Monday, 28 April 2014

Andy Dale's SharePoint Famous Five

Even after working with SharePoint for over ten years I still find myself learning new things. So in today's blog (yes, I know first one for six months. See Official Apology at the end) I will reveal five tricks that I have recently discovered.

Versions of SharePoint come and go, but they don't basically change that much. Ok the way t looks might change and new features are added but behind the scenes it is all still pretty similar. All of these tricks work from 2010 onwards and most of them in 2007 also.

So here are my SharePoint Famous Five

1. Add a print form option to any list item

i) Simply Edit page for Display Form (List - Form Web Parts - Default Display Form)
ii) Add a Content Editor Web Part
iii) Click 'Edit Source' to get to HTML
iv) Paste in code

2. Quickly Customise your Forms

Use the icon in the List/Library ribbon 'Customize Form' (sorry it is American so the 'z' stays). If you have InfoPath Designer installed on your local PC this button takes the form into InfoPath and lets you change it. Add tips, columns, hide fields and add submit/save buttons.

Your users don't need InfoPath to see and complete the form. Great way of avoiding need for extra Content Types.

3. Use SharePoint Designer workflow for automatic numbering

Many people try to use ID numbers in calculations to add automatic numbering and soon find it starts to fail.

Instead add a simple workflow with SharePoint Designer Workflow that when an item is created fills in the reference number field with the ID value plus 1. Use 'Update Field in Current Item' as the action.

Word of advice though when creating new workflows for SharePoint 2013 use 'Platform Type' as 'SharePoint 2010 Workflow'. This works while for some reason 2013 Workflow doesn't.

4. Tag documents to help you find them

Probably like many of you I find the Like\Tagging function that suddenly appeared in 2010 a bit naff. With Microsoft just trying to bring 'Social Networking' into the Corporate world. Yet 'Tagging' can be helpful. Tags can be filtered by in a search. On the left-hand side filters on Search Results pages is the option to show only items that have a tag. So why not tag that important document now.

5.Future-proof Searching

Sometimes other users aren't as quick at checking documents as you. So you are searching for a document you know is nearly finished but in your Search it frustratingly doesn't find it. Don't worry because at the top of Search Results page is the famous 'Alert' icon. So click it and ask to receive an email when a new item is added to this search criteria.

So when the document is checked in (providing it meets the Search criteria) you will be notified.  

I hope you find at least one of these five tricks useful. Please share them around so other people can find out new things about SharePoint.

Of course calling these the 'Famous Five' means I have to include a 'Famous Five' video so here is one from my childhood;

Official Apology

I confess it is over six months since my last blog. Many apologies for this and no it is not due to the abject failures of Aston Villa Football Club this season. Main reason has been that I have been very busy in my spare time creating a new system based on SharePoint 2013 (and Office365) called 'Surgery365'.

Sugery365 is a complete online management system for a whole range of medical surgeries ranging from Chiropodists to Dentists. It includes full appointment booking, patient records, treatment notes and patient receipts. We are very excited about the system at Office Talk and are aiming to launch it in September. Anybody interested in finding out more about it please drop me an email to

About the Villa

Despite the recent depressing run of results I do believe that the Villa will avoid relegation but maybe only on goal difference. Really is squeaky-bum time.