Speaking at SharePoint Saturday St. Louis next Saturday, Jan 19

SharePoint Saturday St. Louis is fast-approaching and is one of my favorite SPS events. This year it will be held at the new Microsoft center. You won’t want to miss it!

I’ll be speaking about one of my favorite topics – building a modern intranet:

Building the Intranet of the Future: Using SharePoint to Empower Collaboration

Automation, organization, incredible search capabilities and user interactivity; all things your organization can have in choosing to build an intranet with SharePoint. We’ll discuss avoiding File Dump 2.0 by exploring best practices in internal communications and collaboration via intranets. We’ll also cover rethinking forms and minimizing busy work by utilizing automation capabilities via workflow and designing intuitive navigation.

Hope to see you there!

Save InfoPath files as PDF

Unlike most office products, InfoPath doesn’t have a convenient “Save as PDF” option. Working with InfoPath forms can, in some ways, feel like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole when it comes to sharing/preserving.

You have two realistic options for converting these files before seeking a vendor solution. Neither are “bulk conversion” options.

Save a snapshot

In InfoPath 2013 you can go to File –> Save a snapshot. Unfortunately, you can’t modify a lot of settings or page layout options so depending on your form’s formatting/template, it may not fit nicely on a page.

Export to Web and open in browser or Word to print to PDF

To get the formatting options we can instead go to File –> Share –> To Web. This allows us to send the file to someone else in a format they can view (.mht file types will open like a web page in users’ browsers where they can print the form themselves).

You could also open the “web page” in Word to make formatting changes first.

Best Practices in SharePoint Migration webinar series summary

Novigo Solutions recently sponsored LSPUG by presenting a webinar series on SharePoint migration best practices.

Part 1: On-prem to on-prem migrations

Mohamed Ubaid presented Part 1 of the 2-part webinar series.

In this first session, you will get an introduction on how you can migrate your SharePoint On-Prem Farm from one domain to another. Often this scenario comes up during mergers, de-mergers, acquisitions and it is very important to make sure users are able to access SharePoint during and after the migration. What you will learn

  1. Pre-requisites before you start your AD and SharePoint Domain Migration
  2. Best practices to setup your new SharePoint Farm in new Domain
  3. Migrating users in SharePoint from old domain to new domain
  4. Best practices, Do’s and Dont’s during your Migration

Part 1 Tweeted Highlights

Part 2: On-prem to online migrations

Akdas Asif presented Part 2 of the 2-part webinar series.

In this session, you will get an introduction on how migration works with SharePoint On-Prem and how you can migrate effortlessly to SharePoint Online. We will discuss the native migration approaches for SharePoint On-Prem, and how tools like Sharegate or SharePoint Migration Tool from Microsoft can help migrate your content to SharePoint Online. What you will learn:

  1. The basics of SharePoint Migration (2010 to 2013 to 2016 to SPO)
  2. How tools like Sharegate or SharePoint Migration Tool from Microsoft work
  3. Best practices, Do’s and Dont’s during your Migration

Part 2 Tweeted Highlights

Sponsor #LSPUG

You can hold your own webinar or series of webinars for our group by sponsoring LSPUG.

Content and script editor web parts missing in SharePoint

Missing two of your favorite web parts? Don’t fret.

Make sure the site collection feature “SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure” is activated

Make sure the site feature “SharePoint Server Publishing” is activated

Still not there? Check “Settings” in the admin center to see if custom scripts are allowed on personal and self-service created sites (allow both). This can take up to 24 hours to take effect.

If you can’t wait (and you’re using SharePoint Online), use PowerShell to make the change immediately, changing my site details to your own

$UserCredential = Get-Credential -UserName $adminUPN -Message "Enter password"
Connect-SPOService -URL https://sharepointlibrarian-admin.sharepoint.com -Credential $userCredential
Set-SPOsite https://sharepointlibrarian.sharepoint.com -DenyAddAndCustomizePages 0

Repeat the last line for each site on which you need to quickly activate this setting. For example, I would run it again on https://sharepointlibrarian1.sharepoint.com/sites/AnotherSite

Your web parts should have now returned! Good luck.

