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Project xCloud Now Shows Trailers for Featured Games and Loads Them in the Background

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Trailers are finally coming to Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming service. Though not present for every title in the app, ‘Stories’ display trailers for featured games near the top of the interface.

The change should let gamers quickly figure out if they’d be interested in a title without having to launch it. At the same, it means the company can push games that are trending, or perhaps ones that have great gameplay but aren’t doing quite as well as expected.

“When you open up the Xbox Game Streaming preview app, you’ll see a set of trailers for five different games you can swipe through at your leisure. As you watch the trailer, the game will load in the background and if a particular game catches your eye, you can jump in and play or keep searching for something else,” Xbox’s Larry Hryb explains.
Once you click open a trailer, you’re able to swipe to move to the next one. In our testing, the feature worked flawlessly, but we did have to watch about half of most trailers before they were ready to play.
With hope, more trailers will come to titles outside of ‘Stories’ section. Currently, xCloud only gives the developer’s description of the game, which means you can’t discern graphics and gameplay flow without opening up a separate YouTube search.
Still, the service is making steady progress, getting an iOS version last month, 15 new titles in January, and support in more regions. The stories feature doesn’t appear to be supported on the iOS test flight just yet, and we’re still waiting for the coveted PC client, which is expected sometime this year.

Source Winbuzzer

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Judge Says Amazon Is ‘Quite Likely’ to Prove the Pentagon Made a Mistake in Its Cloud Contract Evaluation

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Microsoft has been dealt another blow as Amazon fights the outcome of the JEDI cloud contract evaluation. It was awarded the contract after a lengthy review process and accusations that the contract terms unfairly favored AWS. Unsealed documents now reveal that a federal claims judge believes Amazon “likely” to succeed in a key argument of the case.

The opinion comes from Patricia Campbell-Smith, the very same judge that ordered Microsoft to cease work on the contract on February 13, until the court challenge is resolved.

She says Amazon “is likely to succeed on the merits of its argument that the DOD improperly evaluated”.
Specifically, she thinks the retail giant will be able to show that a Microsoft price scenario its bid hinged on was not technically feasible. The judge further says means Amazon’s “chance of securing the award was not insubstantial absent the error”.
Microsoft Disagrees
Microsoft’s response has been to downplay the significance of the judge’s comments. Communications lead Frank Shaw said Amazon is trying to elevate superficial labels over technical performance, further adding that if Microsoft’s bid didn’t meet the requirement, nor did AWS’.
Amazon’s case focuses on a “lone technical finding by the Department of Defense about data storage”, which was under one of six price scenarios, he continued.

“We have confidence in our technology, our bid, and the professional staff at the Department of Defense. We believe that we will ultimately be able to move forward with the work,” he said.
Microsoft President Brad Smith has previously talked up the company’s requirements, saying it worked to exceed them, rather than just meet them. This is an indication that it may have been a little too confident in its estimations.
In an email to Business Insider, one analyst called this development a “gut punch” for Microsoft. Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives suggested there’s plenty of reason for the company to be concerned.
“Clearly this Amazon vs. MSFT battle on JEDIgate appear heading down a contentious path as the Pentagon’s decisions are scrutinized. While we still believe this deal is MSFT’s to lose, comments about ‘the error’ was a clear initial win for Amazon in this trial,” he said.
At this point, it’s worth noting that these legal battles are very difficult to predict. There’s still much we don’t know about the case, Microsoft’s defense, and specific details of the proposals. Even so, the comments by a judge familiar with the case isn’t a good start for the tech giant.

Source Winbuzzer

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Sharepoint

The EU’s Privacy Watchdog Is Worried about Google’s Fitbit Acquisition

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The European Data Protection Board has raised concerns about Google’s plan to acquire wearable-maker Fitbit. The deal, which was confirmed by the search giant in November 2018, is worth approximately $2.8 billion.

“There are concerns that the possible further combination and accumulation of sensitive personal data regarding people in Europe by a major tech company could entail a high level of risk to the fundamental rights to privacy and to the protection of personal data,” said the board, which advises the EU Commission, on Thursday.

