Introducing my free Collaboration in Microsoft 365 online course

The most important thing for me in my MVP contributions is doing my part to share free information and resources with the community. Sometimes that has meant speaking at a free event or user group, posting blog tutorials, or helping connect learners to resources via social media or email.

Lately I had been wondering how I could level up my impact since I’m not speaking at as many events these days (as with many of us). How could I provide “session-like” experiences online, but beyond just a one-time user group or virtual event? I wanted a way to connect to learners in new ways, and to do something unique.

After much research and seeing some inspiring examples in the MVP community (such as the Excelerator course and the RADACAD Academy), I decided I’d try my own hand at a self-paced, online course.

I’m thrilled to announce my Collaboration in Microsoft 365 course launching at https://www.NateTheTrainer.com.

There are so many great learning experiences are out there – some are free (like Microsoft Learn) and others come at a hefty price point (like large conferences and subscription services). I’m excited to offer this to learners for free, because free access to information and learning is near and dear to my heart. I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if there weren’t free opportunities for me along my own path.

I'm just getting started and plan to expand and release more content and layers of experiences in the future. But for now, the course includes:

  • 30+ video and text lessons on OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams created by yours truly
  • Discussion threads on each lesson, and a learner Community for general questions and Q&A that don't fit into a single lesson
  • 3 product-focused quizzes with 10+ questions each, and one final exam with another 30+ questions
  • A course certificate upon completion

If you find value in the course and are able, I do have a $25 "tip" option at enrollment to help defray the expenses that go into creating a course like this. You can also donate a different amount here. I appreciate your support and your kindness immensely. Thank you for being a part of my community.

And if you're looking for something more or are interested in live, instructor-led training (in-person or virtual) for your organization, the M365 team at Centriq Training in Kansas City would love to work with you to deliver tailored and effective training solutions that meet your specific needs.

Celebrating my third year as a Microsoft MVP

I’m honored and excited to be awarded Microsoft MVP in Office Apps and Services for my third consecutive year. Thank you to everyone in the community who invited me to speak, co-create, and be a part of your circles. I am energized and fueled by the passion you all have for empowering people to reach new heights using technology.

A big shoutout to the program leads for organizing wonderful events and dealing with a pandemic with professionalism, compassion, and grace.

I look forward to sharing and learning more with you in the coming year, and I wish you and your loved ones health and happiness.

How to delete all comments from a Word doc at once

If you’re collaborating with others on a Word doc, you may reach the end of your revisions and be left with many comments in the document you’d like to remove for the final version. Rather than delete each comment one-by-one, you can simply delete all comments in the document at once in just three clicks.

  1. Click on the Review tab from the top menu
  2. Click the arrow under Delete (in the Comments group)
  3. Choose Delete All Comments in Document
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How to paste a copied URL as a web address instead of a hyperlinked title

You may have noticed that when you copy a web address from the Microsoft Edge browser bar and paste it somewhere, it shows a hyperlinked title instead of the web address. For some cases, this is great – it makes your emails, chats, and documentation look more professional.

For other cases, you’d like to actually see the URL (such as when creating print/unclickable resources or wanting to promote the address itself). Luckily, there’s just a slightly different method to use depending on what you’re hoping to achieve.

Copy/paste keyboard shortcuts to show web address or hyperlinked text

Normally, you can use Ctrl + C (copy) and Ctrl + V (paste). This is what will give you hyperlinked text instead of a web address by default. Your result would resemble NateChamberlain.com.

Use Ctrl + C (copy) and Ctrl + Shift + V (paste address) to show the web address instead of hyperlinked text. Your result would resemble https://natechamberlain.com/.

I prefer the keyboard shortcuts because they can be used everywhere, regardless of the destination app.

Right-click menu options when working in web apps (browser locations)

If you’re not a fan of keyboard shortcuts, you can also right-click to copy:

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Then right-click to paste either option (web address or hyperlinked text). In this menu “Plan text” is the web address and “Link (Default)” is the hyperlinked text with the site/page title.

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Right-click or paste options in other apps (like Office client applications)

You can look in your other apps for paste options like “Keep text only” in Office apps. See the following animation to see two of the paste options action. The first is “Use destination theme” which will keep the hyperlinked text. The last is “Keep text only” which shows the web address.