“We’ve run into a problem with your Office 365 subscription” solution

I recently moved from one tenant to another and even though I’d signed out of my client Office applications and signed in with my new tenant, I was still getting this error message when opening any Office app.

“We’ve run into a problem with your Office 365 subscription, and we need your help to fix it.”

“Go to My Account” wasn’t an option, as that account no longer existed. “Remind Me Later” only delays the inevitable temper tantrum you know must be coming.

Thankfully, there were two great posts out there that helped me solve this by removing the product keys associated with the de-activated license via command prompt. Just two notes before you begin:

  1. Make sure you run PS/Command prompt as administrator (right-click command prompt, run as administrator).
  2. Your path to the OSPP.VBS file might be different than what’s in their posts. For example, mine was actually located here: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16\OSPP.VBS

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 “plugged in, not charging”

Alas, I reached a day where I thought I was done with my Surface. It powered on when plugged in just fine but was at 0% battery and would, of course, instantly shut off when disconnected from AC power. When I hovered over the battery indicator in the task bar, it told me it was “plugged in, not charging.” The nerve!

After some troubleshooting and trying:

  • Making sure devices, particularly under “Batteries”, were all updated
  • Uninstalling and reinstalling power related devices via Device manager
  • Running anti-virus checks
  • Installing latest Windows updates

I found out that if I plugged my surface dock into the surface “upside down” it worked fine and charged as usual. So, long story short, if your Surface isn’t charging just try connecting the power source in the opposite direction.

Also, once it “remembers how to charge itself,” you can reverse this and put the charger in the normal direction (just double-check that it still says charging). Think of it as a quick “refresh” of the surface power connector.

How to set up a green screen for videos

I recently started exploring using green screen for videos. I’m not the greatest by any means and I still have a lot to learn, but I love how it transforms the quality of my videos and makes them more personal. Here’s an example of a recent attempt:

If you’re interested in giving it a go, here’s how you can set up your own green screen “studio” and what I used for mine:

Green Screen

Frame for green screen

2x LED Lights + Stands

Then for software I use XSplit Broadcaster (I bought the lifetime license, because I’m all about those one-time expenses as opposed to subscription/variable models). Currently, they’re offering 55% off the lifetime license. I use it for more than green screens, as it allows for live YouTube broadcasting and scene switching as well.

XSplit has two chroma key options. Regular and legacy:

XSplit allows you to record locally, so I set up a scene with my “green screen” camera layer on top of the background (PowerPoint monitor screen capture) and add any other layers and begin recording. I could also live-stream like this if I wished.

Next I’ll be working on finding the right balance of chroma key settings and lighting to make my green screen recordings as clear and fluid as possible. I might also look into getting more lights, but your own needs will depend on your room and available natural lighting.

Good luck in your own adventures!

Sharing my ABCs at the Kansas City Office 365 User Group Jan 14, 2019

If you’re in the Kansas City area, register for the Jan 14th KC O365 User Group meeting. They meet at Water One (10747 Renner Boulevard in Lenexa). I’ll be giving away a signed copy of my book in a drawing, and selling additional copies (also signed) for $10 (cash or card).

Can’t make it in person?  Register for the live webinar!

[gotowebinar-reg key=”2302658119965440781″]

Splitting an Excel column by delimiter

You’re bound to run into an excel sheet where differing data types are joined together in a single column. For example in the following data dates are combined with event names making it impossible to filter or sort by either date or event. By using Excel’s “Text to Columns” feature, we can separate these two distinct data points.

As long as you have a consistent delimiter (in my case, the pipe character “|”) or a pre-determined fixed width, you can easily move the text following the delimiting character (or exceeding the specified width) to the adjacent column (which I’ve inserted in advance to prevent overwriting existing data in the original second column).

