Content type and column usage report code samples from the SharePoint Conference!

​By Chris Bortlik, SharePoint Technology Specialist

At the SharePoint Conference 2012, Scott Jamison and I discussed approaches for managing SharePoint enterprise content types and columns at scale.

During our session we reviewed how to create SharePoint columns and content types programmatically, how to optimize usage of the content type hub, and strategies for effectively managing columns and content types at large scale. We presented real-world customer examples and lessons learned.

We also reviewed column usage and content type reporting utilities that were originally developed for SharePoint 2010 by Pete Gonzalez del Solar on the SharePoint team, which we enhanced to support SharePoint 2013. These reports can help with managing site columns and content types across your organization.

Many people asked if they could use these reports within their organization, so we are pleased to announce that all of the samples have been published on MSDN under an open source license.

Here are the links:

  • SharePoint 2013: Column usage report
    Analyzes the field definitions from across multiple SharePoint lists and subsites, and then writes the results to a CSV report that can be viewed by using Excel.
  • SharePoint 2013: Content type report Extends the column usage report to analyze the content type hierarchy and show which fields are referenced by which content types and whether the fields were customized.
  • SharePoint 2013: XML object snapshot
    Generates a large XML report that represents the complete field schemas across all content types, lists, and subsites in a SharePoint site collection. These “snapshots” can be compared (for example, by using the WinDiff utility) as part of a diagnostic investigation to see what changed “before” and “after” an operation. At the conference, we talked about the content type push-down operation: What fields were impacted, and how did they change?

Conference attendees can download the slide deck and session video from here: SPC070: Deep dive on managing enterprise content types at scale.

Enabling modern SharePoint experiences on Windows 8 for students and teachers

The Contoso Learning Companion is a modern Windows 8 application built to work with SharePoint 2010 and 2013. It uses SharePoint sites as collaboration spaces for classes and study groups and integrates with the popular OneNote application for lessons and assignments. This popular starter kit provides everything you need to deliver tailored Windows 8 solutions for SharePoint.

By Gerald Ferry, Hillary Mutisya, and Lee Riefberg

Interacting with SharePoint sites through Windows 8 apps

Today’s students and teachers are accustomed to working on touch-enabled mobile and slate devices. They check email on these devices, manage tasks, and catch up with their friends. Often, these devices enable interaction with data hosted in cloud services. This article presents a sample app built on Windows 8 that uses the rich tools in Office 365.

The Contoso Learning Companion was built to run on top of SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013, using SharePoint sites as collaboration spaces for classes and study groups. It integrates with the popular OneNote application, enabling teachers and students to work on lessons and assignments while on the go. OneNote enables digital note-taking by using a pen input device, recording audio notes, or typing.

The Contoso Learning Companion demonstrates how teaching and learning scenarios can be more effective with the help of Office 365 services and a modern Windows 8 application experience. It enables aggregation of multiple classes and study groups into a single UI, even if the sites reside within different schools and organizations.

The Learning Companion app includes:

  • Support for both Office 2010 and Office 2013.
  • An aggregated view of current events, classes, and study groups.
  • Access to class and study group sites and their respective elements (events, materials, and so on).
  • OneNote integration for consuming and managing lessons and assignments via a class notebook.

How teachers and students can use the Learning Companion

A local university has customized the app and provided it to its faculty and students. It has been branded in the school colors and watermarked with the school logo. It has also been preconfigured with default SharePoint information and the school’s newsfeed.

When the app launches, the teacher’s current classes are populated on the home screen. She wants to create a new class, and is able to add the new class site through a few simple steps. She also adds some class materials and a few announcements. When creating each class, the application also automatically creates a class notebook, where she adds relevant lessons and assignments.

The students receive an email message with a link to the Learning Companion app, and they install it. The students are met with an experience tailored to their school and their information. They find all of their classes and study groups quickly populated in one place—and now just one click away. They are greeted by an announcement welcoming them and a link to the campus map. Each class Tile is live, and each class inside provides them with all they need, including coming events, course materials, discussions, and other information. The students are ready to jump in right away.

Live Tiles keep you informed

Schools and institutions will want to customize the application and tailor it to fit their specific needs. Live Tiles are a great way to keep students (and teachers) informed. For example, notifications, current events, and even message alerts can be bubbled up.

The home screen provides quick access to classes and information

The home screen can be customized to support a customized background. Again, this can be driven by the service, by the user, or by some other source, depending on your requirements. Figure 2, for example, includes a What’s New newsfeed that could be coming from the institution.

 

Figure 2. Example of a customized home screen experience

The customized Learning Companion home screen seen in Figure 2 illustrates the following categories:

  • Coming Up provides an aggregated view of your events, rolled up from your classes and study groups.
  • What’s New could be the school’s social or newsfeed, depending on how the app is customized before deployment, providing an ongoing forum for members to interact. Depending on how SharePoint is configured, social feeds may be easily supported.
  • Classes and Study Groups are categorized for easy access. If they haven’t been preconfigured, it’s easy to add them later.

Classes and Study Groups have everything students and teachers need

Classes and Study Groups are fully interactive. Students can do things such as post to class discussions, access course materials, and work in their notebooks. Where desired, the application can be extended by the developer to provide interaction with class members. All the information for their classes is right at their fingertips. Teachers and other authorized users can manage events, edit information, post new class materials, and perform other management tasks. Depending on how an institution decides to extend the application, there are many possibilities.

 

Figure 3. Example class view

On the example class view in Figure 3:

  • Coming up provides a list of events, respective to the class or study group, in chronological order. Authorized users can manage events via the application or from SharePoint.
  • Announcements, where supported, are provided in a list for quick reference. Announcements are managed by the teacher or other authorized users. 
  • Materials is the document library included in every class or study group site. This is where class materials are provided by the teacher and also where the OneNote class notebook is created. And, where applied, materials protected by Information Rights Management (IRM) can also be supported.
  • Members provides the list of students and faculty with roles in the respective class or study group. Where the functionality has been extended, it may also be possible to see the member’s online presence or location, or to initiate a chat session, a call, or an email message with them. Members are typically managed by the institution via a separate back-end system that the app pulls from, but they can be managed directly by an authorized administrator or dedicated role.
  • Discussions provide ongoing “rooms” of discussion for members on specific topics.

It’s easy to take notes in context with OneNote integration

Each class site includes a OneNote notebook for students and teachers to use, either for collaborating on lessons and assignments or to simply take notes on important topics and lectures. Located in the Materials library, the notebook is designed by default to support student/teacher interaction. It has sections for lecture notes and assignments. These sections are visible to all members of the class (both students and teachers) but they can be edited only by the teachers. Sections are created for the teacher to input lessons and assignments for students to consume. Private sections are also created for each student—visible only to that student (and the teacher)—where they can keep their notes, work on assignments, and collaborate with the teacher. By using OneNote as the repository, the teacher is able to manage student submissions at a glance.

Scenario

The teacher assigns the first lesson and assignment of the semester. The student is notified via email and via a Learning Companion notification. The student clicks on the included link and the lesson opens in OneNote, where the student can immediately begin working.

 

Figure 4.  Physics 101 class notebook

Because OneNote pages support various content types, including ink (sketches), audio, video, text, tables, and more, it’s easy for the student to include all the information they need to complete the assignment.

 

Figure 5. OneNote lessons structure

The teacher is able to collaborate as the student is working on the assignment, checking progress, inserting comments, and answering any questions the student enters.  When the assignment is due, the student can either drop a copy into a predetermined alternate folder or the teacher can assess and grade the assignment in the student’s working folder. And because this is OneNote, grading can be done using ink!