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You can also find these paste options on the Home tab of Office apps:

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Change the URL copy/paste default behavior in Microsoft Edge

If you want to permanently change how Edge handles copied links, you can go to Edge’s settings and change the default behavior. To find Settings in Edge, click the ellipsis (three dots) in the upper-right corner. Then choose Settings.

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Once in settings, choose Share, copy, and paste from the left-hand menu to change the default behavior.

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SharePoint team vs communication site web part options

Depending on whether your SharePoint site is built on a team site template (has a left-hand navigation menu) or a communication site template (no left-hand navigation menu) you will have different options available for web parts to be used on your site’s pages.

Part of this may be because communication sites are not built on Microsoft 365 groups which are required for creating assets like Planner plans. The Planner web part requires its hosting site to share a supporting Microsoft 365 group. You’ll also notice a much more limited selection of third-party (non-Microsoft) web parts available in communication sites.

Note
Even though communication sites aren’t built on Microsoft 365 groups, you can use pre-existing Microsoft 365 groups to grant access/membership to your communication site.

These web parts help remind us of the purpose behind each template. Team sites are meant to be used for collaboration – therefore we see much more collaborative tools available in this template. Communication sites, however, tend to be more consumer-oriented and don’t typically need the third-party apps or collaborative tools to share their documents, news, knowledge, etc. with consumers.

Team sites have the most web part options, including many third-party options. The following web parts are unique to team sites:

  • Asana
  • Bitbucket (and Bitbucket Server)
  • GitHub (and GitHub Enterprise)
  • Google Analytics
  • Incoming Webhook
  • JIRA
  • Office 365 Connectors
  • Planner
  • RSS
  • Salesforce
  • Stack Overflow
  • Trello
  • UserVoice
Web parts available in a team site | Click to enlarge

There are currently no web parts in communication sites that are not also available in team sites.

In the following table, you’ll find all of the default available web parts, their descriptions, and which template(s) they’re each available within.

Web partDescriptionTeamCommunication
AsanaTrack projects from start to finishX
Bing MapsDisplay a location on a map using Bing MapsXX
BitbucketManage and collaborate on your code projectsX
Bitbucket ServerManage and collaborate on your code projectsX
ButtonAdd a clickable button with a custom label and linkXX
Call to actionAdd call to action text and an image paired with a clickable buttonXX
Code SnippetAdd a Code Snippet to the pageXX
ConversationsShow conversations from a Yammer group, user, topic, or homeXX
Countdown TimerCount down or count up to an important eventXX
DividerAdd a line to divide areas on your pageXX
Document libraryShow a document library from this siteXX
EventsDisplay upcoming events from your sites in a layout you chooseXX
GitHubManage and collaborate on code projectsX
GitHub EnterpriseManage and collaborate on code projects hosted on a GitHub Enterprise instanceX
Google AnalyticsGet Google Analytics summary reportsX
Group calendarDisplay a calendar from one of your Office 365 groupsXX
HeroProminently display up to 5 pieces of content with links, images, pictures, or photos in a highly visual layoutXX
HighlightsShow highlights of Yammer conversationsXX
Image galleryShow several images, pictures or photos in a gallery layoutXX
Incoming WebhookSend data from a service to your Microsoft 365 Group in real timeX
JIRAGather, organize, and assign issues detected in your softwareX
Kindle Instant PreviewShow a preview of a Kindle bookXX
ListDisplay a list from this siteXX
List propertiesConnect to a list web part on the same page and dynamically display a selection from that listXX
MarkdownUse Markdown language to add and format textXX
Microsoft FormsAdd a survey to collect responses or show resultsXX
Microsoft PowerApps (Preview)Show a custom app created with PowerAppsXX
My feedDisplay a personalized feed of content and activitiesXX
NewsShow news posts from one or more sites in a variety of layouts. You can filter news and target news to key audiencesXX
Office 365 ConnectorsConnect with other services to show updates and notifications from themX
Organization chartShow an organization chart (org chart) with structure and connections for a selected personXX
Page propertiesShow details about your page like date, content type, or custom propertiesXX
PeopleDisplay selected people and their profilesXX
PlannerShow and work with a Planner board or chartsX
Power BIDisplay a Power BI reportXX
Quick chartShow data in a simple bar or pie chartXX
Quick linksShow a collection of links in a variety of layouts with options for icons, images, and audience targetingXX
Recent documentsDisplay recent documents for the current userXX
RSSGet RSS feeds for your groupX
SalesforceBuild relationships with your customersX
Saved for laterShow the current page viewer’s documents and pages that they saved for laterXX
Site activityShow site activity such as files uploaded or edited, lists created, and moreXX
SitesShow important or interesting sites on your pageXX
SpacerAdd vertical space between areas on the pageXX
Stack OverflowAsk and answer programming questionsX
StreamDisplay a Stream video or channelXX
TrelloManage Trello cards and tasks all in one placeX
TwitterDisplay a Twitter feedXX
UserVoiceCollect new customer ideas, and track and respond to customers’ problemsX
WeatherShow the current weather in a location you chooseXX
World clockShow one or more clocks with time zones you chooseXX
YouTubeShow a YouTube video on the pageXX
A table detailing available web parts and in which site template you can find them for use.

