Office Files too big? Inspect them!

Today I had a problem with a group of users that were trying to work with a very large PowerPoint file in SharePoint and didn’t realize until I downloaded a local copy of the file that it was too big to work with through Office Web Apps.

So I did some digging around to see if there was a way to possibly shrink the files, so I ended up finding something here:

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/remove-hidden-data-and-personal-information-by-inspecting-documents-presentations-or-workbooks-356b7b5d-77af-44fe-a07f-9aa4d085966f

In PowerPoint 2016 you can find the option here:

After doing a bit more digging, this actually applies to all Word, Excel, and PowerPoint versions from 2016 on down to even the Office 2010 versions.

So now I’d be curious if this could be automated somehow to do some major cleanup in PowerShell or something? Hmmm… maybe for another blog post later… hehehe.

Hope this helps if you need to free up some space in the future.

Enjoy!

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GitHub for Sharing

Recently I decided to jump into GitHub to share some of the scripts that I have used and created for my own benefit in order to see if this helps out any regular visitors of my blog as well.

You can check it out over at https://github.com/fentressbj

Going forward I will try to capture all of the relevant scripts that I have used over the years for configuration for building out different setups.

Of course if I use a script from another author I will absolutely try to provide credit. I think its dishonest not to do that if its not something you have written from scratch. If you take one and improve it or modify it, I think the original author should be given credit still. These days its extremely hard to be a content creator given some attitudes to share things without giving credit.

I hope this helps others and everyone enjoys my dive into learning more and more about GitHub.

-BJ

Nintex item permissions error

Recently I ran across a really tough issue that I had with one of my workflows that kept failing right before the approval step of the workflow was being sent.

Below is an example of the workflow I had with the listing of the error I was getting:

I tried going over this many times and even went and created a whole new list for this and imported the workflow into this new list with a newly build form to make sure I could minimize any other variables in the error.

Well the bad news was even in the new list I created and imported the workflow into, I still got the same error. So, I started digging in with some help, and was ultimately able to find the source of the issue on the step of the set item permissions in the workflow.

It turns out that when this workflow was originally created the set item permissions had several users explicitly defined in it to grant permissions to the item on before an approval would take place.

What I didn’t realize until I looked deeper into who all was being given access to this item was that one user who was specifically designated in the action was no longer with the company.

So, when the workflow would go out and try to match this person with a valid AD account, it would error out and not allow the workflow to go any further.

The location of the error was in the ULS of SharePoint, but only when verbose logging was turned on, of course…

So in the future I will always from now on, check to make sure that all users being granted access to items in workflows have valid accounts.

If you ever run across something like this I hope this tip will save you sometime and allow you to get right to the solution.

Enjoy!

Thoughts on taking the 70-346 exam

Recently I took the 70-346 exam from Microsoft to further my knowledge and skills about being able to administer an Office 365 environment.

It was a difficult test and in the end I did not pass on my first try, but I got close to passing (maybe about 2-3 questions close by my calculations). But as the old saying goes “Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades…”.

One area I think that really kept me from passing this exams was I was not as prepared on knowing how important the specific DNS settings for setting up the O365 environment was. I had a general idea on it but I wasn’t super familiar with things on certain services like port numbers and other items that I am starting to go back and refresh my knowledge on now.

Another area I struggled with was the different admin roles and how extensive the settings are for Rights Management in O365. Once I go back and retry for this I will review this area as well.

For those that are curious my method of prep here has been through an online resource that gave video training and remote labs in order to go through scenarios to learn each content area. One of the main frustrations I am dealing with is everything right now around Office 365 in general, which is how do you train on something that changes constantly?

For example I have content in some of my training right now that discusses DirSync and ADFS 2.0. Yes, 2.0… As of today (February 2018) ADFS is somewhere in the neighborhood of version 3.0 or 3.1 if I remember correctly. And it doesn’t stop there. I recall one area that tripped me up in knowing the different icons on the service health dashboard in O365 and what they mean.

Well, as it stands right now the study content I have reviewed and what is representative in O365 today is miles apart.

