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How to create SharePoint Single AppPart Pages

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SingSingle Page Application (SPA) is a paradigm to create modern web applications where the information is presented to the user through a single HTML page. This ensures that the sites are more responsive and closely replicate a desktop application or native app. A SPA retrieves all the application’s code such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS on the initial load. Alternatively, depending on the user activity or affecting events, it may load resources dynamically in response to that update.
The Microsoft SharePoint interface shows pages built from several components which are called AppParts, these are originated from different sources built during runtime.

Until early 2019, it wasn’t possible to install one single AppPart filling the complete page’s real-state in SharePoint and simulate, somehow, the behavior of SPA sites. However, since the introduction of version 1.7 of the SharePoint Framework (SPFx), it’s now possible to configure SharePoint and the AppParts so we can carry out this task. At the time of writing this article, this option is only available for SharePoint Online, not for SharePoint Server. Nonetheless, it’s certainly a possibility that Microsoft may add this option to the Server version in a future Service Pack.
Using Single AppParts pages in SharePoint is important because it makes it possible to create: more complex AppParts, a filled page area, more controls and visual elements inside it, and, at the same time, enriching the user experience.
The process to create a Single AppPart page is a two steps process: create the SPFx component and configure it to fill the complete working area and configure the SharePoint page to render it consequently.
Create the SPFx AppPart
Initially, the creation of an SPFx AppPart for a Single AppPart page is similar to that of an AppPart. Microsoft offers extended information about the development of SPFx AppParts and the creation of a development environment on their documentation site.
Step 1 – Here, we need to use Yeoman, the tool used to generate SPFx projects, to scaffold a new AppPart for SharePoint. Ensure that you choose SharePoint Online only (latest) as the environment you want to use and select the client-side component type for the WebPart you want to create. You should then see a HelloWorld AppPart that can be run in the local Workbench gulp serve.

Step 2 – Open the file ../src/webparts/helloWorld/HelloWorldWebPart.manifest.json using your code editor, for example, Visual Studio Code. Search for the supportedHosts section and then add a new value called SharePointFullPage as shown below.

Step 3 – Open the file “../src/webparts/helloWorld/HelloWorldWebPart.manifest.scss” and comment out using two backslash characters (“//”), as indicated in Figure 4. the max-width attribute. This is not required by the Single AppPart Page, but it will show the AppPart using the full page-width when it is hosted in SharePoint.

Install the AppPart and use it on a page

Step 4 – Compile the AppPart gulp bundle –ship and follow the instructions in the Microsoft documentation to create and compile SPFx AppParts, and then generate its deployment package gulp package-solution –ship.

Step 5 – Open the SharePoint Catalog site and upload the AppPart package to the Apps for SharePoint library. Use the Make this solution available to all sites in the organization option to ensure that the AppPart will be immediately available for all site collections.

Step 6 – Create a new Blank page in one of the SharePoint site collections. Open the page and install the AppPart. It will behave like a normal AppPart, which means, it will be shown as one of the AppParts that can be installed in a zone and column of the page. The only difference is that the AppPart will use the full width of the column because we changed this option in the CSS file of the part.

Configure the page to become a Single AppPart Page

Although Microsoft describes different ways to configure SharePoint to make the page a Single AppPart Page (using JavaScript or the SharePoint CLI), the best way is using PowerShell PnP. Patterns and Practices for SharePoint (PnP) which is an Open Source initiative hosted in GitHub. This is closely monitored by Microsoft to enhance the SharePoint object models and PowerShell accessibility, filling the gaps that Microsoft should have done natively but never did.

Step 7 – To use the PowerShell PnP module, install it first, open a PowerShell console as Administrator and run the following command:

Step 8 – To log in to Office 365, use the next command and provide your credentials when asked. Replace [domain] and [SiteName]” with the name of your Office 365 domain and site collection name:

Step 9 – Then, run the following script. Change the value of “[NamePage.aspx]” to the correct one. The first command must be in one line text

“SingleWebPartAppPage” is the property that will convert the page to a Single AppPart page.

Step 10 – Go back to the page and refresh it.

