From Stream (Classic) to Stream (on SharePoint) – summary

Redirecting the Stream tile to Stream (on SharePoint) will roll out to standard release tenants from now.

Office365 support folks may ask themselves what to do – enable it now or wait until more is known? Please note Stream will only be decommissioned when the functionality in SharePoint is comparable to Stream now – which is not the case at the moment. I expect you will have a year at the very least.

I have done some experiments in the last few weeks (June 2022), to give you a better idea of the current consequences of this change, and this is my advice:

  • Is Stream new for (or not yet used by) your organization?
    Redirect the tile as soon as possible, and instruct everyone in the new ways of working (video creation and storage, web parts etc.) via SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams.
  • Is Stream an important app for your organization? E.g. you have created a video portal?
    Wait until more is known. At the moment there are quite some functionality gaps, although these are being addressed as we speak.
    • You may want to do some pre-work such as checking out how many videos you have, which department is the most active, and which sites would be the receptors for videos migrated from Stream. Housekeeping could also be a good idea, if you own many videos.
    • You could also start instructing people where to create new videos and how to embed videos on pages, how to manage video in SharePoint etc.
    • Do you have an idea about how to approach the migration project when it is time? You may want to think about that now as well.
  • Do you have a few active pockets of video on Stream, and the number of likes, views and comments are not very important for the owners?
    Suggest a manual migration (download from Stream to PC and upload to SharePoint) to the owners, which will reduce the complexity of your migration project later, by doing a few things now.

I have written a few posts to help you with each of these scenarios:

What experiments have I done?

  • I have redirected my Stream tile in Office365 to Stream (on SharePoint).
    I found that this redirects to a new page in SharePoint, comparable to the Office365 homepage, where you can see all videos on OneDrive, Teams and SharePoint you have access to.
    Videos that are in Stream stay there and will eventually be deleted. This means any video on Stream that you want to keep, needs to be migrated by you.
  • This means you suddenly have a migration project. Although I expect it will be some time before Stream gets decommissioned, it will take thought, preparation, communication and other work.
    I have a few suggestions for that project.
  • Microsoft will provide a Migration tool, which I have not seen yet. I expect this will move videos with all their metadata (including comments, views, likes), but YOU will have to decide where the videos will go.
    If you do not want to wait, and/or if you have a few Stream channels where the metadata are not terribly important, you can reduce complexity by moving those videos manually. I have checked what happens when you download from Stream and upload to SharePoint.
  • Do you have Stream videos embedded on your SharePoint intranet and other pages? You will need to change web parts and link to videos in SharePoint.
    I checked which web parts are best:
    • Highlighted Content for videos from one site
    • Quick Links for a hand-picked selection of videos
    • File Viewer for a single video, illustrating a News post
  • As video is treated as a document, I have also checked if the Document Library web part would be a good web part to display video, as you can configure it more than the Highlighted Content. However, it is a lot of extra work and it is not better than the Stream or Highlighted Content web parts.
  • Do your colleagues use Stream (desktop or app) to create video’s? You may want to wean them off and suggest another app from the Office365 suite. These are my recommendations:
    • the OneDrive mobile app for their impromptu and personal videos
    • a recorded meeting on Teams desktop for more official videos, such as instructions or speeches.

When you have access to the SharePoint Admin and Message centers, you can see some improvements for Stream being planned, e.g. inline playing in the Hero web part.

The SharePoint message center will keep you informed about Stream (on SharePoint) improvements

What’s next?

I hope I have saved you some time by doing and sharing my experiments. If anything new pops up, like further improvements to Stream (on SharePoint) I may create a new post.

Good luck!

Where to create a video in Office365

This Stream project is a gift that keeps on giving. There are so many things I want to find out and write about! Not just for myself, but especially for you, to help you understand what this change will mean.

This change also means that you will have to change the ways your colleagues create videos. I do not know if many people in your organization are using Stream right now, but even if they don’t, you may want to create a campaign on video creation, as video is an important medium and it may be a good idea to increase the creation and usage of it in your organization.

My goal for this post is to help Office365 support folks guide their colleagues in a simple way to other video tools. “Please no longer use Stream, use …”

I have reviewed the options.

Where can you create videos in Office365?

  • Stream Classic (desktop and app – please note F3-licensed users can only view, not add!)
  • Teams (desktop and app)
  • OneDrive (app)
  • Yammer (app)

At this moment the Office mobile app does not support creating videos, but I have just learned this will be added in future as the Office mobile app is very much focused on documents. You will be able to create 90 second videos with annotations.

Stream (Classic) – desktop

You can record a screen or a video with your web cam. (Instructions from Microsoft)
You can trim the video, but it can only be 15 minutes max.

