Abhishek Bhowmick | SharePoint Blog

Excel Services using Defined Names and publishing to SharePoint

Posted in Sharepoint by Abhishek Bhowmick on May 25, 2011

This is a great documentation from Microsoft educating about publishing a workbook to SharePoint using Excel Services and defined names and then reusing them to show data in SharePoint.


I find it very intuitive so I felt like sharing…


Now Sort items in the Outlook Calendar folder

Posted in Windows by Abhishek Bhowmick on May 25, 2011

With so many mails floating around we often keep on cleaning our mailboxes.  We can easily delete mails from mail folders but what about the “Calendar” folder?

All meeting requests get stored in your Calendar folder, even the ones with attached documents.  Here is a way to create a View for the Calendar folder so that it shows meeting requests just like mails.

We can then sort the requests/appointments by size and delete the unnecessary ones.

  1. Select “Calendar” folder.
  1. Go to View à Current View à Define Views.
  1. Open the “Custom View organizer” . Click on “New.“. Give the name of view .Select type of view as “Table“. Select the option for “All Calendar folders“.
  1. In the “Customize View: Size View” dialog click on “Fields.
  2. In the “Show Fields” dialog box,” Select available fields” drop down option will be available.
  3. Select All Mail fields” for the dropdown.
  1. In the list for “Available fields” select “Size“. Add it to the right side list.
  1. Click all appropriate ‘OK’s and the sorting is done for the calendar items.

You can check the setting by applying the newly created view on the Calendar folder.

Also the steps mentioned above could differ a little bit across Outlook versions

Adding web parts to horrid untouchable SharePoint Newform, Editform and Dispform.aspx

Posted in Sharepoint by Abhishek Bhowmick on May 25, 2011

I am sure many of you have thought that what if I want to add some header or banner or company branding or any other information at the top of the list/library pages like the newform.aspx, edirform.aspx and dispform.aspx. And you often answer yourself that – ah! I need SharePoint Designer for that. That’s right! But you can also do it out-of-the-box.

I was looking through some online resources and bumped into this post online where you can make this happen. Here is how:

  • Open you SharePoint site and navigate to your list/library page and view a list item. This should take us to the dispform.aspx page
  • Modify the URL and replace everything after ../dispForm.aspx?ID=# with &PageView=Shared&ToolPaneView=2
  • So at the end your URL should look like ../dispForm.aspx?ID=#&PageView=Shared&ToolPaneView=2 and press Enter.

You should now be able to add any web part to these pages and the best part is that any change to you make would be universal for that particular list. This means you can view any list item for the page and you should see this new web part in there.

Thanks for the tip: http://www.sharepointology.com/setup/add-web-parts-to-dispform-editform-or-newformaspx/

Unable to publish browser enabled InfoPath forms to a SharePoint form library

Posted in Sharepoint by Abhishek Bhowmick on May 25, 2011

You get the following error when publishing an InfoPath form template to a form library even though the template is browser compatible

This form template is browser-compatible, but it cannot be browser-enabled on the selected site


This occurs when you delete the default “Form Templates” library which is created when the first time enterprise features are enabled for the site collection. You can find it under All Site Content page (../layouts/viewlsts.aspx)


To fix this, you must deactivate and activate the InfoPath features again using the below command lines with a force switch. Please ensure that the command lines are run in order.

Note: Replace the %SITE_COLLECTION_URL% section of the command line with your absolute site collection URL.

  • stsadm -o deactivatefeature -filename IPFSSiteFeatures\feature.xml -force -url %SITE_COLLECTION_URL%
  • stsadm -o deactivatefeature -filename IPFSWebFeatures\feature.xml -force -url %SITE_COLLECTION_URL%


  • stsadm -o activatefeature -filename IPFSSiteFeatures\feature.xml -force -url %SITE_COLLECTION_URL%
  • stsadm -o activatefeature -filename IPFSWebFeatures\feature.xml -force -url %SITE_COLLECTION_URL%

Once these command lines are run, you may verify the “Form Templates” library under the All Site Content page. You should now be able to publish the InfoPath form template to your SharePoint site.

Difference between SharePoint “View only” and “Read” permission level

Posted in Sharepoint by Abhishek Bhowmick on May 4, 2011

View Permission – Users with Read only permissions can view the content using Client side application like Excel or InfoPath. It allows users to open a Web site, list, or folder in order to access items inside that container. View items in lists, documents in document libraries, and view Web discussion comments.

Read Permission – Users with View only permissions cannot view the content using Client side application like Excel or InfoPath. Like they can view only Server side rendering items.It allows Users to View items in lists, documents in document libraries, and view Web discussion comments. Open Items and View the source of documents with server-side file handlers.

More information: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointserver/HA101001491033.aspx

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Who are NT AUTHORITY\Authenticated Users?

