Tag: sharepoint online

Did you know … you can open Teams files directly from Office 365 Applications?

While you can go into a channel, select the files tab, and open a file from within Teams … that’s a lot of clicking just to open a file in another program. But you can open files stored in Teams (or any other SharePoint document repository) directly from Office 365 programs. How?

Open an Office 365 program – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio. Click on the “File” ribbon bar and select “Open”. SharePoint Online document repositories, including those used by Teams, are listed under “Sites – Windstream Communic…”.

You may already have SharePoint sites listed. To add a new site, you just have to follow it.

Select the SharePoint site that matches your Team name. Click “Documents”

You’ll see a folder for each channel in your Team. Click the channel where the file is saved.

Navigate to the folder where your file is stored, then select the file. It will open directly in the application. When you save the document, the SharePoint document is updated.

Tip: Frequently used documents can be pinned for quick access. After you have opened the file, it will appear in the most recently used list. Click the little push-pin next to the file and it will be pinned to the top of the recently used file list. The Excel files and Word documents that I use frequently can now be opened without navigating through the file structure to find them.


Did you know … you can copy files from OneDrive to SharePoint Online (thus Microsoft Teams too)?

Sometimes I work on a document privately before putting it out for my group to review, but it takes time to upload a copy of the document to our Teams space! You can move and copy documents from OneDrive directly to SharePoint Online. Since “Files” in Teams spaces are just SharePoint Online document repositories, this means you can move/copy documents to a Teams space too.

Open “OneDrive” from https://portal.office.com or the side-bar of any web-based Office 365 product.

Select the document(s) that you want to move/copy and select either “Move to” or “Copy to” from the menu bar.

A new pane will fly out from the right-hand side of the browser window. You’ll see some of the SharePoint Online sites and Teams spaces to which you have access listed. If the one you want isn’t listed, click “Browse sites” to see a full list.

Click “Show more” to browse through the list of sites.

If you are unable to locate the site you want to use, open it in SharePoint online and follow it. Click on the site into which you want to move/copy your documents.

For SharePoint online sites, you’ll see the site contents and can navigate through the hierarchy to the location you want the file stored. For Teams spaces, click “Documents”.

You’ll then see folders for each Channel. Click the channel into which you want to store the documents.

Navigate through the Channel’s file structure to the location you want the document stored. Click the blue button to copy/move the document to that location.

Voila, my documents are moved within Microsoft’s cloud from OneDrive to SharePoint Online.


Did you know … you can add manager approvals in Microsoft Flow?

In my previous post, I demonstrated how the Office 365 User search could be used to record a Form responder’s email address instead of their logon ID. But other information about the user is available too – including their manager. This means you can use Flow to build workflows that require manager approval where “manager” is dynamically determined. How?

Select the “Get manager (V2)” action from the “Office 365 User” connector.

In this example, I am extending the sample workflow that creates a SPO list item from a Forms submission. I have inserted a step after getting the responder’s profile information. Click in the “User (UPN)” and select the input that contains the responder’s account (which, again, Forms calls an e-mail address)

Insert a new action

Search for and select “Approvals” and then select the “Start and wait for an approval (V2)” action.

Click the drop-down for “Approval type” – since I am only adding a single approver, the first two options are essentially the same. I can, however, use “Everyone must approve” to have more than one level of manager required for approval, or a manager plus static application owner.

To assign the approval, find the dynamic content from the manager lookup and select “Mail” from that section. Add details that will appear in the approval notification – something to clearly explain what the person is approving.

Save your workflow. Now when a Form response is submitted, the responder’s manager will receive an e-mail which allows them to approve or reject the request.

If they use the Flow site, they will see the approval in their Approvals section.


Did you know … you can store Microsoft Forms responses in a SharePoint Online list with Flow?

Microsoft Forms is a great way to compose simple forms and gather responses but analyzing the data in Excel … well I generally prefer processes to be automated. To use Forms data in automated processes, I store the form response in a SharePoint Online (SPO) list. How do you get the form response into a SPO list? Microsoft Flow.