 

Figure 6. OneNote assignment

More information about the Contoso Learning Companion, including the sample code, is available on the Microsoft Download Center: Contoso Learning Companion ver. 2.0 sample. Licensing is free for SharePoint solutions, and the sample is provided as-is, ready for customization. Watch for our follow-up blog post that will speak to the architecture behind the Contoso Learning Companion, along with requirements and ideas for making it your own.

The authors, Gerald Ferry, Hillary Mutisya, and Lee Riefberg come from the Microsoft Office engineering team, with experience and expertise in delivering modern data driven solutions leveraging numerous technology areas.

Taxonomy code samples from SPC!

​Hi, this is Pete Gonzalez. At the SharePoint Conference 2012, I discussed some automated approaches for synchronizing taxonomy objects between different systems. We first looked at C# code samples using the server object model, which is useful for administrative operations on an enterprise farm. The example we gave at the conference involved an external HR system with categories that are being imported into SharePoint. We then looked at some samples that use the new client object model, which provides a way to perform the same operations we performed on the server in the context of client applications, mobile devices, or cloud services. We also discussed an algorithm for incremental synchronization, which avoids data loss and improves performance when updating the term store.

People expressed a lot of interest in taxonomy programmability, not just for tagging and corporate taxonomy scenarios, but also because SharePoint 2013 uses the term store to drive the navigation menus and friendly URLs for publishing sites. Many people asked if they could use this code as a starting point for their own projects, so we are pleased to announce that all of the samples have been published on MSDN under an open source license. We also threw in two bonus samples, which use the server object model to achieve the same functionality as the client code from the conference.

Here are the links:

Conference attendees can download the slide deck and session video from here: SPC068: Deep dive on integrating SharePoint metadata with other metadata stores.

Introducing the Content Search Web Part

Hi there. I’m Kerem Yuceturk, a program manager in the SharePoint Enterprise Content Management team. I am truly excited to start talking about the Content Search Web Part, one of the most interesting features that we added to SharePoint 2013, and the many scenarios it enables for SharePoint aficionados around the world.

Before I start to talk about Content Search, let me first set the stage by briefly outlining what this Web Part is trying to accomplish. If you ever dealt with publishing scenarios like creating an intranet portal or a knowledge management solution back in SharePoint 2007 and 2010 days, there is a good chance that you were using the Content Query Web Part. Content Query is great for showing dynamic content based on a set of criteria that you’ve set.  So if you wanted to show a list of news articles on the intranet homepage, or to roll up a list of sales reports on your knowledge center, Content Query was the way to do it.

There was one catch though: If you ever wanted to show items that were not in the same site collection, you were out of luck. The scope of the Content Query Web Part was (and still is) limited to the site collection that the Web Part is placed in.

In SharePoint 2013, FAST Search and SharePoint Search fused together and got deeply integrated into SharePoint. As part of that change, we added a new tool for publishing content for your intranet or Internet site that knows no site-collection boundaries. This tool is the Content Search Web Part.

Content Search can show anything that’s in the search index including content across site collections, and even content that comes from outside of SharePoint as long as it was crawled and placed in the search index. If search crawls it, you can display it, no matter where the content lives—provided the user viewing the page has permissions to see the item in question. Plus, thanks to the analytics capabilities that are built into SharePoint 2013, it can also show recommendations and popular items based on usage patterns.

If this sounds like something you want to try out, you can find Content Search in your SharePoint farms by going to the Web Part adder, and choosing the Content Rollup category. (Content Search is not available on Office 365 right now, but we are working on enabling it in the future.) 

 
Figure 1. Two Content Search Web Parts from different contexts: on the left an intranet site that displays some PowerPoint files from another site collection, on the right the Contoso Electronics site that displays some items from the product catalog

 

At a very high level, using Content Search is easy by following these two steps:

  1. Choose the items to show (formulate a search query that will return those items as results).
  2. Format the items the way you want (use Display Templates to customize how items look).

Following is a little more detail about these two steps.

Choosing the items to show

The Content Search Web Part boasts a full-screen query builder that has several preconfigured queries to get you started, and a panel for previewing the results to enable you to tweak your query. It’s fully integrated with the new search concepts of SharePoint 2013, like Results Sources and Query Rules, and can use these to get to results. It also has an advanced mode: basically, an enlarged search box where you can write any query using Keyword Query (KQL) syntax, which you can then try out by using the preview panel.

 
Figure 2. Query builder with tools on the left and preview of results on the right

 

Content Search also supports a rich set of dynamic values (also called query variables) to be used in queries such as today’s date, the name of the current user, any field from the current page, or a custom property from the current web’s property bag. Query Builder and dynamic values each deserve blog posts of their own, but for now, you can try out the following query variables in your queries if you want to explore some of the possibilities:

{Today-7}: The date for a week ago, great for “what’s new this week” queries.
{User.Name}: The name of the current user. Great for surfacing content for the user who is viewing the page. Also works for any property, including custom properties from the current user’s profile.
{Page.MyCustomTextField}: Gets the value of a field that you added to the content type you’re using on the page.
{Site.URL}: Gets the current site’s URL, or any custom property. Also works for SiteCollection.
{Term}: The current term from managed navigation. For more information, see the blog post Getting friendly with FURLs.

Formatting the items the way you want: Display templates

One of the main pain points we kept hearing from customers was about how irritating it is to use XSL to format the output of a Content Query Web Part. XSL is a relatively obscure web technology and it has a reputation for making most seasoned folks go scratch their heads about the syntax whenever they try to do something a little unusual while formatting the results.

In SharePoint 2013, there is a new way to format items shown in Content Search Web Parts using HTML and JavaScript instead of XSL: Display templates.

Display templates make it significantly easier to:

  • Specify what managed properties to retrieve from search.
  • Manipulate values   of the retrieved managed properties in JavaScript, as needed.
  • Display the values   in HTML in the browser. 
 
Figure 3. Same search results displayed using three different sets of display templates in each of the columns

 

Display templates are located in the master page gallery of your site collection. There are several display templates that come pre-installed in a folder named Display Templates for your convenience, so feel free to browse around that folder if you’d like to get a feel for them. The best way to create a new display template is to copy one of the existing ones, and change its properties and content. Note that you should always deal with the .html files in those folders; .js files are auto-generated by SharePoint whenever you modify an .html file of the same name.

Display templates also deserve another blog post to do that topic any justice, so let me wrap this section up here to keep this post short and sweet.

Conclusion

I hope this gave you a taste of what the Content Search Web Part can do for you in your SharePoint deployments. Be sure to look for future posts that will go into more detail about some of the concepts introduced here.

The new SharePoint Online Administration Center—more customer control

Hi, I’m Kate Everitt, a Program Manager in SharePoint Online. I’m going to share insight about how to manage the new SharePoint Online environment while highlighting key features of the new SharePoint Online Administration Center. I’ll then ask Phil Newman, a Program Manager on my team, to discuss how to automate SharePoint Online management tasks using remote Windows PowerShell.

The SharePoint Online Admin Center is evolving, and in the upcoming release we will introduce significant improvements in management, including configuration of Search, Apps, Project Online (if purchased), IRM, External Sharing, Start a Site, and more. We will touch on a few new scenarios below.

SharePoint Online Admin is embedded within the Office 365 management capabilities

The SharePoint Online Administration Center, included in the Office 365 Midmarket and Enterprise plans, is one part of the overall administration experience for Office 365, alongside the Exchange Online and Lync Online Administration Centers. You also perform certain tasks, like creating new users and assigning licenses, from within the global level of the Office 365 Administration Center.

What’s new?