Around the same time as the acquisition announcement, the US Department of Health began an investigation of Google surrounding Project Nightingale, its initiative to collect health data from millions of its users.
There are concerns that Alphabet Inc.’s purchase of Fitbit would give it access to historical or current health data of its 28 million active users. Users who did not initially agree to Google’s involvement on their smartwatch purchase.
That data could include a user’s calorie intake, distance traveled, daily steps, heart rate data, and more. With the data, it could potentially advertise food to someone who it can tell hasn’t had dinner yet, or anti-anxiety solutions to someone who’s heart rate has consistent spikes.
For its part, Google says it would never sell personal information and that Fitbit data will not be used for its advertising. It also says Fitbit users will be able to review or delete their data.

“We are acquiring Fitbit to help us develop devices in the highly competitive wearables space and the deal is subject to the usual regulatory approvals, said Google to TechCrunch. “Protecting peoples’ information is core to what we do, and we will continue to work constructively with regulators to answer their questions.”
The second part of that response is likely to cause contention. Alphabet Inc. was forced to pay out $200 million for YouTube child privacy failures last year. Shortly after, it ignored an invitation to discuss privacy and security with congress. It has previously exposed 500,000 Google+ user’s private information and kept user’s location data even when they thought they’d opted out.
This month, it accidentally sent user’s Google Photos videos to random strangers. On top of all this, it was previously fined 50 million euros for GDPR violations. If protecting user’s privacy is a core value, the company should be in crisis right now.
The EU Commission says it has yet to be formally notified of the deal by Google. It’s up to the company to make the first step, but it’s possible some details are still being ironed out. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how this story develops now that the EU has the deal firmly in its sights.

Source Winbuzzer

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SharepointSharePoint Document Management

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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Microsoft Adds SharePoint Online Features for Site Creators

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Microsoft as of late declared a couple of SharePoint Online element upgrades for end clients.

Furthermore, Microsoft facilitated a SharePoint Online relocation talk with Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs). It likewise talked about the need to move to the “present-day” SharePoint this month.

Get to Modern

In SharePoint engineers talk this month, Vesa Juvonen, a chief program Manager at Microsoft, said that InfoPath, utilized for making structures on SharePoint, and the “work of art” SharePoint work process will leave. “Present-day is the future” for SharePoint, he included. The initial step for associations utilizing the more established SharePoint advances is to break down their SharePoint use abilities before supplanting them. For that, he prescribed utilizing the SharePoint Modernization Scanner.

Microsoft is focusing on the arrival of SharePoint Modernization Scanner adaptation 2.6 by part of the bargain, said. Right now, the SharePoint Modernization Scanner just works with SharePoint Online usage, he included. The Transformation Framework rendition 1.0.1909, for use on-premises, is required to get discharged by Sept. 9 at the most recent, Juvonen said.

The SharePoint Modernization Scanner, an open-source instrument, works utilizing a UI or the order line and creates documents in the comma-isolated worth arrangement. It can filter all or simply a few segments, (for example, InfoPath use in a domain). It has a Workflow View that shows SharePoint 2010 or SharePoint 2013 use in anticipation of utilizing Microsoft Flow. The scanner will convey an upgradeability score. The apparatus is portrayed in this Microsoft record, which incorporates a connect to the executable document.

Cloud Migration Talk

Microsoft additionally this month held a visit with Martina Grom and Marc Anderson, who are SharePoint MVPs, about relocating to the “cloud”- based Office 365 and SharePoint Online administrations.

Grom said that tech individuals, for the most part, imagine that it’ll resemble whatever other relocation where they’ll have tranquility for around a few years after the move. Nonetheless, they may not know that they’ll need to keep pace with Office 365 changes.

Anderson said that end clients aren’t pestered by the cloud move, however, it’s distinctive for the specialized individuals. A cloud move makes sense, however, when it’s comprehended that Microsoft will deal with the equipment and programming redesigns, he included.

As an advisor, Grom said she gets customer talk about doing substantial customizations, however frequently individuals love the cutting edge plan of the new SharePoint. She included that you’re generally the protected side utilizing the advanced formats with SharePoint. Customizations ordinarily complete when something isn’t accessible or the client needs a select application, she included.

Anderson concurred, saying that “in the event that you don’t have to compose code, don’t compose code.” Just invest energy in the code composing that makes the business increasingly compelling, he included.

The security point came up. Grom said that she just demonstrates the usefulness of Microsoft 365 arrangements, featuring multifaceted verification and secret key resets, and how secure they are. Protection is a worry in Europe that causes her more work, however, she included.

