All right stop! Collaborate and listen (Sharing Points)

July 17, 2008

Using the DIP and Quick Parts with Office Pt 2

Filed under: Infopath, MOSS, Office 2007, Sharepoint, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — stephenmuller @ 3:52 am

Ok so in the last post i blabbed how to start to make some changes to the DIP to make a user friendly mechanism for users to edit and add metadata. Users dont like doing this so making it easy and friendly is advisable :).

That last action on the last post was to make a filtered drop down to make it simple for users to select the correct data from a lookup. As we know it is not possible to add filters to dropdowns in Sharepoint, there are 3rd parties that allow you to connect lookups in a master/child relationship in Sharepoint, I will link to them later. But his can easily be done in InfoPath by expanding on the steps that I have shown.

The next steps will be to make it prettyier (im not a designer as you will see) and to add the Quick Parts feature from Office 2007.

Finishing Touches

The next thing I want to do is add some text and a picture (thanks to Ishai on this as he pointed out a way to add an unbound picture to the DIP).

To add the picture I simply selected the Picture Icon on the toolbar.  I selected the picture and it inserted as per the image.

 

I guess the standard disclaimers need to be added here, be aware of the size of the image as it will impact the times of download.

This image would perhaps be your corporate logo or something more relevant than a Calvin & Hobbes picture.

Next is the layout and fonts. This is done simply by dragging and dropping and typing in the text and formatting it as per normal InfoPath functions.

I did this by using tables and my poor imagination. Note how I added tips for each field etc. After these changes are made click the Publish button and save and publish the document.

Now to test it, create a document library in a site, allow it to use content types and select the Project Overview document.

When the New Project Overview menu is selected the new document will appear, it looks kind of like this.

There thats all that. If you had problems please contact me, I made a lot of assumptions in the process so if I missed some key steps let me know.

Using the Quick Parts

Quick Parts is a feature in Word 2007. It allows a field to be added to the document that is linked to a document property or blocks of text called building blocks. We are only interested in the Document properties.

The feature is accessed from the Insert menu from Word 2007 as seen below

To demonstrate this keep the word document that you opened above.

Select the Quick Parts menu option then Document Property (note how all the fields are listed here including the SharePoint ones) I then selected Project Name, this drops a control onto the document as per below and then make a label for it.

 

I then created the Project Type and Project Manager, and formatted it a little nicer.

This image shows all the fields on the form as well as the dropdown for the Project Type.

There are a few thing to note. When the field is a lookup or list the field on the form will operate as a dropdown. You will also notice that it will use the value that has been selected in the DIP in the field, when you change the value in the field on the document the value in the DIP will also change. This shows that the two fields are linked.

This means that we can now add fields to a document template for the user to fill out and that will automatically populate the metadata for the document, so the users only need to fill the data in once. 

This document can now be saved as a template and uploaded back into the template for the content type so it can be used again and again.

Done….Did this make sense.

Summary

Ok in these two posts I hope I have shown how to make changes to The DIP to make a user friendly interface for users to add the additional metadata that they may need to add for a document. Smarts can be created with the fields to filter the data choices to the correct values. This is something that can only be done by 3rd party tools within SharePoint (or custom development).

By linking these fields into the actual document template via the Quick Parts we can save the user having to re-type the fields while still keeping a corporate template for the document.

All of this in my eyes is purely to assist the end user by making an easy and intuitive interface where they can quickly add the additional metadata for a document. Something I have said to many clients is that users are generaly happy to spend the time to add in more information than they are used to if it is easy AND there is a clear benefit to them ie, quicker access in locating that document or sharing it with other users. I think these tools can be used to help make that happen.

 

Over and out.

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Using the DIP and Quick Parts with Office Pt 1

Filed under: Infopath, MOSS, Office 2007 — Tags: , , , , — stephenmuller @ 12:33 am

This will be a two part post as it may be long.

Last night I did a very quick and broad overview of using and modifying the Document Information Panel via Infopath for SharePoint. I got some interesting feedback and will be looking at it further. This is the first pass on using the DIP and also leveraging the Quick Parts features in Office to create a user friendly and intuitive form template for users. This will cover a process of creating a content type, modifying the DIP and changes to the word template.

Items for this project include

  • MOSS, I do not believe that you can edit the DIP via WSS (but I am waiting to be corrected on this).
  • InfoPath 2007
  • Office 2007

Im also making a bit of an assumption that you know your way a little around InfoPath as it just becomes long to describe, if you have any issues please email me.

Create the Content Type and Document Information Panel

I created a site level content type as shown below.

 

The Project Managers Metadata in the content type is a lookup to a contact list on this site (This is important later on). In this contact list I added a yes/no field called Project Manager. I will use this flag later on.