The first thing you’ll notice about the new SharePoint Online Administration Center is its new look and feel—consistent across all of Office 365. We’ve also added a navigation bar across the top, which makes SharePoint sites and content more accessible as well as access to the other admin centers you have permissions to.

Access to various workloads and administration centers 

Figure 1. Access to various workloads and administration centers

Sharing

We’ve added more control over how sites are used and shared. The sharing setting allows administrators to choose whether site collections are for internal access only, or enabled for external sharing—this is called External Access. It is now possible to share individual documents via the new feature referred to as Guest Links, which enable both authenticated and anonymous methods of sharing Office documents. The new sharing features make it easier for teams to work with people and groups outside their company, while site administrators can make sure access to data remains secure.

To read more, please see the previous “Sharing – simplified” blog post by our colleague, Gaurav Doshi.  

Three levels of external sharing 

Figure 2. Notice the three levels of external sharing: all off, External Access of sites only, and enabled anonymous Guest Links

Search

A series of new search options make an appearance in SharePoint Online for the first time, which previously could be used only from inside the search service in Central Admin. You can manage search schema, dictionaries, and result sources, and remove search results you don’t want. The new features give you control over how search queries act in your SharePoint Online environment and also enable you to import search configurations.

To read more, see the article What’s new in search in SharePoint Server 2013.

Apps

One of the big investments this release is our new Cloud app model. Here, you can set up a corporate catalog to provide internal apps for your company, buy new apps, and manage and monitor how apps are to be consumed by your company and employees. To read more about the new Cloud app model, visit http://dev.office.com.  

Site collection management

The easiest way to manage site collections is through the site collections list in the SharePoint Administration Center. This will allow you to create, delete, and manage quota and upgrade for site collections.

The main site collection management page 

Figure 3. The main site collection management page

 

For those customers who have a lot of sites and are looking for a more powerful way to control them, I’m now going to turn this article over to Phil Newman, who will tell you about the new, faster way to handle your SharePoint Online tenancy.

Introducing the SharePoint Online Management Shell

The new SharePoint Online has an all-new Windows PowerShell module for admins to manage their sites and users! Windows PowerShell unlocks a lot of new scenarios, including bulk site creation and upgrade, and better quota management and reporting.

The basics

To get started, download the SharePoint Online Management Shell. After you’ve installed the shell, you’re ready to start.

Given that you are running the SharePoint Online Management Shell on a computer that is not in SharePoint Online, you have to start each session by connecting to your SharePoint Online environment. To do that, use the Connect-SPOService cmdlet.  You always connect to the SharePoint Online Administration Center URL.

To connect, run this script in the SharePoint Online Management Shell:

Connect-SPOService –url https://mytenant-admin.sharepoint.com

If you want to get fancy, you can also put credentials into the script. Be sure you protect files that have passwords in them.

$username = ‘admin@contoso.onmicrosoft.com’
$password = ‘MyPassword123’
$cred = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -argumentlist
$userName, $(convertto-securestring $Password -asplaintext -force)
Connect-SPOService –url https://contoso-admin.sharepoint.com –credential $cred

What can you do in Windows PowerShell?

We found that most of the activity in the SharePoint Online Administration center was around site management. As a result, we focused the new Windows PowerShell functionality on those scenarios. In Windows PowerShell, you can:

  • Create sites
  • Manage quotas
  • Upgrade sites
  • Manage site owners and admins
  • Manage permissions and groups

For detailed documentation, see the article Introduction to the SharePoint Online Management Shell.

Here are some details about a few handy scenarios:

Getting a list of all your sites

One of the common requests we get from large customers is for a way to get a list of all their sites and the characteristics of their sites.  Using Windows PowerShell, it’s easy:

  1. Make sure you’re connected.
  2. Run “Get-SPOSite”

Windows PowerShell can actually create a CSV you can open in Excel in just one line. In one line, just run this:

Get-SPOSite | Export-CSV –path MyReport.csv

Results returned with Windows PowerShell showing all site collections using the Get - SPOSite command 

Figure 4. Results returned within Windows PowerShell showing all site collections using the Get-SPOSite command

Bulk site upgrade

Current Office 365 customers get full control over when their sites get upgraded to the new experience. Site owners will be able to upgrade individual site collections from within the SharePoint Online user interface (UI), but SharePoint Online Administrators will have the additional choice of upgrading site collections through Windows PowerShell—one at a time or in bulk.

To upgrade all of your sites from the SharePoint 2010 (14) UI and features to SharePoint 2013 UI (15), simply iterate through all “14” mode sites using a script like this one:

$14ModeSites = Get-SPOSite -limit all –detailed | Where-Object {$_.CompatibilityLevel – eq 14}
$14ModeSites | % {Upgrade-SPOSite -identity $_.url -VersionUpgrade}

Reporting

As you deploy hundreds of sites, Windows PowerShell can help you get a good picture of what’s in your Office 365 environment. A slight variation on the script you used to get a list of all your sites can be used to get usage data.

Here is the new line that will give you more information. It can work with hundreds or thousands of sites.

Get-SPOSite –limit all –detailed | Export-CSV –path MyReport.csv

You’ll notice two changes:

  • The use of “-limit all”. By default, Get-SPOSite returns up to only 200 sites. Using “-limit all” gets you all of them.
  • The use of “–detailed”. We’ve optimized Get-SPOSite for speed by retrieving only properties that we can get quickly by default. There are a few properties that won’t come back unless you run in “-detailed” mode.  Those properties are:
    • CompatabilityLevel
    • ResourceUsageCurrent
    • ResourceUsageAverage
    • StorageUsageCurrent
    • WebCount
    • Title

Now that you have a CSV of all of the properties, you can see how your usage quota is being consumed in your office 365 environment and make adjustments as necessary.

Windows PowerShell for SharePoint Command Builder

To make it easier to build out a variety of Windows PowerShell commands for SharePoint Online, we’ve designed a web-based tool named the Windows PowerShell for SharePoint Command Builder. (Note: To see all relevant SharePoint Online commands, select SharePoint Online from the Products drop-down list.) This tool can help you visualize what actions you want to take and dynamically build a Windows PowerShell command that you can copy into your management session.

Main screen of the Windows PowerShell for SharePoint Command Builder when you select SharePoint Online from the Products drop-down menu 

Figure 5. Main screen of the Windows PowerShell for SharePoint Command Builder when you select SharePoint Online from the Products drop-down menu

SharePoint Online Admin and the Cloud app model

All of the functionality we have in Windows PowerShell is available in the Cloud app model too!  I’m not going to go into too much detail in this blog post, but we’ve made sure that you already have everything you need to use the SharePoint Online Administration APIs when you have SharePoint developer tools. In any SharePoint client object model (CSOM) project, just add a reference to Microsoft.Online.SharePoint.client.dll and you’re all set.  The only caveat is that your app has to request and be granted tenant permissions.

Wrapping up

We’re excited to present the new features and improvements in the SharePoint Online Administration Center. We’ve focused heavily on consistency across all of Office 365, invested in the features you requested, and made it possible to automate common tasks by using Windows PowerShell. Try it all out and keep the feedback coming!

Making the most of SharePoint 2013 when you upgrade

Bojana Duke is a Program Manager on the SharePoint team. She’s been working on the sharing features along with the callout, performance and legacy features.

We know that people often use SharePoint sites for mission-critical information and processes. So it’s extremely important that upgrades to our product and service are as quick and painless as possible. When you upgrade a site from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013, we go to great lengths to ensure that the content and structure of your site are preserved. But, there’s a tradeoff here. Because we don’t want to interfere with the way you’ve customized your site, some new features won’t be enabled by default on your upgraded site. This post tells you about these features, and how you can enable them.