Note – Microsoft Flow cycles are not free. We receive a number of free cycles each month for each Office 365 license purchased. The company-wide number of free flow cycles is quite large, but not infinite. Be cognizant of what constitutes a cycle. In this case, a cycle is each new form submission … if I expect 20,000 people to submit the form this month, I am using 20,000 flow cycles. Not all trigger cycles are as straightforward as this. As an example, Flow could send me an alert when I receive an e-mail from my manager. A cycle is not triggered on “e-mail from my manager received in my mailbox” but rather “new e-mail message received in my mailbox”. For a mailbox dedicated to a specific purpose, the number of messages received per month may be exactly what you want to process. In my mailbox, system alerts, ITSM notifications, script results and such would quickly use up a significant portion of Windstream’s free cycle allotment.

First you need a Form. When editing your form, grab the URL and find the “FormID” section. Save that string – we’ll need that in the workflow.

Before you start – if you plan to convert your personal form into a group form, do that before creating the Flow workflow. The form ID changes when a form is moved between group and personal forms, and you will need to adjust the workflow accordingly.

To store information in a SharePoint Online list, you’ll also need a SPO list. You can create one in a dedicated SPO site or the SPO site behind a Teams space.

Record the SPO site address and list name – we’ll need that in the workflow.

Now that we’ve got all of the components ready, we can build a workflow to connect them. Log into https://flow.microsoft.com

On the left-hand navigation bar, click “My Flows”.

Click the drop-down next to “New” and select “Create from blank”

Click “Create from blank” to confirm your choice.

Before you do anything else, give your Flow a descriptive name. Click on “Untitled”, type something else, and hit enter. If you don’t name your flow, it will get a default name based on the actions taken within the workflow … which makes it really hard to differentiate between five different workflows that take Forms responses and store them in SPO lists.

The trigger for the workflow will be that a new Forms response is submitted.

Select the “When a new response is submitted” trigger.

Select “Enter custom value” and paste in the form ID we recorded earlier.

Click “+ New step” to add a new step.

To use the data from the Form submission, we need to get the response data. Enter “Forms” again and select “Microsoft Forms”

Select the “Get response details” action.

In “Form Id”, enter a custom value and paste in the Form ID. Click in the “Response Id” field. In the right-hand navigation menu, click “See more”.

Select “List of response notifications Response Id”

You’ll see that the response ID is added to “Select an output from the previous step”. Click “Add an action”

Type “SharePoint” and select “SharePoint”

Select “Create item” from the “Actions” tab

Select “Enter custom value” for the Site Address and enter the site address we recorded earlier. Then click the drop-down for “List Name” – select the list into which you want to insert Forms responses.

Below “List Name”, additional fields will appear – one for each column of your list. Click into a column. In the right-hand bar, you will see the Form attributes that can be placed into the List column. For each List column, select the Form component you want stored in that field.

Flow is aware of column types – if you click into a date column, it will try to present Forms information that holds dates. If you find an option missing, click “See more” to see an unfiltered list of Forms attributes.

When you are selecting values to use in an action, the possible selections are grouped by the action. For a simple form/list combination like this, using the default step names is not too confusing, but if you build more complex workflows with more data elements … figuring out which “Get response details” is which becomes difficult.

It can be clearer if you provide a unique name for each trigger and action – the values from the LJRDemo form are clearly part of the “Get LJRDemo Form response details” section.

To rename a workflow element, click the ellipses and select “Rename”

Type a new name and hit enter

Click “Save” to save and activate your workflow.

Submit answers using your form, then check your SPO list.

Notice that what Forms calls my e-mail address is actually my logon ID. This is very useful for IT folks who can easily correlate logon IDs to actual individuals. Maybe not so useful for you. Flow provides directory lookup capabilities if you want to turn the logon ID field into something … more readable. Edit your Flow. After the get response details step, click the little plus to insert a new step.