Anderson said that associations need to indicate their security prerequisites and that stresses over security are an alternate issue. Microsoft’s security comes as a hierarchical cost, and it might be superior to having lesser college alumni run things. He said he gets fewer inquiries than Grom about security.

New August SharePoint Online Additions

Microsoft is including a couple SharePoint Online abilities this month, including page composing and substance the executive’s improvements for Office 365 endorsers.

These enhancements will touch base for associations that get Microsoft’s alleged “focused on” Office 365 updates, which is a phase before “general accessibility” business discharge. The genuine general accessibility discharge is relied upon to happen “soon,” Microsoft showed.

Page Authoring Additions

On the page composing side, news and pages would now be able to utilize another Web Part for showing suggested content. It draws from Office 365’s Microsoft Graph authoritative data to make its proposals, Microsoft clarified in its Aug. 12 declaration.

SharePoint end clients are getting another “Vertical Sections” Web Part page-format structure ability this month, which gives them a chance to configuration content into a solitary segment. It works with a SharePoint page. At present, Vertical Sections must be made on the correct side of a SharePoint page, with the substance developing or contracting dependent on “the length of substance in non-vertical areas,” as indicated by Microsoft’s documentation. This element, discharged in Q3, is beginning to appear for some SharePoint Online tenures, as noted in this Microsoft Tech Community post.

Microsoft this month added the capacity to relocate records, for example, a picture, from a work area PC’s File Explorer onto a SharePoint page. Clients at that point have the choice to spare that record in the SharePoint archive library.

Microsoft additionally included an Undo/Redo work when making SharePoint pages. The progressions will get fixed, however, after a SharePoint page is spared or distributed.

Microsoft likewise made it conceivable to separate the connections to headings in pages utilizing stays. SharePoint consequently creates grapple URLs for headings down to third-level headings. Presently clients can get those connections by floating over the heading and tapping on the stay image or right-clicking to spare the connection.

Content Management Additions

A Microsoft Aug, 15 declarations reported a couple SharePoint Online substance the executive’s augmentations that are coming to associations getting focused on Office 365 discharges.

Associations utilizing Microsoft Flow with SharePoint Online would now be able to set up a computerized “registration and checkout” method for documents put away in the SharePoint Library. This element will be “accessible in the SharePoint connector” at some point this month, Microsoft’s declaration demonstrated. It’s perhaps a reference to the “SharePoint Connector for Microsoft Flow,” which is utilized to mechanize errands. It was referenced during May’s SharePoint Conference keynote talk. The arrangement subtleties, if necessary, for this element weren’t portrayed in Microsoft’s declaration. The procedure for making a stream for use with the SharePoint Library is commonly depicted in this Microsoft archive.

Another SharePoint Online work process expansion is another “mass endorsements” process for records anticipating endorsements, which additionally got featured during the May SharePoint Conference. This component seems, by all accounts, to be incorporated for SharePoint Online clients. They basically select a lot of records and right-snap to open a spring up the menu, which has an “Affirm/dismiss” alternative for the majority of the chose documents. This mass endorsements highlight is said to be “not far off.”

Finally, the File Hover Card include, which springs up and indicates data when a client’s mouse cursor floats over a document, will get the capacity to demonstrate “movement features” related with the record. Exercises may incorporate client “alters, remarks or @mentions,” as indicated by the declaration, which recommended that this component had taken off to “focused discharge” for Office 365 endorsers a month ago.

The File Hover Card highlight is said to possibly work when the documents are put away in OneDrive for Business, as per a portrayal a year ago by Nuno Silva, an MVP. With this element, clients have demonstrated the insights regarding who saw or altered the document, alongside the number of perspectives the record got, in addition to some other document subtleties, as per Silva.

Record Hover Card is turned on as a matter of course, as indicated by a portrayal by Jasper Oosterveld, a Microsoft MVP. IT aces have the alternative to turn it off utilizing Admin Center settings, he included.

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Create a team site in SharePoint

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Create a SharePoint Online or SharePoint Server 2019 team site to provide a location where you and your team can work on projects and share information from anywhere on any device. A team site includes a group of related web pages, a default document library for files, lists for data management, and web parts that you can customize to meet your needs.

Tip: Check out these YouTube videos from SharePoint community experts to learn more about building a modern intranet!

Should I create a team site or a communication site?