Your site, before and after upgrade

Before we dig into the features that are NOT present by default, let’s look at all the differences we can see on an example site before and after upgrade:

 
Figure 1. Site before upgrade from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013
Figure 2. Site after upgrade from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013

New master page and visual style

The most obvious change after upgrade is the new default master page. It’s simple and clean, designed to help showcase the contents of your site. The new master page includes the styles used to format text in your site, so you’ll see that fonts, colors, and text sizes may have changed.

Most of the main components of the site are still there, and still in the same places; they just look a little different.

Site logo

In SharePoint 2010, the site logo was constrained to a small 60 x 60 pixel square. In SharePoint 2013, the optimal size for your site logo (assuming you use the default master page) is 180 x 64 pixels. You may want to upload a new logo graphic that helps you take advantage of the new space.

Ribbon

SharePoint 2010 introduced the ribbon as a central place to find commands for interacting with SharePoint. The ribbon still plays a major role in SharePoint 2013, but we’ve minimized it by default, to help people focus on the contents of their sites. Simply choose a ribbon tab (for example, click “PAGE in the upper-left corner)” to open the ribbon.

Global navigation bar

The blue (by default) global navigation bar now appears on every page of every site in SharePoint, to help people find their way around.

Site Actions menu

The menu known as “Site Actions” in SharePoint 2010 has moved to the top-right corner of the screen. It’s represented by the “gear” icon and now referred to simply as “Settings.” This menu is consistent with other products in the Office suite, like Outlook Web App.

Promoted actions

In SharePoint 2010, there were a few “Quick Action” icons in the upper-left corner of the screen, wedged in between the Site Actions menu and the ribbon. In SharePoint 2013, we’ve expanded this set of icons, and moved it to the right side of the page.

Edit Links command

You’ll also notice a new EDIT LINKS command available at the end of the Quick Launch and Top Navigation menus. Use this command to enter a quick editing mode for organizing your site’s navigation.

Differences between upgraded sites and fresh sites

If you create a fresh team site in SharePoint 2013, you’ll notice several pretty obvious differences between it and your upgraded site.

Getting Started tiles

Perhaps the most obvious difference is the presence of “Getting Started tiles”  on newly created team sites in SharePoint 2013.

Getting Started Tiles 
Figure 3. Getting Started tiles

The tiles provide shortcuts to several common actions, like sharing your site and applying a theme. The tiles replace the “Getting Started” links from SharePoint 2010.

The tiles are automatically added to your upgraded site, but aren’t added to your home page because we don’t want to interfere with your content. You can access the tiles from the Settings menu by choosing Getting started.

 
Figure 4. Access the new Getting Started tiles by choosing Getting started on the Settings menu

Of course, you can also edit your home page to remove the old Getting Started links and add the tiles. To completely mimic the SharePoint 2013 home page, you’ll have to make a few changes:

  1. Change the page layout
    Edit the home page, and then, on the Format Text tab of the ribbon, choose Text Layout. Then, choose Two columns with header.
     
    Figure 5. Using the ribbon to change the page layout

  2. Add the tiles
    Position the text cursor in the header text area and then, from the INSERT tab of the ribbon, insert the Get started with your site web part.
     
    Figure 6. Inserting the Get Started with Your Site web part, to add the new Getting Started tiles
  3. Delete old content
    If you want, you can remove old or unnecessary content from the two columns of the page.
     
    Figure 7. Optionally deleting old content
  4. Move shared documents
    In SharePoint 2013, a site newsfeed goes in the left column of the home page. We’ll discuss how to add that later. For now, drag the Shared Documents web part  from the left to the right column.
  5. Save the page and stop editing

Site Notebook feature

Team Sites in SharePoint 2013 come with a OneNote notebook. To add this notebook to an upgraded site, simply activate the Site Notebook feature. (Note that this feature requires an associated WAC server.)

To activate Site Notebook:

  1. Settings (gear) -> Site settings -> Manage site features
    From the Settings menu, choose Site settings, and then choose Manage site features.
  2. Activate Site Notebook
    For Site Notebook, choose Activate.
     
    Figure 8. The Site Notebook feature

Site Newsfeed feature

Sites come with a site newsfeed in SharePoint 2013.  There are a few prerequisites before you can add a feed to your upgraded site:

  • Requires SharePoint Server 
  • My Site Host must be deployed
  • The site must be on the same web application as the My Site Host

To add a site newsfeed:

  1. Settings (gear) -> Site settings -> Manage Site Features
    From the Settings menu, choose Site settings, and then choose Manage site features.
  2. Activate the “Site Feed” feature
    For Site Newsfeed, choose Activate.
  3. Add the Site Feed  web part to the home page
    Position the text cursor in the header text area and then, from the INSERT tab of the ribbon, insert the Site Feed web part. 

Navigation structure

As I mentioned earlier, our philosophy in SharePoint 2013 is to focus on the contents of sites rather than the tools and structure of SharePoint. You can see this philosophy manifested in our decision to remove headings (like Libraries and Lists and Discussions) from the navigation menu.

You can easily update your site’s navigation menu to match our new convention by removing headings:

  1. In the navigation menu, choose EDIT LINKS.
  2. Drag items out from under their headings.
  3. Delete unnecessary headings.

In new SharePoint sites, we also try to avoid cluttering the site navigation with every list, library, app, or page that lives in the site. We encourage you to carefully curate the navigation menu, and delete items that are not commonly used.

 

And then we have several changes that aren’t as obvious as the ones outlined above, but will still make a difference in your SharePoint experience.

Pages vs. dialogs for forms

With SharePoint 2013 and some of the great performance work we’ve done, we have a much smoother transition between pages. We have chosen to open List and Library forms by default in a full page, instead of in a dialog box. This helps you focus on the content of the form without being distracted by the background, and provides more space for you to see the information you’re working on.

To enable your forms to open in a full page, you can change the List or Library settings:

  1. On the List or Library tab on the ribbon, choose List Settings or Library Settings.
  2. In the first column, choose Advanced Settings.
  3. Scroll to the bottom, to see the Dialogs option:
  4.  
    Figure 9: Dialogs option
  5. Select No, and then choose OK to save this setting.

Default permissions

We wanted to make SharePoint even more open to all users, so our new default permission level, Edit, includes the ability to create and manage lists and libraries. For existing sites, you’ll have to change the permissions level of the Members group to be Edit:

  1. On the Settings menu (the gear), choose Shared with.
  2. Choose Advanced.
  3. Select the check box next to the Members group for your site.
  4. In the ribbon, choose Edit User Permissions.
  5. Select the Edit option, and then choose OK.

Existing users in the Members group will now have these new permissions, and all new users added to the Members group will get these capabilities automatically.

Sharing with everyone

To help users understand how to share broadly without having to worry about managing complex permissions, we renamed the “All authenticated users” and “All tenant users” claims to more friendly terms: “Everyone” and “Everyone excluding external users.” This enables users to search for these claims in the people picker simply by typing “everyone.”

How upgraded users get these strings

“All authenticated users” is now called “Everyone” and “All tenant users” is now called “Everyone excluding external users,” but these changes are not updated automatically during upgrade. To receive these changes, you have to activate (via Windows PowerShell) the feature with the following GUID: 10F73B29-5779-46b3-85A8-4817A6E9A6C2

$siteUrl = “http://www.contoso.com/” #URL of site collection
$site = Get-SPSite $siteUrl $site.Features.Add([System.Guid]”10F73B29-5779-46b3-85A8-4817A6E9A6C2″)

Everyone vs. Everyone excluding external users

In SharePoint on-premises deployments, the “Everyone” claim is the new name for what was formerly known as “All authenticated users.”   SharePoint Online includes this “Everyone” claim, which will include external users if the feature is enabled (because external users are also “authenticated users”). SharePoint Online also includes a second claim “Everyone excluding external users,” which maps to the former “All tenant users” claim and includes all authenticated users except external users.