Microsoft Teams is Not a Zoom Alternative; It’s Much More

I recently wrote a blog post for Centriq Training on how Microsoft Teams is more than just a Zoom alternative. In the post, I detail (with a table comparison) how Teams and Zoom are similar in meeting and chat functionality. But Teams goes far beyond communication and really excels in being the “one-stop shop” of enterprise communication and collaboration.

The post is broken down into:

  • Intro (What is Teams, what is Zoom, and why do people ask Teams vs Zoom?)
  • Microsoft Teams vs Zoom (for online meetings) with feature comparison
  • What’s unique about teams
    • Participant limit and meeting types
    • File integration
    • Pre-connected apps teams can use
  • Conclusion (go beyond just chat and meetings with a single app for all productivity, collaboration, and communication)

Read the entire post on Centriq’s blog here: Microsoft Teams is Not a Zoom Alternative; It’s Much More.

How to restore a file deleted from a Microsoft Teams channel

pile of covered books

Microsoft Teams is the place where groups of people come together to communicate and collaborate. A large part of that collaboration is document storage, sharing, and co-authoring. In Teams, files can be found on the Files tab of each channel within a team.

Did you know the Files tab is actually showing you the contents of a SharePoint folder associated with that channel?

Because Teams files are stored in SharePoint, any file deleted from a Teams channel goes to the associated SharePoint site’s Recycle Bin. We need to go to that Recycle Bin to restore the deleted file from there.

Click to enlarge | The dialog that appears when deleting a Teams file shows us it’ll go to the (SharePoint) site Recycle Bin.

How to restore a deleted Teams file

To find the correct SharePoint site for the team in question, we first open the Files tab for the channel from which you originally deleted the file. Then choose Open in SharePoint. If you don’t see it, you may need to use the ellipsis (…) then select it as seen in the following screenshot.

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Next choose Recycle Bin from the left-hand navigation menu.

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Finally, select the file you deleted then choose Restore from the ribbon menu.

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Idea: Add the Recycle Bin as a channel tab

If you’re part of a team that is frequently accessing the Recycle Bin, you can pin it as a tab in your channel(s). Start this by clicking the plus sign (+) to the right of your existing tabs.

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Choose Website for the app (SharePoint apps won’t work for this particular idea).

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Name the tab Recycle Bin, paste the URL to your site’s Recycle Bin, and click Save.

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Now you can drag the new Recycle Bin tab right next to your Files tab and have them side-by-side.

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How to create one-click, direct download links in modern SharePoint Online libraries

I previously blogged how to create one-click direct download links, but that post was exclusive to the classic experience in SharePoint (or any opportunity in which we could use classic html/css).

Normally, to download a document in modern SharePoint Online libraries, we would have to use a file’s menu (right-click or ellipsis) then choose Download.

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I was recently challenged to help figure out how to create a single click experience to immediately download a document in modern SharePoint Online libraries and after much trial and error was able to do so using a little bit of JSON in a calculated column.

Here’s how to create a Download link column in modern SharePoint libraries:

1. Create a calculated column (Library Settings > Create Column) named Download and set its formula to =””

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2. Copy and paste the following JSON code into the JSON formatting field of the calculated column settings.

{
  "$schema": "https://developer.microsoft.com/json-schemas/sp/v2/column-formatting.schema.json",
  "elmType": "a",
  "txtContent": "Download",
  "attributes": {
    "target": "_blank",
    "href": "=@currentWeb+'/_layouts/15/download.aspx?sourceurl='+[$FileRef]"
  }
}

3. Set the new column to show in the default view so it’s visible in the library and click OK.

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4. Return to your library, and test it out!

