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Microsoft Office 365 OneDrive vs. SharePoint Sites

Posted by Amber Vogel on Oct 30, 2015 4:45:21 PM

Planning for Microsoft Office 365 involves more than just moving emails and documents from one server to another.This transition provides an opportunity to re-organize, categorize and classify documents personally and professionally across the organization. 

The most common questions I get asked in planning for Microsoft Office 365 are:

  • What is the different between OneDrive for Business and Sites?
  • When and how should I use one or the other?

If I do not get asked this question I always ask it because organizations tend to use Microsoft OneDrive for Business as a catch all without understanding the ramifications or business process limitations they will face long term.

The following are considerations to talk through when deciding where documents should live and how to interact with them:

  • What is the structure of your documents today? Are they hard to find, is a document stored in more than one place, are they still relevant?
  • Where do all of your documents live today? Are there multiple locations, systems, rules?
  • Who has access to what documents?
  • How do I differentiate between my working documents and shared documents?
  • How can I use metadata tags to categorize documents and refine search results?
  • How do my users create, store, edit, collaborate, and discard documents today? What is the business process today and how can we improve it going forward?

Technically there are no differences between storing documents in Microsoft OneDrive vs Sites. Functionally how you store them and the business process to support the workflow will drive how and when you use one or another. Here are some tips, observations, and terminology that will help support planning and decisions.

· Personal, My Documents, Desktop

· Company/Enterprise Collaboration Tool

· Microsoft Version of Drop Box

· Multiple sites, Unique business requirements

· Setup controlled by local user

· Controlled by central administrator(s)

· Owner selects what to share with other users

· Varying levels of security established by the Company/Enterprise

· Only files and folders

· Intranet (tasks, calendar, events, contacts, discussions, etc…)

· Limited scope or life cycle

· Long term document management/archive

The process flow graphic included with this post provides a simple walk through to help users determine where to put the documents. However, the determination may warrant more discussion and planning depending on the complexity of the business process and how many other users are involved. You may find that a document belongs in OneDrive initially but as the importance or relevance of the document changes it makes sense to move it into Sites. This is a simple process, either copy and paste, or drag and drop using file explorer. Both of these tools are designed to be flexible and adapt to changes in your business.

I hope this article sparked a conversation in your planning discussion on how to organize documents as well as informed you on the difference between these two tools. If you have any questions about Microsoft OneDrive or Microsoft SharePoint, feel free to contact us. 

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Topics: Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft SharePoint

Adding a Searchable Tag Field to an Image Library in SharePoint Foundation

Posted by Josh Nikle on Sep 3, 2015 9:30:00 AM

Microsoft-Sharepoint-2013SharePoint’s search features are without question among its top selling points.  And while SharePoint foundation’s search isn’t as full featured as the Enterprise edition of the product, it’s still very powerful.  One common request I get is allowing photos to be tagged and searched for via those tags.  This simple tutorial will walk you through setting that up.

Create a new site column

First we need to create a new Tags field. Image libraries do have a Keywords field that you would expect to use for this functionality. However, it’s a multi-line text field, which SharePoint’s search service can’t index. So, what we’re going to do instead is create a new site column of the single line of text type.

  1. Go to Site Settings and then Site Columns under the Web Designer Galleries section.
  2. Click on Create.
  3. Create a column as you would for any other list or library.
    1. Name the column Tags.
    2. Select the Single line of text type.
    3. Leave the rest as defaults and click OK.


We now have a site column ready to add to our image library.  The nice thing about site columns is that they’re automatically added to the search index.  Saves us work later.

Create an image library

  1. Go to Site Contents.
  2. Under Lists, Libraries, and other Apps, click Add an app.
  3. Under Apps you can add, click Picture Library.
  4. In the Adding Asset Library dialog box, type “Images” for the name of the library, and then click Create.

Add the site column to our image library

  1. Open the Images library we just created.
  2. In the ribbon menu, click Library Settings.
  3. In the columns section, select Add from existing site columns.
  4. In the Select site columns from dropdown, select Custom Columns.
  5. Add the Tags column from the Available site columns box.


That's it.

Now when you add a new image, you’ll see the Tags column at the bottom of the form.  Also, as I said, the beauty of the site column is that it’s automatically added to the search index.  Once a full crawl is run, all the tags you’ve added will turn up in search results. 

You can now search for images by tags.

Wrapping up

I hope this was helpful.  However, don’t stop here.  You can take the principles in this post and create any searchable content you like. Feel free to contact us with any Microsoft SharePoint questions you have. 

In a future post I’ll cover creating a custom search page that only returns image results and displays a nice preview.

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Topics: Microsoft SharePoint

Opening PDFs in the Browser in SharePoint Foundation 2013

Posted by Josh Nikle on May 21, 2015 3:00:00 PM

SharePoint's PDF "Support"

sharepoint_iconWith SharePoint 2013, Microsoft is finally offering native support for the PDF file format. No more add-ons or custom icons and code. However, saying it “supports” PDFs is a bit generous.

