Live Online Summer BOGO!

written by: Jennifer Johnson on June 11th, 2015

Buy one class scheduled in July or August and receive a second seat in the same class for free!


Furthering your career doesn’t have to mean giving up your vacation this summer.

That’s why we’re offering summer BOGO for live online sessions! Register with code BOGO2015 for one seat in a July or August live online training session and get a second seat in the same session free.

The convenience and flexibility of our live online training helps you and your team gain the skills and knowledge you need without having to give up the vacation you want.

Find the right course path for you. Where will this summer take you?


*Offer cannot be combined with any other offers. The offer is valid between July 1 and August 31. First registration must be made at full price. Free seat is for the same session. Use code BOGO2015 at checkout to receive discount. Some course exclusions may apply. These terms and conditions are subject to change at any time.


Video Demo: How to Use the Current User Web Part in SharePoint 2013

written by: Tom Robbins on August 25th, 2015


There are so many web parts out there that allow you to customize the look and feel of your site and improve the user experience. In this video we are going to talk about how to use the current user filter web part in SharePoint 2013.

In this example, we have a project site with a document library. We have documents modified by multiple people in different project phases. We also have a task list assigned to multiple different people.

What is the current user web part used for?

Navigate to the filter page. Once this page opens, I want this page and all of the contents on the page to be customized to the current user that’s visiting the page. You can create views for each library and task list and have those views filter based on the current user, but that can be limiting. When we use the current user filter web part we can actually use active directory and SharePoint profile properties to narrow down how the page is viewed. On this page, I just want to see documents that I’ve modified last. In the task list, I only want to see tasks that are assigned to me. We can use the current user web part for that.

Setting up the current user web part:

1. To insert that filter on the page, go into page edit mode. It doesn’t matter where it goes on the page because it will be invisible.

2. Insert from the web part gallery, from the filters gallery, and select the current user filter.

3. In order to get to the properties, select the web part and then go to the top toolbar and select web part properties. The first set of properties that we need to configure in the web part window on the right is what value to provide. If you use the current user name, it uses the wrong format. You actually need to use a SharePoint profile value and select name on the drop down. This will give you the value of what matches the modified by field displayed in SharePoint.

4. Now a drop-down appears on the current user web part. You can use this drop-down menu to start creating connections to both the document library and task list to filter on the value we chose over in the properties window.

  • Add a connection document library: Select to connect the document library, choose filter value from, and click configure. I want to use the modified by field, so I want to filter and only see documents that were modified by the person who matches the name in the window on the right.
  • Add a connection to the task list: Notice when you go into the drop down menu, there is a check where the documents library is already connected. Select to connect the task list, select get filter values from, and then for the task list we want to use the assigned to field.

5. Scroll down to the bottom of the properties pane and click ok to save. The web part is still there but no longer has anything in it. When you save the page, the web part becomes invisible but the task list and document library are filtered.

That is how you set up a web part that is great for any time you want to customize the experience the user has on the page.

For more real-world SharePoint training visit:


Video Demo: How to Use the Filter Web Part in SharePoint 2013

written by: Tom Robbins on August 18th, 2015


There are about 25- 30 out of the box web parts with SharePoint 2013. Some are obvious as to what they do, where some require some serious configurations including learning to write some code.

What I want to do is break down how to use the filter web part. The filter web part allows us to filter based on meta data in lists or libraries to that we can customize the look and feel of the pages to suit our audience. Its similar to audience targeting but different.

Lets get started:

I’ve got a task list here. As I scroll down, you’ll notice that my tasks for ease of demonstration are each associated with a specific project faze.  You will notice I’ve got the phase here. Then I also have a document library that is classified and categorized by faze. What I’d like to be able to do is see the task list and document library on the same page, but I’d like to be able to quickly filter out and only see certain phases.

Example- Using the Filter:

Let’s say I just want to see documents in the initiation phase along side tasks in the initiation phase. I’ve got a completed page here to show you what I’m talking about. On the right I’ve got the document library and there is no filtering and I’ve got the task list and there is no filtering on it either. You’ll notice up here on the top, I’ve placed a choice filter. I can simply start typing in what I want to search on or I can pick from the drop down box on the right. If I choose initiation phase, now I just see the documents and tasks that that are in the initiation phase. It allows me to filter what has been seen on the page. I can switch to the planning phase or I can clear my filter and go back to using the default view. That’s basically what the choice filter web part will allow you to do.

Example- Setting Up the Choice Filter:

Lets take a look at another page where I have not yet built that filter web part. Notice there is no filter web part yet, so that is what I’m going to show you how to do. First lets go into edit mode, and then on this wiki page just above the task list, well insert the choice filter web part. Now it is on the page. To make it behave like a normal web part, you have to click on it to make the toolbar appear at the top and the web part properties. Once you have done that, we need to go in and give it the actual values that will match the phases within the task list as well as the document library. Then we will just apply the ones you have added.

