Improve the look of the likert rating question type in SharePoint surveys

You want your surveys to be easy to complete because chances are they’re optional in the first place. If you’re using a likert rating question type, the look of the entire survey can get out of hand pretty quickly.

A likert rating question type with no styling applied other than site styles

Just by adding alternating row shading and giving the options some more room to breathe, we zap the anxiety right out of the question and give the question a more polished look. Just two tiny changes make a big difference.

  1. Click “Respond to Survey” to open the newform.aspx page
  2. Edit page
  3. Add a web part
  4. Under Media & Content choose either Content Editor or Script Editor (your preference)

    1. Content Editor: Create a .css file in your Site Assets named something like form-alt-row-shading.css and reference its path in the web part’s properties. For the file’s content, copy and paste the script below.
    2. Script Editor: Click “Edit Snippet” then copy and paste the script below directly into the dialog that appears
  5. Save and check it out!
<style>
.ms-formbody tr:nth-child(even) {
background-color: #ffffff;
}
th.ms-gridT1 {
width:310px;
}
</style>

You could modify the css file further, adjusting the question itself, the option headers, etc. by using F12 and selecting each element to find its class label, then adding it to your css file with its modified styling within the brackets. But just these two adjustments alone give you options on a single line (not breaking lines) and easy visibility with alternating row options.

Export SharePoint group membership names and email addresses to Excel

Before we start, if you’re just wanting to email all members of the group you can “select all” then choose “E-Mail Users” from the action menu when viewing the group membership within SharePoint. This opens an Outlook window with all the addresses pre-populated.

But, if you still need an excel sheet of membership for another purpose (perhaps to format a sign-in sheet, generate documents with mail merge, share the list with others, etc.) follow these steps:

  1. With the group open in SharePoint, copy the URL and note the ID number at the end of the URL
  2. Open a new excel workbook
  3. From the “Data” tab, select “New Query” –> “From Other Sources” –> “From OData Feed
  4. Paste the group URL in the prompt but delete everything after the site address and replace with the following, replacing “6” with your group’s ID from step 1
    /_api/Web/SiteGroups/GetByID(6)/Users
  5. When prompted for login credentials you’ll use “Windows” for on-prem/server and “Organizational account” for O365.
  6. Click “Edit” once the group loads so we can choose which columns to keep/delete
  7. Ctrl+click the column headers you want to keep
  8. Right-click a header of a column you’re keeping and select “Remove Other Columns”
  9. Close and Load
  10. You should now see your group membership and email addresses (and any other fields you kept). Save this somewhere and, if updates are made in the future, just click “Refresh all” to bring in new members and remove old.

Updated 8/8/2019: Added step 5 to show the login credentials prompt.

Use the Flow recurrence trigger to run flows only on weekdays

Running a flow on every weekday or certain weekdays

Rather than using Flow’s recurrence trigger with a frequency of “days” combined with switch cases/conditions, you can actually just use the “Week” frequency time unit and select days from a drop-down with no further effort required.

For weekdays, just select Monday-Friday. Or if you just want MWF, you could do that as well.

A techie way to do it

The alternative is to initialize a variable such as

@and(greater(dayOfWeek(utcNow()),0),less(dayOfWeek(utcNow()),7))

with a switch case to determine if today’s date is, in fact, between 0 (Sunday) and 7 (Saturday).

Compare today’s date with holiday calendar

So that being said, the limitation of using the “Week” frequency for weekdays might be if you want to prevent it from running on holidays when nobody is in the office even if it is, in fact, a Monday. In that case, you could add a condition that checks to see if @utcNow() matches items from a SharePoint list (holiday calendar?).

  1. Initialize variable (integer) value 0
  2. Get items from SP list (calendar)
    1. You could add an ODATA filter in the Get items step to only filter to items with Start times greater than today
  3. Apply to each –> IF utcNow()=SP item, THEN increment variable by 1, ELSE nothing
    1. Use the expression builder to formatDateTime both dates to be sure they match when being compared
  4. IF variable is greater than 0, do nothing (don’t run), else run the rest of the Flow

Improve your navigation and design with free and easy Unicode symbols to complement links

It doesn’t have to cost anything to improve your user experience and make links look more like, well, links. We’re accustomed to a modern navigation experience driven not just by underlined text anymore but by visual cues. We rely on iconography and buttons to get us more quickly from A to B.

