All right stop! Collaborate and listen (Sharing Points)

March 17, 2009

Navigation Error in MOSS

Filed under: MOSS, Sharepoint — Tags: , , — stephenmuller @ 11:33 pm

When I arrived at a client today I was told that the POC site was down. Pages would not load, the only pages that would load were the settings pages. On some sites the Quick launch bar displayed error links when I moused over the link the error was roughly

An error occured while rendering navigation. Context has expired and can no longer be used.

In the google sphere there is a few entries about this but not many solutions. One post talked about workflow. And surely enough we were testing some workflow demos, but we had not attached any of them. However….my little helper did set up a policy setting on a document library after i left(which would have run overnight).

The short of it was I navigated via the site settings page to the document library that had the policy and I simply removed it. I did an IISreset to be sure then hay presto the site was back good as new. I dont know what caused it as I didnt look at the policy that was created, but if somebody could explain it then that would be great.

So if you get the above message another thing to try if nothing else works is to remove any information policies on document libraires (or content types)that were created before the error occurred.

February 19, 2009

Default Document Content Type always loading as Document

Filed under: MOSS, Office 2007, Sharepoint — Tags: , , — stephenmuller @ 12:20 am

This has been an on and off problem for me.

I have noticed a few people having the same problem but no solution so I will add the solution that I found.

The problem is when I add content types to the document library and they appear in the new document dropdown it will still load the default document template despite the user selecting a custom document type. The only way to change it is after you save the document then you can edit the properites of the document.

Anyway the solution is when the document library is created do NOT select Microsoft Word (IE Office 2007 .dotx template as the default) instead  select the default which is Microsoft Office Word 97-2003 template. Then add your custom content types.

Now when the user selects a new custom content type from the document library the template will be for that content type not the default document content type.

January 28, 2009

The importance of Office Integration with SharePoint

Filed under: MOSS, Office 2007 — Tags: , , , — stephenmuller @ 1:14 am

I recently did a talk at the SharePoint usergroup (I apologise about the screen resolution to all who were there) about the importance of focusing on the integrating of Office 2007 and SharePoint.

Typically a SharePoint implementation can make additional demands on users time in regards to saving and opening files from SharePoint. The process of locating the correct Doucment Library and using the correct content type means creating new documents are not as simple as the File New in Word.

Additionally to save a document they need to find the correct Document Library (if they did not create it from there) and then add any meta-data to the file. Again all of which adds additional time (Small yes but add that up for people whose job it is to create and edit documents and it will add up) to the traditional way of creating and saving documents.

However many clients I have spoken to have said that they are happy to spend that additional time if that means that they get a benefit to them, not to management but to them. This includes faster access to the correct file (Searching), one copy of the file (make sure your versioning is turned on) and an interface that is simple and easy (Good architecture and design) and meeting the projects goals of course.

Many users I have found work within the Office products almost exclusively, by leveraging the integration functions within MS Office 2007 and SharePoint users can continue to work within them. This clearly can mean a lot to users as they do not need to change their work habits too much. Training is the key.

I will not go into the features of the integrations but I have added some links below to help you to understand its capabilities.


A good list of all the integrations features


This link compares the office versions and SharePoint versions


Outlook Integration


Integrating OneNote


The link below is from me, but it is something administrators can do to create folders for users. It has the added bonus of being able to be targeted to audiences.


There are addins one can purchase to make the integration even better as well. The best one I have used is from Colligo and it links with Outlook.


To sum up, dont overlook the integration with office as it allows users to continue to work with tools they are familiar with, yet still enable them to interact with SharePoint.

Spend time talking to the users to understand how they work, do they use Word/Excel or Outlook, even products like PowerPoint and One Note can be effictivley integrated with SharePoint. Make sure your architecture makes sense to them and uses terms they are familiar with. Spend time training the users about how to use the integration features. I like to provide cheat sheets to help they are one A4 sheet with pictures broken up by tasks like How to Save or How to open another document. 