Figure 7. The AppPart configured as full page in a SharePoint page

As you can see, the complete command bar at the top of the page and the header of the page are invisible now.

Step 11 – If you change the header of the page to Compact from the Settings in the Change the look and Header options, and remove the Quick Launch menu, the complete interface of the page will be available for the AppPart, making it look like the design of a SPA:

Figure 8. The AppPart used as full page with the quick launch menu removed

Step 12 – To return the page to the ­­­normal rendering, change PageLayoutType property in the script to Article, and run it again:

There are a few things you should note about the Single AppPart Pages in SharePoint:

  • These pages are made to host only one AppPart
  • If you install more than one AppPart on the page and then convert it to Single AppPart Page, only the first AppPart will be rendered. The other AppParts are only hidden and will be visible again if the page is configured back to “Article”
  • Single AppPart Pages can also be used by the ‘out of the box’ AppParts
  • The configuration panel of the AppParts is fully useable for both, custom and ‘out of the box’ AppParts
  • There seems to be a bug in these pages for users with read-only rights: the new layout disappears, and the page is rendered as a normal SharePoint page. The bug is reported to Microsoft.

As a conclusion, we can say that the Single AppPart pages in SharePoint are a useful option to create SPFx AppParts that need to use the complete real-state of SharePoint. In this way, the designer and developer can create more rich and useable interfaces. Additionally, the needed changes to implement it are not intrusive and easy to recognize.

Source – Practical365

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SharePoint Document Management

SharePoint Folders vs. Metadata

sharepoint-folders-vs-metadata-hero

Folders vs. Metadata is an endless debate in SharePoint world. I published a number of articles on the topic myself. Here are the links to some of them:

I always wanted to create a slide deck to help my loyal blog readers to visualize issues with folders and the benefits of metadata. I finally got few hours to create such a slide deck. You can even download it from SlideShare, if you wish. Enjoy!

 

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SharePoint Document Management

SHAREPOINT DOCUMENT TYPES

content-types

Are you trying to organize your documents in SharePoint and scratching your head as to how to name your docs? Perhaps you have different types of documents, like meeting notes, schedules, budgets, etc.? While you can tag your documents against various properties, like document owner, revision, etc., one of the most common “drop-down” choices is Document Types (as shown in image below).

SharePoint Document Library

 

COMMON SHAREPOINT DOCUMENT TYPES

In case you want to take advantage of this, I summarized all the frequently used SharePoint Document Types in a slide deck below. While every organization is unique and you will have your own document types as well, this list covers most common types of documents. So feel free to download this slide deck and copy and paste the list into your column drop-down choices or Term Store. Enjoy!

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SharePoint Document Management

2 WAYS TO SEARCH FOR FILES IN SHAREPOINT

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One of the great advantages of SharePoint over file shares is its ability to search and find the content you are looking for. Network drives, file shares, DropBox are great if you want to store content. However, how do you find your content (documents)? With this blog post, I would like to explain the available options for searching and finding the documents in SharePoint.

HOW TO SEARCH FOR FILES IN SHAREPOINT

Option 1: Site search box

I am sure you have seen this and I am sure your have used this already. Every site has this search box in the upper right-hand corner, which allows you to surface up content based on what you have typed in.

How to search for files in SharePoint using Site Search Box

  1. Navigate to the Search Box in the upper-right handcorner of your SharePoint Site
  2. Type the text/keyword you are looking for
  3. Hit Enter

Search Box

 

Pros:

  • Works out of the box
  • Searches for keyword typed in in file name, metadata and text inside of the files (Only MS Office and readable PDF files)

Cons:

  • By default, searches in a site + subsites that reside under the site where you typed in the search text. That means that sometimes, depending on keyword typed in, might return too many irrelevant results, as the scope is usually the whole site collection (unless the search has been specifically configured by your SharePoint Administrators)
  • By default, might not return all the relevant results. SharePoint makes an assumption about some of the files and might think they are duplicates of one another – so they won’t even show up in search results. Reference this blog post for more info, courtesy of Mike Smith.
  • By default, searches for all types of content, not just documents. So in other words, the search results will display any content (folders, events, tasks, contacts, whole sites and libraries) that match whatever keyword/term you typed in. So unless the search has been specifically configured by your SharePoint Administrators – the search results might be a bit overwhelming for end users. See an image below for what I mean… You also might want to check out related blog post “SharePoint Document Library – one or many?” to see what I mean.