Use a team site when you want to collaborate with other members of your team or with others on a specific project. With a team site, typically all or most members can contribute content to the site and the information is limited to only the members of the team or project and specific stakeholders. If your intention is to simply broadcast information out to a broad audience, a communication site is the better choice. With a communication site, typically only a small set of members contribute content that is consumed by a much larger audience.

Steps to create a team site

  1. Do one of the following:
    • If you’re using Office 365, sign in. For help, see Where to sign in to Office 365.

      In the top left corner of the page, select the app launcher icon Office 365 app launcher icon and then select the SharePoint tile. If you don’t see the SharePoint tile, click the Sites tile or All if SharePoint is not visible.

      Note: If you don’t see the SharePoint tile or the Sites tile, your Office 365 subscription may not include SharePoint Online. Contact the person administering Office 365 in your organization. If you’re the administrator for your Office 365 tenant, see Switch to a different Office 365 for a business plan to add SharePoint Online to your subscription.

    • If you’re using SharePoint Server 2019, log into SharePoint.
  2. At the top of the SharePoint page, click + Create site and choose the Team site option. A site creation wizard will appear on the right-hand side of the screen where you input the information to create a team site.

    Notes:

    • If your plan is to associate the new team site with a SharePoint hub site, you can streamline the process by first navigating to the hub site and clicking the Create site link in the top right corner there. The new team site will automatically be associated with that hub site.
    • If you don’t see the + Create site link, self-service site creation may be disabled in SharePoint. Contact the person administering SharePoint in your organization to create a team site. If you’re a tenant administrator, see Manage site creation in SharePoint Online to enable self-service site creation for your organization or Manage sites in the new SharePoint admin center to create a site from the SharePoint Online admin center. Site creation is not currently available in the SharePoint mobile app.

    Create Site command

    Choose a site type in SharePoint Online

  3. If enabled by your admin, select the design you want to use for your site.

    Choose a design for your team site

    Note: This option only appears if custom site designs are available. For more information about how to create custom site designs, see SharePoint site design and site script overview.

  4. Give your new team site a name. Unless you’re using SharePoint Server 2019, Office 365 group e-mail will be automatically generated with the same name as your team site. As you type, you will see whether or not the name you’ve chosen is available.

    Note: If Office 365 Groups are disabled in SharePoint Online, the Email address field won’t appear.

    Create a SharePoint team site

  5. In the Site description box, add some text that lets people know the purpose of your site.
  6. If offered, in the Privacy settings section, choose either Public – anyone in the organization can access this site or Private – only members can access this site to control who has access to your site.
  7. If enabled by your admin, choose a site classification in the Site classification section. The options listed can pertain to the sensitivity of information or to the life-cycle of information on your site.
  8. If you’re using SharePoint Server 2019, click Finish, you’re done! If not, continue.
  9. Select a language for your site.

    Caution: Once you select a default language for your site and create the site, you can’t change the language to something else later. You can, however, add alternate supported languages.

  10. In SharePoint Online, add the names or email addresses of anyone else you want to manage the site in the Add additional owners box.

    Add members to a team site

    Note: The site creator is automatically a member of the site owners group.

  11. In SharePoint Online, in the Add members box, add the name or email address for everyone you want to be a member of your site and then click Finish. Members added to the Office 365 group associated with the site are automatically added to the site members group.

    To wait and add additional owners, members, or visitors later, click Finish.

    If you’ve chosen a custom site design, a banner will display at the top of your site showing the set-up status for your new site. To see which settings were applied by the site design, click Settings Settings for SPO Migration tool > Site designs.

    Once your site is created, it will appear among the sites you’re following. Your site will not inherit the permission settings or navigation of other sites. See the Manage site permissions section in Manage your SharePoint team site settings for more details.

Classic site creation

If your screen doesn’t match the images above, it means that your administrator has site creation set to the classic site creation experience. In this case, a corresponding Office 365 Group won’t be created.

  1. Click + Create site.

    Create Site command

  2. Give your site a name, and then click Create.

    Create a new site dialog when classic sites are enforcedYour site will be created in the location your administrator has predefined and the site will appear among the sites you’re following. Your site will not inherit the permission settings or navigation of other sites.