πŸ‘ Trimming options

πŸ‘ Stable image as this is usually done from laptop

πŸ‘Ž Max. 15 minutes

πŸ‘ŽType of videos is limited to web cam options or screensharing

πŸ‘Ž Created and saved in Stream which is Office365 but an app that will be discontinued, so you will have to move it to SharePoint

Stream (Classic) – app

The Stream mobile app is a bit more flexible than the desktop version. There is no time limit, and you can use the smartphone camera.

Instructions from Microsoft

πŸ‘ Quick to start

πŸ‘ Freedom in topics as this uses the smartphone camera

πŸ‘ Created and saved in Office365 (but in Stream, so you will have to move it to SharePoint)

πŸ‘ Editing options, see example below: (Not sure if I need to add that I am not an experienced video creator πŸ˜€)

πŸ‘ Trimming options (in the Stream desktop app)

You can add some effects while creating your video.
You can use the effect buttons at the bottom of your screen during recording.

Teams – desktop

Using a Teams meeting recording option, you can create a

  • meeting recording
  • “talking head” video (using the webcam)
  • screensharing recording, e.g. for Office365 instruction videos

When you use a Live Event and/or add a different camera, you can also create face-to-face event videos, such as conferences, lectures and physical town halls.

I generally use the Meet Now option to create a screensharing video.

Meet Now is a quick way to start a meeting with yourself

Instructions from Microsoft.

At this moment, it is not possible to trim or edit your video in Teams or SharePoint. You need to download your video, upload it to Stream, trim and then download and upload to SharePoint. I hope that this will be available on the other apps shortly!

πŸ‘ Created and saved in Office365 (OneDrive > Recordings folders or in a Teams channel)

πŸ‘ Stable image as this is usually done from laptop

πŸ‘Ž No trimming options, so the video generally starts with the standard Teams meeting screen

πŸ‘Ž No effect options

πŸ‘Ž Type of videos is limited to web cam options or screensharing

πŸ‘Ž You need to start a meeting first and then push the record button

Teams – app

The Teams app uses your camera phone, so you are more flexible when it comes to the topic of your recording. You can use the options from the desktop, but also flip the camera from self-view to world-view.
Instructions from Microsoft

πŸ‘ Freedom in topics as this uses the smartphone camera

πŸ‘ Created and saved in Office365 (OneDrive > Recordings folder or in a Teams channel)

πŸ‘Ž No trimming options, so you start with the standard Teams meeting screen

πŸ‘Ž No effect options

πŸ‘Ž You need to start a meeting first and then push the record button

πŸ‘Ž Video quality is not so good

πŸ‘Ž You need to give your microphone access to Teams – if you forget this there will be no sound, as in this example:

No sound, video in Teams mobile app of part of the Singel (city moat) in my hometown Utrecht
Create a “Meet Now” by tapping the camera top right.

OneDrive – app

The OneDrive app allows you to record audio or video with your regular phone camera. You are very flexible. You can flip the camera from self-view to world-view. Your video is saved in your OneDrive (root folder) and can not be edited. You can move it from there to a suitable SharePoint/Teams site for sharing. (Moving deletes it from your personal OneDrive).

πŸ‘ Automatic upload to Office365 (OneDrive root folder)

πŸ‘ Freedom in topics as this uses the smartphone camera

πŸ‘ Quick to start, compared to Teams

πŸ‘ Good video quality

πŸ‘Ž No trimming options

πŸ‘Ž No editing options

Example:

Video created with the OneDrive mobile app

Yammer app

The Yammer app also works with your phone camera. Just click the “new message” button

You can use self-view and world view, and add texts, emoji etc but it is displayed vertically, even if you film horizontally. Check out the example below. You can create a video from your feed, a community or your inbox, and the end result is stored in Yammer. The resulting message (=video + other info) can be moved to another community, but not to SharePoint, so you will have to download the video to PC and upload it to SharePoint. It is also not shown on the Stream (on SharePoint) landing page.
I expect that with native Yammer (which I am not using at the moment) you will be able to move it to another SharePoint site.

The effect options in the Yammer app

πŸ‘ Automatic upload to Office365 (Yammer)

πŸ‘ Effect options (texts, emoji etc.)

πŸ‘ Quick to start – just open Yammer and create new message

πŸ‘Freedom in topics as this uses the smartphone camera

πŸ‘Ž Needs downloading to share outside of Yammer (when using New Yammer in any case)

πŸ‘Ž No trimming or editing

πŸ‘Ž Effect options are shown vertically, even when you film horizontally

πŸ‘Ž Video quality is better than Teams, less than OneDrive

Video created with the Yammer mobile app. You can add text, emoji, drawing but only vertically.

Phone video

You can also use your phone camera to create a video and then upload it to OneDrive or SharePoint/Teams. I have not made an example as most people will know how this works.
It takes discipline to upload work videos to Office365 and delete them from personal records. If you think this is a challenge for your employees, you’d better teach them using the OneDrive app as the preferred option.