  1. Select column or cells you’re splitting
  2. Select the “Data tab” then “Text to Columns”
  3. Choose to split by “delimiter.” Click next.
  4. If your delimiter isn’t an option, enter it as I’ve done (max 1 character) in the “Other” space. Click next.
  5. You can choose to change data formats here, so I’ve made my new first column date format for example. You can always change column data types later as well.
  6. Finish

Now you can sort and filter correctly on the values you separated.

Why you should delete Facebook (and maybe more)

You’ve probably seen a growing number of people tweeting #DeleteFB or #DeleteFacebook since the Cambridge Analytica scandal in early 2018. And they all have their own reasons. I’ll cover a few I understand here in hopes that it will help you make the best decision for yourself.

Digital minimalism and intentional expenditure of time

We’re a trend-chasing society. Someone comes out with something cool and fun (TikTok, for example). We sign up to be a part of the hype. But we still have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. And before you know it, you’re spending 80% of your screen time switching between social media apps and different online communities, many of which have overlap in membership.

Then you fall behind in responses. You switch from app to app just to stay up-to-date on each feed. And as your time is stretched to its limit, your mental health is strained and what started as fun begins to feel more like an obligation. An obligation that creates profit for others (see “Advertising”). You’re at work, on the subway, in your car and have to check your notifications.

In business, it’s good practice that you don’t add more tools unless you’re also getting rid of something or adding resources to manage that new tool. Why not apply that to your personal life? Could just two social networks provide you with valuable connections and add to, not detract from, your daily life?

With less social media you have reclaimed time you can use to find focus and peace in a busy world.
With less social media you have reclaimed time you can use to find focus and peace in a busy world. #DeleteFacebook Tweet This

Consider new parents about to welcome their first child into their family. They decide to delete Facebook to invest more in the “actual moment” and less in the “virtual moment.” And heck, their parents might actually visit their grandchild instead of just liking the photos they post.

What would your life be like with less social media? What if you spent half the time you spend on Facebook writing a book? Having lunch with a friend or taking a walk with your spouse? Exercising more? Taking a moment to meditate and just “be” before your start your day?

Social media takes the work out of being a good friend. We don’t have to ask how someone is, or express interest in their lives because an algorithm distributes updates on which we can simply click upon to express sentiment. We feel a sense of accomplishment by having “interacted with” so many people in a short period of time.

But virtual clicks, badges, stickers, likes, frowns, etc. are not tangible products, just as e-cards can never carry the same sentiment as a hand-written card that took time and intention to select, write out and mail.

Disliking a political post does not write or call your representatives to affect change.

Liking a post does not let someone know you’ve been there too, and they’re not alone.

Your text comment is kind, but your voice and its inflection and the time you intentionally took to call is remembered.

Have we forgotten how to be genuine friends because algorithms make us feel connected and concerned? Have “likes” replaced our feeling of human connection? How were people friends before Facebook?

Have we forgotten how to be genuine friends because algorithms make us feel connected and concerned? #DeleteFacebook Tweet This

One more question: What if you deleted Facebook?

What could you re-connect to by disconnecting from Facebook?

Get to know YOU again. #DeleteFacebook

Addiction and Anxiety

  • You get in bed for the night and unlock your phone.
    • Ah, Jerry got a new car. Like.
    • This cat is CRAZY! Lol. Like.
  • You pull your phone out at lunch.
  • You glance at it at stoplights. Or while driving (stop that, by the way).
  • At family gatherings
  • During commercials
  • At meals
  • In the bathroom
  • Waiting in line at a store

You go to lunch with a friend, and you know everything they’ve been up to already. “Saw you got a new car, Jerry! Looks cool!” But remember when Jerry could have rolled up to lunch in his new ride and surprised you in person? Before we stole those special moments from one another and dulled real-life reactions because we decided instead to blast every bit of news to a general channel?

Jerry doesn’t get a real “first-time” reaction, and you don’t get to share that moment with him. Nothing is “news” anymore, and discussion about “what’s up” becomes discussion of what you see on social media. Perhaps this contributes to seeing less of each other in person because you “have nothing to talk about.”