Now they do go into describing things about AAD Connect and how that is used so thankfully at least that helps out to be relevant in this section.

So my main advice when getting ready for this exam is know your Office 365 history. If you are new at all in getting into O365 from an admin perspective, hit up YouTube or other resources like MVA or others I have mentioned in my previous post to get an idea of where Office 365 has come from and where it is now.

The key here I think will be to refresh on core items that won’t change like domains and other important topics, but keep in mind and look to older content if necessary so you don’t get tripped up and hopefully that will give you an edge to pass it on the first time, unlike me having to go back and try to prepare for a second attempt.

Enjoy!

Update 03/06/2018: Just found out today that the MS Learning folks @borntolearn updated a bunch of resources for getting prepared on this exam and other tests. Hit this link to check it out:

https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/b/weblog/posts/spotlight-on-five-new-certification-exam-prep-resource-pages

Drinking from the firehose without drowning

It’s easy to be overwhelmed in the sea of information and constant changes that come out every month when trying to keep up to date on Microsoft products, not just SharePoint and Office 365. Since changes to each facet of the service are being released on a monthly basis, I thought I would include some helpful resources that I use to keep from being overwhelmed by all the changes.

First off, the office 365 roadmap is a very helpful one to glance at least on a monthly basis. This way you can see what they have planned to release and try to get ahead of it.

One area that Microsoft has really gotten better at with O365 is training. If you are a new user and want to learn about Flow or PowerApps or Stream or some other part of the 365 service that you haven’t touched yet, I encourage you to look under your tenant (Office 365 admin) settings for training videos as well as going to some of the links on the main pages of these to see some great content they have put together.

Some of my personal resources that I have used and continue to use to learn more about Office 365 are below:

Pluralsight – If you can afford the subscription, get it! The authors on here produce great content and the system to measure progress and learning here is second to none!

EDX – MOOC with a lot of great content from Microsoft and many other places where you can also take college courses. I like that this site offers a way to be officially recognized for passing a course (even though it costs money).

MVA – Microsoft Virtual Academy has a great amount of content and has good O365 and developer content as well as learning paths you can follow to achieve a certain level of expertise if you want to.

MAPA– Microsoft Association of Practicing Architects is a little less known site, but offers a great way for anyone who signs up to deepen their knowledge in many different areas and a great way to connect with other experts for advice. They even offer discounts and practice materials if you know the right places to look and the correct people to ask.

Opsgility – Subscription based site that you have to pay for (but if you have an msdn subscription, you get freebies). Great site to help learn more about Azure and the platform for Microsoft cloud for both development and admin purposes

LinkedIn Learning – a newer site to me, but I see more and more content being published here from MS experts lately. I hope since they are owned by MS at some point these places get aggregated somewhere to make it easier for someone to get the most content from one source

Microsoft Tech Community – This I think is probably the next generation of TechNet from MS. For each of the past two Ignite conferences I have been to, this site has been extremely helpful! The people that run this site really strive to post content from the events here as well as keep active discussions going on with users about new topics. Can recommend this one enough.

As you can see there’s no shortage of places to go to get your learn on. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of information though, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. 🙂

If you know of any other great places to learn like the ones I have mentioned today, feel free to add them to the comment section below.

Thanks and I hope this has been helpful!

BJ

2017 Roundup

Wow, it’s funny how each year as I begin to write one of these posts, it seems like the year goes by faster and faster. This year was definitely no exception. I didn’t do as much travelling this year as the previous year, but stayed just as busy with work and other things as well.

This year I travelled to:
Orlando, FL
Atlanta, GA
Detroit, MI (only for a few hours)
Orange Beach, AL (witnessed my first hurricane)
Chicago, IL
Aurora, IL
Decatur, IL

I had a wonderful time at Ignite 2017 in Orlando this year and got to meet some of my personal SharePoint heroes of all time and finally tell them how much I appreciated all the content and sharing they do for folks like me who try to soak up every word that is published.

