Handling large lists with SharePoint on premises

If you have spent much time working with SharePoint, you know that once a group of users likes it to store information in libraries or Lists, you can certainly tell.

Ultimately what happens is you get an email (or call, or service ticket) one day that says “Hey we are getting some kind of error that says we have exceeded the list view threshold…”. No problem, you think, I’ll just go into central admin and raise the threshold above 5000 and that should fix that.

Well, it does fix the issue, but only until that threshold gets crossed again a week/month/year later.

And the story repeats over and over again until everything is slow and everyone hates SharePoint because its so slow… am I right???

What I’d like to recommend today is a method I have used many times before that solves this problem and hopefully teachers your users a more efficient way to store their content in SharePoint.

For this example, lets say I have a list with 30,000+ items in it.

I see after looking at the content in this list that we have about 5-6 year’s worth of information in this list.

And that there is the kicker. The solution I want to recommend in this case is that you take your content from this list of too many items and break it into several smaller lists by year.

Now this structure is much more manageable and it also allows you as an admin to go into central admin and lower that threshold to something that wont cause SharePoint to move as slow as the day at work before you get ready to go on vacation (Anyone ever experienced that as well?).

Probably the easiest way to accomplish this would be to use a third party tool that your admin group might already have. There are bunches of them and you can read more about it here:

https://collab365.community/sharepoint-comparison-matrix-for-3rd-party-migration-tools/

If you are more developery and want to try and tackle the task using PowerShell, you can have at it, but your mileage may vary. Especially when dealing with item level permissions, notifications, and workflows (beware and double check for these).

Also you can do things like set indexes on columns and other strategies like Metadata and such that you can do to also help with scenarios like this, but those are topics that could be their own posts in the future.

So going forward, please I beg you don’t just increase that view threshold and leave it, you will eventually have to come back and deal with the consequences. It brings to mind something about an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure or something along those lines I’ve heard before…

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps prevent any future pains in SharePoint!

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SharePoint resources for demos

Today’s post I thought I would include in order to find anything needed to create a working demo of SharePoint locally. Nowadays,  Azure or other cloud providers make this much easier, but if you want more control you can spin up your own locally.

Windows Server

2019 (still beta as of now)

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Windows-Server-Insiders/bd-p/WindowsServerInsiders

2016

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-windows-server-2016

2012R2

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-windows-server-2012-r2

 

SQL Server

2017

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-sql-server-2017-RTM

2016

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-sql-server-2016

2014

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-sql-server-2014-sp2

 

SharePoint 2016

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=51493

 

SharePoint 2013

Foundations

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35488

Server (Standard and Enterprise)

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-sharepoint-server-2013

 

SharePoint 2010

Foundations

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=24983

Server (Standard and Enterprise)

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16631

 

Enjoy and happy lab building!

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!

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

Creating sample data for SharePoint with SPDG

If you work like I do trying to setup test environments in SharePoint often, the experience is great when you finally get all the bells and whistles activated for the features you need to test, but then what?

Now you have a great looking environment with no data! A SharePoint farm with no data in it is like a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chips in it. You might as well throw it away and go get something else to eat.

Never fear though as I have recently discovered a great tool that can auto generate much of the content needed to flesh out a SharePoint farm and it happen to be an open source project on GitHub created by the same fine folks that created SPDocKit!

It’s called SPDG (short for SharePoint Data Generator) and it’s another awesome tool to add to your arsenal if you don’t already use it.

Just head over to Github at the following link and check it out here!

Below is an example screenshot to give you an idea of what it looks like:

What is even better about this tool is that you can use it to generate as much content or as little as you need to flesh out your test box. It works with SharePoint Online, and even older versions of SharePoint like 2010!

This tool is so great and I can see so many uses for it, I may just have to do a demo video of this sometime down the road, so stay tuned! I’d love to see more folks talking about this because it definitely saves a lot of time and effort to fill up an empty farm when you need to give a demo!

Many thanks again to the guys over at SysKit for developing something awesome like this!

I hope you enjoy it as well!

No time for documentation? Get SPDocKit!

For many people who work in development and IT there tends to be one universal truth that I have seen time and time again. People setup and spend lots of time and money creating great software systems for businesses and other organizations, but when it comes time to document where things are and how things are configured, documentation falls in line sometimes with the same considerations as system security (hello Equifax?).