Turning on Minimal Download Strategy (MDS)

MDS helps pages to perform faster and more smoothly by downloading only content that has changed as you move from page to page.

Because MDS is not compatible with all SharePoint customizations, we’ve left it off by default. You can decide whether to turn it on after upgrading. If you do not have any customizations, you can safely turn on MDS in Site Features:

  1. On the Settings menu (the gear), choose Site Settings, and then choose Manage site features.
  2. For Minimal Download Strategy, choose Activate.

If you do have customizations, you should consult forthcoming detailed guidance documentation to make sure your customizations are compatible with MDS. Customizations include third-party Web Parts, customized themes or master pages, and having the Publishing feature turned on.

We hope this lets you take full advantage of all the new features we’ve put together for SharePoint 2013. We’re excited about what we’ve built and are looking forward to hearing from you about how you’re using it!

Designing a beautiful search experience – The basics

​Hello everybody! My name is Kate Dramstad, and I am a Program Manager on the SharePoint search team. The search experience in SharePoint 2013 is more extensible than ever—we’ve empowered designers and developers to build almost anything they can imagine. But, it’s important to be careful when customizing the search experience. There is a fine line between a balanced page and a cluttered page, and we’d like to share with you some of our thinking about how to design a search experience that’s both gorgeous and usable.

Whole-page alignment

One of the most important factors for our search experience is the alignment of all of the page elements. In our default design, you’ll notice that the refinement Web Part (showing sorting options along the left side of the page) and the SharePoint search center icon (the magnifying glass image in the upper-left corner) are left-aligned. The search box, navigation, and results are also left-aligned. The top of the search box aligns with the top of the icon; the bottom of the navigation aligns with the bottom of the icon.

 
Figure 1. All of the elements on the search results page are aligned with a grid, shown here in green

This may seem like a minor detail, but snapping the elements on our page to a grid actually helps users to scan the page more easily. Components are separated from each other with strong vertical and horizontal lines of white space. This helps the eye to more easily distinguish between different components on the page, which is extremely important. A misaligned page, at best, just “feels wrong” to most users and, at worst, actually hinders the user from scanning results efficiently. When components are misaligned, it can create a “jagged edge”. When the eye tries to scan a jagged edge, it has to dart back and forth.  It is much more efficient for the eye to scan in straight lines.

 
Figure 2. In this image, the search icon is shifted to the left so it no longer aligns with the grid

When adding a new component to the page, or rearranging the existing components, it is very important to keep this grid in mind if you want the experience to be as polished as it can be. 

 
Figure 3. Here we’ve modified the inline results to include a star-rating feature and some additional metadata. Notice how the added features still align with the grid.

Whole-page look and feel

Alignment is not the only thing that’s important. You should also pay attention to the number of colors, fonts, and rich controls on the page. The focus of the search results page should almost always be the results themselves, so when styling components on the results page, you want to make sure you aren’t drawing the user’s eye away from the results. Following are some tips and tricks.

Use well-understood color mappings when possible

For example, it is a general convention in search results that blue text is the clickable result title, and green text is the URL of a given result. Deviating from this forces users to think more about what they’re looking at.

 
Figure 4. Switching the color of the title and the URL is somewhat disorienting for users. Try to use color in a way that matches well-understood conventions

Use as few colors as possible

Colors are generally used to help certain key things stand out, such as a selected filter option, a result title, or a URL. But, using many colors can make it so that everything is trying to stand out, with everything competing for the user’s attention. In the end, nothing stands out because it becomes a colorful visual jumble.

 
Figure 5. Too many different colors are distracting, making it difficult to decide where to look and what is important. Limit the number of colors used in the UI.

Use as few typefaces and font sizes as possible

Fonts, font sizing, and bolding/italics are used for similar reasons as color—to help certain, important elements stand out. Just as with color, if you use too many styles and fonts, everything appears cluttered. Our product team often refers to this as a “ransom note”, where it looks like the page is cobbled together from different magazine clippings!

Keep rich controls as visually simple as possible

Take a look at the Date filter histogram refiner, under the heading Modified in Figure 6. Putting this refiner on our default page was risky at first, because it’s a complex-looking control that could potentially stand out when compared to the text-based filters. But, we kept the colors consistent with the rest of the page, and kept the shapes and lines clean and simple. It’s important to do the same when adding any custom control.

One idea we’ve played around with is a pie-chart filter. But, take a look in Figure 6 at how distracting this refiner is.

 
Figure 6. The custom pie-chart filter has too many colors and doesn’t match the visual style of the other controls. It’s too distracting.

Now, look at Figure 7 to see what happens if we simplify the color scheme and shapes.

 

 
Figure 7. By using colors that are already used in the UI and keeping with the visual style of the other controls, this pie-chart refiner is interesting enough that users will briefly explore its purpose—but not so distracting that they will be drawn away from their task

Conceptual division of the page

When designing a search experience, you should consider both aesthetic and conceptual details.  Based on popular search conventions and our own research, we’ve organized the page components into different areas based on the functionality and the user-interaction model. When adding or rearranging components, it would be best to keep our conceptual division, so that users don’t get lost looking for how to do something.

For example, all of our filter actions are on the left side of the search results page. When users want to filter their results set, they always know to look there. If you want to add a new filter to the page, it’s best to add it next to the other filters, so users don’t have to hunt around the page to find it.

Figure 8 shows an overview of the conceptual divisions of the default search results page.

 
Figure 8. The search results page is divided into five functional areas. When customizing this page, try to add new elements to their corresponding functional area.

These are just a few broad guidelines to get you started on building beautiful search experiences. I look forward to your comments and questions!

Yammer SKU plan and pricing: details direct from SharePoint Conference

​Today, Microsoft announced the new Yammer SKU plan and pricing lineup at our annual SharePoint Conference. Yammer, the leader in enterprise social networking, was acquired by Microsoft earlier this year. The Microsoft/Yammer team has been hard at work designing a new pricing plan that makes it easier than ever for customers to experience Yammer.

Beginning March 1, 2013, Yammer will be available to Microsoft Enterprise Agreement customers.  Enterprise Agreement customers will be able to purchase Yammer Enterprise via Microsoft volume licensing. Microsoft has also created a set of combo SKUs for SharePoint Online (Plan 1 and Plan 2) + Yammer Enterprise. SharePoint Online + Yammer provides customers with a world-class collaboration platform and enterprise social capabilities.

Yammer Enterprise will also ship with Office 365 for enterprises (Office 365 E Plans 1–4).  Office 365 customers will have rights to run Office 365 for access to email, calendars, Office Web Apps, instant messaging, and file sharing and will have Yammer Enterprise for social.

Along with shipping Yammer with some of our most popular services, we will also be lowering the price for Yammer Enterprise standalone. Yammer Enterprise standalone will be available for $3 per user/per month (vs. the original price of $15 per user/per month). Yammer Basic standalone will also continue to be offered for free.

Beginning March 1, 2013:

  • Yammer Basic standalone:                                               $0
  • Yammer Enterprise standalone:                                         $3 per user/per month
  • New! SharePoint Online (Plan 1) + Yammer Enterprise        $4 per user/per month
  • New! SharePoint Online (Plan 2) + Yammer Enterprise        $8 per user/per month
  • Office 365 E Plans 1–4 + Yammer Enterprise                     $8–$22 per user/per month

(all pricing in USD)

Visit the Yammer pricing page to learn more. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months as we add more buying plans!

