My imperfect Humans of IT (HoIT) blog post

I’m thrilled and humbled to have had the opportunity to be a guest blogger over on Microsoft’s Humans of IT (HoIT) blog. My post is about balancing all our obligations, embracing imperfection, and leaving room for joy in our endeavors.

You can read the post here.

Shoutout to Shona, Ally, Oniel, and William for the opportunity and helping to make the post the best it can be.

If you’d like to apply to be the next HoIT guest blogger, you can do so at aka.ms/guestbloggers.

Disable read receipts and typing indicators in LinkedIn messages

It can be difficult to keep up with all the messages in LinkedIn that come in from colleagues, old friends, recruiters, and bots. Even if you have every intention of replying at a later time, your message buddy can see that you’ve seen their message but chose not to reply immediately. This can add false tension or anxiety to the communication, or just send a signal to the other party that’s unintended such as how you might value that person or their objective. Your message buddy can also tell when you’re typing and may be anxiously awaiting what you have to say even if you change your mind and delete the draft, leaving them hanging.

Let’s reduce some stress and disable read receipts and typing indicators so you can reply when you’re able with the peace of mind that no unintended feelings were conveyed when skimming between meetings. Just keep in mind that if you do this others won’t see that you’ve read their message or a typing indicator when you type AND you won’t be able to see the same from anybody else. Disabling it from applying to you removes your ability to benefit from it applying to others.

How to disable typing indicators and read receipts in LinkedIn messages

1. Go to LinkedIn and log in.

2. Select your profile menu then Settings & Privacy.

3. Select Communications at the top navigation menu.

4. Click Messaging experience on the left.

5. Next to Read receipts and typing indicators, click Change.

6. Toggle the option to the off position. It saves automatically.

How to make your LinkedIn profile private and only accessible to logged in users

By default your LinkedIn profile may appear in public search results and individuals who aren’t logged in to LinkedIn can see some of your information (depending on the privacy settings of each component as you added it to your profile). This public/anonymous access is also what allows Outlook to find your profile as a potential match for you if you haven’t connected your profile yet.

Note: Connecting to LinkedIn at work requires that your administrators enable LinkedIn connections.

In this post we’ll go through the steps to disable your public profile so that only logged in users may connect with you and/or view your profile in whole or part depending on your settings.

How to disable your LinkedIn public profile from anonymous access

1. Go to LinkedIn and log in.

2. Select your profile menu then Settings & Privacy.

3. Next to Edit your public profile, click Change.

4. Toggle the Edit Visibility option to the off position. It saves automatically.

You could, alternatively, just restrict which content appears publicly. Instead of step 4, leave it toggled in the on position and choose which items below it should be available.

As you make changes, the preview on the left will update to show you what anonymous users will see when on your profile but not logged in.

How to disable access to your profile for LinkedIn partners and permitted services like Outlook

1. Go to LinkedIn and log in.

2. Select your profile menu then Settings & Privacy.

3. Next to Profile visibility off LinkedIn, click Change then change the toggle to the off position.

Personalize/customize your LinkedIn profile URL

I still see a lot of LinkedIn profile URLs including generic alpha-numerically decorated user names. Let’s clean that up and make it unique and intentional.

For example, if you don’t change your URL it may still be something like:

….linkedin.com/in/nate-chamberlain-ab1234567/

But you can update it to something that looks great on a resume and every other profile, such as:

….linkedIn.com/in/nchambe/

Better, right? Let’s do it.

How to customize your LinkedIn profile URL

1. Go to LinkedIn and log in

2. Select your profile menu then Settings & Privacy.

3. Next to Edit your public profile, click Change.

4. In the upper right-hand corner, select the pencil icon under Edit your custom URL to edit your URL.

5. Enter your preferred URL suffix and click Save.

6. If available, you’re done! If unavailable, try another suffix. FYI – “AWESOME” is not available.

Add a thumbnail column for documents and media in a SharePoint Online document library

Mark Rackley recently tweeted about the ability to create a calculated column in SharePoint online document libraries that would automatically render thumbnails for documents. In the GIF from his tweet, it shows how this works for media files.

Naturally curious, I had to see how this worked for documents of .docx, .pdf, .pptx, etc. types. What I found is that it only currently supports some file types:

Supported file types (there’s likely even more I didn’t test):

  • Word (.docx)
  • PDF (.pdf)
  • Emails (.msg)
  • Images (.png, .gif, .jpg, etc.)
  • Media (.mp4)

Not-yet-supported file types:

  • Excel (.xlsx)
  • OneNote (.one)
  • PowerPoint (.pptx)

Create a thumbnail column in SharePoint Online document libraries

1. Add a new column to your document library (library settings > Create column).

2. Set the column name to Thumbnail. As for type, you have two options:

  • Leave type as Single line of text. Thanks to Dario Cassinerio for sharing that Single line of text type works as well as (and more simply than) Calculated set to [Title].
  • Mark Rackley suggests sticking with Calculated set to [Title] (see example screenshot) to prevent users from editing the text field in forms.

