Be a part of the Festive Tech Calendar this year

You may have seen the Festive Tech Calendar in the past (here’s last year’s), where Microsoft enthusiasts from the community come together to share holiday cheer with the world via videos released each day in December.

Some videos in the Festive Tech Calendar are tech talks and tutorials, others are pure holiday cheer and festive greetings. This year I’m submitting a fun session and I need your help to spread holiday cheer globally. I’ll be compiling Musical M365 – here are the details:

Musical M365 project details


Musical M365: Wintertime cheer from the world’s best tech community

After they’ve scheduled their out of office messages via Teams, you might find many in the community singing, practicing an instrument, or otherwise making a joyful noise this Winter season. Several community submissions are featured in this compilation.

How you can participate

Any Microsoft 365 enthusiast is welcome to participate. You can submit videos and/or photos. Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Videos featuring festive tunes or themes (winter or winter holiday themed)
    • Singing/caroling
    • Playing an instrument
    • Lip syncing
    • Dancing
  • A recorded holiday greeting you’d like to share with the community
  • Festive photos, selfies, etc. (i.e. you holding a holiday greeting sign, or you and your pets decked out in holiday garb)
  • Pets, family, friends, and houseplants welcome to participate

How to submit

  1. Create your photo(s) and/or video(s) – videos less than 5 minutes, please
  2. Upload your media here before November 22nd, 2021.

Note: By submitting, you agree that I may use your name and submissions in this video and may cut/mix as needed to create the final product. This is a free, volunteer project and no compensation is given to me or any participant.

I’ll then mix submissions into a festive and frivolous compilation so we can spread holiday cheer around the world together. Let’s do this! 🥳❄️☃️

Aw, PIVOT! G-rated profanities and swear-alternatives inspired by Microsoft 365 apps

A while back, I shared some reactions one might see if NBC’s The Good Place deployed Microsoft 365. In the show, profanities are auto-filtered and replaced with something a little more G-rated. For example, “holy sh**” becomes “holy shirt!” So even though PG-13 profanities can’t be used, the characters can still get their emphatic points across.

In that spirit, I present some M365-inspired (but G-rated) profanities and swear alternatives to incorporate into your daily vernacular.

M365 appOffice-appropriate swear alternative
ExcelAw, PIVOT!
FormsSon of a BRANCH!
OneDriveUPLOAD yours!!
OneNote I don’t give an INK-TO-SHAPE.
OutlookWhat the FLAG?
PlannerSon of a BUCKET!
Power AppsDon’t be an APPhole.
Power AutomateFor FLOW’s sake!
PowerPointMORPH it.
SharePointHeavens to WEB PARTS!
SwayGosh CARD it!
TeamsCheese and CHANNELS!
WhiteboardOh, SNAP.
YammerJumpin’ COMMUNITY!

Spam on the rise! GIFs to help you tell the cautionary tale

Spam is no joke. But when we educate users about it, we can have a little fun. A few months ago, my director sent out an email with the subject line “Spam on the rise” which I felt needed a little cinematic pizzazz. Without further ado I give you Spam on the Rise, ready for your PowerPoint slides or digital resources.

Click any to see/save full-size.

Use Microsoft Forms and Flow to create Mad Libs

Have a holiday party coming up? Staff meeting you want to spice up? Send a form out to attendees in advance to collect adjectives, nouns and verbs and showcase your favorite completed libs at your meeting. Or just do it for fun – because work should be fun. Go ahead and try my test version to see for yourself!

Make your own (short version)

  1. Create a form at with questions for adjectives, nouns, etc. Be sure to collect email addresses as well so you can send participants the completed mad lib. You can use my template
  2. Create a flow at that pulls responses into an email template. You can import the flow I built

Detailed steps

Create the form to collect words

Go to

Create an account if you don’t already have one (it’s free!)

Note: It must be an organizational account – Flow cannot currently connect to “personal” Forms accounts.

Create a new form or use my template (open link and click “Duplicate it” at the top)

Add a title, subtitle/instructions and then any questions/word parts you want. You must include email address as a required field if you intend to email the results to someone.

If you’re giving people multiple mad libs to choose from, you must also require a choice field like in my example.

Create the flow to send completed mad libs

This is the part that takes form submissions and turns them into the actual mad libs. It’s easiest to import the flow I built.

  1. Log into your account at
  2. Go to your flows, click Import and upload the zip file you downloaded

Now select your existing connections for Forms and Outlook.

If you don’t already have an Outlook and/or Forms connection, you’ll need to click “Create new” and add them, then come back to connect them in the previous step. You can also modify the Flow to use Gmail or HTML emails instead. If you use HTML emails, however, they’re more likely to go to spam or be blocked since they come from a well-known “marketing” address rather than an individual (yourself).

Once you’ve set your connections, click “Import” (you should no longer see red x’s next to the connections under “Related resources”)

Once imported, click “Open flow”

Check every step, especially the “Forms” step to set the correct Form connection, and correct other fields like “email body” variables as needed.

Note: My Flow template has multiple mad lib options. If you just have one, you don’t need the “switch” at all (which is really just a conditional statement).

When finished, click “Save” in the upper right, go to your flows and make sure it’s “On”.

Finally, copy the “Share” URL from your form and send it to people to complete! Have fun!

If “The Good Place” had Office 365

If you’ve watched NBC’s “The Good Place,” you’ll enjoy this post that much more. My CIO loves the show and recommended it so I started watching it. And then I couldn’t stop. I just couldn’t forking stop.

Seeing the hub site mega menu feature for the first time

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When a Flow works on the first test

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Trying to get AI bots to work in Teams

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When someone added the entire department to the “Owners” group

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When someone says all their forms are built in InfoPath

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Looking at the shared network drives after implementing OneDrive for Business and SharePoint

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When someone says they prefer Google Drive

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But then someone on my governance committee suggests we crack down on shadow IT things like DropBox and Google Drive being used outside the organization for work

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The secret to high governance committee and user group attendance

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When someone visits me after an update to SharePoint breaks all the workflows that have to be rebuilt asap

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When a new app is rolled out without administrative or governance controls

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When someone has ten levels of folders in a document library

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When someone sends a link to file on SharePoint or OneDrive instead of attaching it

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When someone suggests we utilize Power BI for data visualization instead of Excel

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When an email subject line reads, “Woops”

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Trying to explain a mandatory migration to Office 365

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When someone says “search sucks” and I give up and hire Bad Janet to take its place

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National Cookie Day: Microsoft’s new icons are tastier than ever

This National Cookie Day, I took Microsoft’s new icon set and gave them a festive frosting. If you have an awesome bakery nearby like KC’s Cakery in Tampa (thanks, Jon Levesque for the recommendation) maybe you could have these made up for your next governance committee meeting or a “launch party” announcing this change to the user experience.

P.S. If you do, be sure to share photos!

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