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Hands-on SharePoint Syntex: Part 2

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In part 1 of this series, we introduced you to SharePoint Syntex, Microsoft’s new service, which brings the power of automation to content processing and transforms your content into knowledge. We explained the licensing requirements for SharePoint Syntex and showed how to license and set up SharePoint Syntex in your Microsoft 365 environment.

In part two, we look at adding document understanding models into our newly created Syntex Content Center and how to add, classify, and train documents with SharePoint Syntex.

Finally, in part three, we consider creating forms processing models from SharePoint document libraries by using AI Builder, a feature of Microsoft PowerApps.

Setting up a Document understanding model in SharePoint Syntex

With SharePoint Syntex licensed and set up in a tenant, we can explore its real value by adding a Document understanding model and then training some documents to extract the information we want.

To create a Document understanding model within SharePoint Syntex, open the Syntex Content Center created in part one and complete the following steps.

  1. Click on New, and select Document understanding model:
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Figure 1 – Creating a Document understanding model

  • For this example, I will use PDF files of my payslips. So, I will name this model Payslips.  The first step is to create a new content type. A content type in SharePoint Online is a reusable collection of metadata (columns), workflow, behavior, and other settings for a category of items or documents in a SharePoint list or document library. You may also select existing content types. For more information on content types, please refer to this Microsoft article.  I will also choose to apply a Retention label to any content to which this model is used.  My retention label is set to trigger a compliance administrator’s Disposition review at the end of the retention period (Figure 2). Click Create when the required settings for the model are complete.
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Figure 2 – Naming the document understanding model, creating a content type, and assigning a retention label

  • The model creation wizard takes you to the next step, where you will see four key actions to develop your newly created model (Figure 3).
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Figure 3 – Key actions are shown in the document understanding model

  • Now that we have our new model, we should add some example files.  To do this, click on Add files.

The example files are used to train the model.  You may upload either files or folders. We must upload at least 5 files of the same (positive) type and 1 file of a different (negative) type.  In this instance, I have chosen to upload 5 of my payslip PDFs as positive examples and 1 negative example, a PDF of my Microsoft certification transcript (Figure 4).  Once the example files are uploaded, click Add.

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Figure 4 – Adding positive and negative example files

  • This takes you back to the main key actions page for your model.  Next, we need to classify our files and run training.  To do this, select the option to Train the classifier.

From the classifier screen, we need to select each of the documents we uploaded to our model in the left pane, then on the preview pane to the right, we choose yes or no to the question Is this file an example of Payslips? (Figure 5).

**Note that I have redacted information displayed in my preview pane in the examples that follow to protect my confidential details.

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Figure 5 – Labelling files as positive or negative examples

  • Make your selection against each file, and then move onto the next one by clicking on the Next file.

Figure 6 shows that I have labeled all the payslip files as positive examples and my Microsoft transcript file as the one required negative example.

An important consideration here is that ideally, a negative file should be as close an example as possible to the positive file examples.  In this case, my negative example is a completely different format to that of the positive.  Whilst this does work, it is not the best real-world example, but it does show you how the process works.

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Figure 6 – All upload example files have been labeled

  • Now we need to run the training on our files.  Click on the Train tab, and you will be prompted to add an explanation that is required to help the model distinguish this type of document from others or identify the information to extract.  Click on Add explanation as shown in Figure 7.
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Figure 7 – Add an explanation

  • For our explanation, we will give it the name of Payslips and choose the Phrase list option, where we may enter words or phrases that will be used to identify the information we wish to extract.  All my payslips contain the phrase PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL, so I have used this as my phrase (Figure 8).  I have also selected the checkbox to match exact capitalization.  With our explanation details completed, we may now click on Save.
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Figure 8 – Choose a name and type for your explanation, and add a list of phrases

  • Click on Train Model. If successful, you will see a Match against your files, as shown in Figure 9.  However, if you see a Mismatch, you will need to add further explanations to provide more information and rerun the training.
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Figure 9 – File matching completed successfully

  1. In the preview pane against each file, we can see where a file has been Correctly predicted as a positive example. Similarly, we can see where a file has been Correctly predicted as a negative example (Figure 10).
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Figure 10 – Correctly predicted negative example

  1. Click on the Test tab within your classifier, and you may add and train further files if you wish or need to (Figure 11).  Then click on Exit Training.
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Figure 11 – Add further files if required and exit the training

  1. Next, back on the key actions page, we have an optional stage where we can create extractors that will extract specific information from our positively matched documents and display these as columns in the SharePoint document libraries to which our model is applied.  Click on Create extractor.