Nothing is 'news' anymore, and discussion about 'what's up' becomes discussion of what you see on social media. Perhaps this contributes to seeing less of our friends in person because we have nothing new left to talk about.… Tweet This

To stay in touch with friends from afar, you don’t have a lot of options. Social media does, at least, allow us to stay up-to-date with those we may not see again. I’m suggesting, however, that you don’t let social media become a 100% replacement for being a genuine friend.

Intentionally take time to call someone, send a real card (not a “Happy Birthday”-because-Facebook-said-so message), take a road trip to visit, go to their kids’ concert or invite them to meet up at the state fair.

Social media is a real addiction. Not just in consuming, but in posting as well. We feel we have to share a picture of EVERY meal we consume. All the cats. Throw in the kids, the trees, the new shirt, etc. and before you know if you’re pulling out your phone on vacation to take a picture of the mountains, snap the pic, get back in the car and drive away.

Wait – did you really get to see the mountains? Did you take a moment to breathe and really appreciate the majestic beauty?

Does your social media usage interfere with your ability to be fully present and appreciative?

Social media takes the wonder out of natural and non-virtual life. We begin to care more about sharing updates than living in the moment. We want those likes, not those memories. We irrationally fear that if it wasn’t posted on social media, it didn’t happen. Or that if it’s not included in our “end-of-year” wrap up photo collage, the year somehow had less value.

Try capturing moments and memories in new ways. Scrapbooking, real photo albums, framed photos on the wall. Heck, get a digital picture frame that changes occasionally so that you can share moments with real-life visitors. Take up drawing, writing, journaling, painting, blogging, etc. There are a number of ways to capture inspiration and memories, and then many mediums through which you can express and share those with others.

Facebook, and social media in general, is an anxiety-inducing concept we voluntarily subscribe to. We invite pressure into our lives.

Facebook, and social media in general, is an anxiety-inducing concept we voluntarily subscribe to. We invite pressure into our lives. #DeleteFacebook Tweet This
  • The pressure we feel in having to accept a friend request from someone we went to high school with.
  • The anxiety brought on by games with timed missions, or deals that expire
  • That we pressure ourselves to always have our phone on us to capture whatever might come up.
  • The anxiety of messages you haven’t responded to, or feel guilty about.
  • The feelings of inadequacy for not being skinny enough, pretty enough, etc. when all we see are “happy,” healthy people posting pictures of themselves in optimal lighting at the best time of their day.
  • The feeling that we aren’t normal, because while others have these “happy” lives we’re inundated with on the newsfeed, we’re struggling with depression, anxiety, weight gain, aging, disease, surgeries, legal trouble, etc.
  • When we do post something happy, we let that joy be diminished by the response the post gets. If we only get 2 likes, or if a certain individual only liked but didn’t comment. We experience a joy in “real life” and submit it to social media to then be decreased in value
  • The pressure we feel in having to post content for friends and followers, or to share an update before it’s irrelevant
How many anxieties from your social media usage are growing in your garden?

These anxieties and problems are not exclusive to Facebook – but they’re multiplied by the number of networks to which you belong.

Advertising and user privacy

As a blogger, I get it. Ads are necessary for survival. It costs money to control a domain, mailing lists, run promotions, create graphics, etc.

But Facebook makes money when users pay attention to data. Their company centers around profiting from putting ads in front of you, not about providing a “free service.” So an opportunity to get, and keep, you in front of their app or website is an opportunity to make you a revenue-generating employee.

But when your personal data, reactions to post, sentiment of content, etc. is being used regularly to better-target ads, it gets to be a bit much.

Every quiz you take, every game you play, every article you post is data.

Every photo you like, every page you follow, every life event you share is data.

Oh, you’re engaged? Here, have a healthy slew of wedding ads. You can get your tux, caterer, venue, invites and all the decorations from the ads Facebook serves you in response to the data you provide simply by using the platform.

How much of yourself are you regularly giving away, both as personal information and as mental health and energy?
How much of yourself are you regularly giving away, both as personal information and as mental health and energy? #DeleteFacebook Tweet This

Had to know which Backstreet Boy you were and took that quiz? Many of those quizzes require an email address or access to your account before you can take said quiz. If I may be a bit dramatic, was it worth selling your soul to find out if you’re AJ McLean?