Edit the Document Information Panel

To edit the DIP select the Document Information Panel Settings link on the CT page.

I check the Always show Document Info….. Check box at the bottom of the screen to ensure it is always visibe to users.

To create a new DIP click the Create a new custom template link.  This will launch InfoPath for you to edit the DIP. Click the Finish button when the Data Source Wizard Appears (read it first :)). The InfoPath form should look like this

Note how all the custom metadata fields are auto-loaded in the form. You will also have access to all InfoPath functions. When you get a chance have a play with the functions, I will only utilise some and I am not an expert on all of them so if you find anything nifty like using activeX controls let me know.

The first thing I will do is limit the Project Managers field to only show the contacts that I have flagged as Project Managers, so users can only select the Project Managers. (This will use the flag in the contacts list as mentioned above).

To do this select the ensure that the Project Management field is available via opening up the Data Connections in the Tools menu and select the only Data Connection string in the list  and follow the bouncing ball to ensure that the Project Management field is checked, should be by default.

Side point: The Data Connections are used to connect to the Sharepoint lists that have been used in the lookup fields on metadata. The naming is yucky so if you have several lookups in your form then check the name by editing the properties of the dropdown of the field and checking the name of the list that is used. You can also add your own data connections to any other SharePoint lists that you have (great feature), or web services.

After you exit out of the Data Connections wizard select the Project Manager field on the InfoPath form then select Drop-Down List box Properties. In the Entries Field click the funny button next to it. Next expand the nodes in the yellow box and ensure the Contact fields are available but keep the folder above the fields selected (as seen in the image below), I actually had an issue here as the fields were not visible so I had to recheck the data connection, and then it worked.

The next task is to filter the data so click the Filter Data… button a third window will open, to add the filter select the Add Button. All these boxes you can see below.

In the Specify Filter Conditions dialog I selected the Project_Management field then is equal to and in the last drop down the value of 1 (not TRUE).

Click Ok on all the dialogs until you return to the Drop Down List box properties dialog. Ensure the Value and Display name are correct (displaying and storing a field that you wish to view and store). Click OK.

You can check how it all worked by clicking the Preview button on the InfoPath toolbar. If it works great if it does not email me….I may have explained to badly.

To save the form simply select the Publish option from the File Menu. It will prompt you for a physical location to save the file first (Maybe a centralised document library to store them all togeather). Then it wil publisht the form back to the content type just accept all the options in the publishing wizard. When done it is now saved and connected to the content type. You can now use it to your hearts content.

The next phase will be on the next post coming soon, which will talk about making the form pretty and using the Quick Parts…

June 24, 2008

Creating Office Save and Open Shortcuts for Sharepoint

Filed under: MOSS, Office 2007 — Tags: , — stephenmuller @ 11:37 pm

This is a great way in MOSS to push save and open locations to your users so they can access them quickly from inside an office application, and they can be audience driven as well.

Go to the SSP Admin Page. Click on Publish Links to Office Client applications.

Publish Links

Then click new to add in the locations you want your users to save to.

New Publish Location

Click OK to save.

When the users want to save or open an office document, they select My Sharepoint Sites in the Favourite Links Section of the Save As or Open Dialog box of the Office application.

Now there seemed to be a lag when all these folders become available to users, it may well be after a full crawl but just be aware there is a delay.

I do not know if this works for Office 2003 but I do suspect it only works for Office 2007.

Let me know

 

June 23, 2008

Document Information panel not appearing

Filed under: MOSS — Tags: , , — stephenmuller @ 5:30 am

I finally go a chance to look into this, it has been a problem for me but I just ignored it, until now.

If you have had trouble with your Document Information Panel (DIP) not appearing when you open up word (or any Office document), check the settings on the content type (if it is a content type).  There is a Document Information Panel settings link that allows you to select if you want the DIP to always be visible on open, it seems to be turned off by default.

I hope the image gives you some ide of it, looks a bit blurry to me.

May 2, 2008

Blog name change

Filed under: Uncategorized — stephenmuller @ 1:20 pm

Given some advice yesterday I have decided to change my blog title…..

Thanks Sean for the way cool idea….

Ring any bells (the title)…

April 24, 2008

FlexListViewer Cast error

Filed under: MOSS — Tags: , , — stephenmuller @ 2:54 am

I recently looked ate the FlexListViewer which is a great little app which you can get here. 

When I tried it I got

Error occurred: Unable to cast object of type ‘Microsoft.SharePoint.SPFieldLookupValueCollection’ to type ‘System.String’.