I want to extract the date from each of my payslips, so I will create an extractor named Paid Date (Figure 12).  Click on Create.

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Figure 12 – Creating a new entity extractor

  1. From the Label tab of our new extractor, we need to scroll through each example file again and highlight the required information, which is the date from each payslip (Figure 13).
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Figure 13 – Highlight the required information to extract

  1. Once a file has been appropriately labeled, click on Next file to move to the next one.  When reaching the last file, which is my negative example, I need to click on No label for this one and then click on Save.

Next, I will click on the Train tab to train my extractor.  I will need to add an explanation for the extractor at this point by clicking on Add explanation (Figure 14)

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Figure 14 – Adding an explanation for the extractor

  1. I will name this explanation as Date Paid, and this time I will choose Pattern list as the type.  As the pattern list will reference a date, I can choose to add a list of patterns from a template (Figure 15).
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Figure 15 – Add and name and type to your explanation, and add a list of patterns from a template

  1. You will now see a list of the available explanation templates.  Here I will choose the Date (Numeric) option below and click Add (Figure 16).
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Figure 16 – Add the chosen explanation template

  1. The template patterns for the date format are added (Figure 17), and we may now click on Save.
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Figure 17 – Save the pattern list

  1. Now we need to click on Train Model for our new extractor, and hopefully, we will see a match as shown in Figure 18.
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Figure 18 – Training the model for the extractor

  1. The creation of the extractor is now complete. Click the Test tab to complete further training if required, and then Exit Training when we are satisfied that the extractor will match the content we wish to be shown in a column in our document libraries (Figure 19).
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Figure 19 – Click to exit the training of the extractor

  • The final step is to apply the model to any chosen document libraries within SharePoint Online.  To do this, return to the key actions page, and click on Apply model.

Select the required document library, then click Add. The Payslips model was now applied to my chosen document library.  To open this document library, click on Go to the library.

You can immediately see that the document library shows some extra columns related to our newly applied document model.  These include our extractor column of Paid Date and the Retention label column. The document model will automatically run against any new files added to this document library, or we can select files and then choose Classify and extract.

The result is that my payslips are all now shown with a Content-Type of Payslips, and extracted Paid Date value, a Retention label of Disposition Review Label, a Confidence Score, and a Classification Date (Figure 20).

Figure 20 Document model shown applied to document library with added columns

Our Document understanding model is set up, complete with some compliance in the form of retention labels, and an extractor applied which shows extracted information in a column in the document libraries to which our model is applied.

Summary

This post showed you how SharePoint Syntex could be used to create document understanding models in the SharePoint Syntex Content Center.  We learned how to add, classify and train documents with SharePoint Syntex, how to extract information from the documents that you mark as positive examples, and how to apply a document model to a SharePoint document library.

In part three of this blog series, we look at how forms processing models may be created from SharePoint document libraries using the AI Builder feature of Microsoft PowerApps.

Source Practical365

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Hands-on SharePoint Syntex Blog Series – Part I

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This blog series will examine and test-drive SharePoint Syntex, a powerful new Microsoft 365 service announced by Microsoft at Ignite 2020.

SharePoint Syntex consists of content understanding, processing, and compliance services that provide the ability to capture and scale expertise using advanced AI and machine learning.

SharePoint Syntex brings the power of automation to content processing and transforms your content into knowledge.

The features included with SharePoint Syntex are shown in the image below, taken from the Microsoft SharePoint Syntex overview page:

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In Part I, we explain the licensing requirements for SharePoint Syntex and then show you how to license and set up SharePoint Syntex in your Microsoft 365 environment.

Part II will explore adding document understanding models into our newly created Syntex Content Center and then show you how to add, classify and train documents with SharePoint Syntex.

Lastly, in Part III, we look at creating forms processing models from SharePoint document libraries using AI Builder, a feature of Microsoft PowerApps.