What’s New with Information Rights Management in SharePoint and SharePoint Online?

by Barak Cohen, Lead PM Document Protection Services; Neil Wang, SDET Document Protection Services

Document protection in the cloud

The new Office is the version that brings document protection using Information Rights Management (IRM) services to the cloud for the first time. Office 365 users can get a service plan that includes IRM capabilities powered by a new document protection service also known as Windows Azure AD Rights Management (AADRM) , that is part of Office 365 Enterprise Plan 3 and Plan 4, and Academic Plan 3 and Plan 4. This capability is symmetric to the ability to assign a Windows Right Management Server (RMS Server) to an on premises SharePoint installation.  Users can configure SharePoint Online to work with the service in their SharePoint Online Tenant Setting Page:
Enabling AADRM rights management for Office 365 tenant on the AADRM portal 
Figure 1. Enabling IRM service in Office 365 SharePoint Online Tenant Settings page

Note however, that the AADRM rights management service is not on by default in the SKUs listed above. Tenant admins have to enable it for their tenancy. Clicking the Refresh IRM Settings button on the Tenant Setting page queries the Office 365 directory for the AADRM settings and refreshes the settings in SharePoint Online.

To enable AADRM for Office 365 tenants you can go to this link to activate the service: https://activedirectory.windowsazure.com/RmsOnline/Manage.aspx?brandContextID=O365. (As mentioned above, one will have to have an Office 365 plan with AADRM for this to work, and one will have to log in using their Office 365 tenant admin credentials). This Rights Management page can also be accessed through the Information Protection menu on the Office 365 admin page.

Enabling AADRM rights management for Office 365 tenant on the AADRM portal 
Figure 2. Enabling AADRM rights management for Office 365 tenant on the AADRM portal

You can also use the following manual process to enable the service:

  1. Download the Windows Azure AD Rights Management administration module (WindowsAzureADRightsManagementAdministration.exe) for Windows PowerShell from here.
  2. From the local folder where you downloaded and saved the Rights Management installer file, double-click WindowsAzureADRightsManagementAdministration.exe to launch installation of the Rights Management administration module.
  3. Open Windows PowerShell, and then type the following commands:
      Import-Module AADRM
      Connect-AadrmService -Verbose
  4. Enter your Office 365 Preview credentials when prompted. For example: user@company.onmicrosoft.com
  5. Type the following commands:
      Enable-Aadrm
      Disconnect-AadrmService

Document protection on premises

On premises, IRM services are still supported by associating an AD RMS (Right Management Services) server role with a SharePoint farm, as described in the article AD RMS step-by-step guide. This is done by the farm admin on the Information Rights Management page that is linked from the farm admin page (the common configuration for on premises installation is for an RMS Server to be identified through Active directory). In SharePoint 2013, on-premises installations can target only on-premises RMS servers. (Note that SharePoint Online in Office 365 can target only AADRM).

Enabling IRM against an RMS Server in a SharePoint farm 
Figure 3. Enabling IRM against an RMS Server in a SharePoint farm

Setting IRM is done at the farm level through the UI shown in Figure 3, or on a subscription level (new in Office 2013), which is the way it is implemented in the cloud. Setting IRM to specific SharePoint subscriptions on premises requires the check box in Figure 3 to be selected, and then a Microsoft PowerShell script is used to set the specific RMS server URL for each subscription.

Protecting documents is easy

After IRM services are configured online or on premises, site collection admins can enable IRM protection on individual document libraries.

Setting IRM protection on a document library 
Figure 4. Setting IRM protection on a document library

After these settings are in place, documents that are compatible with Office IRM services are protected after they are downloaded to the client. The additional options enable people to set the usage rights in more granular detail.

You can easily set usage rights

Enhanced in Office 2013, the IRM settings UI for a document library was made easier to use. Beyond writing the permission policy title and description, library admins can also do the following:

  • Set access rights, including rights to print, run scripts to enable screen readers, or enable writing on a copy of the document (new to Office 2013)
  • Set expiration date (the date after which the document cannot be used
  • Control whether documents that do not support IRM protection can be included in the library
  • Control whether Office Web Apps can render the documents in the library (new in Office 2013)

Protected documents can be rendered in the browser

Also new to Office 2013, Office Web Apps can render protected documents. This means that if an authenticated user does not have a compatible Office client, they can still view the documents using Office Web Apps. Note that in the case of Web Apps, the document is presented in read-only mode. Also note that screen capturing of protected content in the browser is not blocked (as it is on clients), but, the information about the protected documents is cleared from the browser cache.  Library admins can always prevent this capability by selecting the Prevent opening documents in the browser for this Document Library check box on the Information Right Management setting page (shown below in figure 5).

You can protect documents for groups

When documents are downloaded from an IRM-enabled SharePoint document library, by default each supported file type is encrypted and rights are restricted to the authenticated user who downloaded the documents. Other users who have rights to the same library must get their own copy. One of the new features that SharePoint 2013 supports is to protect a library for a group. An admin can choose an Active Directory group and use it to stamp the usage license for the file. Then, documents that are downloaded can be used by all the members of the group, and the user who downloaded the copy can transfer the copy to any member of the group directly. In Office 365, these groups are created in the Exchange Control Panel (ECP).

Group protection as part of the advanced IRM settings on document libraries 
Figure 5. Group protection as part of the advanced IRM settings on document libraries

IRM supports Office documents and PDF files

Many people have expressed interest in tighter integration of PDF files in SharePoint and Office in general. New to Office 2013, PDF documents are integrated better into SharePoint 2013. PDF readers can register a control to allow simple opening of PDF files, and PDF documents can be protected with Microsoft IRM services. IRM protection of PDF documents is an extension of the PDF standard, which PDF readers can implement and support. One reader that already supports this feature is the Foxit PDF reader.

Programmability

New in Office 2013, IRM settings at the farm/subscription level are programmatically controlled. Table 1 shows examples of how IRM settings at the farm or subscription level can be manipulated from Windows PowerShell.

Table 1. IRM programmability with PowerShell

Example​ Windows PowerShell Command​
​Enable IRM for the farm and configure it to use the default RMS server that is configured in Active Directory. ​Set-SPIRMSettings -IrmEnabled –
UseActiveDirectoryDiscovery
​Enable IRM for the farm and specify the URL of the RMS server to use. ​Set-SPIRMSettings -IrmEnabled –
CertificateServerUrl http://myrmsserver
​Enable IRM for the specified tenant and specify the URL of the RMS server to use. ​Set-SPIRMSettings –IrmEnabled –
SubscriptionScopeSettingsEnabled

site = Get-SPSite http://myspserver
$subscription = $site.SiteSubscription
 Set-SPSiteSubscriptionIrmConfig -Identity
$subscription -IrmEnabled –
CertificateServerUrl http://myrmsserver

 

​Disable IRM for the farm. ​Set-SPIRMSettings -IrmEnabled:$false

 
For more information, see these links to descriptions of classes and APIs at the document library level:

The following Windows PowerShell script sample shows how a tenant admin can to turn on and configure IRM policy for all the document libraries on tenant’s sites: 


$webUrl = “https://contoso.sharepoint.com”
$username = “admin@contoso.onmicrosoft.com”
$password = ConvertTo-SecureString “password” -AsPlainText -Force