New classic site

Next steps

Now that you’ve created a site, learn how you can customize and get the most out of it:

  • Customize your SharePoint site
  • Customize your team site (classic experience only)
  • Change the look of your SharePoint site
  • Change the logo, title, and description of your SharePoint site
  • Customize the navigation on your SharePoint site
  • Customizing the “modern” experiences in SharePoint Online
  • Keep your team updated with News on your team site
  • Add a page to a site
  • Using web parts on pages
  • Upload a folder or files to a document library
  • Create a document library in SharePoint Online
  • Create a list in SharePoint Online
  • Manage your group-connected team site settings
  • Delete a SharePoint site or subsite
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Sharepoint

SharePoint page enhancements

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There’s a SharePoint page for that. From content-rich home pages that serve entire organizations to recurring quarterly business review readouts, to internal campaigns, to “welcome to the company” starter pages. As the rich capabilities of modern SharePoint pages evolve, all communicators can better design and promote their information throughout their team and across the organization.

 

We are excited to announce the following page enhancements (screenshots + links to learn more below):

  • Customize title region | control what the title region of each page looks like (layout, alignment, title, date).
  • Section backgrounds | display as distinct sections with visual variety throughout the page.
  • Custom page thumbnails | Choose a preferred thumbnail from Page details.
  • Custom page descriptions | Create a custom description from Page details.
  • FYI: removal of the Feedback button in preparation of new feedback experience | in preparation for a new feedback experience coming soon, we are removing the current Feedback button from the site footer of all SharePoint home and modern site pages.
  •  FYI: removal of the pictures of the first three members of the group | Users who want to see members of the group can continue to click the Members link in the header to see the full membership list.

 

“We are reducing emails and creating a self-service culture were finding answers is as easy as searching for it on our intranet,” says David Pizzey: Manager, Centre of Excellence, Network and End User Services. “Office 365 surfaces personalized content across the suite, making it a great tool to search for information, and it even helps you make connections with areas of   interest you might not even know existed.” [Read the full Qantas Airways case study]

 

Let’s dive into the details of each new and updated page option – all-powerful additions for communicators throughout your organization.

 

SharePoint pages are simple to create and publish, and they look great on any device. When creating a page, you can add and configure web parts, and then publish your page with just a click. And, as previously announced, you can configure the surrounding elements of the page (navigation, header, footer & theme). Now more than ever, creators and site owners present the information in an elegant, easy to consume fashion – with full context intact.

 

Customize the title region for each page. Modern SharePoint pages and news articles will now have more options to customize the title region of each page, with four layouts, two alignment choices, text badges above the title, the ability to change the displayed author and show or hide the published date. Own the title and the rest will follow. Make it your own.

 

SP-pages-enhancements_001_custom-title-region.jpgMake the title of your page or news article appear more how you like it – with controls for layout, alignment, text blocks and more.

  • Learn more

Modern pages support section backgrounds – this makes it easier to see the distinct sections and adds visual variety throughout the page. Create additional visual design and clarity as a user scrolls through your content. Now you can add colors from your site’s theme (neutral, soft & strong) to the background of your page sections or leave them white as they are by default.

 

SP-pages-enhancements_002_section-backgrounds.jpgModern SharePoint pages (and news) section backgrounds make it easier to see the distinct sections and add visual variety throughout the page.

  • Learn more

Page owners can customize their page thumbnails and descriptions from within page details edit pane. Once adjusted, the content will then be represented in this way in search results, highlighted content, previews, and more – just the way you intended.

 

  • Pages – choose new thumbnail – Choose a new thumbnail from Page details: Previously, the thumbnail image for a page (used in search results, highlighted content, and SharePoint News) was auto-selected. Now, you’ll be able to select your own thumbnail image.
  • Pages – choose new description – Choose a new description from Page details: Previously, the first text that appeared on the page was auto-selected as the page description. You can now add your own custom description in Page details.

SP-pages-enhancements_003_page-thumbnail-description.jpgYou can view and edit the properties of a SharePoint page in the Page details pane.

  • Learn more

Starting the week of February 18th, 2019, we’re removing the product Feedback button from the site footer of all SharePoint home and modern site pages. For SharePoint users to easily provide product feedback and suggestions we included a footer link to our SharePoint UserVoice forums. Customer feedback continues to help us prioritize our work. We’ll be adding new ways to send feedback from the navigation bar in the coming months.

 

Note: If you had previously enabled or disabled the button using the Set-SPOTenant  -UserVoiceForFeedbackEnabled property, this setting will no longer be required as the button will no longer be displayed for any tenant sites.

