Promoted Links: how to show more than 30 links on a page

Excuse my while I rant for a little bit… I’ll get on topic, I promise.
Microsoft for some reason seems to think that all users in the world want the same thing. We all want promoted links that scroll off to the right and don’t wrap on the page, and we only ever need to display 30 links at any given time.

I dealt with the scrolling issue a while back on our SharePoint site by using the wrapping code in this blog post. I ran into the limitation of 30 links while creating the Strengths “Pinterest” board, because, well, there are 34 strengths in Clifton Strengthsfinder, and I am sure the folks who have Self-Assurance, Significance, Strategic, and/or Woo would like to see their strengths listed along with the others.

This limitation of the 30 links though was another one of those “REALLY???” moments. I don’t know why this can’t just be an option in a menu, but Microsoft has just placed a limit of 30 links on a page. OK. Rant over. Let’s get down to how to fix Microsoft’s out of the box solution.

Changing the Tiles View in SharePoint Designer

Most of the time 30 links is more than you need, but in some cases (such as with our Strengths page) we need it to show more than 30 links. The problem is that Tiles is set to ReadOnly, so you cannot modify the settings on the Tile view without first setting the Tile view to ReadOnly=FALSE. You need SharePoint Designer to make that adjustment to the Tile view.

Open SharePoint Designer, then navigate to the list you’re wanting to change. Click on the Tiles link. This will give you the code for the Tiles page.

At the bottom of the code, we have the following:

promotedlinks-tileview-edit-code

The key I have found for this is to change the following settings:

  • Change ReadOnly=”TRUE” to ReadOnly=”FALSE”
  • I left pagination on, and just changed the rowlimit from 30 to 999.

Then I saved it.

Just a note: WebParts don’t automatically update when you change the view, so if you created a page and placed the promoted links WebPart on it, to get all the promoted links to show, you have to edit the WebPart and then choose Tiles view again.

By having set ReadOnly to FALSE you are now also able to create any kind of view based on the Tiles view so you can configure other options for showing your tiles you need to.

Using promoted links to create a pseudo Pinterest board

Pinterest is a great resource for housing your online reference system, for recipes as well as for work related items. I have a number of Office365 or SharePoint boards that I reference regularly, so it was no surprise to me that the Strengths team was collaborating on using Pinterest to gather resources specific to the 34 Clifton StrengthFinders themes, both for personal reference and also for Strength Consultants to use in coaching sessions.

Once you’ve created that great resource on Pinterest, the inevitable question then becomes: how do we get these boards into SharePoint? In testing the functionality for embedding the actual Pinterest board into SharePoint and discovering that it does not work in all browsers, I started thinking about other approaches, and Promoted Links seemed an obvious choice, and this graphic below shows what that could look like. It accomplishes the same task and I like that everything looks uniform.

SharePoint: Promoted Links - Pinterest Board

Wrapping Promoted Links

Promoted links for some reason by default only have one row, and it’s a never-ending scroll toggle to view all of your promoted links. Well, it does end… at 30.

To improve the user experience, we prefer to wrap our promoted links to the page zone.  We do that by creating a Snippet Editor WebPart and pasting the following code.

<style>
.ms-promlink-header  { display:none; }
.ms-promlink-body { width: 100%; }   
</style>

Adding a Pinterest Board to SharePoint

There are all types of productivity tools out there, and I have blogged about Pinterest and its usefulness before as a work and productivity tool. I have been asked a few times about adding a Pinterest board to a SharePoint site, and I am pleased to say that it is possible to do so. As of today however, for some reason, the Pinterest board only shows in a SharePoint site in Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and various browsers on the Mac, but not in Internet Explorer.

If you plan on embedding Pinterest in your page, you may need to include a disclaimer that the user should view your page in a browser other than Internet Explorer. Considering we’re advocating people use Internet Explorer because certain things won’t work in other browsers, this is a bit of a deal breaker for me.

An alternative to embedding a Pinterest board would be to use the Promoted Links app to point to Pinterest boards. There will be a future post on using promoted links in this fashion.

In any case, the code for adding a Pinterest board to your SharePoint page can be found at the Pinterest Developers Site. You add the code to the SharePoint site using two Snippet Editor web parts, which are found under the Media and Content subsection of the INSERT WEBPART menu.

pinterest-board-on-sharepoint

Extracting the URL from Document Library’s Link type

Background:

Apparently in SP Online Document Library app, the Title field is not linked to the document. Last year, using Laura Rogers’ workaround, I created a workflow to extract the AbsoluteURL from the file name and attach it to the title of the file, which then got pasted into a new field called DocumentTitle.