Add-Type -Path “c:Program FilesCommon Filesmicrosoft sharedWeb Server Extensions15ISAPIMicrosoft.SharePoint.Client.dll”
Add-Type -Path “c:Program FilesCommon Filesmicrosoft sharedWeb Server Extensions15ISAPIMicrosoft.SharePoint.Client.Runtime.dll”

$ctx = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ClientContext($webUrl)
$ctx.Credentials = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.SharePointOnlineCredentials($username, $password)
$lists = $ctx.Web.Lists
$ctx.Load($lists)
$ctx.ExecuteQuery()

$lists | `
    where { $_.BaseTemplate -eq [Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ListTemplateType]::DocumentLibrary } | `
        foreach { `
            $_.IrmEnabled = $true; `
            $_.InformationRightsManagementSettings.PolicyTitle = “IRM enabled”; `
            $_.InformationRightsManagementSettings.PolicyDescription = “This file is protected by SharePoint IRM.”; `
            $_.Update(); `
            Write-Host “IRM enabled on $($_.Title)” `
        }
$ctx.ExecuteQuery()

Supported client matrix

On the Office 365 services side, both SharePoint 2013 Online and Exchange 2013 Online support IRM services. (To get the services, you have to be a subscriber to one of the Office365 service plans that include IRM support as described in the Office 365 Web Site).

Table 2 provides a coverage matrix for client applications that are compatible with IRM services in Office 2013.

Table 2. Client application support matrix

App​ ​SharePoint 2013 SharePoint Online 2013​ RMS Server ​ ​RMS Online
​Word, PowerPoint, Excel 2013 (windows)  ​Yes ​Yes ​Yes ​Yes
​Word, PowerPoint, Excel 2013 RT ​Yes ​Yes ​Yes ​Yes
​Word, PowerPoint, Excel 2010   ​Yes ​Yes (After you install the Office 365 sign-on assistant.) ​Yes ​Yes
​Office for Mac 2010   ​Yes ​ No   ​Yes ​No
​Outlook on Windows Phone 7 ​NR   ​NR  ​Yes ​No
​Word on Windows Phone 7   ​Yes ​No  ​Yes ​No
​Foxit PDF reader on Windows ​Yes ​Yes (After you install the Office 365 sign-on assistant.) ​Yes ​Yes

Next Steps

IRM protection gives you better control of how you distribute and manage your digital documents. With the growing popularity of cloud services coupled with the affordable availability of the Office 365 platform, IRM services are easier to use and more readily available than ever before. Furthermore, trying the new service is available at no cost to anyone, so go ahead, sign up and never be worried about sensitive Microsoft Office and PDF document leaks. As always, our team is interested in feedback to help us improve the service further, feel free to comment

Intro to eDiscovery in SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync 2013

 

​Like many organizations, yours probably has a vast amount of data in the form of email messages and electronic documents. Not only do you have lots of email and documents, but you also probably have other types of content such as social data, instant messages, and webpages. There are significant legal risks associated with preserving, searching, and producing this data when legal events occur. How do you search this content and export it into a format you can hand off for eDiscovery requests? How can you provide your users with the best collaboration technologies while protecting your business? The new eDiscovery capabilities in SharePoint Server 2013, Exchange Server 2013, and Lync 2013 do just that.

In case you are not familiar with eDiscovery, it is the process of finding, preserving, analyzing, and producing content in electronic formats as required by litigation or investigations. Now you can save time and help reduce your legal risk with In-Place Hold, near real-time search, and the ability to handle more types of content. We have built on our eDiscovery work in SharePoint 2010 and Exchange 2010 by enabling you to perform eDiscovery across SharePoint, Exchange, Lync, and file shares—all from one location. You can help protect content in SharePoint and Exchange by using In-Place Hold, identify and reduce the amount of content with eDiscovery queries, and export the results into an offline format you can hand off for legal review.

Here is a quick overview of eDiscovery with SharePoint 2013, Exchange 2013, and Lync 2013:

  • In-Place Hold: Protect content in-place and in real time with higher fidelity and reduced storage costs, without affecting the daily work of your users.
  • Query: Get up-to-date, relevant content and statistics quickly to help you answer questions fast. Export: Transfer relevant content out of the system into an offline and portable format.
  • More content: Preserve, search, and export documents, email messages, OneNote files, webpages, community posts, microblogs, Lync IMs, and more.

SharePoint 2013 introduces the eDiscovery Center site collection, which has features to help with the first half of the eDiscovery Reference Model (EDRM)—identification, preservation, collection, processing, and analysis. The eDiscovery Center is available on-premises and in Office 365 and can be connected to Exchange so you can do eDiscovery across SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync content archived into Exchange. In the eDiscovery Center you can create eDiscovery Case sites, which are used to organize in-place holds, queries, and exports for a particular case. The eDiscovery Case site is designed for in-house legal teams to perform their eDiscovery work.

The home page of the eDiscovery Case site
Figure 1: The home page of the eDiscovery Case site

Using In-Place Hold to preserve data

Our customers have told us that when a legal event begins there is often a need to make sure that potentially relevant content that may be evidence is not modified or destroyed. Content is spread across many different locations including email servers, file shares, content management systems, and user’s computers. Previous versions of SharePoint were a challenge for eDiscovery because there are many types of content, such as pages and lists, which are difficult to export into an offline copy. SharePoint 2013 makes protecting content easier with eDiscovery Sets, a new feature used to identify Exchange mailboxes and SharePoint sites, group them together, apply filter criteria, and put the content on In-Place Hold.

The eDiscovery Set page is where you can manage In-Place Holds for Exchange mailboxes and SharePoint sites.
Figure 2. The eDiscovery Set page is where you can manage In-Place Holds for Exchange mailboxes and SharePoint sites.

 

With In-Place Hold, users can continue editing and deleting their content while, behind the scenes, the system ensures the original versions are retained for eDiscovery. The metadata and context of each item is retained because it is kept in place.

In-Place Hold:

  • Preserves content in place, including blogs, wiki pages, microblog content, archived Lync instant messages, email messages, calendar items, contacts and much more.
  • Helps reduce your risk by broadly protecting content (SharePoint sites and Exchange mailboxes) quickly, rather than spending weeks or months making copies of all of the content that might be relevant.
  • Helps reduce your storage costs by preserving only content that is edited or deleted, and by entering filters to reduce the amount of content you keep under hold.

Identifying relevant data using queries

Legal review can cost thousands of dollars per gigabyte, so reducing the amount of content you hand off for legal review is an important part of the eDiscovery process. The new eDiscovery Query page helps you identify and reduce your data set by using keyword syntax, property restrictions, and refinements. The query experience focuses on statistics for individual sources and query fragments to help you make decisions about the content you are searching across. You can also preview SharePoint and Exchange content to make sure you have identified the right set of results.

The Query page enables you to identify relevant content with keywords, refiners, and statistics.
Figure 3. The Query page enables you to identify relevant content with keywords, refiners, and statistics.

The eDiscovery query experience helps you reduce your content set to the relevant items you care about, with a focus on statistics and preview. Here are a few key features and examples:

    • Proximity search: For example, wingtip NEAR(30) marketing identifies results where “wingtip” is within 30 keywords of “marketing”
    • Exchange domain filtering: For example, return all results with @contoso.com
    • Search across Exchange, Lync content archived into Exchange, SharePoint, and file shares from one search page

Get query statistics break downs, to see how parts of the query would contribute to your result set

Exporting data

One of the biggest eDiscovery challenges when dealing with SharePoint and Exchange is getting the data out of the system in a portable offline format. This is a concern both on premises and in Office 365. Exporting is now as easy as clicking a few buttons. After you finalize your query, you can click the export button, select a few options, and then download the search results directly to your local computer. Using our export, you can remove duplicate Exchange content, include document versions from SharePoint, and even include unsearchable items (items that have had indexing errors).