Select “Add an action”

Search for “Office 365 Users”, select it, and select “Get user profile (V2)”.

Click in the “User (UPN)” box and select the Form respondent’s “e-mail”

Edit the action which creates the SPO list item. You will now have dynamic content both from the Form response and the Office 365 user lookup. In this case, I will use “Mail” in the Submitter column.

Save you changes. Since we’ve already submitted a Form response, we can test the Flow without submitting a new response. Click “Test” in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.

Select one of the previous runs (there may only be one!) and click “Save & Test” to re-run the Form response through your workflow.

Now the submitter is recorded as an e-mail address.

SPO Guest Access Stops Working

I ran across an interesting issue today — Windstream’s got a really awesome SPO site for SD Project Management – tracking orders, equipment orders, 3rd party cabling installations, etc. The cool part about the site being hosted in SharePoint Online is that a customer can get set up as a federated partner and be granted access to see equipment readiness and installation scheduling within our system.

Guest access is an interesting concept – while I have an account in our tenant that is linked to my Active Directory account in our domain, you can also create links to accounts in other company’s directories. The guest account can then be set up to access our Azure resources – added to Azure groups, added to SharePoint Online groups, invited to join Teams.

A guest user had her computer replaced and could no longer access the site – SPO insisted that she was not a valid user. Looking in Azure AD, the account existed; the audit log even showed successful authentication events. I’m not sure if the computer replacement was a coincidence, the new computer had a different configuration, or if your browser stashes some information that allowed her to avoid authentication failures, but her guest account in our tenant was no longer working.

For companies that don’t have Azure AD, when an individual accepts guest account access … the guest account link in our tenant lists “Microsoft Account” as the source.

But when the company sets up Azure, the auth framework seems to get confused by the Azure AD account. Easy enough solution – we’ve got to delete the guest account that’s linked to their MS Account from Azure AD. Bonus step specific to SPO, a site administrator needs to use <site>/_layouts/15/people.aspx?MembershipGroupId=0 to delete the guest account from the SPO site.


Once the “Microsoft Account” guest account has been removed, the guest can be re-invited. They’ll step through the registration process again but the guest account will be linked up to their Azure AD account.

 Re-add the new guest account to whatever they were using & their access will be restored.


Did you know … You can paste records into a SharePoint list?

I’ve written about using the SharePoint REST API to maintain data in a SharePoint list, but tweaking a program to maintain your list data takes some programming knowledge. If you just want to get data into the list, it can even seem quicker to just retype the information. But you can paste data into the list too.

From your list, switch to “Quick Edit” mode

Look at the columns – the data you are pasting in will need to line up with the quick edit view.

Format your data to match the quick edit view – I often use Excel to store my data because it’s quick and convenient.

Highlight the records and click copy (or use ctrl-c)

Return to the SharePoint list. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click in the bottom left-hand corner to highlight the blank row.

Use CTRL+v to paste your new records into the list.

That’s it! You can click “Exit quick edit” to return to your normal view or close the browser tab if you’re done.


Did you know … you can restore a deleted Teams file?

Oh no! I’ve accidentally deleted a document from my Teams files! Can someone restore it for me?!?

Yes! I can restore it for me – I can even restore documents others have deleted from our shared Teams file spaces. From the “Files” tab, click “Open in SharePoint”

You’ll see the documents that weren’t deleted … that doesn’t help! But click on “Recycle bin” on the left-hand navigation bar.

There it is! Click to select the file.

Then click “Restore”

In the upper right-hand corner of the web site, you will see a status message indicating that the document is being restored.

When the restore completes, click away from the “Files” tab and return to it. Voila! The document is back 😊


Do you know … where you saved that Office 365 document?

Being able to save documents directly to Teams, to sync documents and work on them locally, and to just store documents locally provides a lot of options when you’re saving a document. For me, though, a lot of options also means I’m not always sure which option I chose 😊 In which Teams space is this document saved? Did I stash it locally because I’m not ready for other people to peruse it?

