SharePoint

Microsoft Excel vs SharePoint Lists

I’ve been asked the question before: when should I use Microsoft Excel and when should I use SharePoint lists? At first I didn’t have a great answer, but I thought about it, looked into it a bit more, and this is what I settled on:

Excel is better when you need to do operations on the whole data set. SharePoint lists are better when the list items stand more-or-less as independent objects.

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SharePoint: Overriding a Site’s Home Page

This post continues a series on SharePoint site provisioning, unpacking some of the problems I’ve faced and overcome in building solutions.

At this point in the series, we’ve now created new SharePoint sites and applied temporary site scripts and site designs. There is one big feature missing from site scripts and site designs, though: templating the home page. You can’t simply say that a project site design should always contain a home page with these specific web parts. This may not be true forever – Microsoft is steadily improving site templating – but as of working on this project a few months ago, it required a bit of a workaround.

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Power Automate: Temporary Site Scripts and Designs

This post continues a series on SharePoint site provisioning, unpacking some of the problems I’ve faced and overcome in building solutions.

In the last post in this series, I created a SharePoint site programmatically. Suppose you want to update site scripts or site designs onto that new site. The advantage of doing this is that it can be fully automated based on another causal event setting it off, like filling out a Power App or creating an item in a SharePoint list, and incorporate variables. My simple example will use a variable of a link that will be added to the navigation of this new site.

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SharePoint: Content Types

Content types are one of those features of SharePoint where you can be using SharePoint for years and never notice is there. They often aren’t an absolute necessity. But they do make some things much easier. The average user may not need to be familiar with them, but administrators should be.

There are two major advantages to using content types: a standardized set of columns (metadata) and file templates.

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Power Automate: Create Site with SharePoint REST API

This post continues a series on SharePoint site provisioning, unpacking some of the problems I’ve faced and overcome in building solutions.

This post will look at dynamically creating SharePoint sites using Power Automate. An advantage of doing it this way is to automate different settings that can incorporate variables, as opposed to the standard interface tools for users to create new sites.

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SharePoint: Accessing Files

Suppose you’ve now set up all of your files for your organization in the ideal way, with some in individual user OneDrives and others in group SharePoint sites. The natural follow-up question is: now how do I access those files within my workflow?

There are a lot of options. This probably isn’t an exhaustive list, but in this post I’ll quickly mention several different ways to access your files that are housed in Microsoft 365 (OneDrive for Business and SharePoint). If you know of more that I missed, leave a comment.

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OneDrive vs SharePoint

The first question that typically comes up when moving files to Microsoft 365 is this: what’s the difference between OneDrive and SharePoint? Which files should I put where?

Permissions

The most important difference is the default permissions. In short, files that are for just you should be in OneDrive. Files that are for others should be in SharePoint. OneDrive is individual by default. SharePoint is shared by default.

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Microsoft Search: Introduction

Microsoft Search may be the most underrated feature available as part of Microsoft 365. Maybe that’s because Microsoft themselves haven’t been promoting it that heavily, or maybe it’s because it is associated with Bing, the mention of which usually prompts the question “Bing still exists?” But those people are missing out on the potential productivity benefits that comes from having one search tool to find your data across all your Microsoft systems as well as yes, public Bing search.

This was a common scenario for me in my previous job: I’m trying to help a client with an error they’re encountering. I have an error code or message to work with. I copy the error text into a new tab in my browser and hit enter to run a search. My results will include any company resources, e.g. if we’ve documented this problem before, or chatted about it in Teams. It will also include public Bing results. This makes it a one-stop shop to check the work resources first and then move on to public results if there isn’t anything.

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PowerShell: Updating Site Scripts and Designs

This post begins a series on SharePoint site provisioning, unpacking some of the problems I’ve faced and overcome in building solutions.

Site scripts and site designs are a great feature of SharePoint. They allow for developing and using templates on SharePoint sites that can do many useful things like:

  • Create a list or library
  • Apply column or view formatting on a list or library
  • Apply a site logo image
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