On the certification front, I haven’t passed another MS exam as of yet (need to get back to studying for 70-346), but I was able to work on my Nintex skills from the Nintex Learning Center and pass a course on Nintex Workflows Admin as well as Nintex Forms Professional as well. So I am happy to keep learning this while pushing myself to stay current with Office 365.

In the coming year the release of the next version of SharePoint and the increase of Office 365 will definitely not be boring. I predict people will continue to be drawn to this service because of all the value that they can get out of it.

I was able to attend SharePoint Saturday in Atlanta earlier this year, and it was nice to get back to a local event and see more great content and learn what is going on from users locally with SharePoint and Office 365 as well. I think Flow and PowerApps will definitely be the creators of a lot of business value in the coming months and years for businesses.

Finally, I was able to reach a milestone this year for this blog! With this post, I will have blogged at least once a month for the entire year! I don’t know how some people that do this multiple times a month do it, but from someone that reads a bunch of them daily, I thank you! 🙂

Thanks for reading my chicken scratch and I hope these posts have benefitted you in some way, shape, or form! Have a great 2018 everyone!

-BJ

More zeros in correlation id from web parts

Happy Friday everyone! I quickly wanted to let everyone know about a situation I ran across this week.

I was helping put some new web parts into our dev site but for some reason they both showed errors with all zeros in correlation id in the error details.

I did some investigative research on my dev box and it turns out this was due to a corrupt search index… and an almost full C: drive.

After clearing out a bunch of logs this helped with the space issue. The corrupt index wasn’t to bad either. I just had to go in and clear the config cache of SharePoint and then reset my search index. Finally as a last step, I ran a full crawl.

After doing all that cleanup, the webparts seemed to function fine. Lesson learned for me.

I hope this helps anyone that runs across this again in the future.

Enjoy!

B.J.

SharePoint giving all zeros for correlation id

I had an interesting error come across today when I was working on a new Nintex form list. I have been doing some power user training in my company lately and a few of my users have taken the plunge and started creating their own electronic forms in Nintex.

Which is awesome! It’s a great feeling when you demonstrate something to someone in a training session and then see what they are able to go and create on their own.

In this case, though the user had designed a great looking form, but when they went to submit the form once it was complete it gave the following error:

CorrelationIDAllZeros

Which was very odd as I had never seen an error that gave all zeros for a correlation id on and error in SharePoint.

So I started to do some digging online and I noticed this was a common question that has come up before for several users in the past, but no one online I had seen had dealt with this in the context of creating and submitting forms.

After some more research I had a hunch that this was being caused from a required field on the form that was missing data when the form was being submitted. So I checked the form in Nintex form designer, and sure enough!

I saw that the “Title” column was not on the form, but in the list settings was still set to the required option like it is out of the box in SharePoint.

So I went into the list settings and turned off the required setting for this column and then went back to the form and tried submitting it again.

Everything submitted as it was supposed to and now I can move onto more form troubleshooting.

I hope this helps anyone else who runs into this error again and if you have any thoughts or comments, please feel free to add them into the blog.

 

Thanks! -BJ

MS Ignite 2017 Day 5

Sadly this is the last day of ignite. Just a short day of presentations. All session links to content that can be found over at the Microsoft Tech Community website.

 

BRK3359 – Deep Dive: Compare SharePoint designer and Microsoft flow scenarios

Flow is the natural successor to SP Designer workflows

Many different kinds of connectors to do many different things on an action in SharePoint

Integrated into modern lists and libraries

You can have flows that run in the background or on a selected item

You can now run flows that prompt the user for information before the flow begins to run

There will be an out of box send for review flow for approvals

Demo of approval workflow

For advanced flow automation scenarios (switch case?) looping, do until, apply to each, variables as well

Now you can also do Nested workflows as well

Now you can also have co-owners of flows now as well

Also Approvers with reminders!

BRK3285 – Going underground: Discovering, exploiting and defending against covert channels in modern computing

Covert channels for communication are those that are unidentified and not thought of

Project Voco for Adobe to do voice manipulation

Types of Covert channels – Steganography, Network Channels, Text Manipulation,

Hash tab program to check and see the has signature of a file

Skype Morph?