Setting up the licenses for SharePoint Syntex

To set up SharePoint Syntex within your Microsoft 365 tenant, you will first need to acquire the required licenses by completing the following steps:

  • Log in to the Microsoft 365 admin center at https://admin.microsoft.com as a Global Administrator, User Administrator, or Billing Administrator, and navigate to Billing | Purchase services as shown below:
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  • From the right-hand pane of the Purchase services section, go to the search box as shown below, type in “syntax,” and hit enter:
  • The following process shows options where you can either click on ‘Next’ to purchase the required number of SharePoint Syntex licenses, or you can choose the option of ‘Start a free trial,’ which provides 25 SharePoint Syntex licenses you can use for 30 days:
  • For the purposes of demonstrating SharePoint Syntex in this article, we chose the free trial option.  Once completed, you can view the licenses in the Microsoft 365 admin center under Billing | Your products, as shown below:
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  • The 25 SharePoint Syntex Trial licenses can be seen in the image below:
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  • Next, we must assign a SharePoint Syntex license to each Microsoft 365 user who will be using any SharePoint Syntex features.  This can be done from the Microsoft 365 admin center under Users | Active Users:
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  • Select the required user(s) and choose the Licenses and apps tab:
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  • Scroll through the list of available licenses and check the box next to SharePoint Syntex.  Scroll down further, and under Apps, choose the dropdown under Show apps for, and select SharePoint Syntex.  Ensure that the checkboxes for Common Data Service for SharePoint SyntexSharePoint Syntex, and SharePoint Syntex – SPO type are all selected, and then click on Save changes:
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Now that we’ve secured the licenses needed to use SharePoint Syntex, we can set up the program accordingly in our Microsoft 365 environment.

Setting up SharePoint Syntex in Microsoft 365

To setup SharePoint Syntex, we need to complete the following steps:

  • Log in to the Microsoft 365 admin center at https://admin.microsoft.com as a Global Administrator or SharePoint Administrator, and navigate to Setup:
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  • Scroll down to the Files and content section and click on Automate content understanding:
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  • Below you’ll see the At a glance and User impact information for Automating content understanding:
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  • Scroll down, and you will see further information About content understanding, which explains the three main functions: Image taggingForm processing, and Document understanding:
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  • Scroll back to the top and click on Get started:
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  • The Content understanding setup begins, and the first step is to select your preferred settings for form processing.  You may choose to Select SharePoint Libraries to enable for form processing.  We will leave the default option selected, Libraries in all SharePoint sites, and then click Next:
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  • The Document understanding function of SharePoint Syntex requires creating a Content center.  In this example, we will start our content center with Syntex Content Center’s name, which automatically generates a site name for the content center, https://tenantname.sharepoint.com/sites/SyntexContentCenteras shown below. Click Next:
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  • Under the Review section of the setup process, you have the option to make any last-minute edits.  When you are happy with your chosen settings, click Activate:
  • The setup may take a few minutes to complete, and you should see the notification below:
  • When the setup is completed, click Done:
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  • You will then be routed back to the Automate content understanding page, where you’ll click on Manage:
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  • Clicking on Manage will allow you to edit the settings you completed in the initial setup for both Form processing and Document understanding:
  • If you scroll further down the Automate content understanding page, you will see the option to Manage this feature.  Click on Content understanding settings:
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  • Content understanding settings will take you into your newly created Syntex Content Center, as shown below.  **At this point, it is also important to point out that it is possible to create multiple content centers for SharePoint Syntex within Microsoft 365:
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  • It is also possible to locate your SharePoint Syntex Content centers by searching for them from the SharePoint admin center, as shown below. The SharePoint admin center is accessed from the bottom left of the Microsoft 365 admin center under Admin centers | SharePoint, or by navigating to https://tenantname-admin.sharepoint.com in your browser:
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And that’s it! SharePoint Syntex is now licensed (albeit with a trial for now) and configured correctly in our Microsoft 365 tenant.

Summary

In this post, we introduced you to the principles of SharePoint Syntex within Microsoft 365.  We showed you how to acquire licenses to use SharePoint Syntex in your environment and how to assign these to your users.

In Part II of this blog series, you’ll learn how to configure and use the Document understanding feature of SharePoint Syntex.  This will involve adding a Document understanding model to your SharePoint Syntex Content center; adding example files; classifying your files, running training; optionally creating and training extractors for the information needed within columns in your SharePoint libraries; and lastly, how to apply your Document understanding model to selected libraries within SharePoint Online.