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Parallel Approvals using Microsoft Flow, Forms & SharePoint

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I think one of the most common needs in any business is to create a simple approval workflow for more than one person to approve or deny a request. Office 365 has many simple to use tools that can be combined to create a user-friendly solution to this problem. Microsoft Forms can be used to quickly create a form that anyone in your organization can fill out, then a Flow can be created to pick up the responses, write them to a SharePoint list, and then send approval emails to multiple people to approve / or deny the request. Flow can then update the SharePoint list with the results as well as emailing back the original Form submitter with the result.

To create something like this its best to start with the Form and the SharePoint list. If you can get both of these rights before starting your Flow, it makes picking options in Flow much easier. Here is a simple Form I created with just two fields for this example:

form

Once you have your Form created, you can create a SharePoint List to receive the selections as well as columns to collect the approvals and reasons from each approver (for this demo I have Randy and Rachel doing approvals). For my list I have these columns:

  • Title – Will holds the request text box entry
  • Selected Option – Will holds the radio button entry
  • Rachel Approval & Randy Approval – Each column holds the Approve or Reject from the Flow
  • Rachel Reason & Randy Reason – Each column holds the Approval comment from each approver

I’ve found that it’s best to make all these columns either Single Line of Text or Multiple Lines of Text. These column types help make the Flow creation and operation go smoother. Here is a screenshot of my list:

List

Next, to start creating my Flow, I opened Flow and used Create From Template, searched on “Forms” and picked the “Record form responses in SharePoint”:

template

You may have to authenticate into each Flow connector at the next step, but after that, the shell of a Flow will be created:

template flow

From there it’s a matter of filling out the Flow options to match your Form, SharePoint site, SharePoint list, and then picking Form fields to put into the SharePoint list columns:

step 1 flow

Step 1: Select your Form from the drop-down

Step 2: Leave “List of responses” alone you will need that for the Flow to work

Step 3: Select your Form again (silly.. I know) and then leave the Response id with the default settings.

Step 4: Select your SharePoint site from the sites that you have access to. Then select a list from this site (therefore it’s best to have started by creating your list). After you select the list, all the available columns will flow out underneath it. Since we are just collecting Form entries right now, we can just drag Form fields into the Title and Selected Option columns.

For my Form, I picked “What is your request” and “Pick an option”. The next screenshot shows how you select fields from your Form:

field picker

If all went as planned, you should be able to Save and Test your Flow now. When you submit your Form, it will kick off the Flow and add a row to your SharePoint list. If you get errors, Flow will try to show you what you need to fix. If you run into any problems with Form fields, SharePoint lists, or list columns not showing correctly in Flow, try closing the Flow a re-editing it. Sometimes Flow can be a pain about this.

test

test result

In the next part, we will need to add in the Parallel Approval steps, record those answers back to SharePoint, and then if both answers are Approved, we can send back an approval email or if not, a rejection email. For those that are impatient and want to try this on their own, I’ve included a screenshot of the final Flow (click to enlarge):

entire flow

 

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Sharepoint

SharePoint Online Sharing Improvements

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Over the past few years Microsoft have been continuously improving the user experience and controls for sharing files in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, for both end users and administrators. We now have per-site sharing settings, expiration controls for sharing links, the new sharing dialog and the Shared by me page, just to name a few. In this article, I will cover some of the latest improvements that were announced at Ignite in September which are now starting to appear in our tenants.

New Sharing Control – Block download

One of the more interesting settings that Microsoft showcased back at Ignite was the ability to prevent people from downloading files shared with them. In other words, we now have an option that will ensure the file(s) we shared can only be accessed via the relatively safe environment of Office Online, with any SaveCopy or Print functionalities disabled.

You can configure this setting directly from the Share dialog, by toggling the corresponding Block Download control, as illustrated below. A small indicator will appear next to the link once this option is configured, making it easier to identify links with Block downloadenabled.

SharePoint Online Sharing Improvements

There are few important things you should note about this feature. First, the type of sharing link you create must be read-only, as this setting cannot be used together with the Allow Editing setting. In addition, this setting is currently only available for anonymous Anyone with the link and tenant-wide People in Organization Name links. In the future, it will also be available for direct sharing links, via the Specific people option.

On the recipient’s side, clicking the link will open the document in a reduced functionality version of Office Online, like the one you get with the Conditional access/device restrictions feature. As shown on the screenshot below, the File menu and the Ribbon are missing and there is no way to open the document in edit mode. The right-click menu and shortcut keys are also disabled, so you cannot copy information from the document, and printing is also disabled (although you can still use the browser’s print functionality or take a screenshot). Using the Share button is also restricted and the only type of link you can create by using it is one for people with existing access.