If you play Facebook games, you probably get to see ads all the time before, during, and after playing. You’re making money for others while harvesting your digital crops and building that steel mill you need to complete the final task for that mission that ends at 11:59pm tonight or allthoseothertasksyoudidwerefornothing! These games have gotten you to come back on a regular basis by implementing timed missions and opportunities that expire for intangible rewards that will definitely not pay for your groceries this week.

Facebook is not alone in ads based on your behaviors. Ad targeting is used by Google, Amazon, Twitter, etc. and is based on either your demographics (you’re over 40) or your behaviors (visited a certain site). These targeted ads can change the way we feel about and see ourselves. With all ad-targeting, if you’re signed into a service, they have more data from which to extrapolate relevant ads to you. If you’re not signed in (like Google), it’s based on as much information they can get on you based on your location and behaviors. So if you find targeted ads unsettling, consider how much data you’re freely providing to various platforms.

Now let’s talk about risk of breach. Consider all the times you clicked “Allow” when an app, quiz or game asked for your permission to access your data. Any one of them could suffer a data breach. The more times you click “allow,” the more you increase your risk of being involved in data theft. Facebook proved through its Cambridge scandal that it not only won’t protect you, but will neglect to even alert you that you’ve been affected if your data does get stolen or misused.

It’s one thing to allow a service to use your data, but quite another to have it stolen and used to impersonate you in loan applications, purchases, emails, illegal activity, etc.

It gets to the point where it’s better to pay actual money for services than to sell your personal information in exchange for using a service. Perhaps we’re approaching a time where “Terms of Service” will be taken more seriously.

Value and protect your data. #DeleteFacebook

Digital toxicity

Some people, including myself, made a self-care choice to leave what had become a toxic digital environment. I was regularly electing to participate in or scan threads where my friends were being insulted, attacked, bullied, etc. for their opinions. Sometimes it was targeted at me, but nothing irritated me more than when someone came after a loved one. This hit its peak around the 2016 election, and I deleted Facebook soon after.

I believe:

  1. You grow personally when you seek to understand others’ points of view
  2. You should surround yourself with people who are different from you

But draw the line when that desire to grow from others becomes a drain on your mental health and energy. You have nothing to learn from bullies and bigots, and will be better off without their rattling.

If Facebook began as something fun and interesting but has become harmful and invasive, is it worth keeping in your daily life?
If Facebook began as something fun and interesting but has become harmful and invasive, is it worth keeping in your daily life? #DeleteFacebook Tweet This

Why not just unfriend the bad apples, Nate?

Even if you’re not friends with these kinds of people, they show up in comments. And screenshots. And news articles. Hatred gets great digital real estate. I was tired of letting it rent mine.

But they’re on Twitter too, Nate

Yes, they’re everywhere. But I feel better about my ability to actually mute and block on Twitter than I did on Facebook.

Ultimately, I made a decision that allowed me to check one less app, spend literal days less each year on social media, get back into blogging more regularly and enjoy the “now.” I’ve been able to focus more on my personal and professional development and even wrote a book. I use only Twitter and LinkedIn regularly and am content with the relationship I have with the services.

In the end, Facebook is just like someone with whom you share a relationship. They take advantage of you, they don’t stand up for you when you’re wronged, and they manipulate what information you get and influence how you feel daily. Is that a relationship you wish to maintain?

Re-invest in your mental health. #DeleteFacebook

Adventuring away from Facebook after what may be years of usage can be daunting. Focus on what you gain in freeing yourself from incessant interruption and obligations.

Don’t fear reclaiming your life and investing in your well-being. You owe no apologies to anyone for leaving. You owe no explanation.

You owe nothing to nobody, except self-love and acceptance to yourself.

Don't fear reclaiming your life and investing in your well-being. You owe no apologies to anyone for leaving. You owe no explanation. You owe nothing to nobody, except self-love and acceptance to yourself. #DeleteFacebook Tweet This