Source Practical365

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SharePoint Online Roadmap Points to Deeper Microsoft 365 Integration

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Microsoft says there are a load of SharePoint Online features in the pipeline, including how the tool integrates with Microsoft 365. The good news is many of the improvements will be in the form of real new features for users.

Microsoft says many tools could arrive as early as December, but some are extending further into the SharePoint Online roadmap.

Perhaps the most noteworthy addition is a new site performance page. Available to editors and owners of SharePoint websites, the page provides a ranking system based on color (red to green like traffic lights) to show the “health” of a page.

“Page health measures page performance which impacts the viewing experience and the page’s ability to engage viewers and serve its purpose.”

Microsoft is also adding a “My Feed” section to Web Part on SharePoint Online. This taps into Microsoft Graph to show data on chats and videos from Microsoft 365. Each user sees an individual customized feed based on their documents.

“This web part shows a mix of content from across Microsoft 365, based on what’s likely to be most relevant to the current user at any given time.”

Sticking with Microsoft Graph, Microsoft has released new connectors for SharePoint Online sites. This allows users to search connections across software, including solutions not from Microsoft. Ten new connectors are available:

  • Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2
  • Azure DevOps
  • Azure SQL
  • Enterprise Web sites
  • MediaWiki
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • File share
  • Oracle (preview)
  • Salesforce (preview)
  • ServiceNow

More Microsoft 365 Tools

Microsoft wants users to see information more easily in emails with attachments. As such, the company now summarizes Word attachments in three bulleted paragraphs. This allows users to see the relevance before needing to open the file.

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Using sensitivity labels with SharePoint sites, Microsoft Teams, and M365 groups – Part 1

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Sensitivity labels in Microsoft 365 have been around for quite some time. Essentially they enable users to apply protection to emails and documents that they’re working on by assigning a label to that content.

The purpose of this ensures that only people authorized to view or consume that content do so. You can configure sensitivity labels to apply encryption and content marking to specific emails and documents, which you assign to users or groups with varying permissions levels using labeling policies.

Depending on the level of Microsoft 365 licensing in place, these labels can be either manually applied by the end-users themselves, or automatically based on built-in sensitive information types.  You can read more about the licensing requirements for Microsoft Information protection here.

Upcoming Webinar: How to Prepare for Office 365 License Renewal – September 21 – 10:30 AM ET / 15:30 PM BST / 16:30 PM CEST. Hosted by Microsoft MVP Paul Robichaux.

The evolution of sensitivity labeling can be traced back to Information Rights Management within Office 365, then Azure Information Protection in the Azure portal, and finally, Unified labeling via the Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance Center.

Up until recently, however, it was only possible to apply sensitivity labels to emails or documents. Microsoft has now introduced the ability to use sensitivity labeling at a ‘container level’, which means that you can apply for labels’ protection at a higher level than the document or email. In Microsoft 365, when we refer to containers, this currently relates to the following three features or services.

  • SharePoint Online Sites
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Microsoft 365 Groups

This blog series will show you how sensitivity labeling works at the container level and configure existing labels. We’ll also show how this relates to any existing labeling applied at the document level and some useful tips on the M365 audit logs’ auditing capabilities.

We will start in the M365 Compliance Center, enabling some existing labels for use with containers.

Microsoft 365 Compliance Center

Over the past couple of years, the Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance Center has been my go-to portal for information governance and protection. Whist this portal remains available, the evolution of so many features relating to both Security and Compliance has led Microsoft to provide specific outlets to administer these functions. Therefore, we now have the separate Security Center and Compliance Center.   

To demonstrate Sensitivity labeling at the container level, I will be working from the Compliance Center by completing the following steps.

  1. Log on to the Compliance Center as a Global Administrator, Compliance Data Administrator, Compliance Administrator or a Security Administrator. This will take you to the portal as shown below.

2. Next, click on Solutions > Catalog > Information protection > View.

3. Now click on Open solution.

4. In the example below, we can see many of the labels and sub-labels already available in my tenant, currently providing encryption and content marking to emails and documents.

5. If we select the General / HR sub-label, we can note its existing settings as below.

6. If you are already familiar with Sensitivity labels, you will note a newer section in this dialog called Site and group settings. Click on Edit label, and this will open the label wizard in the following image.

