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

Creating a Team from an existing O365 group

O365 groups make up the sun in the O365 solar system. And every Microsoft Teams team (planet?) must have an O365 group to exist. You’ll also use O365 groups for group email and calendars, defining permissions for private Stream channels, collaborating with group members in Planner, and much more.

When you create a new team from scratch, it automatically creates an O365 group (and a SharePoint site collection). Whomever you invite to that team is added to the O365 group which is also used to define permissions in other apps and services throughout O365.

But let’s say you were using O365 groups before Teams was cool. You don’t want to create duplicate teams or have to manage twice as many, right? Luckily, you can use existing O365 groups to create new teams.

Create a team using an existing O365 group

In Teams, beneath your list of Teams, click Join or create a team.

Click Create team.

Choose Create from…

Next, click Office 365 group.

If you choose Team, it will copy that Team’s apps, settings, and channels to the new Team (without changing the original Team). This might be useful for classes with similar formats, or creating committees or teams based on a well-received template.

But to create a team from our existing O365 group, we’re going to select Office 365 group.

Now select the existing O365 group for which you’re establishing a new Team, then click Create.

After a moment, your new Team will be created and you’ll be taken to its landing page.

You can verify membership is correct by opening the Team’s menu (ellipses) and selecting Manage team. This

Here you can view owners, members, and guests from the O365 group. You can now modify the O365 group’s membership here if you wish, keeping in mind it affects permissions outside of Teams as well (as is the nature of O365 groups).

Microsoft recommends modifying O365 group permissions via Teams because doing so elsewhere (such as the M365 admin center) will cause a delay in taking effect and removed team members may retain Teams chat access for a couple hours.

How to get a free trial of Office 365 for home, business or enterprise

A free trial of Office 365 is a great idea if you’re:

  • Curious how it could help your team and want to do some testing as a group
  • Wanting hands-on experience with tools you’re interested in using
  • Needing to test something out in a safe, no-consequence zone before applying it to your actual environment
  • Studying for exams 70-346 or 70-347 (I recommend a Business Premium trial)
  • Considering changing licenses

Get a free trial today:

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Use Microsoft Stream to live stream your events

I just found out that Microsoft Stream now allows users to live stream events (preview). Once an event is finished, the recorded stream includes face detection so users can skip ahead to a certain speaker as well as automatic and searchable closed captions. Whenever you have an opportunity to stop paying for a third party product and use what you get included in your tenant, I think it’s worth giving it a try.

Note: Video tutorial at bottom of post.

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Embed quizzes and/or results in SharePoint using Microsoft Forms

Asset 1quiz.pngThis morning I looked around for either pure javascript or custom service solutions for trivia or quiz embeds for SharePoint. The out-of-the-box survey web part wouldn’t allow the kind of features I needed such as showing a message upon submission about correct and incorrect answers, and I wanted something more robust than a newsfeed or Yammer quiz. I also wanted users to easily be able to change their own quiz questions and answers and no high-maintenance code solution was going to cut it.

What I learned? There aren’t a lot of free solutions out there for quick quiz creation and embedding in SharePoint. And the ones that are out there don’t look the greatest. Then I remembered Microsoft Forms has a quiz function! Don’t these look great? Even better – you can embed in SharePoint Server/On-Prem or SharePoint Online/O365!

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Microsoft Form’s quiz capabilities are incredible. In five minutes you can create a quiz that looks good, is easy to update and has features ordinarily only available with a premium subscription through other services. And as seen above, you can embed the results as well, making voting fun or showing a group how everyone is performing as a whole on a topic quiz. Here are some of the great features you get with Microsoft Forms:

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Use Power BI to create a dynamic/live meeting room schedule

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I recently set out to create a “live” conference room schedule that could be presented constantly on an auto-refreshed screen outside conference rooms. This would replace printed schedules placed in holders outside the rooms. The following example uses a SharePoint calendar as the conference room calendar and can be refreshed constantly using Power BI’s scheduled refresh in O365 or Report Server.

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Intro to conditional formatting & rules/validation when customizing SharePoint new item forms with PowerApps in Office 365

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This post will introduce you to some basic conditional formatting, rules & validation ideas you can implement today in your customized SharePoint forms using PowerApps. And don’t worry – if you start making changes to your form and don’t want to keep them, you can easily switch back to the original SharePoint form.

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How to make a Microsoft Flow mobile button to be emailed Microsoft Forms or SharePoint data as Excel link or attachment

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Microsoft Flow mobile buttons are magical. One touch on your mobile device, and gears start turning to retrieve and deliver the data you need when and how you need it. Recently, I set out to deliver all Microsoft Forms responses to a recipient on-demand as an excel file using a Microsoft Flow mobile button they could press whenever they wanted the results. I also created a button someone could use to be sent all the birthdays coming up in the next week for our organization whenever they need it. You can adjust the following steps to fit your situation and tools, but the following outlines two ideas:

  • Sending someone all responses to a Microsoft Forms survey whenever they press the button (Take a snapshot in time of responses, or pull up-to-the-minute feedback into your meeting)
  • Sending someone SharePoint list items in an excel sheet that match a certain criteria (Projects ending in the next two weeks)

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Collab365 24-hr Global Conference Recap

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Baxter joined me for several sessions. He’s new to SharePoint, but eager to learn.

The 24-hr Collab365 Global Conference has come to an end. This event is so well done (kudos to Mark Jones & co.), and was the second year I have been able to attend. I live-tweeted the sessions I attended for the majority of the conference and have shared some highlights below. Also, every session is recorded and will be made available here:

https://collab365.community/

Highlights below include:

  • Adoption & Champions
  • Roadmap, Releases & Rollout
  • Cognitive Search & Ease of Use
  • Analytics

Read my summary of the sessions I attended on Collab365’s site. You can also view tweets from all attendees and speakers tagged #Collab365 here.

Adoption & Champions

Change

Intranets

 Growth

When is Yammer appropriate?

 Which tool/group should I pick?

Roadmap, Releases and Rollout

 Custom, modern site themes!

 Attention view!

Targeted Release!

SharePoint Migration Tool!

 Save things for later in mobile!

OneDrive “Shared With Me” Grouped by Owner!

 Customize the “new item” form with PowerApps!

Staying up-to-date

 PowerApps

 Cognitive Search & Ease of Use

OCR & Indexing

Bringing Services Together

 Reducing Barriers to Usability

Analytics

Admin Center

 PowerApps

See all tweets tagged #Collab365 here.

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, Sr. 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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