πŸ‘ Editing options including trimming, colours, filters, formatting

πŸ‘ Quick to start

πŸ‘ Good video quality

πŸ‘Ž Needs discipline to remove video (if it is a private device) after upload to Office365

Recommendation: Teams desktop or OneDrive mobile app

Stream will go away, so you will have to use another way to create videos in your organization.

In my opinion, the most useful options are

  • Teams desktop, for more formal videos, such as demo’s and talking heads
  • OneDrive app, for impromptu videos or when on location

We are really missing trimming and editing options, so I hope Microsoft will add them to SharePoint soon! This Excel file with functionality planning does not have info about the editing options. (Unless I am overlooking something). But Marijn Somers told me that a good tool (Clipchamp) will be built into Windows 11, so we can look forward to that!

Of course there are a zillion other video tools available, with excellent editing options, but my goal for today is a simple swap of Stream with another app from the Office365 suite.


How have you or will you tempt your colleagues to move away from Stream and use another option instead? Please let me know!

Manual migration from Stream to SharePoint

You will have noticed I am currently trying to find out as much as possible about the consequences of the decommissioning of Microsoft Stream.

There is no hurry, as only the Targeted Release has been able to redirect the Stream tile to SharePoint, and the standard release will only be able to do it from July 2022 onwards. When Stream will be disabled, no one knows, but I guess it will at least be a year until that happens.

Still, I like to be prepared and to know what will happen exactly, before I do something that has unpleasant side effects. And I guess you will want to know, too! So, let me save you some time by doing some experiments.

If I would still be working at the mental health care organization (I retired in January) I would have moved my small video collection manually from Stream to SharePoint in the upcoming summer period.
I owned just a few instruction videos, and although I would miss the likes and views that my videos received on Stream, those are not really important.
I can imagine that there are more small pockets in organizations that feel that way.

Migrating manually (Downloading to PC and uploading to SharePoint) will result in some data loss but it may offset the freedom to to this at your own time. Also, it will save the project manager time and complexity.
One of my readers asked what will happen to transcripts, comments and stuff. I have not used the migration tool that Microsoft will provide. But I can check what happens when you do a manual migration.

Hey ho, let’s go! 😁 (Hello, former colleague Annica, I hope you are well)

Test setup

  1. I have recorded a Teams meeting with a transcript. By default, this video has been stored in my OneDrive. I have also added a comment.
    A recorded Teams meeting may sound like a limited business case but we have created many instruction videos this way.
  2. I have downloaded it to my PC and uploaded it to Stream (Classic). There I liked the video, added a comment and a Form.
  3. I have downloaded it from Stream and uploaded to a SharePoint library. This will be the scenario for a manual migration.
  4. I have copied the OneDrive file to a SharePoint library, just to see if there is any difference.
  5. I have also downloaded the file from OneDrive and uploaded it to SharePoint, without the Stream step.

Let’s see what happens with transcripts, number of views, Forms and comments. It is already known that “likes” from Stream (Classic) will not be a feature of Stream (on SharePoint).

1. OneDrive

When I open the video the transcript pops up immediately.

Video and transcript in OneDrive

I do not get a signal that there is a comment, but that may be because I added it myself. I can open the comment section and read my comment.

Video and comment in OneDrive

2. OneDrive > download > Stream

When I download the video and upload it to Stream, and open it there, the transcript is shown top right. It has timing next to it. Please note I added comments and the like after this video was uploaded to Stream, as well as a Form.
The comment from OneDrive has disappeared.

Video, transcript, like, comment and Form (top right, under Interactivity) in Stream

3. Stream > download > SharePoint (manual migration scenario)

This leaves you with the plain video – the likes, comment from Stream, transcript and the Form are not migrated. That is strange, as the download from OneDrive to Stream migrated the transcript.

Video in SharePoint, downloaded from Stream. by default, the transcript option is disabled. πŸ˜’
Enabling the transcript option in SharePoint

When I enable the transcript, I have the option to generate a new transcript in English, or to upload the transcription file in any language.

When the video-to-be-migrated has a transcript in Stream, you can download that by going to the video, clicking the … underneath the video, selecting “Update video details”, and then you can select to download the captions.

Downloading the transcript from Stream

It is a VTT file that you can use to upload in SharePoint. It will provide you with a timed transcript.

I have generated the transcript in SharePoint.

I have also generated a new transcript and this looks almost the same as my original transcript, and it is timed, but the times are slightly different. It is nice that it can be done, but it will be extra work, of course.

I have looked at the Library settings to see if I could enable the transcript option by default, but could not find it. Perhaps I need to add a content type Video, but I could not add new content types. Someone with more experience in content types may want to jump in!!!

4. OneDrive > copy > SharePoint

When I do the regular Copy To from my OneDrive to the shared SharePoint library, the transcript (not timed) is copied and opens up when the video starts playing.