Posted in Sharepoint by Abhishek Bhowmick on May 4, 2011

The user “NT AUTHORITY\Authenticated Users” represents every Domain user account that can successfully log on to the domain . In the typical environment that would include employees, contractors, vendors with a “special account” or anyone with Windows Authenticated access to the network.

SharePoint makes it quite easy to add “NT AUTHORITY\authenticated users” to site permission:

CAUTION: You must allow this account permission to your site only when you are convinced that you are willing to reveal your site information to all who can successfully log on to the domain network because the permission you allow to this account would apply to everyone in the domain. Else, ensure if you find this account in your permission list, remove it.

This comes in very handy when you do not wish to add individual permission and you want to make your site at least visible to all or allow elevated permission as and how you plan the entitlements.

SharePoint Permissions: Hierarchy and inheritance

Posted in Sharepoint by Abhishek Bhowmick on May 4, 2011

By default, permissions on lists, libraries, folders, items, and documents are inherited from the parent site. However, you can break this inheritance for any securable object at a lower level in the hierarchy by editing the permissions on that securable object (that is, creating a unique permission assignment) . For example, you can edit the permissions for a document library, which breaks the permissions inheritance from the site.

Web sites are themselves a securable object on which permissions can be assigned. You can configure subsites to inherit permissions from a parent site or break the inheritance and create unique permissions for a particular site. Inheriting permissions is the easiest way to manage a group of Web sites. However, if a subsite inherits permissions from its parent, that set of permissions is shared.

Owners of subsites that inherit permissions from the parent site can edit the permissions of the parent. Ensure that any changes you make to the permissions on the parent site are appropriate for the parent site and all subsites that inherit those permissions.

The following figure shows a site collection hierarchy with a top-level Web site and subsites that inherit permissions from their parent site as well as a subsite with unique permissions.

In the preceding figure, subsite 1 inherits permissions from the top-level Web site.This means that changes made to SharePoint groups and permission levels on the top-level site also affect subsite 1.

Subsite 2 is also inheriting permissions from its parent (subsite 1). However, because subsite 1 is also inheriting permissions from its parent, changes made to SharePoint groups and permission levels on the top-level site affect both subsite 1 and subsite 2. This is because you cannot manage permissions on a subsite that is inheriting permissions. Instead, you either manage the permissions of the parent (which is the top-level Web site for subsite 1 and subsite 2) or you can break the inheritance and create unique permissions.

Notice that subsite 3 has unique permissions. This means that it does not inherit permissions from its parent site. Therefore, any changes made to the permission levels and SharePoint groups on subsite 3 do not affect its parent site. Because subsite 4 is inheriting permissions from subsite 3, any changes to permission levels or SharePoint groups on subsite 3 affect both sites.

Each site contains additional securable objects that have a particular position in the site hierarchy, as shown in the following figure:

Lower-level securable objects automatically inherit permissions from their parent. For example, a list or library inherits permissions from the site, and list items and documents inherit permissions from the list, library, or folder that contains them. You can break this inheritance at any point in the hierarchy and assign unique permissions. When you break the inheritance from the parent, the securable object from which you broke the inheritance receives a copy of the parent’s permissions. You can then edit those permissions to be unique — meaning that any changes you make to the permissions on that securable object do not affect the parent.

Reference: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-sharepoint-services-help/about-controlling-access-to-sites-and-site-content-HA010100144.aspx

SharePoint Versioning

Posted in Sharepoint by Abhishek Bhowmick on May 4, 2011

Versioning allows updates, restoring and tracking of the items in a list or in a library when they are changed. In order to enable versioning, one needs at least a Design permission to the specific document or list library.

Why should you enable versioning?

View a previous version – the ability to view a previous version of the item in order to refer to guidelines or to check from which version one is going to restore from. This view has nothing to do with the overwriting of the current version.

Load a previous version and store it as the current version – it is considered as easy to restore the current version with an older version. The current version which was replaced will become part of the version history so as to have the possibility to return to it. Reasons for this ability are: making mistakes on the current version or to restore an item which was deleted.

Record a version history – versioning, lets everyone know when an item was modified and by who. Version history keeps track of all the changes done in the properties and also saves the comments that users include with their version update.

Major and Minor versions

Major versions, usually used when a user adds a large amount of data to a file example a chapter or a section

Minor versions, which is mostly used when a user changes formats or spelling mistakes.

Minor versions are not visible to everyone unless elevated permission is allowed to users. This is because minor versions are saved as drafts. The minor versions needs to be published as Major versions so it is visible to others.

Versioning is only found in document libraries (minor and major versions) and lists (major versions only).

Versioning lifecycle in SharePoint

• Document with version 1.0 is a public version, everyone can see. Once a document is created or uploaded, it is automatically published for everyone to see.

