Be a part of the Festive Tech Calendar this year

You may have seen the Festive Tech Calendar in the past (here’s last year’s), where Microsoft enthusiasts from the community come together to share holiday cheer with the world via videos released each day in December.

Some videos in the Festive Tech Calendar are tech talks and tutorials, others are pure holiday cheer and festive greetings. This year I’m submitting a fun session and I need your help to spread holiday cheer globally. I’ll be compiling Musical M365 – here are the details:

Musical M365 project details


Musical M365: Wintertime cheer from the world’s best tech community

After they’ve scheduled their out of office messages via Teams, you might find many in the community singing, practicing an instrument, or otherwise making a joyful noise this Winter season. Several community submissions are featured in this compilation.

How you can participate

Any Microsoft 365 enthusiast is welcome to participate. You can submit videos and/or photos. Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Videos featuring festive tunes or themes (winter or winter holiday themed)
    • Singing/caroling
    • Playing an instrument
    • Lip syncing
    • Dancing
  • A recorded holiday greeting you’d like to share with the community
  • Festive photos, selfies, etc. (i.e. you holding a holiday greeting sign, or you and your pets decked out in holiday garb)
  • Pets, family, friends, and houseplants welcome to participate

How to submit

  1. Create your photo(s) and/or video(s) – videos less than 5 minutes, please
  2. Upload your media here before November 22nd, 2021.

Note: By submitting, you agree that I may use your name and submissions in this video and may cut/mix as needed to create the final product. This is a free, volunteer project and no compensation is given to me or any participant.

I’ll then mix submissions into a festive and frivolous compilation so we can spread holiday cheer around the world together. Let’s do this! πŸ₯³β„οΈβ˜ƒοΈ

How to split media in Camtasia 2021

Normally I blog about Microsoft 365, but today I want to give you a glimpse into one of my behind-the-scenes tools. As a video creator (see my online course and YouTube channel), I use Camtasia 2021 for all of my video editing and creation needs.

Often, I need to split video segments to remove pauses, create space, correct mistakes, etc. Below are the steps to accomplish that:

  1. Select the media you’d like to split.
  2. Move the playhead to the exact moment in the timeline you’d like the selected media split into two segments.
  3. Select the split icon (a bisected rectangle).

After that, you may wish to move the two segments independently, delete or ripple delete one of them, edit segments independently, make additional cuts/slices, etc.

Comment if you’d like to see more tutorials on a specific action or process in Camtasia – I’m happy to help my fellow video creators get started.

Register to attend one of my upcoming Microsoft Ignite virtual after parties

I’m hosting two Microsoft Ignite After Parties the week after Ignite and I would love for you to join me and my co-host Lea Wendling of Centriq Training for one or both events. Join us for a playback of a specific breakout session followed by a live quiz competition (participation optional), Q&A, and a two-way conversation as we debrief the breakout session together.

The approximate agenda for both virtual after parties is as follows:

  • Welcome & Introduction by Nate and Lea (~10 mins)
  • Playback of Microsoft Ignite Session (~30 mins)
  • Live quiz competition to win a Microsoft-related prize (~10 mins)
  • Technical Discussion, Q&A led by Nate and Lea (~20 mins)
  • Closing notes (~10 mins)

And below you’ll find the specific after party options and their registration links:

Microsoft Ignite Teams + Power Platform After Party (Kansas City)

  • When: Nov 11 at 11:30am CDT (80-90 mins)
  • Where: Virtual via Teams
  • Register here

In this after party, we’ll watch the Microsoft Ignite session The future of business is seamless collaboration – how Teams + Power Platform engage your entire workforce together. Then we’ll have some Q&A regarding the session’s content and have a two-way conversation regarding solutions using Microsoft Teams and Power Platform.

Microsoft Ignite Viva After Party (Kansas City)

  • When: Nov 9 at 10:00am CDT (80-90 mins)
  • Where: Virtual via Teams
  • Registration closed (event ended)

In this after party, we’ll watch the Microsoft Ignite session Microsoft Viva: Latest innovations and roadmap for the new digital employee experience together. Then we’ll have some Q&A regarding the session’s content and have a two-way conversation regarding Microsoft Viva.

Microsoft Ignite is virtual and FREE this year once again. If you haven’t already registered for the conference (Nov 2-4) be sure to register today. Then, whether or not you can make the original session times, join us the following week to review and learn more together while connecting with other professionals to discuss Microsoft Viva, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Power Platform and any related Ignite announcements. Register today to reserve your spot using the links under each party title above.

I can’t wait to share these experiences with you.