7. Keep clicking Next until you reach the Site and Group settings.

8. Move the slider to the on position, and this will present you with the options to configure the Site and Group settings.

9. You can choose some privacy options from the dropdown menu to access the Site or Group where this label will be applied. These options are shown in the following table.

Public This will allow anyone in the organization to access the Site or Group where this label is applied.
Private This setting restricts access to only approved members in your organization
None This setting will allow the user to decide who can access the Site when the label is applied.

10. In this example, we will set this label to be applied privately, meaning that only members will access the Site.

11. We can also choose whether we want Sites and Groups protected by this label to be accessed by people outside of the organization.  In this example, we will leave this option unchecked.

12. Finally, we have some controls to address which allow us to choose how any unmanaged devices when they attempt to access Sites or Groups protected by this label.

Note: To use this option, you will also need to configure the SharePoint feature, which uses Azure AD Conditional Access to block or limit access to SharePoint Online and OneDrive content from unmanaged devices.  Further guidance on how you can configure this feature may be found here.

13. Now that you have configured the Site and group settings for your label, click through the wizard, and on the Review your settings page, click Save label.

So, that’s how you can set up an existing label to be Site and Group ready.  Now, let’s take a look at how this works in the first of our three M365 containers, which are SharePoint sites.

Applying sensitivity labels to SharePoint sites

Now that we have a configured label for use with sites and groups, we can apply that label to an existing SharePoint site within our M365 tenant, or whilst creating a new site.  In the following example, I will choose to create a new Team Site to demonstrate how this can be done.

We need to complete the following steps.

  1. Logon to the SharePoint Admin Center and navigate to Sites > Active Sites.  Please refer to my previous blog series How to create Modern SharePoint Online Team Sites for instructions on how to connect to the SharePoint Admin Center. Click on Create.

2. Click on Team site.

3. Enter the details to create your Team Site as shown below. In this example, we will create a site called Human Resources. Under the Sensitivity setting, we will select the General \ HR label, which we created earlier.  Note that this selection results in the Privacy settings field is greyed out. This is because we set the chosen label as Private – only members can see this Site. Therefore, the privacy method is automatically applied.

4. Complete through the wizard to finish creating the Team site, and then open the Team site by searching for it in the SharePoint Admin Center. As you can see below, we now have our new Team site ready, and it is appropriately labeled under the Site name as Private group | General \ HR.

5. This label setting’s effect is that the Site is accessible only to members of the Site, and the Site cannot be shared externally as per the label settings. To demonstrate this, I will try and add an external email address as a member of the Site. I do this by clicking on the cogwheel and selecting Site permissions.

6. Next, I click on Invite people > Add members to Group.

7. Now, I will click on Add members.

8. Here I will add my own Gmail email account, then click Save.

9. What happens is that you can’t add my Gmail account as a member due to the settings we defined in the General / HR label.

So, that’s how sensitivity labeling works with Site and Group settings within a SharePoint Online team site.

Summary

In this post, we’ve explained the principles of applying sensitivity labels at the container level within Microsoft 365. We showed you that there are currently three containers to which sensitivity labels can be applied.  These are SharePoint Sites, Microsoft Teams, and M365 groups.

We demonstrated how you could modify an existing sensitivity label in the M365 Compliance Center and enable it for Site and group settings. We also explained you can configure this when setting up any new labels from scratch.

Finally, we showed how to apply the sensitivity label to the first of these three containers by setting up a new SharePoint Online Team Site.

In part two of this blog series, we will show you how to apply the sensitivity label to the two other container options: Microsoft Teams and M365 groups.

Source Practical365

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How to create Modern SharePoint Online Team Sites – Part Two

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In part one of this blog series, we showed you how to create a new SharePoint Online Team Site to serve as a collaborative space for an Operations Team.

We ran through how to build the site from the SharePoint admin center, an associated Microsoft 365 group, how to provision three default SharePoint Online permissions groups during the process, and how to access the new Team site from the SharePoint Admin center.

In part two of this blog series, we’ll show you how to register a Hub Site and associate the new Team site with it. We’ll also portray how to add a link to your Team site on your intranet landing page and how to use the Audience targeting feature to ensure that your SharePoint Online users only see the content they are authorized for via group memberships.

