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?

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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]

Creating a Discussion List item using Outlook

When you connect your Outlook to a Discussion List on SharePoint, it creates a section in Outlook’s Mail tab such as the one shown below.

outlook-sharepointlists

Unlike your email inbox, you won’t be able to delete or move any posts from the Discussion List, so for those of us who don’t like the bold numbers next to folders, you may want to right-click the Discussion List name and choose Mark All as Read so that the numbers disappear. Then, as new items come in, you will see them there.

Outlook SharePoint Lists - right-click menu: Mark all as Read

You can also send posts directly from Outlook by clicking on New Post.

Outlook SharePoint Lists - New Post

Just as an email, you can add images and attachments into your New Post.

However, if you want to make edits to your post, you won’t be able to do that in Outlook, so you can do that that by double-clicking on your post to open it, and then choosing Open in Browser.

Outlook SharePoint Lists - Open in Browser

From there, you can click on Edit Item. Make your edits to the post, and then click Save.

Outlook SharePoint Lists - Edit Item

Note – you can only edit your own posts, not other people’s.

Send calendar updates to your inbox

If you’re using a central SharePoint calendar for your business, it is often the go-to for your people. You can post meetings, leadership open office hours, events, functions, etc. You can also use them to administrative deadlines.

As with Discussions and Announcements, you can choose to receive an email when new calendar items are added.

In order to set up an alert, activate the Calendar to where you have a page that only shows the calendar. 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.

When to Send Alerts: Choose your preferred option. For daily or weekly notifications, I recommend you set your time and day outside of normal working hours so you get a full day or week worth of changes at once.