National Coming Out Day 2021: Reflecting on my own coming out story

assorted color sequins

TW: Please note that this post contains sensitive topics that could be triggering.

Today is National Coming Out Day which is super exciting for some and can be difficult for others. I’m taken back to 2010 when I decided to come out to my family. Things didn’t go well, to say the least. And feelings (even from 10+ years ago now) come back to me strong this time of year.

10+ years ago, I started making a plan to end my life. I won’t get into all the details, but somebody intervened and saved me. Today I donated to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline in honor of that person and to celebrate life.

Things have substantially improved for me since coming out. My family and I reconnected and they fully accept me and my husband. I found SharePoint (SharePoint found me?) and it not only gave me a career these past 6+ years, but helped me find my passion and ultimately the incredible colleagues I get to work with at Centriq each day. And the best thing to happen to me over all these years was meeting my husband William who has loved and supported me even when I couldn’t love myself.

Why am I sharing this with you?

We are all human – and we can all struggle with our identity, our mental health, friend and family issues, etc. And if we’re not talking about those stories with one another, we may be missing an opportunity to help someone going through something similar.

Know that if you’re celebrating your LGBTQ+ identity today quietly, with close friends and family, or broadcasting it across the internet that you’re celebrating along with countless others around the world and I applaud you for your courage and for being your authentic self.

If you’re an ally, reach out to your out friends and help them celebrate a little today – I can’t imagine I’m the only one who has mixed emotions today.

And if you’re struggling a bit today too, that’s okay. You’re not alone, and you are more than welcome to send me a message on Twitter or LinkedIn any time you want to chat.

You are unique and loved. You are beautiful as you are. You can do anything.

Want to talk to someone?

If you or someone you know needs someone unbiased to talk to (you don’t have to be suicidal), put the Suicide Prevention Lifeline number in your phone (and get creative with the contact name if you want it listed discreetly): 1-800-273-8255. You can also chat with someone if that’s more comfortable. The Trevor Project is also an amazing resource, and specifically for LGBTQ+ individuals.

How to make Microsoft Teams files always open in the desktop app, Teams, or browser by default (for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files)

Note: Video demonstration at bottom of post or here.

You can open files directly within Teams to have a single context in which you’re able to do your work. However, when dealing with complex files you may wish to change how files are opened to be able to utilize the full functionality of the desktop app instead.

If you don’t make any changes to your default settings in Teams, documents will open in Teams automatically. Here are the three Teams file experience options you have:

  • Teams (default) – uses the Office web app, just like browser, but with Teams as a wrapper (see following screenshot)
  • App (desktop or client application) – opens outside of Teams and browsers in the fully-featured application (Word, Excel, or PowerPoint)
  • Browser – opens outside of Teams in the Office web app but in your internet browser
A Word file opened inside Teams (web app experience)

And, of course, you can always open a file in Teams then choose Open in Desktop App at the top, but that’s the long way around. We can choose where to open a file before we even open it.

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In this post, I’ll cover how to open a file in a different context (Teams, desktop app, or browser) for one-time needs as well as changing your default setting to force all files to open in the desktop version if you wish.

How to open a file from Teams in the desktop/client app without changing default settings

If you right-click a file in Teams and hover over Open, you’ll see you can choose to open that one file using the default or your preferred experience (Teams, app/desktop, or browser). This is great for those one-off files that require the full desktop application.

So if you need to open a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file outside Teams, using its full desktop app:

  1. Right-click the file
  2. Select Open
  3. Select Open in app
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Or if you already have the file opened in Teams, just click Open in Desktop App at the top.

How to change default file opening behavior of Teams to always open in desktop app

If you’d rather change the default setting for yourself so that a single left-click opens in the desktop app always, there are two places you can change your file opening preference – a file’s open menu or your Teams settings.

Note: Desktop/app will only be available as an option if you have Office version 16 or newer.

Always open Teams files in the desktop app | Method #1 (from a file)

To change your default file opening preference from an individual file’s menu, right-click the file, select Open, then select Change default.

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Then choose Desktop app and Save. Now Teams will always open Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files in the appropriate desktop application.

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Always open Teams files in the desktop app | Method #2 (in your Settings)

Alternatively, you don’t need to find a file first. Simply use the ellipsis (three dots) in the upper right corner of Teams and choose Settings.

Then select Files from the left and choose Desktop app from the dropdown menu. You change is saved automatically.

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Always open Teams files in the Desktop app | Bonus method (prompt after opening one-time in desktop)

There is one more way to change this setting, but it’s less straightforward so I’m deeming it a “bonus method.” πŸ™‚

If you do choose to right-click > Open > Open in app one time for a file, when you return to Teams it will prompt you to let it know if you were just opening in the desktop app this one time, or if you would like to go ahead and change your setting to always open Teams files in the desktop app.