BRK2132 – Hostage Negotiation, spec ops, and office 365 adoption

Great last session describing two books that help with problems users have with adopting new technology

Also great comparison on how to negotiate with people as well

 

MS Ignite 2017 Day 4

Thursday at Ignite was definitely for me the best day of presentations of the entire week. Monday was great for big news reveals and Sunday was a great day long session, but today I think I got more knowledge that I could be actionable on than any other day.

All session links to the Microsoft Technical Community site.

 

Learning Lab demo of Office 365 Admin

Labs will be available after conference! 🙂 Check under MyIgnite

 

BRK2244 – Building a modern Intranet: Real-World planning, information architecture, governance, and adoption

Build an intranet that everyone loves

Common pattern of intranets

Failing by the Numbers: 40% of SP projects fail

Plan for scalable services

Roadmap to a roadmap – MS roadmap, goals/objectives, our roadmap

Building the dream team

The Governance core team – small inclusive and powerful

http://tiny.cc/SharePointGovQuestions

Navigation connects the world

Where do policies live? How do we move to a central location

Policy center for Shire is an out of the box Publishing site with search web parts and basic out of the box functionality

Global Navigation id a CDN with HTML

Highlighted content web part

They are offering planning phase docs for us to use

NOTE: Email Dave from Shire and ask him how he did analytics from old SharePoint within Power BI

They created a hub champion site (Shire intranet is called the Hub)

When you start this, you need to start and then realize what is available and build bridges to it

They are revealing SharePoint PnP repository for releasing hub Web Parts which is open source

Step two Intranet and digital workplace showcase award winner for site design

Awesome cant wait for the PnP

Dave mentioned the user content something webpart in SharePoint 2013 that they used in order to implement the global navigation

BRK3252 – Geek out with the product team on SharePoint lists and libraries

SPFX extensions – Application Customizer, Command Set, Field Customizer

Custom Header being used

Metadata to empower the user

 

BRK3348 – Create custom forms and digital experiences in SharePoint using Microsoft PowerApps

Power Apps and SP touch-points: connector, list embedded forms, SP Lists, Power Apps modern web part on modern pages

Demo Demo Demo

 

BRK3251 – SharePoint Server 2016 migration in the real world: How to avoid making our mistakes

Upgrade vs. Migration

How is it viewed by the users from past migrations?

Marketing term hybrid now being called Coexistence

Baby steps, but make a good plan and don’t take too long

Phased approach

SP 2016 tidbits

2007 – 2010 – 2013 – 2016 or 2010 – 2013 – 2016 or 2013-2016

Don’t forget about min role

When moving roles in min role switch to custom role, then go to needed role

SharePoint 2016 look into the search function here if nothing else

Note: What about using Office Online Server with SP 2013? Does excel services still go away in 2013 with this?

Note: What about creating a cloud search service for non sensitive info and using that for 2013, but then using 2013 search service for stuff that cant go to the cloud?

Upgrade Techniques

 

BRK2215 – Deliver the experiences your customers want with SharePoint community solutions and patterns

Note the source for SharePoint PnP

There is a breadcrumb code sample

One solution they have for this is a basic contact management solution

They also have an out of office and a change management solution as well to try out

Most solutions are built in VS Code with React

Another solution is a check in and check out system

You can also go in and add flow and other items to solutions to make them extensible

 

 

BRK2185 – Build you personalized and social intranet with SharePoint, Yammer, Delve, OneDrive, and Teams

3 Intranet Journeys: Building blocks, Digital workplace, business transformation

MS 365 Toolkit for teamwork

Outlook, SharePoint, Yammer, Office Apps, Teams under one umbrella

O365 groups, MS Graph, Security and Compliance as the foundation for security

Where to start a conversation:

SharePoint: Files Sites Content

Teams Inner Loop People you work with regularly on core projects

Yammer Outer loop People you connect with openly across the organization

Outlook Email Ubiquitous for targeted communications

All of this above is surrounded by O365 groups that grants access across applications