search results all

Option 2: Document Library Search Box (my favorite)

Despite its presence for quite some time (the feature became available in SharePoint 2013), not many users know about it or get to use it. Every Document Library in SharePoint 2013 has a search box located just above the documents themselves. The beauty about this search box is that it allows you to search for documents just within the specific document library.

How to search files in SharePoint using Library Search Box

  1. Navigate to the root of the Document Library
  2. You will notice a search window present in the header portion of the document library (to the right of where all the views are
  3. Type the text/keyword you are looking for
  4. Hit Enter

search box library

Pros:

  • Works out of the box
  • Just like the “global” search in Option 1, the document library search box surfaces up content based on file name, metadata, and text inside the files themselves
  • More precise search results. Since you are searching within specific document library, you will only get results that are documents and not other junk (sorry, I meant content) located on your site

Cons:

  • If you have documents located in multiple libraries/sites, this option won’t help much. You will need to search separately in those document libraries or rely on Global search listed in Option 1.

Bonus: Wildcard Search

Another cool search feature you can use with both Options 1 & 2 is wild card search. That is when you don’t know exact keywords, only a portion of the text you are looking for (i.e. first few letters). In the example below, I am searching for the same keyword I searched for above (vehicle), except now I am searching based on first few letters. As you can see, I am getting same results!

wildcard-search

For wildcard to work in SharePoint…

  • You have to start with the first few letter of the word. In other words, in a word “vehicle”, you can’t search for text “ehic“, it has to be “veh
  • The wildcard character in SharePoint is “*“. You have to put the asterisk (wildcard character) afterthe first few letters, not before. For example, veh*, not *veh
  • You can use SharePoint wildcard search with both Options (global search and library-level search)
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SharePoint Document Management

SEARCH FOR DOCUMENTS IN A DOCUMENT LIBRARY USING METADATA NAVIGATION

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Before we proceed, I want to mention that this filtering mechanism (official name in SharePoint for this is Metadata Navigation) really only makes sense if you configure your library with custom metadata/columns. If you don’t have custom metadata setup, the only filters you will have are the ones that exist by default in any library (Modified, Modified By, etc.).

Metadata Navigation is a feature in SharePoint that allows users to dynamically filter and find content in SharePoint lists and document libraries.

Step 1. Configure your metadata, upload documents

I will assume that you already know how to do this. If you don’t – you might want to check out this slide deck for step-by-step instructions.

Step 2: Activate Metadata Navigation feature

Not sure why it is setup that way, but the cool looking filter (also known as Metadata Navigation) is not something that is activated out of the box. You have to enable the feature at the site level first. For this, you need to be a Site Admin (or have Full Control permission to the site).

  1. Go to Site Settings > Manage Site Features.
  2. Scroll down to Metadata Navigation and Filtering and click Activate button.

1

Step 3: Configure Metadata Navigation Settings

Once the Metadata Navigation is activated, you can now setup filters at the library level

  1. Go to the library where you want to add the filters
  2. Go to Library Settings tab – you will now see an option called Metadata Navigation settings. That option did not exist previously (it only appears after you activate that Metadata Navigationfeature above)2
  3. On the next screen you can configure your filters. You have full control over which filters to display and in which order. The filter list on the left side contains all of metadata filters available to you (both out of the box + custom metadata you created yourself).metadata filters
  4. Click OK

You are done – enjoy your search! Now use can search your library based on a combination of metadata filters. Just choose your choices on the left, click Apply filter and your library will adjust results accordingly.

BONUS

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SharePoint Document Management

SHAREPOINT DOCUMENT LIBRARY – ONE OR MANY?

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Shall I put all my documents in one library or multiple libraries? This is the question that always comes up when it is time to create the sites and migrate your documents from file shares / network drives to SharePoint. With this post I hope to answer that question and explain pros and cons of single vs. multiple document libraries concept.