3. Click OK.

Supported file types will have thumbnails rendered (like .docx and .pdf in the example below) and others will just be blank (like .pptx and .xlsx in the example below).

Click to enlarge

Here is an animation demonstrating the entire process, start to finish using Single line of text as column type:

Click to enlarge

And another animation but using the Calculated column set to [Title] type:

Click to enlarge

How to filter a SharePoint list or library using URL parameters

In this age of building bots and eliminating needless clicks and such to get employees the info they need faster and more directly, we need all the best practices we can find when creating solutions for users. This post will share a better practice when it comes to getting reliable, fast results from SharePoint lists and libraries that don’t rely on search index configuration or endless view sprawl.

Quick answer

If you’re just here for the quick answer, here it is. For string values, you can simply add this to the end of the list’s URL to filter it as specified.

?FilterField1=[IntFieldName]&FilterValue1=[FilterValue]
  • Spaces in field names and values: If your value includes spaces, replace them with %20.
  • [IntFieldName]: Internal field names (like Client in the example below is actually the original Title column) can be found in List Settings > Column Settings > Select Column > Check URL of column settings page (it contains the internal field name following &Field=).
Click to enlarge

If you want to learn about how this came up in my work and why I chose it as a solution, read on.

Case

Recently, I was involved in troubleshooting a bot that would search a SharePoint list using its built-in search box. However, the bot would be searching for items that were created minutes prior and the search index hadn’t updated yet so no results would be found and the bot would fail to complete.

So I suggested we filter instead of search.

Why filter?

Filtering lists works independently of the search index. Meaning I can create a new item in a SharePoint Server 2019 (or any SharePoint version) list right now and then filter the list and find that new item immediately. But if I search immediately, it won’t be found yet.

Want to argue about continuous crawls as workaround? Send your thoughts to nothanks@natechamberlain.com.

Changes to the process

For this particular bot, we’d be replacing this process:

  1. Navigate to SharePoint list URL
  2. Activate list’s search box
  3. Enter/type search term (unique item identifier guaranteed to return one result)
  4. Hit enter/search

with this one:

  1. Create a variable for the search term
  2. Navigate to SharePoint list URL with added URL parameter including variable from step 1 (taking us directly to the single result we needed)

It not only simplifies the steps involved, but reduces the likelihood that changes to UI elements will break our bot along the way.

Potential use cases

  • Sending workflow emails with direct links to lists and libraries already filtered
  • Reducing the number of views on a list by having users bookmark URLs including the filter parameters the view would have
  • Improving bot reliability by eliminating some UI-dependent steps
  • Eliminating search indexing delays for users or bots searching for new items
  • Setting a hyperlink column on a list automatically to filter the list/library by that item’s vendor/client/topic/etc. for easy comparison/drilldown (see how to set a hyperlink column using Power Automate)

How to do it

First you need to identify the internal field name of your column on which you’ll be filtering. Then we simply add a bit of text to the end of the list’s URL.

  1. Go to Settings > List settings (or List/Library > List/Library Settings in classic views).
  2. Select the column to filter from under Columns.
  3. Check the URL for the text following &Field= for the internal field name. Note this somewhere as we’ll need it soon.
  4. Go back to your default list view ending in .aspx and add the following to the end of the URL, replacing [IntFieldName] with the field name you got in the previous step:
    ?FilterField1=[IntFieldName]
  5. Now add the following to the end as well, replacing [FieldValue] with what you’d like to use to filter the column referenced in steps 3-4.
    ?FilterValue1=[FieldValue]
  6. Your final URL may resemble the following:
    https://YOURORG.sharepoint.com/sites/YOURSITE/Lists/ListName/AllItems.aspx?FilterField1=NotGov&FilterValue1=1

Filtering yes/no or true/false values

If your filter isn’t working for yes/no columns, replace “no” with 0 and “yes” with 1 in your URL.

Multiple field filters

You can filter the list on multiple columns by adding &FilterField2=… in the same format as the first. See below for an example:

?FilterField1=[Field1]&FilterValue1=[Value1]&FilterField2=[Field2]&FilterValue2=[Value2]
Click to enlarge

Solution: Searching by ID column in SharePoint list not working

I had an issue come up today where a user wanted to search a SharePoint list by the default ID column.

Problem:
The ID column cannot be indexed and is not searchable using just the ID number itself.

Solution:
You can still search ID numbers in lists if you include the proper Keyword Query Language (KQL) syntax. Format your search as ListItemID:3 (replacing 3 with your own ID number, of course) and it will work.

And yes, this works in both modern and classic list search experiences and in SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online/O365.

Replace Microsoft Teams’ wiki tab with a OneNote notebook tab

The wiki tab that is added to every Team and each of its channels is convenient, but not robust and its content is not easily migrated and shared. I typically recommend new Team owners (or admins setting up new Teams) delete the ‘Wiki’ tab that comes with the Team and insert a new OneNote tab called ‘Notebook.’