The transcript is copied from OneDrive

And also the comment from OneDrive has been copied.

The comment on my OneDrive video is copied to SharePoint.

5. OneDrive > download > SharePoint

Downloading the file removes the transcript and the comment, so this is really not a good idea.

When you download from OneDrive and upload to SharePoint, all extra’s are lost. Copying or Moving will leave the extra’s intact.

Conclusions

When looking at my proposed manual migration scenario, please be aware of the following:

  1. Likes, number of views and comments from Stream will not be migrated when downloaded and uploaded to SharePoint. For Likes this is already known, for views it is obvious, for comments it was a surprise.
  2. You can see the number of (new) views in the details pane.
  3. Forms will not be migrated – you will have to create a new SharePoint page and add the video and the Form as separate web parts. (Let’s hope better options will be developed)
  4. Transcripts will not be migrated to SharePoint and you will have to activate the option after upload of each video.
  5. You have two options to create the transcript:
    1. You can create a new transcript in SharePoint automatically when the language is English
    2. You can download the transcript from Stream and then upload it to SharePoint for all other languages.

This scenario will not work for everyone, and perhaps, knowing all this, you now want to use the Microsoft Migration tool even more! No problem, now you can explain why you want this, without having to do the investigations yourself! 😁

Coming up next:

Next time I will show the differences in video creation using Stream, Teams and OneDrive.

Stream on SharePoint – tips for your migration project

Last week I changed my tenant from Stream (Classic) to Stream (on SharePoint). All nice and dandy, but as it turned out, videos that live in Stream (Classic), stay there, so if you have spent a lot of time creating a nice organizational video portal of sorts on Stream, you’ve suddenly got yourself a migration project!

I thought I’d check the available documentation and come up with some help to get you started.

The good and the bad

πŸ‘The idea is to move videos to document libraries in Teams/SharePoint/OneDrive.
Of course it makes perfect sense that videos are now treated as just another document type, that can benefit from the regular document management and video player capabilities in SharePoint, and that they will be stored, maintained and displayed by the content owners of the site, and not in a separate environment with a different interface and another set of permissions to manage.

πŸ‘ Microsoft offers a migration tool to help you move videos with their metadata.

πŸ‘ You have time. At this moment (June 2022) there is no end date for Stream. First the Migration tools needs to be made available for everyone (it is currently in preview), THEN an end date will be set which will be 9-12 months after the decision. So I expect you have at least a year. Still, it makes sense to start taking action now.

πŸ‘Ž But even while there will be a migration tool to do the dirty work, you will still have to inform and instruct your colleagues and decide WHAT to migrate and WHERE every video will live. This will be a project!

πŸ‘Ž The functionalities and features of Stream and SharePoint are not identical. Depending on the usage in your organization, this may or not be an issue. Please check this comparison (in Excel format) from Microsoft, thanks to Michael Zetti who made me aware of it.

Questions to start with

1. What could be criteria to keep/migrate, or leave/delete?

Is it age? View count? Whether the owner knows it is still in use?

2. How do you identify who owns which videos?

There will be report options in the Migration tool, but you may want to estimate how many videos, channels, active people, you have now, in order for you to estimate the complexity of your project.

You may want to start with checking the Stream admin portal. It will give you an idea about storage space used, restrictions for the use of global channels, etc.
Then, you may want to go to Stream (Classic) and turn admin mode to ON. This will give you more options to see what is there.
Sadly there is no way to create an Excel report, (as far as I know), but you can see who has uploaded what.

When you are an Office365 (global) admin you can turn on extra insight options top right.


3. How do you inform and, more importantly, persuade owners to spend time on decision making?

Nobody likes to spend time maintaining old content, so be aware that you will have to put in an effort to convince owners to take action.
As long as Stream Classic is still alive, links and embeds will still be visible and playable, but as soon as the old system is deleted (there’s no timing for that yet), those videos will be deleted. So it is important that your owners are aware of this, the changes involved, have good instructions on how to select the videos they want to keep, where they will store the good videos, and what to do with their SharePoint news and pages where embedded videos have been used.

More about that later.

4. How do you discourage use of Stream (Classic) and promote use of Stream (on SharePoint) as soon as possible?

Meeting recordings will already be stored on OneDrive or SharePoint and, generally, will be autodeleted after 2 months, so you do not have to worry about those.
But everyone who has just learned to share other videos, such as webinars, interviews, instructions or other non-meeting-recording videos, will have to learn to upload their videos on OneDrive or SharePoint from now on. The sooner you tell them, the better!

Mobile apps: Use OneDrive instead of Stream

Do you have any colleagues who are in the habit of creating videos with the Stream mobile app? Help them unlearn this habit. In Stream, you click the + top right and then “Record video”. This will allow you to create a video that will be uploaded to Stream.