Click to enlarge – Prompt shown when returning to Teams after having opened a file in the Desktop app from its Open menu


Solution: Power BI report pages not showing up as options for SharePoint web part

If you’ve just copied your multi-page Power BI report’s URL and pasted into the properties of a Power BI web part on a SharePoint page, you may have noticed your pages aren’t appearing as options in the Page name dropdown.

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This is because the URL you copied from Power BI likely contained a specific page in the URL itself, ending in something like …/ReportSection1 (which is referring to a specific page already).

To fix this and have your pages show up as options in the dropdown, simply remove the ReportSection1 (or 2, 3, etc.) from the end of the URL in the Power BI report link box and try again.

To speed things along, I usually cut (Ctrl+X) the corrected URL, click outside the box to “reset” the web part, then paste (Ctrl+V) the corrected URL and wait for my page names to appear. This is demonstrated below.

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Here’s a related video demonstrating how to embed a Power BI report on a SharePoint page including fixing the multi-page issue mentioned above.

YouTube private vs unlisted vs public visibility

a flowering tree beside a wooden fence

There are three visibility options for each video you upload to YouTube: Private, Unlisted, and Public. You choose this setting when first uploading, but can always change it later as well.

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Here’s how each visibility status is different from one another:

Can be found via search engine❌❌ βœ”οΈ
Can be found via YouTube search or browsing❌ ❌ βœ”οΈ
Can be viewed from a shared direct link❌ βœ”οΈ βœ”οΈ
Can be embedded and viewed by othersβŒβœ”οΈβœ”οΈ
Private to you onlyβœ”οΈAs long as you haven’t shared the link❌
A table comparing private vs unlisted vs public YouTube video visibility

So to summarize:

  • Private – only you can view
  • Unlisted – viewers must have a link to the video to view
  • Public – anyone can search for and find your video

Solution: Power Automate “No database found” error for business process flows, process advisor, and AI Builder

If you’re trying to build business process flows, use Process Advisor, or use AI Builder in Power Automate, you’re going to need a database established in the intended environment first. If you don’t have a database in the environment yet, you’ll get an error as seen below:

  • Business process flow requires a Microsoft Dataverse database. Try a different environment or create a new one to start using business process flow.
  • You need a database to use process advisor. Create a database, or switch to an environment that has one.
  • AI Builder requires a Dataverse database. Create your database to start using AI models.

In the following sections, I’ll detail how to:

  • Switch to a different environment
  • Add a database to your current (or any) environment
  • Create a new environment with a database

Switch to a different environment

Your organization could already have multiple environments. Always check with your admins before making any uncertain decisions because environments could be used for specific data types, processes, geography compliance restrictions, etc. You may or may not have access to all of your organization’s environments depending on your specific organization’s governance and configuration.

Let’s assume you do have multiple environments and you’ve discussed with your admin or governance team which environments are appropriate for your specific need or project. To switch to a different environment that might have a usable database, click on the name of your current environment in Power Automate in the upper right, then choose the other environment from the side panel.

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Add a database to your environment

You may choose to just stay in your current environment and add a database to it. If that’s the case, go ahead and click on Create a database and follow the right side panel’s wizard to complete the process.

You can also add databases via the Power Platform admin center if you can access it.

Create a new environment with a database

Let’s assume your organization hasn’t yet created any additional environments you could use other than the default one that came with your tenant (which obviously doesn’t have a database or you wouldn’t be here πŸ˜„). If you don’t want to create the database in the default environment, you may wish to create a new environment with a new database.

Check out this other post for help in creating a new environment that includes a Dataverse database.

Solution: This environment can’t be created because your org (tenant) needs at least 1 GB of database capacity

colorful human shaped wooden blocks in a bowl

Did you run out of capacity in your Dataverse environments from Power Automate and Power Apps usage? You have several options, and I’ll cover four in this post:

  • On a trial? Change the environment type
  • Purchase a capacity add-on
  • Free up space
  • Delete unused environments

Not what you’re looking for? Check out this detailed information on Dataverse storage capacity.

On a per user plan trial?

Change the environment type from Production to Trial. This will allow you to proceed with provisioning the environment for your trial purposes. You can later convert this to Production, but only if you have more database capacity when you’re ready to do so.

Click to enlarge – change the environment type from Production to Trial when creating a new environment as a user.

Purchase a capacity add-on

Not on a trial? Just out of space? Maybe it’s time to purchase a capacity add-on. View full documentation for more information on this, but here are the basic steps to purchase a capacity add-on:

As a global admin, go to the Microsoft 365 admin center ( Then choose Billing > Purchase services from the left nav.