Registering a Hub site in SharePoint Online

A Hub site in SharePoint Online is a means of connecting and organizing the sites in your SharePoint Online environment, and making it easier to apply standard navigation and site structure across associated sites. It also promotes efficient search across sites that are linked by Hub association and discover related content.

You can find more information on Hub sites here.

To register your SharePoint site as a Hub site, you’ll need to access the SharePoint admin center from the Microsoft 365 Admin Center. You’ll either need to be a Global Administrator or SharePoint Administrator (you can view a reminder of how to access the Admin center in part one of this blog series).

  1. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll again need to navigate to Admin centers > SharePoint. Then navigate to Active sites, and in the search bar, enter the name of the site you wish to register as your Hub site.
  2.  My landing page site is named H U B 3 6 5, and when I select it, I can click on Hub from the top menu and choose the option to Register as hub site.
Active Sites

3. This takes me to the following screen. The Hub name field is pre-populated, and I can choose which groups are authorized to associate sites with our new Hub.  In this example, I will assign this permission to the Practical 365 Members group as shown below.

Register as a hub site

4. For this scenario, I have named it H U B 3 6 5, and when selected, you can see your Hub name and group selections completed as shown in the following image, click Save.

People who can associate sites with this hub

5. You will then see the following screen. The Hub name field is pre-populated, and you can choose which groups are authorized to associate sites with our new Hub. In this example, you can assign this permission to the Practical 365 Members group.

Active sites

Now that we have set our Hub site, let’s associate our Team site with it.

Associating your Team site to the Hub site

To associate a Team site to our newly registered Hub site, we need to remain in the section of the SharePoint Admin center‘s Active site and complete the following steps.

  1. First, we need to search for our Team site, which we named Operations.

2. From the top menu, we again need to select the Hub option, and this time choose Associate with a hub.

Edit hub association

3. In the Select a hub dropdown, we’ll choose the H U B 3 6 5 hub we created earlier. We can then click Save, and we will see that our Team site is now associated with H U B 3 6 5 as intended.

Active SharePoint Online Team Sites

4. If we click on the Operations site again from the Active sites list, we can view the site’s properties. As shown below, this will display the current Hub association for the site, and if you click Edit, you may change your Hub selection.

Operations

To recap, we’ve now set our landing page to be a registered Hub site, and then put our Team site to be associated with the new Hub site. Next, we can take a look at the Hub site navigation options and configure Audience targeting.

Adding a link to the Hub site navigation and setting audience targeting options

One of the useful features of Hub sites is being able to set a consistent Navigation bar at the top of any Site pages, which are either the Hub site itself, or Site pages which are associated with the Hub site. We’ll walk you through how to achieve this in the following steps:

  1. Firstly, please navigate to the Hub site, our H U B 3 6 5 intranet landing page.  You will see in the following image that the page now includes a H U B 3 6 5 top link navigation and an Add link option.
SharePoint Online team site audience targeting options

2. Clicking on Add link will first show you the option to Enable site navigation for audience targeting, so we will move the slider to On for this setting. Simultaneously, the Add link options will also appear. To add our Operations Team site as a link to the Hub navigation, we will complete the settings.

Edit hub navigation SharePoint Online Teams Sites

The fields that we need to complete within the Add link option are as follows;

Field Purpose
Choose an option Choose between adding a Link or a Label
Address Enter the URL if adding a Link – this option will be greyed out of selecting a label
Display name Enter a description for the Link or Label that you are adding
Audience targeting Choose up to 10 groups for which audience targeting will be applied.  This means that only members of the selected groups will see this navigation item within the Hub menu.

3. Click on OK to complete the creation of the new link or label.  It will now appear in the Hub navigation menu.

New operations for SharePoint Online Teams Sites

4. Clicking on the new Operations link will take you directly to the new Team site, shown as follows. You will note that the Hub navigation top menu is also present within our Team site.

Operations SharePoint Online Teams Sites

So, now that we have the Hub site navigation working let’s take a more detailed look at the Audience targeting feature in action.

Audience targeting in action

Audience targeting, as described by Microsoft, “helps the most relevant content get to the right audiences. By enabling audience targeting, specific content will be prioritized to specific audiences through SharePoint web parts, page libraries, and navigational links”.