SharePoint Online Sharing

It is also important to understand that this functionality is available only for files that can be opened in Office Online, that is Office documents. Finally, it seems that in the current implementation of the feature, you can bypass the restrictions by simply navigating to the Shared with me page in their OneDrive, then pressing Open > Open in Word to get the document opened in the desktop application. This might be a side effect of the incomplete rollout of the feature though, and will likely be addressed in the future.

Better notifications and reminders

Another feature that has already made its way to release are the email notifications for opening shared files, or a link open receipt. The idea is to let you know when the user has accessed the file, but unfortunately in my experience this feature doesn’t seem that reliable. I’ve had it in my tenant for over two months now, yet I’ve only received a handful of notifications, out of few dozen sent and accessed. When I do receive a notification, it looks something like this:

SharePoint Online Sharing Screenshot

Unlike the sharing notifications, these messages are generated using the default no-reply@sharepointonline.com address. They also feature some additional text that guides the user on what to do in case the file was accessed unexpectedly, which basically redirects him to the new Manage Access experience for OneDrive files, which I will discuss in the next section. An interesting observation is that those notifications also feature an Unsubscribelink, which is handy considering there is no UI option to toggle them on or off.

In addition to the link open receipts, a new feature has been added to automatically remind people about shared file(s), if they haven’t clicked the link after seven days have passed since the initial email. The automatic reminders look just like a standard sharing notification email, with slightly changed text and subject. Another new element worth mentioning is the branding support for the sharing notification emails. If your organization has configured Azure AD branding, the Company logo will now be added as part of the notification email, as illustrated below.

SharePoint Online Document Sharing

Continuing with the notification improvements, the desktop client will now show sharing notifications as well. And, whenever you are uploading files to a shared library, you will now be able to notify your team members about the new file(s) you just added, all with a single click.

Lastly, we have some improvements around Access requests. First, we can now define a custom message that will be shown as part of the request access workflow. As this message is configurable per site, we can use it to inform users why they must file an Access requestand who to contact for in case of issues. And, the actual access request notifications are easier to work with now, as they use the actionable messages functionality in Outlook.

Easier management of sharing

Yet another set of improvements makes it much easier to manage sharing, both for end users and admins. On the user side of things, the Shared by me page can give you a quick overview of which items you have shared, as well as give you information about the last activity – such as who modified the file and when did that happen. The Shared with me page has also received some love and now features externally shared files, as in files shared with you by users from other organizations. Such items will have the “globe” icon and although some options will be missing from the UI, this is still a handy addition.

The new Manage Access UI allows you to manage all direct and link-based permissions to a given item from a single location. Additional information about the type of link will be presented as well as a quick option to remove a given link or Stop sharing the item altogether. Or, you can Share or Grant Access to another person directly from the same UI, using the familiar suite-wide controls. In the future, even more information will be presented by a new Link details control.

What’s even more important, the same experience will be integrated into the desktop client, allowing you to perform all the sharing or revoking access operations directly from your device, without having to open the browser. The screenshot below shows a comparison between the Manage Access experience on the desktop (left) and in the browser (right). While there are some differences in the way the UI elements and actions are presented, the core functionality is available, which is a great step forward.

SharePoint Online Sharing Options

Another very useful improvement is the ability to @mention a person, which not only makes it easier to comment on a given file but can also automatically grant permissions to people that were mentioned and don’t already have them. To wrap up new user improvements, it’s worth mentioning that we can also deep-link to the Manage Access UI, for example this link will open up the Manage Access UI for item “30914”: https://tenant-my.sharepoint.com/personal/user_domain_com/_layouts/15/onedrive.aspx?managePermissionsForListItemId=30914.

On the admin side of things, the team has moved away from their custom implementation and the permissions model is now fully integrated with the Azure AD B2B experience. Among other things, this means that a new Guest user object will be provisioned the moment you send a sharing link, and you can take advantage of features such as Conditional Access.

Some cross-suite improvements have made it possible for the Share UI to immediately reflect on changes made to the link settings in the SharePoint Online and OneDrive admin portals. Similarly, Outlook’s cloud attachments functionality should now respect the default link type and settings configured by admins. And, those settings can be configured per-site now, via new parameters introduced for the Set-SPOSite cmdlet.

