Pasting hyperlinks with descriptions into SharePoint

I would consider this an advanced tip, since it involves the use of Microsoft Access but when you have a lot of links to enter and modify on SharePoint, it might be worth looking at. The hyperlink field in SharePoint is actually made up two parts: the description, and the URL. Using the Quick Edit menu when pasting the links replaces both the URL and the description. If you want the description to be different, you can click on the hyperlink icon, which then shows a little dialog box, where you can make the change.

SharePoint: Hyperlink Field

While this method works really well for the occasional link, I was working on a list that contained 104 links that I needed to update in this fashion. I imagined there had to be a better way, and thankfully there are a lot of people smarter than me out on the world wide web. I found this great article which explained the process for importing those links into SharePoint.

While the solution gets there in a very roundabout way, it saved me a ton of time.

Step One: Create an Excel file

First you need to create the list of descriptions and links in a Microsoft Excel file. You probably start here anyway if you are dealing with a lot of links.

In another field, use the CONCATENATE formula to add a #, a comma, and a space between the description and the link, so the link looks as follows:

DSA Home#, https://virginiatech.sharepoint.com/sites/dsa/home/

Excel screen shot showing one row with two columns: Column 1: DSA Home, Column 2: Hyperlink to dsa home site. Below that is a formula showing =CONCATENATE(column1, "#; ", column2)

Open your SharePoint list in Microsoft Access

Once you have your spreadsheet is up, go to SharePoint list in question and from the LIST tab, choose OPEN WITH ACCESS.

SharePoint: Open with Access

Access will ask you to save the file. If you want to save it permanently, you may want to save it back to SharePoint. Else, saving it to your hard drive works for a temporary need.

If you’re working in the new version of the list view, you may have to switch to classic SharePoint view.

Use the shift and arrow keys on your keyboard to select the fields you want to change, and then paste the content from your Microsoft Excel file into Access.Hyperlink Field Access Sample

If you need more help, view the video on the article page for more details.

Removing the checkbox field from list views

When you create list views, you always end up with a little check box field that you don’t really need nor want, but it shows up anyway.

Its purpose of that check box field is to allow you to select the item so that you can edit the properties, but in some cases you just don’t want that. You just want the link to the document or item and don’t want the check box thing in your way.

It was bugging me but not enough to really find a solution, until today. Last week I had a great session with someone who uses a screen reader for their work and I discovered that SharePoint is EXTREMELY lacking in its accessibility compatibility. We reviewed all kinds of site configurations that I had created in the past to see what the reader could see and what it couldn’t.

It appeared to me that any page I had created using XSL tended to work fairly well, but that any regular SharePoint table was hampered by the little checkboxes that appear on the left. I sought to try XSL on a document library and the little check box still showed up, now as a hovering thing that moved the text over on the screen.

Long story short: a very simple “on/off” switch in the Tabular View section of a list view.

tabularview-allowcheckboxes

tabularview-allowcheckbox-no

The default shows this as ON and turning it OFF limits the user in being able to perform bulk actions. Before automatically turning this OFF, think about the end user and what their needs are. I am hopeful that making this change will help make pages more ADA compliant to generate a better user experience for those with screen readers. I will keep you updated as we find more “fixes” for screen readers.

Using promoted links in your SharePoint pages

Promoted links are a way for us to display our links in a pictorial format. I like promoted links because they are a little interactive when you mouse over them. It’s also nice to use an app to link pictures, so we don’t need to handle this through uploading images and linking them individually through HTML.

SharePoint: Promoted Links Example

There is a bit of a trick to setting them up. You need to upload the images into a Picture Library or SiteAssets Library and then keep that library open while you’re creating the promoted links so you will know the URL for your image. However, once it’s set up, the more enhanced user experience makes up for any issues you might have with creating it on the front end. The above links look so much more pleasant than the links below, don’t they?

Keystone Experience
High-Impact Practices
InclusiveVT
Strengths
Well-Being

Using the drag down feature to quickly copy information in SharePoint Online

Some of you may have seen this feature in Excel, where you have the ability to quickly fill rows with same information. I am finding on my personal SharePoint task list that waiting for SharePoint to complete the “Assigned to” field is somewhat cumbersomeSharePoint: Data sheet drag down - cross hairs, since I’m the only one who is ever assigned tasks on my own SharePoint task list. Luckily, SharePoint Online has that same feature in DATASHEET view. You see this datasheet view when you choose Quick Edit if it’s available for your list.