So if you can’t (or don’t want to) install an icon library like Font Awesome, and if you’re not using a web part that has the built-in Office UI Fabric icons (such as the Quick Links web part), why not stick to the basics and use Unicode characters? While limited, you still have some great options for quick wins.

Note: These characters appear slightly different in different browsers or when used with pre-existing themes. For example, when writing this post they’re black-and-white, but when published, my styles are applied which give them color. They may also look different on a mobile device than they do on desktop.

Compart has a great listing of all the Unicode symbols you can search and filter. Here are a few examples I selected that could be useful:

☎ Directory
♻ Recycle vs Trash FAQ
♬ Fall Concert Details
☂ Inclement weather procedures
⛱ Vacation Requests
⛟  Track a Delivery
☃ Winter Sale

How to use Unicode characters on your site

Example used in the left navigation

To use Unicode characters, you can either:

  • Copy and paste the actual symbol -OR-
  • In your html, wrap the four-digit number in &#x and ; as follows

&#x2665;

Here are many more icons, some of which might have purpose in your organization. You can also download this excel file for easier viewing/customizing.

260025A0260E25AE
260125A1260F25AF
260225A2261021C9
260325A3261121CA
260425A4261225B2
260525A5261325B3
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25A8261625B621CF
260925A9261725B7
260A25AA261825B8
260B25AB261925B9
260C25AC261A25BA
260D25AD261B25BB
267823F6268621D5
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267A23F826882191
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267C23FA268A2193
267D2390219421DA
267E2391219521DB
267F2392219621DC
2680219721DD269C
26812394219821DE
2682239626902199
268323972691219A
268423982692219B
268523992693219C
26CC26CF26D226D5
26CD26D026D326D6
26DA26DE2.60E+022.60E+05
21EE231521F421F5
262A25CA264025D8
262B25CB264125D9
25CC2642265025EE
25CD2643265125EF
262E25CE26442652
262F25CF26452653
263825D026462654
263925D126472655
25D22648265623C4
263B25D326492.50E+08
263C25D4264A2.50E+09
263D25D5264B2.50E+10
263E25D6264C25EA
263F25D7264D25EB
21AB26B021B926F2
26A321AC26B121BA
26A421AD26B221BB
26A521AE26B326F5
26A621AF26B426F6
21B026B526F726C3
21B126B626F826C4
21B226B726F926C5
26B826FA26C62672
21B426B926FB26C7
26AC21B526BA26FC
26AD21B626BB21C4
26AE21B726BC21C5
26AF21B826BD21C6
2.60E+032.60E+0926EB26EF
2.60E+042.60E+1026ED26F0
2.10E+0921F321FC21FD
21F2235F23F423F5
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261E25BE262C231B
261F25BF262D2673
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21CD262225C226FE
21CE262325C326FF
262425C4263A26EC
21D0262525C526DB
21D1262625C621FE
21D2262725C726D1
21D3262825C82319
21D4262925C9231A
2694219D26A221F9
21D62695219E21FA
21D72696219F2674
21D8269721A026C9
21D9269821A126CA
269921A226A72.60E+08
269A21A326A82.60E+06
269B21A426A92.60E+07
21A526AA21B321FF
269D21A626AB26D4
21DF269E21A721F6
2.10E+01269F21A821F7
2.10E+0226A021A921F8
2.10E+0326A121AA2.10E+07
26D826DC26DF2.10E+08
26D926DD2.60E+0121FB
26EA26EE26F12675
21EF21F021F12676
264E25EC265C2677
264F25ED265D26CE
265E2.10E+062.10E+0426CB
265F23CD2.10E+0526D7
23C0266823CE2660
23C1266923CF2661
23C221ED2.10E+102662
23C3266B21EA2663
266421EB21EC2665
265723C5266C2666
265823C623162667
265923C72317266A
265A23C8266E26BF
265B23C9231826C0
26BE26F426C2266D
26F326C1266F

How to promote/feature a search result based on user query in SharePoint

If someone searches in SharePoint for “Power BI,” chances are they aren’t looking for a document from 2016 that happens to mention the phrase “Power BI.”

Using out-of-the-box search reports you can come to understand what phrases are being searched (and abandoned) on your intranet, then improve search by promoting/suggesting results you think your users are actually seeking.

I’m going to use my “Power BI” example. If a user searches Power BI on my dev environment, they get these as the top three results. The first two are SharePoint link lists (like promoted links or otherwise) and the third is just a document about embedding Power BI reports. None take you

Let’s make it easier to get directly to our app.powerbi.com portal when searched on the intranet.

