. The attendee report of public events does not show names

The first two events were scheduled as in-company events, where people had to log on. The attendee report then shows the log-in names of attendees.

However, our Convention Bureau really wanted public events as there are often externals who like to join, e.g. teachers or peer organizations. When they switched to a public event, they expected the same type of attendee report and they were disappointed to see only IP-addresses and no names. Which is a bit of a no-brainer as you just click the link to a public event, without having to specify your name, but they had not thought of that.

The attendee reports are needed to give our students “study points” so I suggested to use a Form to collect attendee names, with the following process:

  • employees only
  • record names
  • one question (e.g. satisfaction with the event until now, or any other question, as long as you get the name)
  • limited time to complete, using expiry date and time the same as, or earlier than, the event end time (to minimize the chance of foul play πŸ™‚ )
  • distributed via the Q&A in a break with an explanatory message
These could be the settings to collect attendance from employees

5. Externals with a Microsoft365 account can present

If you have any external presenters (we have them frequently, e.g. university professors) who have a Microsoft365 account from their employer: they can present, as long as that account has been invited and they use the desktop app. And I think they also need to be a guest in your tenant, but I will need to check that.
This same account (a guest) can also produce the event, but needs to be admitted by an internal presenter/producer, so you will always need at least one internal presenter.

6. Externals without a Microsoft365 account can not present

So it makes sense to check with any external presenters if they have a Microsoft365 account – an Outlook.com email address is not sufficient. In case this happens, they may need to present from someone else’s laptop.

Expect more lessons!

As we will have to live with the COVID-19 measures for some time, I expect we will use Live Events more and more. I also expect more lessons as we have a number of event types that need to be moved online.

About that Microsoft/Office365 homepage…

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.

Homepage
Forms
Word

Nice detail: The All apps icon changes colour when clicked and the Homepage icon turns black at that time – and the other way around.

All Apps” changes colour when clicked

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.

SharePoint News looked like this in 2019
SharePoint News looks like this in 2020
And this is my Forms landing page in 2020

The “waffle” in Teams

But…there’s more!

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 Teams waffle menu – different from the others
This is the regular waffle menu

So…

It looks like more design changes are coming up!