SHAREPOINT DOCUMENT LIBRARY – ONE OR MANY?

To start off, if you are moving from network drives / folder structures to SharePoint, you will never want to put all of your files and folders in one big SharePoint document library. As I stated numerous times in my previous blog posts, the best practice is to break up that content and place it into different sites, depending on the business function/intent and unique security of the site. For example, all the HR documents will go to HR site, all Finance documents to Finance site, all Project documents to Project/Team Site and so on.

Assuming you did this, here is a next dilemma you might face. Say, each of your Departments has its own set of policies/forms/ templates they use. And you want all of these policies to be available in one spot. How do you deal with this? Well, there are 2 options available to you. Let me explain both.

Option 1: Each Department stores their policies, forms or templates on their respective sites

The obvious option would be to let each department manage and store their own policies, forms or templates. However, by doing so, you are making the task of aggregating these various documents in 1 place a very complicated one. Yes, it is possible to roll up the documents from multiple libraries and sites into single site/location, however, not something that can be done straight out of the box – it does require you to use advanced SharePoint Web Parts like CQWP (Content Query Web Part or CSWP (Content Search Web Part) and you need above an average Power User /Administrator knowledge of SharePoint to achieve this. And the rolled up content will look like this…

CSWP Search Results

To put in simple terms, there is no Out of the Box way to roll up content from multiple document libraries into another document library.

Moreover, because of the decentralized nature of this (every department is on their own), you might not have a good mechanism or governance to standardize on naming conventions, metadata tagging of those policies.

Option 2: All departments store their policies in one library / site

The second option would be to provision 1 site dedicated to Policies. On that site, you can create a single document library, configure metadata with properties that are relevant to Policies. Examples of such metadata would be:

  • Policy Owner (example: list of Departments like Accounting, HR, IT)
  • Policy Audience (example: Department names, types of employees like Full-time, Part-Time, Contractor)
  • Policy Type (example: policy, guideline, procedure)
  • Policy Status (example: draft, approved)
  • Policy Expiration Date

Here is an example of what such library might look like when all is set and done

Document Library Metadata Navigation

All you need to make sure is that policy owners from each respective Department have Contribute Access to this site/library and are properly trained on the new business process.

I ALWAYS ADVOCATE OPTION # 2 TO MY CLIENTS. HERE IS WHY:

  1. It is all about End Users! When you have all your policies in a single document library – you are making it super-convenient for your end users (Content Consumers) to find stuff. All they have to do is navigate to the site or library and it is all there for them. When you have content spread out in multiple sites, you are making it easier for content owners, but not content consumers. If you were an End User, would you prefer going to 1 place to find all your company policies or multiple? It is like one-stop-shop!
  2. Standard categorization. Since all of the files are in single document library and not spread over multiple site/document libraries, it is much easier to come up with uniform categorization (metadata) for all the policies. And there is only one document library that you need to setup, not many!
  3. Advanced filtering criteria. Since all polices are organized in single document library and you did your homework with metadata, finding stuff based on metadata is super easy! You can use various view, filters to group, sort your policies any way you want. Or you can enable metadata navigation to provide user with nice-looking filter to search for documents. You just won’t get the same nice look and feel and interface when you are rolling up content from multiple sites.
  4. No need to roll up content or write complicated search queries. If you have your policies on multiple sites and libraries, I hope you are an advanced power user or SharePoint Administrator with intimate knowledge of how search works and ability to write queries using CSWP web part.

With that being said, there are obviously situations when you cannot and should not put all your documents in one library. Project files are a good example. Project files will sit in each and separate project or team site and in case you want to roll up or aggregate documents from multiple project sites – you will be forced to use search queries mentioned above. However, for certain types of content, just like the one mentioned above, just by making slight changes in your business process, you can easily standardize on your documents, easily create nice search experience for your end users (content consumers) and alleviate yourself from major effort and overhead associated with writing queries and setting up custom searches in SharePoint.