  1. Go to central admin –> Manage service applications


  2. Select “Search service application”


  3. Select Query Rules from the left nav


  4. Select “Local SharePoint Results” from the first dropdown


  5. Click “New Query Rule”


  6. Name the rule and enter semi-colon separated phrases you want to trigger our promoted result


  7. Click “Add promoted result”


  8. Complete the form, keeping in mind that the “Title” and “Description” are what will appear in results when searched. Click Save.


  9. Click Save again. Changes are immediate, and your promoted result will appear FIRST in results with a checkmark icon to indicate it’s promoted/suggested

  10. Test your search

Note: If you use SharePoint Online, your navigation to the query rules is a bit different but still starts in central admin. The rest of the steps are the same.

Power BI refresh error “could not load file or assembly…provided impersonation level is invalid”

Short version

Run Power BI Desktop as administrator before opening the report.

Explanation/Scenario

Recently, when opening a report from Power BI Report Server that used a SQL database as a data source I received the following error.

An error happened while reading data from the provider: ‘Could not load file or assembly ‘System.EnterpriseServices, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral,PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a’ or one of its dependencies. Either a required impersonation level was not provided, or the provided impersonation level is invalid. (Exception from HRESULT: 0X80070542)’

So I clicked “Edit Queries” to see what was going on and received almost the same error but referencing a specific table and getting me thinking about SQL specifically.

Error seen after clicking “Edit Queries”

So I checked that table in the query editor and received yet again the same error.

Error seen after clicking the specific table referenced in the previous error message

Simple solution. It’s likely that your credentials and queries are just fine.

The solution for my particular issue here, and the meaning behind the “impersonation level” part of the error, is just that you need to run Power BI Desktop as administrator before accessing the report. After opening the report in Power BI Desktop being ran as an administrator, everything worked as expected.

Make training fun and increase learning retention with puzzles and games

My number one compliment at trainings comes from my live, interactive elements like my Mentimeter quizzes. But I’m branching into a new type of interactivity that might begin in the training classroom but carries on with attendees after they leave.

I’m talking about handouts. Attendees are more likely to remember sessions, topics, and facts if they had a little fun along the way. Not every handout has to be a glossary. Bingo, for example, challenges end users to explore various capabilities in SharePoint they otherwise may not have considered.

SharePoint Bingo and O365 Crossword: These two downloadables encourage attendees to listen up and have certain prompts in mind throughout your talk such as “how could I add a new list?” or “we can live stream events?? with what?” They can work on these throughout the session as they learn, or take it back to their desks. A great way to encourage participation is to offer an incentive such as “add your name and turn it in when you’re done for a chance to win a Surface Go.”

SharePoint Sudoku: This one is just for fun and is a great “added bonus” handout for your session. It’s also great for those attendees that show up 15 minutes early and might appreciate something to do in the meantime.

Sale!

3 Puzzle Pack (SP Bingo, SP Sudoku, & O365 Apps Crossword)

$7.99

Get three puzzles in a bundle (saving over 25%) to improve attendee engagement and training reinforcement.

  • SharePoint Sudoku #1
  • SharePoint End-User Bingo
  • Apps in O365 Crossword (Editable)
Category: Tags: ,

Description

Get three puzzles in a bundle (saving over 25%) to improve attendee engagement and training reinforcement.
  • SharePoint Sudoku #1 (great for occupying early arrivers)
  • SharePoint End-User Bingo (hands-on practice during or after training)
  • Apps in O365 Crossword – Editable version (have “ah-ha!” moments during, and reinforce learning after)

Reviews

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Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.

Get a customized puzzle from me

I’m happy to create a custom crossword or bingo downloadable for your needs at the same cost of these examples (no setup fee). DM me on Twitter or send me a message via he form below with your scenario and let’s work together to make training fun!


Boost your audience engagement and knowledge retention with live, interactive surveys and quizzes

I often hear from my session and training attendees that they enjoy the interactive elements of my sessions. I usually end each session with a swag or book giveaway based on the highest scoring participant in a Mentimeter quiz. Sometimes my only follow-up is: “I loved that quiz, how can I do that for my own team?” The nice thing is even if an attendee knew everything I mentioned in my 101, they still left with a new tool they can use to engage their co-workers and attendees.

Note: I don’t get any affiliate or referral program perks for this. I just truly appreciate the value Mentimeter has added to my presentations and wish the same success for you.

What is Mentimeter?