Export makes it easy to download your search results from Exchange and SharePoint whether the data is on premises or in Office 365.
Figure 4. Export makes it easy to download your search results from Exchange and SharePoint whether the data is on premises or in Office 365.

An Electronic Discovery Reference Model XML manifest is included in the export to provide metadata about the exported items. After export:

  • Exchange content, including archived Lync content, is stored in PST files.
  • SharePoint content and file share content is downloaded in the native format.
  • SharePoint pages are captured as MHT files.
  • >SharePoint lists are stored as CSV files.

After you have completed your export, you can import it into popular review tools or hand it off for legal review.

Wrapping up…

The new eDiscovery capabilities have three advantages to help you get the job done when you need to handle legal investigations:

  1. In-Place Hold—You can preserve and search across content in native stores. This is faster, easier, and provides higher fidelity than the processes in use today. Plus, with our in-place approach, you can reduce the storage space you use.
  2. Near real-time search—Because we use the built-in search system of SharePoint and Exchange, content is always up-to-date and you can run searches anytime. You can get answers in minutes by searching across live and up-to-date content.
  3. More content—You can preserve, search, and export OneNote files, webpages, communities, microblogs, Lync IMs, Lync meetings, and more.

SharePoint 2013, Exchange 2013, and Lync 2013 help you reduce your legal risk and save time. Now you have the tools you need to quickly respond to legal requests, so you can protect your organization without getting in the way of your users.

To get started, you can create an eDiscovery Center site collection and then create eDiscovery Case sites. Getting everything hooked up with Exchange requires some configuration—check the TechNet article Plan for eDiscovery in SharePoint Server 2013 to help you get started.

Thanks for reading, let me know if you have any questions.

Quentin Christensen
Program Manager, Enterprise Content Management

 

​The SharePoint Conference Experience: Chock-Full of Win

In case you haven’t noticed, MySPC has been causing quite a stir. The scheduling and networking application was released early Wednesday morning, and SharePoint Conference attendees have been browsing sessions and building their schedules, seemingly without stopping to breathe.
 
In addition to being able to build a customized conference schedule, MySPC offers attendees a chance to link their social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) to their public profiles. Exercising this option allows users to see which social connections from the Community will be attending SharePoint Conference and puts them into a Favorites category for easy perusal. The handy Meetings function then makes scheduling 1:1 appointments a snap.
 
What does it all mean? It means SharePoint Conference offers a new level of networking not seen at previous events. Attendees can see who they need to meet and make sure business gets done.
 
One item on everyone’s schedule is the Opening Keynote slated for 8:30AM on Monday, the first full conference day. This is where Jared Spataro, Jeff Teper, Scott Guthrie, and David Sacks will speak on a variety of topics, including their vision for SharePoint 2013 and what the future holds for Enterprise Social Networking. It’s a can’t-miss event, and it’s the only time during SharePoint Conference when every attendee will be together to help push SharePoint into a new era.
 
SharePoint Conference 2012 is November 12-15 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Spots are still available for the conference and for Pre and Post Conference Trainings, and attendees will have an opportunity to see Bon Jovi and the Kings of Suburbia perform live on Tuesday night. If you have any questions about attending or exhibiting at SharePoint Conference, you can email spc@microsoft.com. Be sure to follow @SPConf on Twitter and like the SharePoint Conference Facebook page to stay up to date on news and events as they happen.

Introducing SharePoint 2013 Search Result Types and Display Templates

Hello everybody! My name is Kate Dramstad, and I’m a Program Manager working on the SharePoint search team. I’ll be talking to you about improvements in the SharePoint 2013 search experience. This post is a high-level overview of how result types and display templates work together to create rich search experiences. If you take away only one concept from this post it should be: Result Types + Display Templates = Rich Search Experiences.

Creating a great search experience 

A great search experience is characterized by how easy it is for the user to quickly find what they are looking for. In most search UI, all of the search results look the same, so it is up to the user to carefully scan each result, or worse, to “pogostick”—jump back and forth between the results page and a result trying to decide if that particular result is what they were looking for. In an ideal search experience, the user should be able to click only once, feeling confident they have found what they were looking for. 

SharePoint 2013 offers a huge improvement in the search experience through display templates and result types. Gone are the days of uniform-looking results and endless scanning. Documents aren’t all the same, and search results shouldn’t be either. In SharePoint 2013, you have the ability to control the look of the search results on a very granular level. Take a look at this screenshot below. Each colorful box represents an area of the UI that’s being controlled by a different display template.

The look of each Search UI component is controlled by different display templates 
Figure 1: The look of each Search UI component is controlled by different display templates.
 

There are display templates for each of the different results types within the search results, the hover panel for each result type, and each of the refinement controls. Each of these areas can be customized so that you can deliver a search experience that will delight your users.

A result type consists primarily of a set of rules that describe which of the items in the search results match that result type. When a user issues a query, the results come back and each result is evaluated against the rules in the result types. A display template is then applied to the result based on the type that it matches. By default, SharePoint 2013 includes several predefined result types:

  • Rich document results for PowerPoint, Word, and Excel documents
  • Rich conversation results for Newsfeed posts, replies, and community discussions
  • Rich video results, and more…

You can read about the People result type in the blog post Introducing People Search. Each result type has its own display template, making it look different from other result types and surfacing properties that are most relevant to a specific kind of document. 

Each result type is mapped to a display template 
Figure 2: Each result type is mapped to a display template. 

Custom result types and display templates 

In addition to the default result types, you can define your own result types. A result type can then be associated with a custom display template, enabling you to highlight specific kinds of results that are important for users. For example, let’s say when users search for purchase orders, you’d like the search results to also display the person who approved the purchase order for each result. To accomplish this, start by creating a custom result type for Purchase Orders. In your company, purchase orders are Word documents with a property IsPurchaseOrder, along with some other additional metadata like Purchase Order Approver, Purchase Order Approval Date, and Purchase Order Cost. To create a Purchase Order Result type, you would copy the Microsoft Word Result Type and add a specification that results that match should have the custom property IsPurchaseOrder equal to “True.”

The next step is creating a custom display template for Purchase Orders that surfaces the managed property POApprovedBy. Customizing display templates is straightforward. All customization is done in HTML and JavaScript, rather than XLST. To create a new template, start by copying an existing template. Add additional managed properties to the template so that you can surface important type-specific information. In the case of the Purchase Order example, copy the Word Item template and add the OPApprovedBy managed property to the template. Next, style the UI with HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.

The final step is to tell the Purchase Order result type to point to the Purchase Order display template. Now when a user issues a query, each result is first evaluated against the rule for Purchase Order results. If it matches, it is displayed using the Purchase Order display template. Otherwise, it is matched to one of the default result types and is displayed using the corresponding template. With this new search experience, you have made it easier than ever for users to find what they are looking for. But wait, there’s more!

Next steps

As I mentioned earlier, display templates offer control over many aspects of the search UI, not just the result types. If you wanted to extend our Purchase Order example further, you could, for example, create a refiner for Purchase Order Cost using the Slider with Bar Graph template that is used by the Modified Date refiner by default. Or, you could create a custom hover panel that surfaces even more properties that are specific to Purchase Orders. The possibilities are basically limitless.

In my next blog post I’ll cover the code-level details about how search administrators can create custom result types and display templates. I hope this post got you thinking about scenarios where custom result types and/or custom display templates can help deliver a delightful experience for users. I look forward to hearing your comments.