• Document is checked out for editing, version 1.1 is created. This can only be seen by editor(s) (version 1.0 is still visible for readers).

• Document is checked in, version 1.2 (minor version).

• Document is published; version 2.0 is created – due to a major version, visible for everyone.

Versioning and Checking Out

After checking out a document or list item, a version is only created when a file is checked back in. It is very important to leave a brief comment while checking in the document or list item to track changes and timeline else versioning will not be effective.

Restoring and/or Deleting Version History

One can either restore a version to go back to a previous version or state or delete a version history if not required anymore.

Reference: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-sharepoint-services-help/introduction-to-versioning-HA010021576.aspx

Exchange Public Folder vs SharePoint

Posted in Sharepoint by Abhishek Bhowmick on May 4, 2011

Why should you migrate your Exchange Public Folders to SharePoint?

SharePoint makes it easier for people to work together. Using SharePoint, users can set up sites to share information with others, manage documents from start to finish, and publish reports to help everyone make better decisions. The capabilities of SharePoint work together to help your team quickly respond to changing business needs. Using SharePoint, your people can share ideas and expertise, create custom solutions for specific needs, and find the right business information to make better decisions. SharePoint helps you cut training and maintenance costs, save time and effort, and focus on higher business priorities.

Here are some SharePoint positives:

  • Team Workspaces – SharePoint helps teams communicate and collaborate by providing easy access to people, documents and information.


  • Document Management – Public Folder were not designed for document sharing and collaboration. SharePoint provides versioning and other document management features, such as check-in and check-out functionality, and automatic notifications of content changes.


  • Workflow Applications – SharePoint provides many application templates that provide customer scenarios for building workflow on the SharePoint platform, to address specific business processes or sets of task.


  • Organizational Forms – Use of Microsoft InfoPath and InfoPath Forms Services which is an enhanced and rich user experience. Users can submit the forms which can be stored in SharePoint Form libraries for future collaboration and interaction.


Why is SharePoint recommended over Exchange Server Public Folder?


  • Collaboration – Public Folders are not efficiently interactive and collaborative as SharePoint. SharePoint provides a web interface for your data to be shared across based on permission and full compatibility with your Microsoft Office. This enables you to directly interact with your files without having them downloaded locally and use the check-out and check-in feature which is quite common.


  • Storing large files is not an efficient use of public folders.


  • Search – SharePoint can crawl Exchange Server Public Folders however only the data within Public Folder messages or attachments with the supported filters can be indexed. When we refer to filters, we are referring to iFilters which are used to register file extensions so files can be recognized and indexed. While SharePoint includes filters for HTML, TIFF, text files and Microsoft file extensions. PSTs or private mailboxes cannot be crawled though. Hence, search is more efficient in SharePoint.


What are the limitations in SharePoint after migrating from Exchange Public Folders?


· Outlook is fully integrated with Exchange compared to SharePoint. Unlike SharePoint – which requires users to connect individual lists and libraries on a one-by-one basis, multiple connections to Exchange are already built in to the Outlook client. For example, there’s no need to connect to individual public folders within Exchange, since they’re all simultaneously connected through the public folder hierarchy exposed in Exchange.


· There are naming restrictions within SharePoint that don’t exist in Exchange. In particular, SharePoint URLs are limited to 255 characters and file names must be free of special characters. This was listed as a consideration for migrating public folders to SharePoint, but it’s also a constraint on using SharePoint more generally for other purposes.


· Mail-enabled SharePoint Document Library’s – While these libraries can store any document type, e-mail sent to mail-enabled document libraries usually show up in .eml format (Outlook Express format). If you try to open the .eml file from the document library, it will open using the web browser and will only contain the message body (no header or attachment). You can create your own application to convert to .msg format, or you can search on the web and find any number of .eml to .msg converter utilities.


· Unlike Public Folders, email interactivity will not be preserved in SharePoint after migration. This means you can of course create an email enabled document library and route emails and attachments to it but cannot reply or forward from being inside SharePoint. You must have Outlook installed to open the files externally and then interact.

Differentiating Content Approval and Approval Workflow

Posted in Sharepoint by Abhishek Bhowmick on May 4, 2011

Content approval is a core SharePoint process which is used for publishing documents. This process provides the ability to limit the visibility of a document to approvers until the document is approved to be published. This will change the security of the document such that all users who have access to the list will be able OR not able to view it. Approval workflow is a workflow designed for approving documents. When the workflow is initiated, the document approval status is set to “In progress” and a task and an email is created for the specified users and groups to approve the document. Once the task is opened and completed, either “Approve” or “Reject”. The document approval status will change to “Approved” or “Rejected”. Approval workflow does not change visibility on the document.

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