You can learn more about the capabilities of audience targeting here.

Earlier in this post, we enabled audience targeting to add a link to our Operations Team site in the Hub site navigation menu. You will recall that we assigned the user named Jane Bloggs as a member of the Operations Team site.

To show you more audience targeting principles, I’ve created another Team site called Procurement, associated it with the H U B 3 6 5 Hub site, and made a Hub site navigation link for the new site. I’ve also assigned a user named James Smith as a member of the new Procurement Team site group. However, Jane Bloggs will not be a member of this group.

So, what is the outcome here? The first thing you’ll notice is that the Procurement site link now appears on the Hub site navigation bar. You will see the below screenshot when logged into SharePoint Online as the Site Administrator, who is also in the Site Owners group.

Operations News

However, if we log in to SharePoint Online as James Smith, we can access only the Procurement site link from the Hub site navigation bar shown below from the Intranet landing page.  This is because James Smith is not a member of the Operations Team site group.

James Smith Example

The same principle applies when James opens the Procurement Team site. The Hub site navigation pulls through, and Audience targeting settings mean that James once again has no visibility of the Operations Team site link.

Procurement private group

At the time of writing this blog, Audience targeting in SharePoint Online may only be active in the following content.

  • Navigational links – promote links to specific audiences across a site’s navigation, including hub and footer navigation.

Important: Starting in April 2020, audience targeting for navigational links will be introduced to organizations opted in to the Targeted release program. This means you may be unable to see this feature yet, or it may look different than the description in the help articles. Eventually, this feature will be available across all cloud environments.

  • Pages – target specific site pages to specific audiences in a page library
  • News web part – push specific news posts to specific audiences on the start page, in the mobile app, and in News web parts that have audience targeting enabled.
  • Highlighted content web part– dynamically display relevant content from a list or library to a page, site, or site collection.

Note: The above bullet points are as described in the following Microsoft web page on audience targeting.

So, what does this mean exactly? As an example, if we add a Quick Links section to the top of our landing page containing links to our Operations and Procurement Team sites, then Audience targeting won’t take effect. All members and visitors to the Intranet page would be able to see both of these links.

Example of SharePoint Online Team Sites look

Importantly, however, permissions to these Team sites will, of course, still be applied. Therefore, should our user James Smith click on the Operations tile, he will be unable to access and instead will see the following.

I would expect that as Microsoft continue to improve and refine the Audience targeting feature, more SharePoint Online web parts (such as the Quick links) will become Audience targeting enabled.

Summary

In this post, we’ve taken you through the steps to register a Hub Site in the SharePoint Admin Center and associate a Team site with it. You were also shown how to use the Hub Site Navigation menu to add links to your Team site on your Intranet landing page, and how to use the Audience targeting feature to ensure that your SharePoint Online users will only see content which they are specifically authorized with their group memberships.

Source Practical365

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How to create Modern SharePoint Online Team Sites

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In this article, we’ll demonstrate how to create SharePoint Online Team Sites. This has stemmed from our recent blog series, How to Create a SharePoint Online Intranet, where we showed you how to create an Intranet landing page in SharePoint Online based on a Modern Communication site.

The site included a company logo and a site title. We also uploaded a custom theme to the site using the Microsoft Theme generator tool and the SharePoint Online Management shell.

We then built our landing page by adding sections and a Hero web part to make our highlighted content prominent. Finally, we added some further web parts, including a News Feed, some Quick Links, a Weather widget, and an Image Banner. Here’s how the finished page looked:

SharePoint Online Teams Sites

Another element to include on an Intranet Landing page is a tile grid that links to individual Share/Point Team sites. Team sites (not to be confused with Microsoft Teams) are collaborative SharePoint Online sites where groups of people can work together on shared content in Document Libraries. They differ from Communication Sites, which are informative as opposed to collaborative.

You can find more information on SharePoint Online Team sites here.

During this article we’ll show you how to:

  • Create Time Sites in SharePoint Online, and assign the correct permissions to your Microsoft 365 users and groups
  • Grasp the concept of Hub Sites, which allows you to “Apply common navigation, branding, and site structure across associated sites”
  • Use the Audience Targeting feature to ensure that your content is only visible to authorized users and groups
  • Link to your Team Sites from your Intranet landing page
  • Save your Team site as a template so you may use it to create further Team Sites with the same settings for other departments in your organization

Creating a SharePoint Team site

To create your new Team site, you’ll need to access the SharePoint admin center, which you can access from the Microsoft 365 Admin Center. You’ll either need to be a Global Administrator or SharePoint Administrator role.