How to record video in the Stream app: Click + top right and select “Create Video” from the popup screen
(in Dutch, sorry about that)

Please teach your colleagues to download the OneDrive mobile app instead and to use that. It works almost the same: Click the + top right and select “Create picture or video”.

How to record a video in the OneDrive app: click + top right and select “Create picture or video” from the popup screen
(in Dutch, sorry about that)

Do you have any F3-licensed users? Fortunately you do not have to worry about them; they can not upload to Stream anyway. 😁

5. How do you migrate your videos?

a. Microsoft migration tool

Microsoft is promising a migration tool, so you may want to check the instructions. They look pretty extensive to me. I will not use it, as I have nothing to migrate in my one-person tenant πŸ™‚

b. Manual download and upload

For a small unit that only has a few videos, and where the permissions and metadata are not essential to keep, you’d better ask them to download their relevant videos manually and re-upload them in a relevant SharePoint site. They can do this at their own time and it will save the project manager hassle.
You can use an existing library or create one especially for videos. I also tried using an Asset Manager list, hoping I could show video thumbnails, but that list only allows the uploading of pictures, not videos.

Instructions for manual migration: How to download and upload

  • Go to Stream (Classic) and select “My Content > Videos” (1)
  • You will see a list of your videos
  • Check which ones you want to keep, perhaps depending on views, likes/comments and date (2)
  • Make a screenshot of views, likes/comments if those are relevant
  • Click the ellipses top right of the video and select “Download video” (3/4)
  • The file will be downloaded on your PC.
  • Check if the name is still relevant, if not change it.
  • Go to the SharePoint site where it should live and upload it there.
  • Remove the download from your PC.
How to download your videos manually

c. Third-party tools

I have not heard or found anything about it yet, but third-party tools may be available later.

6. How can you find out which videos have been embedded on SharePoint pages, or linked to in emails and other materials?

This will not only be relevant to keep SharePoint pages in working order, but also to provide direction for the new storage location. I have not found an option yet to see that.

Basically, it is the responsibility of the site/content owners to make sure their pages and emails are correct and their videos are available. But I would suggest to first check your intranet pages, so those at least will be updated.

7. What about embedding on SharePoint pages?

Again, as long as Stream Classic is still active, embedded videos will still work, as will links. But it makes sense to check any pages where you are using video, and see if they are linking to Stream Classic (and will need to be redone) or to SharePoint.
Check out below screenshots of both webparts/videos where a single video is displayed.

This is a page with an embedded Stream (Classic) web part, linking to a single video in Stream:

Stream web part with one video that lives on Stream (Classic).

And below you see a page with a File Viewer web part linking to a video on SharePoint:

File Viewer web part with a video from Stream (on SharePoint)

Perhaps the Stream icon on the bottom right of the Stream web part is the most telling, but there are several other differences in all corners of the video.

🀯 Strangely enough you can change the playback speed in the Stream web part, but not in the File viewer web part!

But Stream has other display options as well, and you need to be aware of that. As this is already a large post, I will leave that for next time.

Don’t panic, but start planning!

In most cases you will have plenty of time, but it helps if you start thinking about this now. I hope I have provided some more insight into the situation and also given you some help to tackle this. More to come! Please let me know if you have any other questions or helpful hints for others!

Moving to Stream on SharePoint

I have never been a fan of Stream. The interface is totally non-Microsoft and I always forgot where I could change ownership, for instance. My admin account needed a license in order to become a Stream admin. Stream has always looked more like an afterthought than the slick video portal that was promised back in 2015 or so. We were implementing Microsoft Video at that time, and Stream sounded so much better, and would be accessible for externals as well! (That never happened)

Recently we have been pushed to store videos on OneDrive and SharePoint. That already raised questions about the future of Stream. The video player in OD and SP got better and better, with variable playback speed, jumping 10 seconds back or forth, comments etc.
At the same time, those functions were slowly removed from Stream.

So when I read Message MC381948, published on May 18, 2022, I wanted to take action as soon as possible, and redirect the Stream tile, even without knowing fully what the end result would be.
I always like to make those type of changes at my own time, when possible. That way I can inform users at the right time, without having to wait until it has happened (and then being too late, of course πŸ™‚ )
So, “Stream on SharePoint”, OK, but what will it look like? That’s what I am going to show you today!

More information on this Microsoft page.

What does it look like now?

This is the current Stream (Classic) landing page. The URL is https://web.microsoftstream.com

The video player looks like this:

Current interface when you play a video in Stream

There is no option to change the playback speed. It used to be there! There is also no “jump” option, it is also not in the … or Settings.


When you play the same video on OneDrive it looks like this:

The interface on OneDrive.

It has variable speed, 10 sec jump and other options. Much better!

What happens when we make the change?