Fast forward to Summer 2016:

Microsoft added the ability to add links to other documents into a document library. It generates a filename with a .url extension to hold the data. So now, the AbsoluteURL I was using in the workflow, is the actual file name of the URL listing (i.e. Employee Handbook.url) and not the URL of the file that is linked.
As an aside, Microsoft has not (yet) given us the ability to actually edit the link once we create the URL. Why, I don’t know, but it’s a one-time shot. If you need to change it, you need to delete the current one, and then add a new one, along with all the wonderful metatags.
The actual URL to the file or web address to which you want to link is hidden a new ShortcutURL field, and the contents of that field looks like this:
{“__metadata”:{“type”:”SP.FieldUrlValue”},”Description”:”https:\/\/www.hr.vt.edu\/_files\/file_hr_emp_handbook.pdf“,”Url”:”https:\/\/www.hr.vt.edu\/_files\/file_hr_emp_handbook.pdf“}
While I’m somewhat familiar with string manipulation, I didn’t know how to do this in a SharePoint Designer workflow, so I reached out to my awesome mentor, @duffbert, who sent me a screenshot of something similar he had found and then walked me through the logic. He is just awesome.

The solution:

 workflow-to-extract-url-in-document-library

 

Inside a new stage

  • Action: Set Workflow Variable
    • Name the variable: e.g. URLlink
    • Value: From the Current Item menu choose Shortcut URL
  • Action: Find substring in string (Output to Variable: index)
    • Substring = “Url”:”
    • String = “Variable: URLlink”
  • Action: do calculation
    • Calculate “Variable: Index” plus “7” (Output to variable:calc)
  • Action: Extract Substring from index of String
    (this line becomes Copy from string, starting at 0 (Output to Variable: substring)

    • String = “Variable: URLlink”
    • Starting at: “Variable calc”
  • Action: Find substring in string (Output to Variable: index1)
    • Substring = “}
    • String = “Variable: substring”
  • Action: Extract Substring of String from Index with Length
    (this line becomes Copy from string, starting at 0 for value characters (Output to Variable: substring1)

    • Value = “Variable: URLlink”, starting at “Variable: calc” for “Variable: index1” characters (Output to Variable: substring1)
  • Action: Replace Substring in String
    • String = \/ (backslash, forward slash)
    • String = /
    • String = “Variable: substring1” (Output to Variable: output)
Now, using the output variable, I can attach the File URL to the DocumentTitle field so when someone clicks on the Title name, it will actually open the file in the browser window, and not ask a user to download a funky Employee Handbook.url file.
The complete workflow now looks like this:
workflow-to-extract-url-in-document-library-complete

Be careful with granular permissions

This weekend my husband complained that “Technology has given us the capability to turn the simplest thing into something extremely complicated.”

We were trying to look up what time a band was playing at a festival. The festival had developed a mobile website which contained no information about the cost of events, and didn’t contain the schedule for the day in question. In the end, we had to look on the band’s website to confirm that they were indeed playing, but that also did not contain a date or time. We ended up going to the festival location and asking someone in an information booth.

Why do I bring this up? I am often met with the question of whether certain groups should have subsites, or if content can live all on one site. The answer to this question is two words: it depends.

In a high tech environment we can often overcomplicate permissions required for certain systems or processes. While I am conscious of making sure that certain systems or processes should be protected, I have found that in general, people don’t tend to go to places they shouldn’t, and if you make it just a little more cumbersome for them to get somewhere, they generally don’t bother.

In certain situations, it is absolutely warranted to create a subsite accessible by only certain people, or to lock down certain document libraries for a minimal number of eyes. Sensitive information such as a department’s HR files should of course be kept confidential, and shouldn’t be accessible or even viewable by anyone without a specific charge.

When it comes to some things however, such as a basic task list, or a collection of general documents, having those extra layers of security may not be necessary, and may actually complicate matters in the long run. Having several task lists just makes it difficult to keep track of your todos, and SharePoint is supposed to make things easier, right?

I prefer to keep granular permission setting (at the item or list level) to a minimum and when I see it happening on a site, you can expect a phone call or an email from me to ask for clarification as to why it’s being handled this way. Sometimes it makes absolute sense to use your devised solution, and other times there may be other ways to handle the privacy of your processes without needing to specifically grant or deny permissions.

View settings in Outlook

If you have never played with the view settings within Outlook, you’re missing out on some key features and customizable options to reviewing your email. In a conversation with a DSA colleague the other day the subject of “above the fold” and “below the fold” came up – i.e. this person tries to handle everything that comes in, but if the email ends up “below the fold” – i.e. below what’s viewable on the screen, the contents could get lost, and the email will not receive a response.

I thought I would share with you some of the ways that I handle the sorting of email. First, I use the flag feature religiously. If the email has some importance, or I am awaiting a reply after I have responded to the email, then I will flag it for follow up. I chose “one week” as my default follow up time frame, and then I set up my custom view on my inbox folder to group emails by Follow Up flag, showing all groupings as collapsed (not expanded).

Outlook - Flag View

This way, all the new emails come in underneath the “unflagged” section, allowing me to handle them as they come in. Important items, or items that I know will take more than 5 minutes to handle, are flagged and appear in the top section of my email, thus making sure that I won’t lose it “below the fold.” Once my email has been cleared, I file the emails, and then return to the flagged items for my project work.