In the search bar, search for capacity and choose the type of capacity you’d like to add for your organization (i.e. Power Apps portals page views, AI Builder, etc.).

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Choose Details for the capacity type you’re seeking to expand and complete your purchase.

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You should also be sure to check out these two resources once you’ve completed your purchase:

Free up space

Just trying to clean up a bit? Start your evaluation by going to the Power Platform admin center’s Capacity page to see what’s using up the most space. Are there things you could clean up? Notice any unusual usage?

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Depending on what you find in the Capacity page, you may find yourself wanting to look more closely at environments. To do this, select the Environments node from the left-hand nav.

From Environments, you can select an environment and choose to view its resources which will give you a good idea of what might be using more than anticipated. Perhaps a flow or app just needs adjusted. You could, for example, open a listed environment and choose Resources > Flows, examine the flows using the environment, see their owners, and even disable the flows until further action can be taken to address the underlying issue.

Delete an environment

See any environments that could be deleted? Just keep in mind a deleted environment takes its resources and backups too – so consider any flows, apps, etc. that might need updated to use a different environment first.

If you do determine there are unused and unneeded environments in your organization, you can delete them from the Power Platform admin center.

  1. Log in to the Power Platform admin center
  2. Click on Environments on the left nav if not already there
  3. Select the environment that you wish to delete, and choose Delete (can’t delete your default environment, though)
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Environment owners have 7 days from deletion to recover it if they wish.

Solution: Creating an environment requires a Power Apps per user plan or may be done by an admin in Power Platform admin center

time lapse photo of stars on night

If you’re attempting to use Solutions, AI Builder, certain Power Apps templates, etc. you may run into a situation where you’re working in an environment without a Dataverse (formerly known as Common Data Service) database. This will prompt you to create a new environment or database as a power user (if allowed).

You can add a database to your current environment, or create a new environment with a database. In this post, I’ll cover the steps to create a new environment.

To proceed with creating an environment, you’ll need a Power Apps per user plan or should be an admin. I’ll cover both methods below in the following sections. You can also see this detailed documentation on who is able to create new environments.

Create a new environment with a Power Apps per user plan

Once you’ve been licensed with a Power Apps per user plan, you’ll be able to create a solution and use existing or create new environments unless your admins have limited who can create new environments.

If you’re allowed, you can simply begin building your flow or app as you normally would, but now that you’re licensed appropriately, you’ll be able to choose to create a new environment in-context as you go. For example, let’s say there are no environments with databases you can use for a new Assets Checkout app you want to build from a template in Power Apps. Simply begin building the app from template, and choose to Create new environment when prompted.

Click to enlarge – prompt received when creating the model-driven app template named Assets checkout from Power Apps

Then in the panel that appears to the right, give the environment a name, choose a data region, and environment type. Then choose Create environment.

Choose whether you want to create a database with this new environment or create it without one. In this scenario, Power Apps is telling us we need a database so we’re going to choose to create our environment WITH a database. Click Create database.

Click to enlarge – prompt to create a database with our new environment.

Verify your currency and language. And if you’re creating a sample app (as we are in this scenario) you’ll also decide whether to bring in the sample data with that template. When satisfied, click Create my database.

Now as you’re building solutions in the Power Platform, you can switch between environments by selecting the name of the active environment and choosing the environment in which you wish to build (or utilize data from).

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Now let’s create an environment from the Power Platform admin center as an admin.

Create a new environment as an admin in the Power Platform admin center

This is arguably the better method to use at an organization level to make sure your environments have a consistent naming convention, no efforts are duplicated, and boundaries are clear from one environment to another. With each environment potentially belonging to a different geography depending on how it was set up, this could be a significant compliance concern for some sectors. If you need to restrict environment creation to admins only, check out this other post. Otherwise, let’s proceed with creating a new environment for your users from the Power Platform admin center.

First, log in to the Power Platform admin center and choose Environments on the left nav if you’re not already there. Then, click New.

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Name and describe your new environment, and choose the region in which its data needs to be stored. You’ll also choose type (Trial, Sandbox, Production, etc.). If this environment is going to be used to store and use data, you’ll want to also enable database creation (creates a Dataverse database). Click Next when ready.

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Then choose the language, currency, and additional options (including restricting usage to a specific security group). Click Save when ready.

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You (and/or your organization’s users whom are allowed to use the environment) will now be able to connect to the environment and any of the tables within its Dataverse database. This Dataverse connection can be used in Dynamics 365 apps, Power Apps portals and apps, and Power Automate flows.

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