Sending emails via SharePoint Designer workflow to external recipients using Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. addresses

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SharePoint Designer 2013 workflows verify email recipients as valid SharePoint users. If they’re not on your site they likely won’t be able to receive an email from a 2013 workflow depending on your setup. Even though the workflow publishes, the recipient could be removed before the message is sent. You may also get this error message when creating the workflow:

“The selected user(s) may not be valid on the site this workflow is published on. If a recipient is not a valid SharePoint user, he or she will not receive workflow emails.”

More often than not, this will be triggered by any yahoo, gmail, hotmail, etc. address but can also sometimes occur with addresses within your organization if they’re not in your AD and properly part of your site. I recommend copying yourself in testing to be sure the message is sent to external users if you think you’ve successfully made external addresses valid SharePoint users.

But to be certain you get around this 2013 obstacle, simply use a 2010 workflow. SharePoint Designer workflows built on the 2010 platform do not verify addresses. And if you’ve already built a complicated masterpiece in 2013, no need to fret. You can always create a 2010 workflow just for the email and start it within your 2013 workflow.

Update 9/1/17: If that still doesn’t work…

Most likely your recipients, then, aren’t being looked up in an item field (perhaps the same address will be used for all workflow instances). In your workflow before the email step, “Create a workflow variable” and set it to the person(s’) email address(es). If multiple, type as semi-colon delimited. Set the variable type to string. Then for the To: line in the email, use a workflow lookup to that new variable.

Use BCC field in SharePoint Designer workflow email actions

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Yes, you can have a BCC field in your SharePoint Designer workflow emails. I didn’t know this until recently, and was pleasantly surprised. It’s quick and simple, so let’s get started.

Note: You can do this in both 2010 and 2013 SharePoint Designer workflows, using the exact same steps.

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Alerts/notifications for SharePoint site newsfeed webpart posts & replies

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One of the greatest business value features of a site newsfeed webpart would obviously be to know when people are participating, asking questions, etc. This way moderators or other interested parties could go in and respond in a timely manner. And while there’s no straightforward way to get these notifications from the webpart itself, there’s a workaround. Follow these steps once you have a newsfeed webpart on your site (by default, most team sites have them already).
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Embedding or publishing Power BI reports in SharePoint so non-licensed individuals can view

Note: This, like many O365 things, is rapidly evolving. If you’re aware of better practices or new updates to licensing, feel free to mention it in comments.

I’m currently at SharePoint Fest Seattle where Chris McNulty,┬áSr. Product Manager for Office 365 and SharePoint at Microsoft, mentioned (as I understand) there could be changes coming to licensing that would allow more people to consume Power BI reports in a friendlier (more affordable) licensing structure. This would be amazing because currently:

I can create reports. People can’t view data in those reports in a secure way because the entire organization isn’t licensed for Power BI per person above the “free” license.

Specifically I, with a Power BI Pro license, can create reports and place those in SharePoint’s new page experience Power BI web parts (in Preview) but other people (with free or without Pro licenses) cannot view them. They see the following:

powerbiviewerror.PNGOf course, to me as the creator and properly-licensed individual, I see the report perfectly embedded as it should be. And not every organization can afford to license every single user appropriately to be able to simply view embedded reports. Especially if consuming reports (not sharing or building) is the only function they need in the Power BI realm.

In this post, I’ll cover:

  • How to embed Power BI reports the normal, easy (but license-exclusive) way
  • Why the webpart (normal, easy way) is cooler than embedding a script
  • How to embed the report in a (less secure) way so that non-licensed or free-license individuals can actually view and manipulate the data

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SharePoint workflow “access denied” error sp.utilities.utility.SendEmail solution

If you’ve found this post by search, you’ve likely already gone into the workflow settings for a particular list or document library item and have clicked the info icon (infocon) next to “Internal status” and found that your workflow is “in progress”, but has an error: “Access Denied. You do not have permission to perform this action or access this resource.” Peering into the bulk of the message, you see a helpful tidbit that includes sp.utilities.utility.SendEmail. This could be from a number of causes, but here are the summaries of three possible solutions. Note that the first solution is still required even if you try B or C below. I’ve only included the second and third solutions as additional possibilities if the first doesn’t solve your problem.

A common question, before we begin, is what level of permissions any individual needs to be able to send an email or start a workflow generally. It doesn’t matter so much if you’re using Impersonation or App Steps, but the quick answer is a minimum of Contribute level permissions is good.

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