Mentimeter is a service that allows participants to “join” quizzes or surveys you create without needing an account. Once you create your questions and indicate the correct response(s) (if applicable), you click present. Attendees see the “access code” at the top of the screen and, using their mobile device or computer, join the quiz using their name (whether they choose to use their real name or not is up to them). Results show up on the screen in real-time.

Mentimeter allows you to get to know your audience better, engage them in friendly competition, or just solicit questions throughout your talk. This allows for your more introverted attendees to be comfortably engaged whereas otherwise you may not have heard from them at all. It also allows your questions to be “compiled” until you’re at a good stopping place to address them.

From menti.com (attendee view after a question has ended)

For quizzes as seen above, voting is closed after a specified time for each question and points are awarded on accuracy AND speed of response. You can even display a leaderboard between questions to get the room more engaged and competitive. There is never a tie, which makes it easy to give away swag to the top two or three.

When you’re done, you can export PDFs of the question slides to share attendee questions, responses, comprehension, etc. and then reset the presentation so it’s ready for your next session. If you have a paid license, you can export to excel instead of PDF.

How much does it cost?

Personally I use the free version because it gives you up to six quiz questions, or three survey questions which is the perfect size for an end-of-session “what did you learn” quiz or intra-session “touch-base.” But there are also licenses that allow more questions, different question types, and some pretty impressive capabilities for various events and campaigns.

How do I get started?

  1. Sign up for a free account (always free, no end date or trial period)
  2. See how the available options work for you
  3. Upgrade to unlock advanced features

How to create a live poll or quiz using Mentimeter

  1. Once signed in, click “New Presentation,” name and click “Create Presentation”

  2. Choose quiz if you’ll be awarding points for accuracy and speed, otherwise choose from available survey types (no correct answers, just polling the audience). After each is added and configured, click “New Slide” to create another.
  3. When you’re ready to present, click “Present” and you’ll go full-window with an view suitable for the big screen, and that pulls in real-time responses from attendees:

On an attendee’s phone (or tablet/computer), they see mobile-friendly options for interacting with your questions:

Add a print button to SharePoint list items

One of my more popular requests is an easier way to print list items (either to PDF or paper). Using SharePoint Designer, we can add a “Print Item” button to the display forms for all list items. This button appears in the “Actions” section of modal dialogs AND standalone display forms in their own window. See above for an example of a modal dialog implementation.

You can do this rather quickly, but will need to be a site admin with access to SharePoint Designer to make the change.

Note: This only works for classic view lists.

  1. Download the print icon
  2. Add print icon to Site Assets
  3. Add a custom action to list

1. Download the print icon

2. Add print icon to Site Assets

  1. Open your site in SharePoint Designer
  2. Go to Site Assets and import the downloaded print icon (using import/browse OR drag-and-drop)

3. Add a custom action to list

  1. Open your list in SharePoint Designer
  2. Add new custom action for display form ribbon (upper left dropdown)
  3. Name it “Print Item”
  4. Set “Navigate to URL:” to
    javascript:window.print()
  5. Browse for the button image URL (I used 32×32) and select the print.png image you added to Site Assets
  6. Change “Manage” in Ribbon Location to “Actions” and click OK

    Ribbon.ListForm.Display.Actions.Controls._children

Test away!

Troubleshooting

I don’t see the “Ribbon Location (Tab.Group ID:)” option!

You need to double-check step two of “Add a custom action to list.” You must create the action from this dropdown field and specifically select “Display form ribbon” to get this option.

It’s not showing up!

  1. Make sure you types “Actions” (plural) and not “Action”
  2. Refresh your SharePoint list (Ctrl+F5 for a hard refresh)
  3. Make sure you’re using the classic experience. This does not work in modern. You can accomplish this by forcing the classic experience for all users (recommended for consistency):

If you’d rather let users choose, just be sure to educate them on the ability to switch back and forth.

Flow now supports multiple condition controls for advanced if/then scenarios within a single step

Say goodbye to nested if/then statements in Flow taking up fourteen monitor widths. Flow now supports nested if/then statements all in a single, vertical step. For example, the following requires that WeekDayNum is not 0 or 7 AND requires that either Bob or Nate created the item. And I didn’t have to scroll horizontally at all to see it!

The next time you use a condition control, enjoy rethinking how you might structure your various requirements for conditions to be met.

To get started, just add a condition control as you normally would:

  1. Add an action
  2. Condition control

Enjoy!