Setting your start pages in Internet Explorer and other browsers

One thing I noticed is that each of my browsers acted differently when I opened them, and even when I closed them.

I am a bit of a browser nerd and I tend to have 3 different ones running no matter which computer I am using. I use each for a different purpose.

On the Mac, I use Safari purely for Rhythm Percussion Ensemble, which is the Content Management System (CMS) we currently use to manage DSA department websites. I use Chrome to show my email and calendar, a nifty little tool I use to calculate how much time I spend on a project. I also use Chrome to listen to Pandora (ahem). Firefox is my work horse on the Mac. This is where I view my projects, create newsletters, and review website changes. I lose track of how many tabs I have open in Firefox. I also use Firefox to do my research.

On the PC, I spend most of my time in Internet Explorer because SharePoint Online and Internet Explorer are best friends. I have lots of tabs open as I work between all of the sites I am working on. I use Chrome for my research and anything not on SharePoint. Chrome is also my default browser. Also, I use its developer tools to identify the CSS code behind SharePoint pages if I need to, as the developer tools for Internet Explorer leave a lot to be desired. I use Firefox for posting images on our digital signage system, and other specific-task related work that’s outside of my role in SharePoint. I set all the different tabs to open on startup, so I never have to navigate to them manually. Normally, Firefox is my workhorse on the Mac, but because I need Internet Explorer for everything SharePoint related, I don’t use it much here, except for the digital sign work and to test things in different browsers.

Setting up your startup tabs in your browser

I warned you that I can be long-winded, but there are times that I like to provide context behind the topic at hand.

Each browser is different in how it sets up the start tabs for you, but most are similar enough to where these instructions for Internet Explorer should be general enough to work for you:

Find the gear, then choose Options or Internet Options
Under Home Page, type in the address(es) that you want to open first.

Internet Explorer Startup Screen

Within Internet Explorer, I also added my most frequently visited SharePoint Online sites including the central communication hub, my blog site, an Office365/SharePoint training site, and an administrative SharePoint site I built to keep track of issues.

What’s interesting about that, is that the SharePoint sites all require me to log in, but rather than log in three times, I just log in once, then click the little Home button on the browser, and all five pages reload. Nice extra bonus tip.

Having these sites set up in my home page tabs easily saves me about 10 minutes per load, or possibly up to 30 minutes a day. Try it!


Using Doodle…

While this has very little to do with SharePoint, it does have a little to do with organization, and getting things done. Today I set up my doodle profile, and connected it with one of my calendars – one that I will only use for Doodle, and here’s why:

  1. While I could connect it to my work calendar, I have way too many open spots on my calendar that people could cannibalize when I want to keep them meeting-free
  2. I have a time divide calendar that I use for my supervisor – basically a macro view of in which area I am spending my time, but without the detail of tasks and appointments. While this is nice for her, I can’t use this for my Doodle, because it would show me busy all the time.

So, I created a new calendar where I just blocked off the times I am working for one department, as well as the days that I want to keep clear for deadline purposes. I will see how much of a chore it is to keep up, but I do like that I get an email notification, which I will be able to drag directly over to the calendar for a meeting; and any meetings it schedules for me are automatically no longer available for anyone else.

For more information about Doodle…. visit

Setting up Outlook on my Android

I like to have my communication tools at hand where I go. I find that if I don’t have them with me, then they will laugh at me when I miss an appointment, or an update.

Having said that, I don’t want to be notified of new emails when they come in. I find that very distracting and doesn’t work well for me when I am trying to concentrate.

I haven’t had a chance to set up my Outlook on my computer yet, but I did go ahead and download the Outlook app. I looked up the instructions on how to connect my exchange and after several tries, I got it to work.


  1. I turned off notifications for new emails. I don’t need a noise and a notification showing up in my screen to let me know when I have a work email.
  2. I set my signature (otherwise it just says “sent from outlook mobile”)
  3. I left the focused inbox on, and I will play with the swipe features and report on their usefulness.
  4. I did leave notifications on for the calendar.


  • I wish I could turn off the annoying little circles under a calendar notice
  • I wish the outlook app would show tasks so I could add tasks directly into the app without having to load them into the PC

Installing QuickTime for Windows 10

As of this writing, Apple hasn’t come out with a new version of QuickTime that will run on Windows 10. In fact, any version after 7.7.6 won’t run on Windows 10. I first downloaded the latest version of QuickTime, hoping they had resolved the issue. They hadn’t.

Luckily, they still had version 7.7.6 available for download. I downloaded it, set the compatibility settings in the file’s properties, and now I have a working version of QuickTime on my Windows 10 machine.

I know the two companies don’t like each other, but can they stop taking it out on the user? Let’s just make sure your programs work in their environment so that businesses and people like ourselves can keep providing our services the way we’re used to. Thanks Apple and Microsoft!

Creating sites from templates

Today I finally made the templates for the “public” versions of our departmental sites. We have team sites that are private, accessible only by the people who work in those departments or committees.

We created a publicly accessible portal page that linked to each of the private sites, but that created error screens for anyone who wanted to visit a site run by their peers. This was not a very pleasant user experience, so the solution we came up with is university-accessible sites.

Today I made the templates for both the departments and the committees. We had designed them late last year, and were waiting for data to implement them now. I received that data today, and we plan to populate the sites on March 4th, with the help of an army of SharePoint Coordinators.

The department sites include two apps: Location Finder, and Visio. I had to remove them from the base site template and put in placeholder images before I could save out and deploy the department templates. Creating these sites was a fairly simple process, and took about 5-10 minutes per site. Of course, needing to do 30 sites meant this took several hours, and all I really got accomplished today was changing the name of the site, and updating permissions.

None of the content has been placed on the sites yet, but the sites are looking really good. I will post instructions on how to create site templates, and creating new sites using SharePoint Designer 2013.

Using OneNote 2013 pages as a task list

This video showed me something I hadn’t thought of doing before… if you’ll note what the man did – is create pages named >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> and is using his page list as a task or project list. That’s actually pretty cool.
It’s a way to create sections within sections. I might have to look into doing that.

Permissions, Access, Restrictions

Whatever you want to call it, permissions or access, is one of the more fun and complicated pieces about SharePoint Online.

Permission levels we use at work

Because we have publishing turned on at the site collection level, we have (or are using) the following permission levels:

View: can see items, but cannot download them

Read: can see items, and can download them

Contribute: can see items, download them, and can add, change, and delete list or library items

Edit: can do everything contribute can do, and can add, change, and delete lists or libraries

Owner: can do everything edit can do, and can edit permissions, add and delete subsites.

Permissions can be set at various levels

Site collection level: while access can be set at the site collection level, we decided not to use our site collection level site for anything specific other than to house assets (images and files) for use throughout the DSA sites. Therefore, any settings we have here are very specific and somewhat more restrictive.

Site level: mostly used for our departmental and committee team sites, where all members of your department or committee are members of a site. This level of access is the most common, and is also used among sub sites within your unit.

List or library level: we might use this if we have certain files that we want to share with other people, but we don’t want to necessarily grant access to the whole site. We might also use this on a team site where there are some documents that should be private for just one or two people in a department.

Item level: mostly refers to documents, pages, or images. I can do a whole presentation on this one and what the consequences are – we’re living it in some places. Be very careful with this one. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.