Why replace the wiki with OneNote?

  • OneNote has a dedicated app.
  • Notebooks and Wikis are both stored in SharePoint (not Teams)
    • Notebooks can be moved, migrated, archived and accessed later more easily as a standalone OneNote file.
    • Wikis are folder structure document libraries in your site’s Site Contents folders. Individual sections are saved as .mht files. This can get messy reassembling and manipulating.
  • OneNote is easily searchable and can have password protected areas. Try searching your wiki or restricting certain parts without creating a private channel.
  • OneNote supports drawing/writing with styluses (styli?)
  • OneNote supports audio/video
  • OneNote integrates with Outlook
  • There are more reasons, like how robust you can get with formatting text, but I think you get the picture.

Why you might keep the wiki

While I’m suggesting that OneNote be used for your Team’s note-taking, collaboration, and regular information sharing in a highly mobile and flexible medium, there is still a case to keep wiki alongside OneNote. Matt Wade suggests renaming the wiki tab to ‘About’ and using it as a reference/resource for the Team itself in his Definitive Guide to Everyday Etiquette in Microsoft Teams. So then you’ll have a simple ‘About’ tab for Team information and a ‘Notebook’ tab for ongoing collaboration and work.

How to replace wiki with OneNote

  1. Use the dropdown menu for the Wiki tab and select Remove
  2. Click the plus sign (+) to add a new tab and select OneNote for the tab.
  3. Select the Notebook, and if for a channel other than general, perhaps a corresponding section in the Notebook. (I recommend mirroring your notebook’s sections to your Team’s channel structure)
  4. Use the tab dropdown menu to rename the probably-very-long name to something simple like ‘Notebook’ for a cleaner user experience.

That’s it! Just a few steps and you’ve substantially increased the productivity potential and collaboration superpowers of your Team. You’ll want to repeat these steps for each new channel you create and, as mentioned, consider creating a new notebook section for each channel to keep things simple, organized, and easy to navigate.

Still aren’t convinced?

Bob Morris has done a very impressive and thorough job of comparing the two. His thoughts on the matter may help you decide whether wikis or notebooks are the best fit for your Team(s).

Enroll in my FREE OneNote 101 7-day email course

One year ago today, I announced and released my first-ever email course. To celebrate its birthday, I’m giving it away for FREE! I enjoyed building the course and I’m confident there’s something new and exciting in it for everyone, even a year later. And when you’re done, in the final email on the 7th day, you’ll receive a link to claim a Credly achievement credential for having completed the course.

This email course delivers a healthy serving of OneNote each day, for seven days. Topics include:

  • Flavors of OneNote (multiple devices, multiple versions)
  • Audio tips and tricks
  • Working with files in OneNote
  • Image magic in OneNote, like searching text within images
  • Keyboard shortcuts to maximize your efficiency
  • OneNote + Outlook
  • Tags and Tag reports (summary pages)

Upon completion, subscribers receive a
Credly badge acknowledging their participation.

Requirements:

  • Includes GIFs and relies on images to demonstrate tips so must support HTML message formats
  • Must allow emails from MailChimp (check spam/junk if you don’t get your first email within 24 hours of signing up)

OneNote 101 7-day Email Course Sign-Up

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Don’t miss #GlobalCon1 Mar 2-6, 2020: A 100% virtual M365 conference

I’ve had a great privilege of attending Collab365 events before, such as their 24-hour global conference in 2017. I’m stunned by not only the quality of the sessions and the Microsoft professionals presenting them, but also by the technical execution and professionalism of the entirely virtual event.

Now, #GlobalCon1 is coming Mar 2-6.

Click the banner to learn more about #GlobalCon1

This year, I’ll still be cheering (and probably live-tweeting) in the audience, but I also have the great honor of getting to share my love letter to OneNote as a session. “You’re the one, OneNote!” will be part of the #GlobalCon1 lineup, and I hope you’ll be able to tune in. It’s one of my absolute favorite apps and I’ve got a TON of tips to share (as well as a recording of the session with a companion e-book included for those who upgrade from the free pass to get the all-access pass).

Of all the professional development and self-investment you’ll do this year, make the #GlobalCon1 (and 2, 3, and 4) part of your plan. The value is unmatched, and your experience will undoubtedly inspire and push you to the next level.

#GlobalCon1 Registration Links:

You can register for free (while free passes last), or upgrade to the All-Access Pass.

Attend ALL sessions in real-time, chatting with speakers while their session airs.

  • Life-time access to every single GlobalCon1 session recording (and 10 companion EBooks) 
  • plus all of the ebooks and sessions from the Collab365 Teams, Flow and Power Apps Summits.
  • Get Teams Training videos by Matthew J Bailey MVP

The All-Access Pass will eventually be $139, but right now it’s just $79 (until February 12).