Category Archives: SharePoint Online

What’s New in Microsoft 365 (May 2021)

In this month’s post we are talking about a few new SharePoint features that will be available in the coming months: one that deals with SharePoint document library folders that are connected to a Teams channel, a new SharePoint App Bar that features global navigation, and SharePoint Spaces being added to the New menu – this one requires Admins to take action prior to June 1. In addition, we will tell you about a new One Drive sync client 64-bit that will be available soon for Windows, and a new feature that allows Admins to de-identify PII (personally identifiable information) in Teams usage reports. As a bonus, we’ll throw in a little story about the SharePoint Framework version that lasted all of 5 days before it was deprecated.

Folders Connected to Teams Channel Clearly Identified in SharePoint Library

This new feature will make it easy to tell which folders within your SharePoint library have a Teams channel associated with them. This is a good one. We’ve had many clients completely confused by the new folders that arrive in their SharePoint library when their existing SharePoint site is associated with Teams. Some have even tried to delete or rename these folders, which leads to another set of problems. This new feature will not only clearly indicate that the folder is associated with a Teams channel, but it will also give users the ability to easily move from a SharePoint folder directly to the corresponding Teams channel (see image below). As a result of this change, users will be unable to delete or rename folders that are associated with a Teams channel. Hopefully this new feature will help clear up the relationship between Teams and SharePoint for users who continue to be confused, and make working with the two more seamless. Rollout is planned to begin in late May and be complete by late June.

SharePoint App Bar that Features Global Navigation

If and when this is rolled out, it will be the answer to so many customer’s requests. Unfortunately, Microsoft has postponed the rollout with no word on when it is being rescheduled. However, I still thought it would be of interest to share. The SharePoint App Bar will provide quick access to a customizable global navigation as well as other intranet resources, but will only be available on modern sites. The SharePoint App Bar will be in the upper left side of modern sites (see image below). Although the global navigation is customizable, the sites, news and files are not. These are driven by Microsoft Graph and personalized for the logged-in user.

The plan is to have the SharePoint App Bar appear by default. Until customized, the global nav entry point will refer users to their SharePoint start page. It will be possible to temporarily disable the SharePoint App Bar using PowerShell. Customizing the global navigation requires that you have an organization home site.

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SharePoint Spaces to be Available by Default in New Menu

Action required by Jun 1, 2021

SharePoint Spaces became generally available in October 2020, and it allows the creation and sharing of immersive or browser-based mixed reality environments using assets such as 3D models, 360° images and videos, and 2D content such as videos, images, and office documents. Soon (by early June) SharePoint Spaces will be available in the site level +New menu by default (see image below). Admins will have the ability to turn this off at the tenant level, or allow site owners to turn it off at the site level.

For more information on the PowerShell command to disable this feature, click here.

OneDrive Sync Client 64-bit Update Available for Windows

The new 64-bit version of the OneDrive Sync Client is a long awaited update that will make life easier for users who have lots of files or large files. Microsoft will be silently updating devices from the 32-bit version to the new 64-bit version of the OneDrive Sync Client. The rollout will follow the normal OneDrive sync app update process and was scheduled to be complete by the end of April.

De-Identify Personally Identifiable Information in Teams Admin Usage Reports

This change will de-identify the personally identifiable information in the Teams user activity report & the Teams device usage report based on the de-identification setting in the M365 admin center. Only users with the Global administrator role have access to this setting and are able to toggle it. The setting’s default is OFF, which means personal information will be displayed in clear text by default.

As always, there are a lot of things happening in Microsoft 365, so be sure to check out the Tech Community Blogs and the Microsoft 365 Roadmap for more of what’s new.  

Why am I unable to subscribe guests to alerts in SharePoint?

A client ran into a seemingly odd issue within SharePoint Online recently.  The user was an Owner of the Microsoft Team and wanted to setup alerts on a specific folder within one of the Channels within that team. Being a “SharePoint savvy” user they knew they could setup the alerts for their users via the SharePoint Site Collection used to store the Teams files, however when they attempted to setup alerts for a few of their guest users, they were unable to do so. Fortunately, we have access to this client’s Azure AD Administration which made this was a very quick issue investigation.  

A quick glance at the permissions on the SharePoint site showed that the guest users in question did have the appropriate permissions assigned to access the folder, which ruled that out quickly, and was essentially the “aha” moment on our end.  The client was certain the issue was related to guests not being able to utilize the alert functionality however we knew that was not the problem, as other guests in their tenant had subscribed to alerts and we see it done frequently.  We threw that red herring to the side and jumped right into Azure AD Administration to confirm our suspicions. 

As expected, the guest users the client was unable to setup for alerts in SharePoint had not accepted their initial invite and never logged into the client’s Microsoft 365 environment.  SharePoint knew who they were because they were granted access, but because they never logged into the tenant the details about those guests were never “confirmed” by the system. This meant that there was no way to setup the SharePoint Alerts for them until they accepted the invitation and logged into the client’s site which is the expected requirement, at least from a technical standpoint.  

Ultimately, this is likely a “one-off” scenario, but it emphasizes one of many potential issues with guest access scenarios in Microsoft 365.  Thankfully, the user reached out when they did as they were investigating workarounds with Power Automate Flow.  A quick email to the guests to accept their invite versus creating unnecessary Flows was a definitive win for everyone involved😉.

By: Duane Odum and Mitchell Nader

What’s New in Microsoft 365 (November 2020)

As usual, we are still seeing a flood of new features and other announcements as a result of Microsoft’s Ignite Conference. We have done our best to curate a handful of the most interesting or impactful ones. Before we dig in, just another reminder that SharePoint 2010 workflows are no longer functioning as of November 1, 2020 AND Teams will no longer be supporting IE 11 after November 30, 2020.

This month we have a few new things happening in Teams: virtual break out rooms, transfer meetings between devices, and meeting recordings now saving to OneDrive and SharePoint; a couple SharePoint announcements: new required properties for SharePoint pages and personal search query history; and one tidbit for Forms: choose specific users/groups to respond to forms.

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