Go to the Admin Center > SharePoint center. (Instructions are in MC381948). Under Settings, click on “App launcher tile” next to the Stream icon, select “Stream (on SharePoint)” and click “Save”.

How you change the Stream tile

It will take a few minutes before it takes effect. So, when you click the Stream tile after some time:

The Stream tile will now lead to…

πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯

(drum roll)

The new Stream on SharePoint

Now that is more like it! This looks much more like Office365, with Recommended videos as thumbnails on top, and the filter tabs and a list of your videos underneath.
The URL is https://www.office.com/launch/stream?auth=2

When you click on the … next to the video name, you have options to open, share, add to etc.

With the … you can open a menu for the video

The “Add to” options allows you to create a task in ToDo or to add the video to your Calendar. The latter will open up a new meeting invitation with the link to the video in the body. Interesting, but I wonder about the use case for that.

But wait…my old videos are still on Stream (Classic)!

While the new interface is very nice, the new Stream homepage only shows the videos that are currently in OneDrive or SharePoint. All my older videos in Stream are still in Stream and do not transfer. So this means that older videos you want to keep, will have to be migrated. And what about links or embedded videos? I will need to dive into this for next time!

There will be a migration tool, I understand, but it will still mean that someone has to decide which videos to move and to which destination. So you will have an unexpected migration process to plan! 😦 Of course you can download and re-upload manually if you have only a few videos to transfer.

Has anyone made this change yet? What have you done with the existing videos that live in Stream?
How have your users reacted?

Voice, another speech-to-text option!

Did I ever mention that I am a big fan of speech-to-text functionality? Not only does it save time, but it is also magical to see your spoken word turn into pretty accurate text. (Yes, even in Dutch)

Of course you have the option to dictate in various applications, see this Microsoft help. And I recently wrote about options to transcribe meetings and recordings.

The latest addition, as far as I know, is the Voice option in the Office Mobile app. It is super easy to use and allows you to make notes while on the go. But I have also used it while sitting at home on the sofa, capturing the most interesting statements from election programmes for our recent council elections.
It has saved me a lot of writing. πŸ™‚

How to start?

  1. Download the Office Mobile app to your phone
  2. Log in with your account (one-time, unless you want to switch accounts)
  3. Click +, then Voice
  4. Select language by clicking the world logo (one-time, unless you want to switch language)

How to record?

  1. Click the Microphone button – this will turn red
  2. Speak
  3. Click the Microphone button to pause, and click again to resume
  4. When done, click Done button

Now what happens?

Depending on your license, different things will happen. As far as I could find out, from literature and experiments, my Business Basic subscription has limited options, but my Family account is supported. How strange!
In the screenshot below, the subscriptions marked with * have limited options.

The different licenses. Licenses with an * have limited functionality, e.g. they do not do speecht-to-text in this app. I do not see an F3 license mentioned, that’s weird.

Supported license:

  • You will see the written text appear while you speak. Magic! Even in Dutch it is very accurate.
  • When you open the file on your phone and click the Share icon, you can share it to Word which creates a Word file with a link to the voice file. You can save that in OneDrive.
  • A voice file (.wav) and a transcript (.transcript) will appear in OneDrive, in a new folder called Voice Captures.
After using the Voice option, a new folder is created in my OneDrive with 2 files.

I have tried to share my phone screen in a Teams meeting and recording that, but that did not work out. I suppose it is a microphone issue. So, I made a (silent) video using screenshots.

You can see what happens.

Non-supported license:

You will create a voice file (.wav) which is stored on your phone. You can share it and save it on OneDrive, or download it and transcribe the text to Word, as described in my earlier post, option 1.
So, rather disappointing.

You can see the difference in outcome in below screenshot:

On top: voice capture with Business Basic, bottom: voice capture with Family account; it displays the text.

Another limitation: device

Voice appears to be available on phones only and not on tablets. In any case, I could not select any microphone settings on my iPad, not even when I had my headset attached.

I have already added the new “Voice Captures” folder to the post: Who created those folders in my OneDrive?

Conclusion

I really like this option for taking quick notes, but I was rather disappointed to find out that my Business Basic license only has limited options. But you, reader, will probably have a solid Enterprise license so I guess that won’t be an issue. So, why not give it a try!

Do you or your organization have any experiences with the app? Have I missed something, or do you have more experiences with the licenses? Please share!

I am also investigating the other Mobile app options, so watch this space 😁!

10 things to know about storing Teams meeting recordings

Around this time the default location to store Teams meeting recordings will change from Microsoft Stream to

  1. SharePoint if this is a Channel meeting (In the SharePoint folder of the Channel, in a new folder called “Recordings”.)
  2. OneDrive of the person who records, for any other meeting (in a new folder called “Recordings”)
  3. 20 days download option for the person who records, if they have an F3 license

According to Microsoft this is because a video is a document and should therefore live with and managed like a document. A recording will benefit from regular document management options, security and permissions, and the ability for external sharing.