I noticed a few other people got the error. Looking into it a bit the error is due to a field in the referenced view that cant be displayed (I had it on a multi-select lookup, im sure there are other types).

There are a few ways to fix this one is to delete the offending field (clearly the not the most rational idea), create a view that does not display the field and reference that in your FlexListViewer settings (which I did) or I imagine you could do some work with the xslt (Im not to crash hot on that, but if you get it working let me know).

Any issues email me…

 

 

April 10, 2008

Its the simple things…a view for documents I have worked on

Filed under: MOSS — Tags: , , , — stephenmuller @ 12:59 am

This very simple view has a very large impact with users I have noticed. It is easyand im not claiming to have found anything new just want to pass on a good way to setup a view that has a high impact.

Many users want to see documents that they have been working on. There are a few ways this can be done, one is via a vew on a document library or for a better rollup site wide view a Content Type Query.

Document View

For the view on a specific document library (im assuming you can all add a view if you have trouble just google or email me).

  • create a new view
  • select the fields you wish to see in the list (I keep it simple and just use the name)
  • sort the view by Modified and make sure it is descending
  • The filter is on the Modified by field and in the value type [Me] (there are other values like this including [Today] I will find a list of these and post it)
  • I grouped by Modified so I get all the document I modified grouped by day.
  • I then set an item limit to 10 or so (up to you)

Then just add the view on the home page. Its a winner and so easy. And of course it works for all lists and libraries types.

Content Query

Add the content query web part to the page (I do it to the top level home page)

In the webpart settings I set the

  • Scope to all sites in the site collection
  • The list type to

 

This will only show me document in document lists and of document content type. If you want something different the select it. Make sure you select to Include child content types as this will mean if anyone creates any content types based on document they will appear in the list.

  • for the filtering section I simply selected Modified By as the field. This is the cool bit here I can select the [Me] option, you will also note here you can select other users to include as well.
  • Unfortunately I cant group by the modified date but I suspect you could do that with XS L.
  • Lastly I Sorted it by the modified date, descending and grouped it to 10 documents.

And there you go. Also the CQWP does not have to just sit on the topsite you can put it on a WSS site (if you have MOSS installed it only ships with MOSS) to view all your documents in that site.

Im sure there are other ways or better ways but this all seems to work well, in allowing users to quickly access their data quickly and easily.

March 31, 2008

Micorsoft Desktop search and MOSS

Filed under: MOSS, Search — Tags: , — stephenmuller @ 3:15 am

Well the preview of Desktop search has been released.  You can get it here..

Windows XP people can now add a search to their MOSS search center. It is less than complete I feel. Ideally I think it would have been good to include the search results in the desktop search results rather than in the Sharepoint search center. Although that may change down the track.

I would like to be able to search my local AND Sharepoint.

I followed these rules but I guess XP is different to Vista so this is what I did (I copied a little from the previous site, sorry)

  • Click on Start Button
  • Type Gpedit.msc, Group Policy Editor will open (Click Allow if prompted for elevated privileges)
  • Navigate down and expand the following tree nodes: User Configuration – Administrative Templates – Windows Components – Search
  • Double Click “Add primary intranet search location”
  • Choose to “Enable”
  • Enter :
    MOSS Search,http://yourmossurlhere/searchcenter/pages/results.aspx?s=Intranet&k=%w
  • Click OK
  • Close Group Policy Editor
  • Reboot or run the following command in a command window as Administrator – Gpupdate /force

You can also add some secondry ones but they are not as visible as the primary. Bring on version 5.

March 26, 2008

Im in heaven

Filed under: Uncategorized — stephenmuller @ 12:47 pm

There is nothing, I repeat nothing better than Popcorn..

http://www.popcorn-song.com/

my work mates love this on my mobile, different tune every week..Hoorah….

March 25, 2008

Mac Office 2008 and MOSS

Filed under: MOSS — stephenmuller @ 5:46 am

I was asked about issues with MOSS and the Macs Office 2008 and the level of integration, I am horrified to learn they are creeping in to the workforce…(sorry Antin, teasing).Anyway it took me a while to find details on how well MOSS and Office 2008 integrate, so I will post the link as I believe it will becoming more of an issue. I also understand from the comments and blogsphere that more and more users want the same level of integration as does Office 2007..I must say I am surprised at the lack of integration but at least it has check in and check out functionality..

http://www.microsoft.com/mac/itpros/default.mspx?CTT=PageView&clr=99-15-0&target=36ae43a9-5dd3-49ab-a304-ca4d5feb66ee1033&srcid=99914fd4-21d0-40c4-9dec-b3b2eb5e3b1b1033&ep=7

Is the ugly link.. Has anyone had any experience with it (Office 2008 and MOSS not the link) 

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