Luckily where the document is saved can quickly be displayed in the Office 365 applications. Click “File” on the ribbon bar.

The “Info” section contains the path to the document – a document that is stored in a SharePoint document library (be that a Teams Channel file space or some other SharePoint document library) will include the SharePoint site name (the Team name in the case of Teams Channel files). Clicking “Open file location” will open a browser tab to the SharePoint document library which contains the file.

A document on a local or network drive will have a path starting with the drive letter. Clicking “Open file location” will open a File Explorer window to the folder containing the document.

And a document that hasn’t been saved won’t have any file information listed.


Did you know … you can sync Teams files to your desktop using OneDrive for Business?

An advantage of using the cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 platform is that you can work just about anywhere you have an Internet connection. This provides a lot of flexibility for mobile workers, but there are still situations where bandwidth is expensive or Internet connectivity is just unavailable. Situations where you want to be able to continue working offline.

Files stored within Teams channels are document libraries in SharePoint Online. Anything you can do in SharePoint Online works with the Teams files. SharePoint Online document libraries can be synchronized to your local drive through OneDrive for Business – which means you can work on Teams documents offline.

To set up the synchronization, you’ll need to open the Teams files in SharePoint. Select the channel and click on “Files”. Then click on the “Open in SharePoint” link.

You are now viewing the SharePoint document library. Click the “Sync” button to set up synchronization to your local computer.

Select “Sync now”

You may be asked to confirm you want to use OneDrive to open the link. You do! Click “Open link” (you can check the box to ‘Remember my choice for grvopen links’ to skip this step in the future)

If you have not yet configured OneDrive, you’ll be asked to sign in. Confirm that your logon ID is displayed and click “Sign in”

You can change the location where OneDrive stores synced files, if you wish. Click “Next” to continue.

Once OneDrive setup is completed, click “Open my OneDrive folder”.


You will see a confirmation that the Teams document library is being synchronized.

When you view your OneDrive folder, you will see the Teams channel(s) with document libraries syncing to your local computer.

When you save a new file to the OneDrive location, or update a file, you will see a circle indicating that the file is being synchronized. You will see a green check-mark when the file is successfully synchronized to SharePoint Online.

And the changes will be visible immediately in Teams

If you no longer wish to synchronize the Teams files with your local computer, right-click on OneDrive for Business in your system tray and select “Settings”.

Click “Stop sync” on the location(s) you no longer wish to synchronize.

Files stored on your computer will not be deleted; changes locally will not be updated in SharePoint/Teams, and changes in Teams will not be updated to your computer. The icon in the status column will be removed to indicate the folder is no longer being synchronized. You can safely delete the local folder.


Did you know … you can Quick Edit SharePoint lists by default?

Web forms are fine for one-off data entry, but the default SharePoint list view is inefficient for bulk item updates. Since you can create your own list views, and you can set your view as the list default … you can have lists open in the Quick Edit view.

Click the not-quite-a-hamburger menu between the list name and “List”, then select “Settings

Scroll down to the “Views” section and click “Create view”

Select “Datasheet View” as the basis for your new view

Give the view a descriptive name. You might not want to set the view as the default just yet – create it, verify it looks good, then set it as the default. Or, like me, you might be a combination of impatient and confident 😊 Either way, select to create a public view.

Check off the columns you want to include, uncheck any that you don’t need.

Select how you want your list sorted – I am sorting by the record creation time, but you can sort and sub-sort by whatever columns make sense for your data.

You can also filter items displayed in your view – my example is order entry, so maybe a ship date column is superfluous for data entry and programmatically populated by some order fulfillment process. Or you can leave the data unfiltered. Scroll down and click “OK” to save your view.

If you didn’t make your view the default, click the drop-down by the view name and select your view to test it. Return to the list settings and click on your view name to edit it and set it as the default view.

Now that my datasheet style view is the default, my list opens in the “Quick edit”, and I can update lots of records.