In theory, this makes sense. In practice, there are some things you may want to know. In my organization we have chosen to switch early so we could control the switch date and make sure to have proper communication and support available. We have a few months of experience by now.

1. Stream is still not accessible for externals. Will it ever be?

When I was working with Office365 video (it must have been around 2015), we were told that it’s follow-up Stream would be accessible for externals. Until now, I have not seen any evidence or announcement of that. So storing meeting recordings in Stream has always been unpleasant for webinars and meetings with externals. You had to download the video from Stream and send or share it from OneDrive or SharePoint.

2. Spreading videos over 4 different locations is confusing (Stream, OneDrive, SharePoint, download)

We have been using the new locations for a few months now and boy, does this confuse people! You need a lot of words to explain where videos are stored. Many people are not aware of their license, or of the meeting type, or of their power when they record the meeting. And then you have all your earlier recordings still living in Stream. 😦

3. Storing recordings on the OneDrive of the “button-pusher” is confusing

We have had a few questions from meeting organizers about the recordings, where someone other than the organizer recorded the meeting. When something needed to be done, e.g. sharing the video with external attendees afterwards, or a bit of editing, or removing the video, the organizer did not know where to go. When I explained the situation, it happened that the “button-pusher” was on holiday, had no time or was unwilling to cooperate.

As the organizer already has so many unique powers in a Teams meeting, would it not make sense if the recording was always stored in the OneDrive of the organizer? And perhaps with a 20-day download option in case the meeting is organized by a group mailbox? (Which does not have a license, hence no OneDrive)

4. Your OneDrive and/or SharePoint must be accessible for externals

That is, if you want to share recordings with external parties. As you know, external participants can not watch the recording of meetings by default, even if they have a Microsoft365 account.
In my organization the OneDrives have the option to share with externals, but not all our SharePoint sites allow external access. In some cases we can make external access available with little effort, but not for every site type. If your organization does not want that, you will be unable to share with externals, so you will have to send large files around. 😦
This is not a big difference with the earlier situation on Stream, but Microsoft assumes external access by default, making it sound easier than it sometimes is.

Do you know the sharing settings for your SharePoint and OneDrive applications? (This is from the Admin Center).

5. This will add another folder to your systems

The recordings from a regular meeting will create a new folder in the OneDrive of the person who records, called “Recordings”. A Channel meeting recording will create a new subfolder in your Channel documents, also called “Recordings”.
This is not a big deal but you may want to tell people about all those folders that they themselves have not created. Some time ago I wrote an overview of all system-created folders in your OneDrive.

Example of a “Recordings” folder in a Teams channel

6. Stream can play videos at different speed

If you have a video in Stream, you can play it at different speeds. Click on the gear wheel under the video, click “Playback speed” and select the speed.
You can not do this in OneDrive or SharePoint.

Playing a video at different speeds is a Stream feature.

7. Stream has (limited) video editing options

If you want to do something with your video for the long term, you will probably want to use the best part only. In Stream, you can trim the beginning and end off your video if needed. There are no other editing options, but this option is useful AND more than what OneDrive and SharePoint have to offer. So, if you want to remove the start and end bits of a recording, you will have to upload your meeting recording to Stream OR use another video editing tool.
Please, can we have some editing options in OneDrive and SharePoint too?

Trimming is another unique Stream feature

8. Stream has caption, subtitle and other video options

This is perhaps not very relevant for the meetings that you record for people who could not attend, or to make sure you have captured the notes correctly, but these functionalities certainly add value for a webinar or an instruction video.

The video details in Stream. You can access them by clicking the … below the video and selecting “Update video details”. See the earlier screenshot.

9. Adding a Form works better in SharePoint

In Stream you can add a Forms, as a poll or a survey. In is rather strange – there is a side panel where I would expect the Poll to show up, but it is actually shown on the location of the video. Also, you have to specify a time, which could be nice for a quiz, but not for a general question.

I do not quite get this functionality in Stream. There’s a ugly box next to the video and the Form itself is shown on the video.

In SharePoint, you can create a nice page with an embedded video and a Form on the side.

It is easy to create a nice-looking page on SharePoint with additional information and interactive elements to your video.

10. Currently there are two messages when you save a Channel meeting.

My own tenant is still in Stream mode (mostly because I don’t do PowerShell πŸ™‚ ) and I am currently getting a message when I stop the recording.

On Teams desktop it says: “After the meeting, you can find this recording in the channel conversation or on Microsoft Stream.”

This is the message that you get when you stop recording in the Teams desktop app

On Teams for the web you get: “Recording is being saved. Recording has stopped. You can find the link to the recording in meeting chat history.”

This is the message when you stop recording in the Teams web app

Not a big deal, but something you may want to be aware of.