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SharePoint Document Management

How not to copy files in SharePoint

download

I usually advocate for many wonderful features of SharePoint to be used as much as possible, but today I would like to explain the feature which I would not want you to use. I had few clients inquire about best ways to copy files in SharePoint between sites and libraries. In particular, about the feature called “Send To” or “Copy”.

COPY FILES IN SHAREPOINT USING “SEND TO” COMMAND

There is a feature accessible via SharePoint File ribbon and it is called “Send To” or “Copy”.

Send To 1

In theory, the intent is great. The functionality allows you to copy file from one library to another and establish a link, so an update in source document library will update the file in the destination document library. I am sure you can see a number of business scenarios where this could be required. For example, HR could develop a number of company policies on the internal HR site, work through multiple changes and revisions, but only publish the official version to HR Employee site.

SOUNDS GREAT IN THEORY, BUT NOT AS USEFUL IN PRACTICE. LET ME EXPLAIN…

  1. Feature is not user-friendly at all. You have to insert the path of the destination library. You can’t browse and your URL has to be a root of the library, not a particular view – otherwise it will error outSend To 2
  2. The file update does not occur automatically. Should you change the file in source library, users have to manually force the updates to destination library. This means extra things and steps for user they won’t rememberManage copiesManage copies-update
  3. Only works on 1 file at a time. You can only copy 1 file at a time, which is waste of time if you need to copy/send a few.
  4. Feature is useless if destination library has custom metadata. In case if you use custom metadata in destination library to tag the file, you cannot assign it from the same menu when you send/copy the file over. That means you have to go to destination library anyway to assign metadata after file ends up there.
  5. Can’t send/copy folders – just individual files

Based on the above, I do not recommend that you use the Send To/Copy functionality. While great in theory, in practice it is not user-friendly and really does not add much value. You will be much better off educating your users on the manual process of uploading files in both libraries/sites. If you do decide to implement this for whatever reason, it is a sure way to kill SharePoint User Adoption.

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SharePoint Document Management

SHAREPOINT SYNC ISSUES? STOP SYNCING SHAREPOINT DOCUMENT LIBRARIES!

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UPDATE (May 24, 2017): Below post describes sync issues with the old sync client for SharePoint Document libraries. Since then, Microsoft has released a new OneDrive for Business sync clientwhich is very stable and resolves all of the sync issues described in this post. To take advantage of the new sync client and to learn more about it – please reference this follow-up post.

******************

In my blog posts, I usually encourage and educate my audience about SharePoint and Office 365 features. Today, I want to warn my readers about a feature they should stay away from (at least for now). The feature is SharePoint Document Library sync via OneDrive for Business sync client. Back in November 2015, I have published a detailed post on how to sync the document library to your desktop. If you notice, that original post has a bigger “problems” section than “how to” instructions section. And there is a reason for that.

SHAREPOINT SYNC ISSUES – WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

There are a number of issues with SharePoint-OneDrive sync, as outlined in the second half of the post here, but the biggest problem with SharePoint Sync is that you end up with lost files and/or conflicting changes that will force you to loose whatever updates you made to the files. Just in the last week, I had 3 clients reach out to me and complaining about the issue. And asking me to assist. Unfortunately, there is nothing that could be fixed here – that is the way that OneDrive Sync Client currently works (or doesn’t work).

AM I THE ONLY ONE DEALING WITH SHAREPOINT SYNC ISSUES?

You are not alone. If you google the topic, you will end up with lots of pages/forums about other people having same issues. Moreover, some prominent SharePoint consultants are talking about this as well. Check out this blog post by Jasper Oosterveld, SharePoint Consultant, and Microsoft MVP.

HOW TO DEAL WITH SHAREPOINT SYNC ISSUES?

Stop using it. I know, not the answer you are looking for, but until Microsoft fixes the OneDrive for Business sync Client, the best way to avoid issues would be not to use the sync feature of a SharePoint Document Library.

HOW TO DISABLE SHAREPOINT SYNC?

If you made a company-wide decision not to utilize OneDrive for Business Sync client, you can disable the sync feature, thus preventing your users from encountering the issue in the first place. There are 2 ways to disable sync: at the library level and at the site level.