Do you see that little blue square at the bottom of this cell?

SharePoint: Data sheet drag down - filledWhen you place your mouse over it, it turns into a cross hair, and you can drag it down as many cells as you need.

It will then copy and paste the information from the first cell into the cells below, as shown.

Use Calendar alerts to make sure you don’t miss out on new events

I know that I have posted this before, but it bears repeating. Our division calendar is full of events and important dates, and I love that I can connect it directly into my Outlook and have a side-by-side comparison with my own calendar. I often do that at the beginning of the week, just to make sure I’m not missing anything.

As convenient as all of that is, there is one piece missing. How do I know when new events have been added? Or, for that matter, when events have been removed?

Luckily SharePoint has the alerts feature built into most out of the box applications, and thus you can be alerted about almost any changes made to items on your SharePoint site.

You may need to set up two alerts: one for new items, and one for deleted items. A weekly summary should suffice to make sure you’re kept up to date on new events.

To set up alerts

Activate the calendar page so that only the calendar is showing on your page. Above the site logo are several tabs.

  • Click on the CALENDAR tab
  • Choose Alert Me
  • Set an Alert on this list

From the New Alert screen, I recommend that you add the site name in front of the title so that it appears in the subject line of your email.

Change Type: If you choose immediate notifications, I recommend you choose New items are added rather than All Changes.

Creating a Current Year View in SharePoint

SharePoint can handle some date calculations on the fly. One of those is to use [Today] which lets you create upcoming views or past views based specifically on today’s date. Such as, use [Today]+7 to generate the next 7 days. Or use [Today]-21 to give me a date from 3 weeks ago.

SharePoint is not so good at handling current week or current month, or even current year. I created a blog post for the current week in a previous post, as well as a post for the current month. Today I am sharing the formula for creating the current year view.

Just like a week view, we need to create a YearStart and a YearEnd field to gather the beginning and end of the month.

Both of these columns are calculated fields.

The formula for the Start of the Year is

=DATE(YEAR([Created]),1,1)

It’s essentially an EXCEL formula that works in SharePoint. To break apart this formula, let’s look at each part:

The Date Formula gathers the YEAR info, then the MONTH info, and then the DAY info.

The above formula then essentially says:

  • Give me the Year from the Created field
  • Then give me the first month (1)
  • Then give me the first day (1)

The formula for the End of the Year is

=DATE(YEAR([Created]),12,31)

Which tells SharePoint to do the following:

  • Give me the YEAR from the Created field
  • Then give me the 12th Month
  • Then give me the 31st day

Applying these columns in a Filter

The next step is to use these dates in a filter so it will show you the current month.

We do that through the use of VIEWS

In the filter section of the view, use the following references:

Column: YearStart is less than or equal to [Today]

Column: YearEnd is greater than or equal to [Today]

Creating a Current Month View on SharePoint

SharePoint can handle some date calculations on the fly. One of those is to use [Today] which lets you create upcoming views or past views based specifically on today’s date. Such as, use [Today]+7 to generate the next 7 days. Or use [Today]-21 to give me a date from 3 weeks ago.

SharePoint is not so good at handling current week or current month. I created a blog post for the current week in a previous post. Today I am sharing the formula for creating the current month view.

Just like a week view, we need to create a MonthStart and a MonthEnd column to gather the beginning and end of the month.

Both of these columns are calculated fields.

The formula for the Start of the Month is

=DATE(YEAR([Created]),MONTH([Created]),1)

It’s essentially an EXCEL formula that works in SharePoint. To break apart this formula, let’s look at each part:

The Date Formula gathers the YEAR info, then the MONTH info, and then the DAY info.

The above formula then essentially says:

  • Give me the YEAR from the Created field
  • Then give me the MONTH from the Created field
  • Then give me the first DAY of this month (that’s where the 1 comes in)

The formula for the End of the Month is

=DATE(YEAR([Created]),MONTH([Created])+1,1)-1

Which tells SharePoint to do the following:

  • Give me the YEAR from the Created field
  • Then give me the MONTH from the Created field, and add 1 to it (so make it next month)
  • Then give me the first DAY of the month (so it’s now the first day of next month)
  • Then subtract 1 day from that (which gives you the last day of this month)

Applying these columns in a Filter

The next step is to use these dates in a filter so it will show you the current month.

We do that through the use of VIEWS

In the filter section of the view, use the following references:

Column: MonthStart is less than or equal to [Today]

Column: MonthEnd is greater than or equal to [Today]