Microsoft and LinkedIn published free Office 365 training


Microsoft and LinkedIn have created new training courses about various Office apps and services. The courses are available for free in the Office Training Center, and cover topics like how to use Outlook 2016 and Excel 2016.


Source: New Office training courses from LinkedIn Learning – Office Blogs


SharePoint is like a large commode


“Site collection” and “Site”, I am lost !

… this is what I heard yesterday in a meeting.

To illustrate what it is and give my advice to the person who, I thought, was acting as the company’s SharePoint Administrator, I asked to see the Office 365 Admin Center and SharePoint Admin Center.

What was there: a dozen of size collections and all “pilot sites” that have been requested by a couple of teams to “play with SharePoint”, all of them where just under the Managed Path /Sites/ such as

No no, sir ! Let’s go back to basics and understand why you would like to use a few Site Collections in your environment and where to put the sites.

It has been a few years that I am avoiding technical jargon with my clients because the person who previously only had to be the SharePoint Administrator is now also the head of IT Support, the Infrastructure Manager and oh, may be also managing the 500 staff mobile phones, so I get that they don’t have to remember every systems’ ins and outs.

I used the old analogy that we used to use for Windows Folders:

Would you create a new drawer each time you have a new colours of socks to put together, or would you just find more space within that drawer to add the new item?


Image courtesy:

Site collection” would be your drawers, where you would put your “group of items’ in each one (granted, you may however have a very high commode of 20+ drawers, so build it wide!), and your “sites” would be your little compartments in each, to keep thing cleaner, neat and hum.. may be block access to some of them by having a little lock on it.

My user was happy with the explanation and actually was feeling sorry for the messy sites he created, not his fault I said, it’s not that obvious when the names are so similar.

Let’s demystify SharePoint and refer to it in plain English so that everybody gets it, shall we ?!

[Nintex Workflow] Add user to Site Collection Administrator group with REST API


Helping people to automate their workplace is my passion and lucky for me I also get paid to do so !

This week I was finishing working with a partner to improve the (poor) automation steps required by Matter Center, which no-one can really complain because Microsoft made it open-source.
Matter Center documentation requires to create each client as a new site collection in PowerShell, but this is not quite possible if the users registering these new clients on a daily basis are regular Office 365 users and not SharePoint Administrators.Thanks to a few Nintex Workflows we managed to do all the configuration in the background.

Thanks to a few Nintex Workflows we managed to do all the configuration in the background.
Today’s post is not about the site collection creation so I will spare the details, but in summary and very high level, I developed 4 workflows, 1 CSOM Javascript to be executed on the browser, and 1 Nintex Form of course for submitting the new client on desktop or mobile.

Now this quick blog post is regarding the challenge that we had to add the user as a Site Collection Administrator of that newly created site collection.

Since there is no mention of the sort in it may useful for someone, so here it is:

  1. Create a new Nintex workflow in an Office 365 site list.
  2. Download and Import the .NWP workflow file available here to replace the blank workflow
  3. Edit a few of the actions at the beginning of the workflow to set the variables (I never hard-code UserName and Password for instance, so you will see a few Lookup to a different list to get the value, which you can replace since they will be showing an error once imported into your list)

Note: In this workflow, the “user” I am adding to the Site Collection Administrators group is actually the “CreatedBy” of the list item, which may sound strange since the user running that workflow may be the CreatedBy. However this is NOT the case (refer to above point: we do not want all users to be SharePoint admins!), here is how you should sequence the workflow to start:
1) After the List Item is created, a first workflow (run by CreatedBy) i.e. called “Start and Call workflow 2” and in the workflow we just add a “Start Workflow”

2) then within that first workflow we just add a “Start Workflow” making sure that this action is bein executed in an “App Step” in order to use “elevated privilege”.


3) finally all the actions are happening in Workflow2 (which you imported in step 2)


Hope this helps someone.


Back to SharePoint basics: create a list for leavers


I receive too often this request (from my sister this week;-):

Can I create something in SharePoint to let my colleagues log their own holiday so that I can later export that list to Excel ?

So here is a quick video with step I made, following this should give you just that.

Add to this the out-of-the-box SharePoint Alerts and you will receive a notification each time a new leave is registered.

Nothing much to it, no workflow approval plugged-in, but nice and simple SharePoint OOB No-Code solution that is quite often overlooked.

(sorry for the Audio which is not great, as I said, it’s a quick and dirty tip)

Prevent users from using the default Content Type in a list


New_Item_ribbonWhen users are viewing a list it is quite common that they do not see the multiple choice of content types that is offered to them and they just click “New Item” which limits somehow their work.


Although users access the new items from direct links from other pages, I always think that one may end up looking at the “All Site Content” and see the list itself, so I often use a trick to force my users to make use of the drop down:

  • In the List/Library Settings:
    • add an “item” Content Type in addition to the CT offered to the user, rename it to “-“
    • then click “Change new button order and default content type” and make that new item the first and default CT
    • then I edit the Content Type in Nintex Forms with a message such as below


I was going to attach the Nintex Forms for Office 365 to this post but actually, it’s such a simple one that it is faster to reproduce it rather than detaching the picture and importing the form.

Is this useful ? Click below.


I like the new Office 365 MyApps resizable icons



So I can resize some icon and minimise the ones I don’t use much, instead of hiding them fully.


Shame that we still cannot deploy custom icons to all users in one go, there is quite a lot of request about this in UserVoice so hopefully it will be developed:  Allow the admin to pin custom tiles to the app launcher for all users in the tenant

Other suggestion to improve the App Launcher, some not always clever but other would be great to have: Apps and App Launcher UserVoice.



Typical example on using the same Columns in more than one Content Type


An interesting concept that is often never used:

  • Already Site Collection Content Types is not always used well or used enough in SharePoint: a lot of people make use of only site level or far worse: list level Content Types, may I remind that list content type only resides in the actual list and therefore not to be re-used elsewhere (!).

Today the scenario I had was just about making good use of Site collection content types, which I mostly do but also, and this is rare : shared columns between 2 content types. (note: Title column is already shared between all Content types)
I was developing the basis of an online form (with Nintex form) and here is the case study:

a form using the Content Type called “Pre-Meeting” will be used to enter some meeting agenda items that can be saved a few days before a meeting and sent to attendees for information.
Then during the meeting or straight after a new online form will be submitted using the Content Type “Meeting Minutes”.

What would be nice is to use the agenda items from the Pre-Meeting form to pre-populate the one of the Meeting form. The final solution will be a bit tricky (CSOM in UI or Workflow in background), but the point of this blog post is not that functionality but is about making good use of Site Collection Columns creation and especially duplication can be avoided: the columns created in the 1st content type can be added to the second content type and NOT re-created as new columns.

Since an image speaks better, here is the screenshot below: