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.


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.

From <>

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 »


Web Seminar Recap: Using Document Sets to Implement Business Processes in SharePoint 2013

written by: Delaney Galvin on June 23rd, 2015

Document Sets are a feature of SharePoint that allow an enterprise to manage multiple pieces of content as one single work product. We can think of Document Sets as “Super Folders” because they allow us to group information together, but that is as far as it goes. Folders are something you want to avoid in SharePoint because they have little value in the big scheme of actually managing SharePoint content. Document Sets have some of the same attributes of folders, but come with other object elements that allow us to perform many different management functions. Some of the features of Document Sets are: version management, workflow association, Information Management Policy, and metadata. This webinar introduced the attendee to Document Sets and dove in how to create and use them. Document Sets can be used to implement business processes and this goes beyond the normal approach of using them simply as folder replacements.

The topics that were covered in this one hour webinar:
• What are Document Sets?
• How Document Sets can be used to manage work product
• The components of Document Sets
• Defining a Document Set
• Using Document Sets to implement real business processes

Tom Robbins presented this seminar on “Using Document Sets to Implement Business Processes in SharePoint 2013″ June 19th.

Missed this seminar? Catch up by downloading the slides and recording here.


SharePoint is NOT A Replacement For Network Drives

written by: Tom Robbins on June 23rd, 2015


I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a while.  I work with customers and students all around the country on a weekly basis.  In conversations with each new class or new customer there is always one thing I can count on hearing, “For the most part, we use SharePoint for document storage.  IT simply migrated our network drives over to SharePoint”.   I used to cringe when I’d hear that, but I don’t as much anymore.  I see it as an indication of all of the opportunities that we will have in working together to really understand and implement the powerful tools in SharePoint.  Using SharePoint as a network drive replacement indicates the level of SharePoint maturity an organization has achieved.

First and foremost SharePoint is an Enterprise Collaboration portal.  Sites in SharePoint give teams a place to share knowledge in the form of discussions, micro blogs, Wikis, blogs, and other things.  Through the use of Lists, teams can facilitate project management and implement processes to help improve team efficiency and productivity as well as store information relevant to the team.   Using Libraries, teams can implement intentional oversight and management of the lifecycle of content like documents through features such as Version Control and Content Approval as well as Workflow.  Using the powerful Search capabilities in SharePoint, users can find enterprise knowledge that helps them more quickly complete the job tasks they have been assigned and to derive insights about the health of their organization.

Using the Enterprise Content Management features of SharePoint, an organization can implement a formal system of classification and categorization of information.  From Site Columns to Content Types, to Managed Metadata for Enterprise Taxonomy, a suite of tools exists giving Site Owners and users a method of declaring what information is relevant to an organization.

Click to continue »


How well do you know SharePoint Libraries?

written by: Tom Robbins on June 16th, 2015

So for a few weeks, I will be challenging your knowledge of SharePoint.  Last week the questions were about Lists.  This week, let’s talk Libraries.  The answers are at the bottom!  Don’t look ahead!

1)      What should you use in place of folders to classify and categorize documents?

A. Super folders
B. Metadata/Columns
C. Colors
D. Network Drives

2) What is the default Content Type for a Document Library?

A. Web Part page
B. Form
C. SharePoint Page
D. Document (blank Word doc)

3) Which Column/Field Type can be used with the Enterprise Taxonomy term store?

A. Managed Metadata
B. Lookup
C. Choice
D. Site Column

4) Which OOTB SharePoint library contains the content types for use with Business Intelligence?

A. Document Library
B. Form Library
C. Report Library
D. Picture Library

5) The name of a Library becomes the URL.  A best practice for the name is that it should not have spaces because the spaces are converted to what in the URL?

A. %20
B. b
C. <space>
D. nothing, there will be a space in the URL

 Answers below!

Click to continue »