Other features worth mentioning

The improvements we listed in the previous section don’t represent even a half of the new features that were showcased at Ignite. While I’ve focused on the ones that we can already play with, the rest of them should hopefully be landing in production in the coming weeks and months. An example is the password-protected sharing links, which allows you to configure a password at the time of link creation. The user accessing the link will have to then provide the password to open the document, regardless of whether he’s currently logged in with his Office 365 account or not.

Among the other interesting updates, we should mention the Smart People Picker, which will assist you in selecting the right people to share with, or the much-anticipated External sharing reports and re-attestation for External users. The unified sharing and access management experience across all devices and endpoints should be coming soon as well, meaning that regardless of whether you are using the browser, the desktop client or the mobile app, you will have access to the same set of functionalities, presented in a unified fashion. Sharing with Teams or from within the Teams client is a prime example of this unified approach, which can even be extended with workload-specific functionalities, such as surfacing an only this Team share link.  For this and additional demos, make sure to watch the BRK3100 recording, if you haven’t done so already. We will make sure to cover those updates once they make it to production.

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Sharepoint

INTRODUCTION TO SHAREPOINT CONTENT TYPES

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If you already spent some time reading my previous articles on SharePoint Metadata and SharePoint Document Management, you probably ran into the phrase called SharePoint Content Types. It is somewhat ambiguous and somewhat a challenge to grasp, especially if you are new to the world of metadata, so let me do my best and explain what it is and how it could be used in your SharePoint environment.

In one of my earlier posts, I explained in great detail what metadata is and how it could be used to organize documents, view and group them anyway you wish. So let me first take a step back and explain how regular metadata works and then we will proceed to the SharePoint Content Types.

With the “regular” metadata, you create columns that you want to assign to the files you upload. For example, say, you have a document library where you store client data. So you would create and add 2 columns to this library: Document type (i.e. Invoice, Quote) and Client Name (i.e. Facebook, Google). Both columns could be choice-type/drop-down columns for user to choose from. Step-by-step instructions on how to achieve this can be found here. So far, so good!

The above approach has one major limitation – it assumes that ALL documents you upload to this library will be tagged against the 2 columns / metadata tags you created: Document Type and Client Name. So what happens if you add say, an Accounting Policy document that is not associated with a particular client? Or maybe you want to store some meeting documents(Agendas, Minutes, etc.) from the meetings that you have on an ongoing basis in your department. How do we store and tag those in this library?

One option would be to store each different type of content in a different library – but then you do not want to setup tens of document libraries on your site. The second option is to use the magic functionality of SharePoint Content Types!

SO WHAT ARE SHAREPOINT CONTENT TYPES?

If the name is confusing to you, switch the order of words and it will make more sense. Content Type is = Type of Content.

Here is a real life example for you. Say, you have 2 boxes at your house. One box contains books and another contains beer bottles. (That sounds like a great vacation – a good book and beer in hand) 🙂

beerbottleYou want to organize the contents of both boxes. So for the box with books, you might want to organize the books by title, author, genre. For beer bottles, you don’t have an author or a genre. You probably will organize that box by beer brand, type of beer or the country the beer was produced in. Now, instead of having stuff in 2 separate boxes (think of 2 separate SharePoint document libraries), you could combine them into 1 box (1 SharePoint Document Library). It is just that books would still be organized according to book metadata (title, author, genre) and beer bottles would be organized according to beer metadata (brand, country, type of beer).

Make sense?

So now, we translate this into the world of SharePoint, SharePoint content types are nothing more than a collection of columns (metadata properties) for a particular type of content. In other words, SharePoint content type is a category of documents that have common characteristics and can be classified under one roof. So back to my previous example about client data, if you upload a client document, you might have a SharePoint content type called Client Docs and 2 columns associated with it: Client Name and Document Type. For the meeting notes and stuff, you could have a content type called Meetings and 2 columns associated with that content type: Meeting Date and Document Type. And so on.

Client Documents   MeetingDocs

The best part about SharePoint Content Types is that they, just like Site Columns, can be reused. So if, for example, you created a Content Type for Meeting Documents, you can reuse it at any other site/library (if you followed information architecture best practices).

There is a whole science to creating and maintaining your content types. I will try to document it in one of future posts. In the meantime, if you want to learn how to do this yourself, please consider my “Introduction to SharePoint Document Management” training course.

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