I don’t normally write product reviews or give endorsements, but for this one, I have taken an exception. If you need to figure out what all is in your SharePoint farm right now and don’t know, or even if you “THINK” you know about everything in your SharePoint farm and don’t have it on paper, please check out SPDocKit from the great folks at Syskit.

Here’s a great summary if you have never heard of them!

SPDocKit – Ultimate SharePoint Admin Tool

 

Not only will this product document the configuration settings of your farm, it can regularly take snapshots of your environment to help you know how things change over time. And you can even easily publish reports of your farm config at any time! Just take a snapshot (which is like a backup type of job), and then you can report on all kinds of things!

If you want to put your own company logo or labeling on the reports that get output, you have that option as well!

One other thing to know is you can try this out for 30 days and see if you like it, but I can already tell you that once you set this product up and run it once and actually see all of the information that is gathered about your farm in a small amount of time, that you will literally be telling the folks at Syskit “Shut up and take my money!”.

I hope you get to check it out! It’s also very affordable for what the product does!

Here’s a great overview of their latest version:

Hands-on SPDocKit 7 – SharePoint performance, Permissions audit and SharePoint Online

 

Displaying pdf reports in SharePoint

I had an interesting request by someone the other day. I was helping them set up a new site template for SharePoint 2013 and they wanted to display a couple of reports on their site that they had in pdf format in a way to showcase the numbers of the report to others in the company that would visit this site.

There are multiple ways actually to do this very method, but the one I ended up going with is referenced in the following article:

https://sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/151161/how-to-embed-word-and-pdf-documents-in-pages

After doing this one the page it gave a pretty good layout on the page. My only concern going forward is having to update this manually and having to possibly retrain someone to keep this showing the most up to date info on the page.

There are other things I would like to research as part of this like putting in zoom or other capabilities in the code to modify the view of the pdf for the users.

I hope this gives you more ideas for displaying info on sites and pages and should work regardless of what version of SharePoint you are working with.

If you have interesting ways to display reports or other objects on pages, feel free to add to this in the comments below.

Thanks!  -BJ

Update 9/18/17:

Beau Cameron just posted a fantastic article about how to do this in O365. Here’s the link:

http://www.aerieconsulting.com/blog/how-to-embed-a-pdf-in-a-modern-sharepoint-page?utm_source=collab365&utm_medium=collab365today&utm_campaign=daily_digest

Enjoy!

ChattPAC wrap up

I wanted to take some time and just thank everyone who came to hear me talk about SharePoint today at the Chattanooga Portals and Collaboration user group.

I really enjoyed the stories that we all shared and some of the ideas we threw around to get more people talking about SharePoint in our corner of the woods.

If you have any questions or would like to see this talk given again, let me know. I really did enjoy giving it and I hope I can tweak it a bit and give it to another group soon in the future.

Thanks!

BJ

You can find my slides at http://slidesha.re/1qqCc1L

I also have a set of links I will try to post here as well.

KB2775353 fixed with KB2817570 for SP2010 Server

 

Hello again from SharePoint land!

It’s been a while since we talked about KB2775353 and how it made our SharePoint 2010 servers where I work extremely sad and kept them from correctly displaying our BI dashboards in 2010 (see here).

I was originally told when I found this bug that the fix would be put into a patch around the August 2013 CU timeframe, and sure enough with the newest round of patches released I went and got my grubby little hands on it. It took a few days for us to properly test it here, but I can confirm from our internal testing here that this patch corrects our display issue with our dashboards! Yay!!!!

Just to be clear, this is my personal scenario of how things went, YMMV.

We originally patched our farm to the April 2013 CU for SharePoint Server 2010 due to an incorrectly applied patch that came in from windows update, so we were originally forced to move to the April 2013 CU. For the meantime we have been working around this issue by displaying our dashboard items in a different way. We notified MS support of our issue and verified it was indeed a bug and they went to work on correcting it.

So when the August 2013 CU for SP2010 came out a few days ago, I had a couple of options on how to bring my farm up to the latest patch level. What I ended up doing was patching my farm with SP2 and then after checking to make sure everything applied correctly from this patch, applied the August 2013 CU for 2010.

After this, we had to redeploy our dashboards back to how they were before the April 2013 CU mess and verified that everything looks good and is back to normal.

Now I can put all of this mess behind me and work towards upgrading everything to SharePoint 2013. I hope this helps anyone else who runs across this scenario with their BI setup in SharePoint 2010.

Thanks for all the twitter questions and replies to my previous post everyone! I think with 2013, I will be more conservative in my patching going forward…

-BJ