Now if you scroll up you’ll notice that the web part has changed its behavior a little bit. Now there is an expand window that allows you to do connections. So what we need to do now is connect this web part to the document library and task list and tell it to filter based on our choices. We do that with the web part connections. In the connections, we are going to send the values in the choice filter first over to the task list and get filter values and then tie them to the phase field. You are going to do the same thing for the document library. Click finish. Then you can rename the filter phase filter.

Example- Testing and Resetting the Filter:

Now when we save the page, we need to test the filter to see if it works. We’ll click on initiation phase and notice the documents on the right and task on the left are sorted by initiation phase. This is a great way to give users the ability to filter out what they see on the screen when it comes from multiple lists and libraries.

The only thing missing here is how to clear out and go back to no filter at all. One of the options of the choice filter web part, if we go into the web part properties, is the part under the advanced filter options to show an empty value. That clears your filter.

For more real-world SharePoint training visit:



How to Use the Document ID Feature in SharePoint 2013

written by: Tom Robbins on August 11th, 2015

What is the Document ID feature in SharePoint?

The Document ID feature is a set of features and jobs that allow a user to establish a unique record or document identifier for documents within the scope of a Site Collection.  As documents are created within the Site Collection, a unique record identifier is assigned to the document that actually looks like a complex password.  If a document is moved around within the Site Collection, it can still be located if the user knows the Document ID.

This is a feature that not many care about other than the ECM people.  However anyone into records management and hard-core tracking of information love this feature, especially since it’s extensible for use in many different types of applications.


The Document ID Service is scoped to the Site Collection and is therefore activated in the Site Collection features:



Once activated, metadata is added to the default Document and Document Sets content types and pushed down to all instances using the content type.   For documents that already exist in the Site Collection, a timer job will assign unique ID’s to each of them.

After the feature is enabled you can access “Document ID Settings” from the Site Collection Settings group.  From here you can establish a prefix for the Document ID’s that will be part of the unique ID.  Note that the assigned is not immediate, but rather is done by a timer job and takes time based on the number of documents in the Site Collection.


Using Search to locate documents:

The Document ID can be used in search to locate documents:

The SharePoint Document ID Service is a Site Collection Feature which assigns unique IDs to documents within a Site Collection.  The unique document ID can be used to locate documents within a Site Collection irrespective of their location.  This is useful when documents may be moved around within a Site Collection due to work flows, or other processes.

To search by document ID, open the Service Application through Central Administration, then open the search schema under Queries and Results.  Search for DocID in the managed properties box.


The search results should return a managed property with the name DocID and the Query property should be enabled.  The property should be mapped to the crawled property ows_dlc_DocId.

The Query property enables the ability to search specifically by the property.  Open your search center and in the search box enter DocID:%DOCID% where you replace %DOCID% with the document ID for which you wish to search.

Here I have a document with the ID RSTST-7-144


I have found the document using the search term DocId:RSTST-7-144


Special Considerations:

The Document ID is not always retained.  It’s mostly whenever you copy a document, or use Send To:



How to Test with Alternate User Credentials in SharePoint 2013

written by: Tom Robbins on July 28th, 2015

Occasionally my students ask me what an effective testing procedure I would use to see how sites and library permissions work when using different credentials than the ones used to build and define sites.    While a site designer (Site owner) can certainly check effective permissions using the “Check Permissions” option under Site Permissions, sometimes it’s just easier to log in as a different user and actually see what the user experience is first-hand.

In previous versions of SharePoint, you could easily change the user principle by selecting “Sign in as Different User” from the User menu in the top right corner.  That option was removed in SharePoint 2013.


Click to continue »


Web Seminar Recap: Using InfoPath Designer 2013 to Build Powerful SharePoint Forms

written by: Jennifer Johnson on July 20th, 2015

SharePoint is an Enterprise Collaboration platform which drives organizational engagement and allows teams to work on information together in a central portal. InfoPath 2013 is a part of the Microsoft Office Professional suite of products that allows users to design, distribute, fill out, and submit online forms. Integration with SharePoint allows for seamless information management by allowing users to fill out forms in the SharePoint site directly in a browser window. With the InfoPath web part, users are able to remain in the context of site pages while filling out the forms. Users are able to customize the default SharePoint forms to provide unique branding to match their organization.