SharePoint’s default behavior is to force the user to download the file. Having hundreds of files residing on desktops all over your organization might be construed as defeating the purpose of document storage in SharePoint in the first place, so we need to fix that.

To get PDFs to open in the browser, you need to change the Browser File Handling setting to permissive. You’re half way there, but now PDFs are opening in the same window. This is obviously problematic, so you need to go one step further and edit your search center’s display template to add “target=’_blank’ ” to PDF URLs.

However, this option isn’t available in SharePoint Foundation 2013. You have no access to any display templates. And so, I fall back on my old standby: JQuery.

The basic process is…

1. Change the Browser File Handling to permissive.
2. Add JQuery to our document library to add a target to any PDF URLs.

Change the Browser File Handling setting

I should note that there are security implications in changing this setting, but to date, I haven’t found a way around it in Foundation. With that being said…

1. In SharePoint 2013 Central Administration, in the Application Management section, go to Manage Web Applications.
2. Select the application for which you want to change browser file handling.
3. In the ribbon, click on the General Settings button, then on General Settings in the dropdown.
4. Scroll near the bottom, and change the Browser File Handling setting from Strict to Permissive.


At this point, PDFs will open in the browser. However, they’re opening in the same window, so we need go one step further to make this really useful.

Make PDFs Open in a New Window with JQuery

The final step is to add a small bit of scripting to the page. Access the script by clicking here. Here’s how to add it to your library.

1. The first thing we’ll need to do is edit the attached script file with the ID of your particular library app web part.
  • Go to your library page.
  • Hit F12 to bring up your browser’s dev tools.
  • Click on the library section of the page. You’re looking for an ID in the format of “#MSOZoneCell_WebPartWPQ2”. Your web part may or may not be “2”.
  • Edit the attached file with your library app web part’s ID.
2. Upload the edited script to the library of your choice. Site Assets or Sites Styles are the common places.
  • Once uploaded, click on the ellipsis (…) next to the file. You’ll get a popup with the file’s URL. Copy it.
3. Now, go back to your library. In the ribbon, click on Page > Edit Page. Alternatively, you can click on the Settings cog > Edit Page.
4. Place a content editor web part (CEWP) at the bottom of the page and add a link to your edited script.
  • Edit the CEWP.
  • In the Content Editor section at the top of the Properties window, paste your copied URL in the Content Link field.

At this point, you should now be able to open PDFs in your browser, and in another window.


This solution is pretty short and sweet, so not much to go wrong. However, if you’re having problems with the script, there are a couple things to check.

1. Make sure you have the correct web part ID and that you edited the script before uploading. I wouldn’t mention it if I hadn’t done it before. <grins>
2. There’s a console.log line in the script. Remove the comment slashes (//) in front of it. Then refresh the page with dev tools turned on. You’ll at least be able to see if the script is returning the URLs you’re expecting.

Contact Network Center, Inc. for any questions regarding Microsoft SharePoint.

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Topics: Microsoft SharePoint, SharePoint Foundation 2013, SharePoint PDF Support

Adding Navigation Links to Personal Sites on Microsoft SharePoint Online

Posted by Josh Nikle on Mar 6, 2015 3:30:00 PM

I recently had a request to add some navigation links to the tops of pages in personal sites on SharePoint Online. While the links they requested are largely available OOTB through the app launcher in the upper-left corner of the screen, they were looking for a solution that would…

  1. Be easily accessible
  2. Be instantly visible
  3. And most importantly, would require no training on their part.

Since we really didn’t want to change the site master page, we opted instead to add the necessary links to the top bar on the applicable pages with a little bit of JQuery.


If you want this feature for all pages in MySites, you’ll need to add the script by clicking here or a reference to it to mysite15.master. For the purposes of this post though, we’ll implement it on the “About me” page through a script editor web part and our script.

Tools you’ll need:

  1. The script attached to this post.

The script

The script is just a small bit of JQuery that finds the div containing the section of the top bar we want to edit and then inserts some custom HTML into it.

There is one “gotcha” with this method though. Because of the way the top bar renders, you need to add a delay before inserting your HTML. In my case, I had to add 1 second.  You may find your delay needing to be longer or shorter based on your environment.

To Implement:

  1. Go to the settings menu > Edit page.
  2. Scroll down until you see “Add a Web Part.” It doesn’t matter which zone you use.
  3. Click “Add a Web Part” and insert a script editor web part.
  4. Edit the web part.
  5. Click on the “edit snippet” link and paste the script provided into it.
  6. Stop editing the page, and you should now see something similar to the image at the top of this post.

If you have any other Microsoft SharePoint questions, please contact our SharePoint professional at NetWork Center, Inc. 

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Topics: IT Solutions, Microsoft SharePoint, SharePoint Online

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