How to disable SharePoint sync for a document library

If you are looking to disable SharePoint sync for a specific library, please follow these instructions.

  1. Once at the root of a library, go to Library Settings > Advanced Settings. You obviously need to be Site Administrator to do this.libraryadvancedsettings
  2. Scroll down to the middle of the screen and in the Offline Client Availability section, under Allow items from this document library to be downloaded to offline clients?, choose Noradio button (default is Yes).offlineclient
  3. Click OK

How to disable SharePoint sync for the whole SharePoint site

The above method disables SharePoint sync at the particular library where you changed settings. That means that if you have several document libraries on your site, you will need to do repeat the above step for all of them. However, you can also disable sync for the whole Site using instructions below. To do that:

  1. Go to Site Settings > Search and Offline availability (under Search section). You need to be Site Administrator to do this.
  2. In the Offline Client Availability section, under Allow items from this site to be downloaded to offline clients?, choose No radio button (default is Yes).offlineclientsite
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SharePoint Document Management

SharePoint Sync Issues? Stop syncing SharePoint Document Libraries!

images

UPDATE (May 24, 2017): Below post describes sync issues with the old sync client for SharePoint Document libraries. Since then, Microsoft has released a new OneDrive for Business sync clientwhich is very stable and resolves all of the sync issues described in this post. To take advantage of the new sync client and to learn more about it – please reference this follow-up post.

******************

In my blog posts, I usually encourage and educate my audience about SharePoint and Office 365 features. Today, I want to warn my readers about a feature they should stay away from (at least for now). The feature is SharePoint Document Library sync via OneDrive for Business sync client. Back in November 2015, I have published a detailed post on how to sync the document library to your desktop. If you notice, that original post has a bigger “problems” section than “how to” instructions section. And there is a reason for that.

SHAREPOINT SYNC ISSUES – WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

There are a number of issues with SharePoint-OneDrive sync, as outlined in the second half of the post here, but the biggest problem with SharePoint Sync is that you end up with lost files and/or conflicting changes that will force you to loose whatever updates you made to the files. Just in the last week, I had 3 clients reach out to me and complaining about the issue. And asking me to assist. Unfortunately, there is nothing that could be fixed here – that is the way that OneDrive Sync Client currently works (or doesn’t work).

AM I THE ONLY ONE DEALING WITH SHAREPOINT SYNC ISSUES?

You are not alone. If you google the topic, you will end up with lots of pages/forums about other people having same issues. Moreover, some prominent SharePoint consultants are talking about this as well. Check out this blog post by Jasper Oosterveld, SharePoint Consultant, and Microsoft MVP.

HOW TO DEAL WITH SHAREPOINT SYNC ISSUES?

Stop using it. I know, not the answer you are looking for, but until Microsoft fixes the OneDrive for Business sync Client, the best way to avoid issues would be not to use the sync feature of a SharePoint Document Library.

HOW TO DISABLE SHAREPOINT SYNC?

If you made a company-wide decision not to utilize OneDrive for Business Sync client, you can disable the sync feature, thus preventing your users from encountering the issue in the first place. There are 2 ways to disable sync: at the library level and at the site level.

How to disable SharePoint sync for a document library

If you are looking to disable SharePoint sync for a specific library, please follow these instructions.

  1. Once at the root of a library, go to Library Settings > Advanced Settings. You obviously need to be Site Administrator to do this.libraryadvancedsettings
  2. Scroll down to the middle of the screen and in the Offline Client Availability section, under Allow items from this document library to be downloaded to offline clients?, choose Noradio button (default is Yes).offlineclient
  3. Click OK

How to disable SharePoint sync for the whole SharePoint site

The above method disables SharePoint sync at the particular library where you changed settings. That means that if you have several document libraries on your site, you will need to do repeat the above step for all of them. However, you can also disable sync for the whole Site using instructions below. To do that:

  1. Go to Site Settings > Search and Offline availability (under Search section). You need to be Site Administrator to do this.
  2. In the Offline Client Availability section, under Allow items from this site to be downloaded to offline clients?, choose No radio button (default is Yes).offlineclientsite
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