Conclusion:

Although the sharing and management of meeting recordings will be better when the recordings are stored on OneDrive or SharePoint, you miss out on specific video functionality. I would appreciate to have some basic video editing capabilities for OneDrive and SharePoint.

Has your organization made the switch to OneDrive and SharePoint? Do you have something else to add?

Some quirks of the F3 license

Update April 2022: From January 1st, 2022 I am no longer working at an organization where I have access to both the E3 and F3 licenses. Unfortunately I can no longer update this post.

When people talk or write about Microsoft 365 Outlook, Word or Excel, they generally mean the desktop versions.

However, there are Microsoft365 subscriptions that provide only the web and mobile versions of things. With the ongoing improvements of the web apps these subscriptions are getting better and better.

Most of my therapist colleagues have the Microsoft365 F3 license, which is a good fit for people who mostly work with patients and use dedicated medical software as their main application. F3 has web and mobile apps only.

While the comparison with the Microsoft E3 license (which most secretaries and staff have) clearly display most of the limitations of the F3, (albeit in the small print) there’s a few unmentioned “surprises” so let me list all that we have found so far, while providing support to our F3 collagues.

1. No desktop apps

This is the most obvious limitation. I think Word and Outlook for the web are both pretty good and getting better all the time, but some advanced functions are only available in the desktop apps, e.g. creation of scientific literature citations, or creation of a book index in Word.
An overview of the differences:

2. Storage for Outlook and OneDrive: 2 GB

Yes, it is mentioned quite clearly (also in our own support materials) but we regularly get questions from people who have almost reached the limit. All we can do is provide them with help to clean up their Outlook and OneDrive.

This is also the reason why I was not happy with the recent change to store Teams meeting recordings to OneDrive.

3. You can not upload a video to Stream

Just to be clear: F3 people can consume videos from Stream but not create them. It is mentioned in the comparison. I do not really get this. Are F3 users not expected to share any videos? Not even of training materials or a team get-together? We have a few colleagues who like to do vlogs for their colleagues – no Stream for them. 😒

Fortunately, OneDrive and SharePoint now have good video players so I guess it will not be a big problem, apart from the storage space allocation.
It does make me wonder what Stream is good for, then.

With the E3 and other licenses, there’s an upload option top right. No such thing for the F3.

4. Recorded Teams meetings go nowhere

We made the change from storage in Stream to OneDrive and SharePoint early, because we knew that F3-users can not upload anything to Stream. If an F3 recorded a meeting, they got an error message.
So we thought: “Well, OneDrive may not be optimal, but at least they will be able to store their recording in a good place. So let’s make the change, make them aware and suggest to move any recordings to SharePoint at their earliest convenience.”

The other day I recorded something with my F3 test account, and I was totally surprised to see that the recording did not go anywhere. It is in the meeting chat, with a message that it can be downloaded for 20 days.
The good news is that the recording can be saved. The bad news is that this is not as expected, and that people will need to take action to store it.

You need to download a recorded meeting.

5. You can not create a Live Event

This is not a major issue, as organizing a large online event will generally be done by a few selected roles. An executive secretary, our Convention Bureau, communications etc.
An F3 colleague can produce and present, however, as described in this post.

This has nothing to do with the difference between web or desktop app – everyone in our organization has the Teams desktop app.

6. You do not have the Delve app

This is not mentioned anywhere in the comparison, so this was also a surprise when we found this. It is not too much of a limitation, as you can get there via your Office profile.

7. Agenda sharing issues with E3-colleagues

If an F3 colleague shares his or her agenda with an E3-licensed colleague, e.g. a group secretary, the secretary can only edit the agenda when using the Outlook web app.
This may have to do with the fact that there is no “desktop equivalent” in the F3-agenda. It is annoying though, as our secretaries generally prefer to work with Outlook desktop. We are trying to convince them that the Outlook web app is a joy to use, but so far most of them stick to desktop. 😒

Do you know any more quirks?

I have deliberately not mentioned a number in the title. Please let me know in the comments if you know something else, so we can create a shared resource!

This is a great opportunity to use one of the more than gorgeous letters of Simon Koay’s Superbet. F = Flash!

10 things about protecting documents from being overwritten

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

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

How to protect a document

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

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

When you open a protected document, you see this:

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

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

Now you can add comments or edit

How to share a document in review mode

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

Here’s how you allow comments only

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

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

Test programme

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

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

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

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • OneNote

I shared the documents with each of the following permissions:

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

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

What do you need to know?

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

What do I think?

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

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

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

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

Where have all the features gone?

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

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

Perhaps one of my readers can help?

1. The SharePoint start page

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

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

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

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

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

2. Save documents for later in SharePoint

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

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

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

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

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

3. Files tab in Outlook

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

The paperclip

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

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

Update July 8, 2020:

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

Does anyone know?

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

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