And if you want anonymous users to be able to use these convenient download links, be sure to share a FOLDER link with the anonymous user(s) so they will see the file in the library alongside the one-click download link.

Optional formatting of the Download link

And while I’m not a JSON expert, I did dabble a bit in stylizing the Download link so it would look a little bit better. You can add a little bit of style to the JSON to achieve a more button-like experience (or for the advanced among you, change the element to an actual button or download icon).

Here’s how you can get started stylizing the text link (see result at bottom):

{
  "$schema": "https://developer.microsoft.com/json-schemas/sp/v2/column-formatting.schema.json",
  "elmType": "a",
  "txtContent": "Download",
  "style": {
    "background-color": "gray",
    "text-decoration": "none",
    "color": "white",
    "font-size": "14px",
    "padding-left": "5px"
  },
  "attributes": {
    "target": "_blank",
    "href": "=@currentWeb+'/_layouts/15/download.aspx?sourceurl='+[$FileRef]"
  }
}
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Optional usage of the file’s name instead of “Download”

One small change to the JSON will reference the file’s name for the link instead of using “Download” for all links. Then you could hide Name and just use your Download column.

{
  "$schema": "https://developer.microsoft.com/json-schemas/sp/v2/column-formatting.schema.json",
  "elmType": "a",
  "txtContent": "[$FileLeafRef]",
  "attributes": {
    "target": "_blank",
    "href": "=@currentWeb+'/_layouts/15/download.aspx?sourceurl='+[$FileRef]"
  }
}
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Getting Teams certified: My prep for the MS-700 and the exam guide that followed (Recording)

I was recently invited to speak at the SharePoint User Group of DC and shared some prep tips and exam prep book writing experience with attendees. Most of the session was advice, practice questions, and resources for the MS-700 Teams Administrator certification exam. The last 10 minutes or so, I discuss co-authoring the MS-700 exam prep book with my co-author and friend Peter Rising.

Scott Brewster, one of the group’s leaders, kindly recorded and posted the session to YouTube so you can watch the recording below.

Be sure to check out the SharePoint User Group of DC’s upcoming events here: SharePoint User Group of DC (Arlington, VA) | Meetup. You can also follow them on Twitter (@sug_dc).

What is Microsoft’s Imagine Cup?

food art hand pattern

This year I had the privilege of serving as one of 165 judges for Imagine Cup Junior 2021. Imagine Cup was new to me last year (2020), and I knew immediately I wanted to play a part in this amazing program. As a Microsoft MVP I was eligible to help and threw my name in the ring for judge selection for both Imagine Cup (collegiate division for ages 16+) as well as Imagine Cup Junior (ages 13-18). While I wasn’t selected as an Imagine Cup judge, I was thrilled to be asked to serve in the Junior division process.

“The Imagine Cup brings together student innovators using passion and purpose to tackle global issues with tech.”

https://imaginecup.microsoft.com/

Imagine Cup is basically a tech skills-based competition that not only has teams entering amazing projects and ideas in a bracket, but it serves as a learning journey as well. Teams are given resources, learning event opportunities, and information throughout the duration of the competition to help from beginning their Azure or other tech learning to completion of a robust and impressive project. The Junior division doesn’t actually build their solution, but proposes a comprehensive idea and often prototypes or videos to help illustrate the concept. The collegiate division, however, does actually build their project.

While both divisions focus on solving global issues using Microsoft tech, submissions and specific technology focuses may vary. For example, the collegiate division (Imagine Cup) this year accepted a broad array of team project submissions in the categories of Earth, Education, Healthcare, and Lifestyle. The Junior division (Imagine Cup Junior) focused the tech aspect specifically on AI for Good, and had categories of AI for Earth, AI for Health, AI for Accessibility, AI for Humanitarian Action, and AI for Cultural Heritage.

Check out the winner of the 2021 collegiate division competition, Team REWEBA from Kenya.

In the Junior division, there isn’t one winning team but a top 10. As a judge, I was asked to evaluate a group of submissions using a standardized rubric. I was so blown away by the ingenuity and compassion behind many of these submissions and am excited to see what these young innovators do next. The future is in good hands.

Check out the winning top 10 teams in Imagine Cup Junior 2021.

You can also check out the Imagine Cup FAQ to learn more and see contest rules.