InfoPath is a powerful application development tool which includes conditional formatting, logic and validation, and integration with SharePoint workflow to create a complete business process automation experience. This webinar was presented on Friday, July 17th and introduced the user to InfoPath and some it’s features. There were demos using InfoPath to edit a SharePoint default form, as well as a form created based on a template or from scratch. The future of InfoPath has changed with Microsoft’s recent announcement regarding its position on future support of InfoPath. This topic was also addressed.

Other topics covered in this one hour webinar:

• Explanation of the tool and it’s uses
• What is the future of InfoPath 2013?
• Tour of the InfoPath interface
• Features of InfoPath
• Editing a default SharePoint form
• Creating a sample form to automate business data gathering

Missed this web seminar? Find the slides and recording here.


Where are Tags and Notes in Office 365?

written by: Tom Robbins on July 14th, 2015

Office 365This is Microsoft’s explanation of why Tags and Notes have been disabled in Office 365 and what we should use instead.

I don’t buy it. 

The whole premise of SharePoint is being able to classify and categorize using metadata.  Folksonomy is the ad-hoc user contribution to the classification.  It doesn’t make sense, but since I regularly get asked, I am sharing what Microsoft has to say about it.  I still don’t buy it!

Including a post from

SharePoint Online Tags & Notes Feature Retired

The Tags & Notes feature of SharePoint Online has been retired. Users can no longer create new tags and notes or access existing ones. For a limited time, all existing tags and notes will be archived into .csv files, which can be exported from the SharePoint admin center. Only SharePoint Online admins can export these files.

This change will affect users in the following ways:

Tags & Notes button on ribbon Still visible but disabled.
Note Board and Tag Cloud web parts in the web part gallery Still visible and enabled. The web parts will show up as blank when added to a page.
Note Board and Tag Cloud web parts embedded in a page Page will display a blank space in the area previously occupied by the web parts. Edit the page to remove the web parts.
Social tags Social tags will no longer appear in the tags refiner. The refiner will still display hashtags.


Export Tags & Notes

IMPORTANT   You can export archived tags and notes through calendar year 2014. After that, the archive and the ability to export it will be removed. Export tags and notes now to avoid data loss.

  1. Browse to the SharePoint Online admin center.
  2. Click user profiles.
  3. Click Manage Social Tags and Notes.
  4. Click Export tags and notes data.

What to use instead of Tags & Notes

Here’s what we recommend as an alternative to Tags & Notes:



10 Reasons You Should Be Excited for SharePoint Engage

written by: Delaney Galvin on July 8th, 2015


SharePoint Institute’s inaugural SharePoint Engage conference is coming up October 20th, and we are jumping out of our seats.

Unlike any other conference out there, SharePoint Engage is a conference targeted specifically towards the everyday users of SharePoint, not just the experts and IT gurus. It is the perfect place for power users, developers, information architects, business analysts, project managers, and administrators like you to take your SharePoint knowledge to the next level.

Why did ASPE jump on the opportunity to sponsor this event? Why should you jump on the opportunity to attend?

  1. Christian Buckley, a Top 10 SharePoint and Office 365 influencer, was snagged as the keynote speaker.
  2. Over 30 total sessions are split up into 3 tracks to suit everyone’s needs.
  3. Opportunities to network, collaborate, and engage with your real-world SharePoint peers.
  4. Hear multiple ASPE instructors speak on SharePoint.
  5. The chance to mix and match a variety of topics and issues applicable to your unique needs.
  6. Learn practical SharePoint tips and tricks you can immediately leverage in your environment.
  7. Have all your SharePoint questions answered by experts.
  8. Sessions are taught by SharePoint experts, Microsoft Certified Trainers and Microsoft MVPs.
  9. Over 25 different speakers to learn from and network with.
  10. See how SharePoint is constantly evolving and what future releases may hold.

Don’t miss this ground-breaking event. Register here before August 1st and receive the early-bird discount!


Roles on your Governance Team!

written by: Tom Robbins on July 7th, 2015

One of the first steps in building your SharePoint Governance is to assemble the team that will not only be responsible for the initial Governance plan, but the ongoing oversight and management of the plan.  Governance is not a simple document that you create and have on file.  Governance is the living and breathing management and oversight of SharePoint.  The team must be willing to engage to create the plan but then work regularly to update and maintain the Governance through regular meetings.  Assembling the team is critical to a successful Governance model.

The Governance principles and policies should be derived from the organizational mission and should support the business objectives.  The team should include key business players from across the organization.  Any division or department that will use SharePoint should have a representative on the Governance team.  While IT plays a critical role, IT should simply be a seat at the table and should listen to the needs of the key business players.  Often times IT will create the Governance in isolation because they are familiar with creating technology related policies.  Because SharePoint is an organization-wide platform for collaboration and information management, IT should work with key business stakeholders to guarantee SharePoint is implemented to support the business requirements.  IT certainly does not understand all of the business requirements.  While it is critical for IT to be at the table, it’s equally as important for anyone that will use SharePoint to be represented in the planning of Governance.  Below is a list of some of the key players that should participate on the team.