  1. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll need to navigate to Admin centers > SharePoint (you may also need to click on“Show all”before you see the SharePoint admin center in the menu).
SharePoint Admin Center

2. This will take you into the SharePoint admin center.

SharePoint Admin Center screenshot

3. Click on Active sites, and you’ll see the list of sites that are already present within your Microsoft 365 tenant.

Active Sites

4. To create your new Team site, click Create. This will give you options about the sites you can create

Next, we’ll look at the choices you have by examining the available site types and when to use them.

Site types

The following site types are available within SharePoint Online.

Team site You typically use a Team site to share documents within a team. When you create a Team site, you’ll see a Microsoft 365 group is also set up automatically. This is the option to select to establish your new SharePoint Online site.
Communication site You’ll design a Communication site to publish content to your organization to keep them informed. As Communication sites are informative as opposed to collaborative, they don’t have a Microsoft 365 group associated with them initially.
Other options Under Other options, you may choose from additional templates such as Document Center, Enterprise Wiki, and Publishing Portal.

5. The primary purpose of this page is to share documents within a team, so we need to create a Team site. Select the Team site option from the Create a site page, and we’ll see the following options for choosing the design for our site.

Create a team site

6. We need to complete the following information to provision our Communication site:

  • Site name
  • Group email address
  • Site address
  • Group owner
  • Preferred language

You can see my setup in the following image, where I have named my new Team site ‘Operations’ and assigned myself as the Group Owner for the associated Microsoft 365 group.

Get a team site connected to Office 365 groups

7. If we drill down into Advanced settings, we can also set additional options for the site, including Sensitivity, Time zone, and the Site description. When you’re happy with your settings, click Next.

Team site advanced settings

8. Next, you may add any additional owners requiring responsibility for managing the Team site, and you may also add some members to the Team site. In the example below, I’ve added one more owner and a single member to the site.

Add Microsoft 365 group members

9. Now that we have completed the required fields, we can click Finish to create our new Team site.

10. This takes you back to the Active sites list in the SharePoint Admin center, and if we enter the name of our newly created site and press enter, we’ll see our site displayed as follows.

Active sites operations

11. Clicking on the new site will display information relating to the site.

Operations

12. Under the URL section, click on the link, and this will take you to the new Team site.

Operations

Now that we have our new Team site, let’s double-check some of the permissions and group settings.

Checking the site permissions

To check the site permissions for our new Team site, we need to carry out the following steps.

  1. Make sure that you have the Team site page open, then click on the cogwheel at the top right of the screen and select Site permissions.
SharePoint settings

2. All SharePoint Online Team sites have three default SharePoint Online groups set up as default. These are:

  • Site Owners – Members of this group have Full control
  • Site Members – Members of this group have Edit permissions
  • Site Visitors – Members of this group have Read permissions
Permission - Invite people

3. By clicking on Advanced permission settings, we can take a more detailed look at these permissions groups.

SharePoint permissions

4. For example, if we click into Operations Members, then we will see the following.

5. What this shows, is that the Operations Members Microsoft 365 group (which was created when we set up the site), has been automatically added to our Operations Members SharePoint Online group.

6. If we navigate to the Microsoft 365 Admin Center and select Groups, we can search for our Operations Microsoft 365 group.

Groups

7. Clicking to open the group enables you to view the permissions tab.

Operations Members

Here, we can see the created group with two Owners (who are also members by default) and one member. Members will also be in the SharePoint Online Operations Members group.

Summary

In this post, we’ve taken you to create a new SharePoint Online Team Site, which will serve as a collaborative space for an Operations Team within an organization. We demonstrated how to create the site from the SharePoint admin center, create a Microsoft 365 group and SharePoint Online permissions groups as part of this process, and access the new site from the SharePoint Admin center.

In part two of this blog series, we’ll show you how to create a Hub Site and associate the new Team site to it, add a link to your Team site on your Intranet landing page, and how to use the Audience targeting feature to ensure that your SharePoint Online users will only see content which they are authorized for.

Source Practical365

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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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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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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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