Role Responsibility
Executive stakeholders Key executives should define the overall goals of the governance committee and periodically evaluate the success of the implemented practices and policies.
Financial stakeholders Financial officers should make sure that governance rules and processes help increase the return on your organization’s investment in SharePoint products.
Business division leaders Business leaders represent the teams that do the primary work of the enterprise and drive the architectural and functional requirements of the deployment. They work with information architects to structure the information architecture and taxonomy standards. Business leaders also work with IT leaders to create service-level agreements and other support policies.
IT managers IT managers help develop their service offerings and determine how to achieve their IT responsibilities (for example, improving security and maintaining reliability) while supporting the features required by the business teams.
Software development leaders Software development leaders help determine which customization tools are approved, how to verify code security, and ensure code-related best practices.
Technical specialists Technical specialists design, build, and run IT services and solutions.
Trainers Instructional experts should develop a training plan for your organization.
Influential information workers The members of your organization who do the day-to-day work should help ensure that the services and information architecture meet their needs.
Information architects or taxonomists Members of these groups design information systems and taxonomies. Based on their analysis of the information needs of the audience, they develop plans that support organizational objectives and define site architecture and navigation.
Compliance officers Governance includes making sure that an organization meets its regulatory and legal requirements and manages its corporate knowledge. If your organization has roles that are responsible for compliance or legal oversight, include representatives from those disciplines in your governance team.


What is SharePoint Governance?

written by: Tom Robbins on June 30th, 2015

The importance of SharePoint Governance cannot be understated.  But most “green” SharePoint organizations do not even consider Governance until it’s too late.  Many organizations even consider the Governance a simple document to be created and kept on hand just for the purpose of having one.  The Governance should be driving and managing your SharePoint deployment and ongoing production.   Before even placing SharePoint into production, the Governance should be well on its way to providing the central governing principles and management procedures for your SharePoint environment.

So what exactly is SharePoint Governance?

Governance is the set of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that control how an organization’s business divisions and IT teams work together to achieve its goals. Every organization has unique needs and goals that influence its approach to governance. Larger organizations will probably require more—and more detailed—governance than smaller organizations. A good governance plan can:

  • Streamline the deployment of products and technologies, such as SharePoint Server 2013.
  • Help keep your organization’s system secure and compliant.
  • Help ensure the best return on your investment in technology.

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In essence, the Governance “runs” your SharePoint system.  Governance includes:

  • Hardware and Software requirements
  • Principles
  • SharePoint vision
  • Service Level Agreements
  • Details your Enterprise Taxonomy and Folksonomy and how they are managed and measured
  • Explains in-depth your plan for Training and Support
  • Site creation and lifecycle management policy
  • Details the Governance Team
  • Explains process for conflict mitigation
  • Reporting and accountability expectations on the effectiveness of Governance

These are just a few of the considerations for Governance.  Too many organizations find out years too late that there needs to be a management infrastructure in place.  Look, SharePoint is an information management and collaboration platform that will have reach into everything your business does, how people collaborate, and how your information is stored and discovered.  As organizations get started with SharePoint, they rarely realize the impact of SharePoint.  It has the potential to completely change the way your people work together and the way information flows within your enterprise.  Governance is more important at the beginning than anything else.

Governance helps to manage or address many SharePoint management processes:

  • All of the default settings, configuration, and features that need to be considered
  • Default templates and solutions that should be deployed
  • Management of content sprawl
  • Policies and procedures for document lifecycle management
  • Defines the standardized navigation, branding, and consistent user experience
  • Defines the management chain-of-command and escalation and conflict mitigation policies
  • Ensures that SharePoint vision, mission, and goals match your organization vision, mission, and goals.
  • Guarantees compliance with legal and regulatory compliance


Web Seminar Recap: What’s in Store for SharePoint 2016 from Microsoft Ignite

written by: Melissa Monroe on June 29th, 2015

Recently Microsoft confirmed that SharePoint Server 2016 will be released in Q2 2016, with a public beta planned for Q4 2015. They are focused on delivering value to customers as part of their on-premises deployments, while at the same time making it easier to take advantage of cloud innovation thru hybrid deployments of SharePoint Server with Office 365. With SharePoint Server 2016 Microsoft hopes to deliver enhancements and new capabilities in these three major areas:

  • Improved user experiences
  • Cloud-inspired infrastructure
  • Compliance and reporting

This webinar talked about the future of SharePoint Server 2016 and covered the top 3 sessions about SharePoint Server 2016 from Microsoft’s Ignite conference. Click to continue »