Some things can also be done at via the administrator this includes the creating of folders as discussed above and email enabling your libraries.

A sucessfull SharePoint Integration really does depend on the users, if they do not work with it because it does not assist them it will not be as sucessfull as it could.

Note: If people want me to outline the integration features of Office let me know and I will do a post.


Any questions email me.

December 8, 2008

Changing the Divisions and Regions for new sites in your MOSS Portal

Filed under: Sharepoint, Vista/MOSS — Tags: , , — stephenmuller @ 12:48 am

Tip of the day (well month)

When you create a new site using MOSS, down the bottom the site creation page are some Site category selections. Currently these exist as Divison and Region.


I have noticed that most people seem to ignore these settings, but they can be very useful. Hopefully this post will show you how they can be used. Its not hard core or technical at all just something I believe people are not exploring enough.


These categories are used in the Site Directory collection in your MOSS site. These categories can help users to quickly locate the particular site that they are after, this is especially important on larger sites.

It looks a little like this, and it accessed from the navigationbar in your site, its just called Sites.


Clearly just using Division and Region may not be useful to you but they can be changed easily. Although it is not very obvious, when you first start to look. The steps to chnage them are;

First navigate to the Sites site collection. Here you will see the various departments and divisions as hyperlinks on the web page (see image above). When you click on a link it will show you what sites have been grouped under that category.

To change the categories, simply click View All Site Content in the quick launch, then select the Sites List. When you edit the list settings you will notice the Region and Division Fields. You can now remove and add your own columns as per usual.

You can see that I added some more columns (Brand, Department) and choice values as well as a text box where user could write some keywords about the site which will help users locating it by a basic search (As Metadat gets added in the search index) I also removed the Division column. You have a lot of flexibility here so go and explore.


When you add theses columns they will appear in the create new site page, where you can now select the values you wish.


When the site is saved and you return to the Sites hompage you can see the new columns and vlaues appear as selecteable hyperlinks. Notice as well that the keywords do not appear, I suspect only the the choice values or Yes/No will appear which makes sense.


You can see, I hope, that you can really customise and utilise these fields to assit in providing a useable site directory as well as adding searchable terms to the sites to help users locate them via the search. This is all about providing an easy way for users to quickly locate a site no matter where it is located in your structure.

I am sure there are lots of things you can do with the new columns and values. Ideally the vlaues should be form a look up list as well.

Also you could add some really nice webparts on the directory page. For example with the Keyword field you may well be able to do some sort of tag cloud. You can also custiomise the page by using the tabs list which you can access from the Site Content List but I wont go into that…yet.

Again if you have any issues or questions let me know.

November 10, 2008

Gantt chart web part render problems

Filed under: MOSS — Tags: , , , — stephenmuller @ 10:32 pm

I have noticed that when a gantt chart view web part is dropped on a page the gantt chart scrolls of the edge. I never really got around to looking at it but Heather Solomon has done a fix for it. The link is below–Gantt-View-with-custom-master.aspx

August 22, 2008

Managing Folders in Sharepoint lists

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — stephenmuller @ 12:55 am

Off the cuff I dont like using folders in SharePoint lists at all, I activley encourage my clients not to use them and to leverage metadata instead as this allows views to be flexible, but we can debate this another day.

I have one client that has an image library with many folders in it grouping the data sort of…. The task of moving all the images into a structure without folders was going to be a long process as there were lots of images. We made an image tag list to allow them to tag an image with mulitple tags so they can be searched and filtered. But it was the folders were making the use of these tags almost impossible.

But there is a trick that allows the folders to be ignored and to present all the images in a single flat structure. Its in the view configuration. When creating a view there is a folder section and a check box that allows all items to be displayed without the folders.

So now all the views for the display all the images in all the folders without displaying the folders.

Very handy. Many people may already be using this, but if your not and you dont want to worry about folders then you should.

On a side note about the Image library and the latest Infrastructre update there is a bug. Brian Farnhill has more here!AEC42F315B4528B0!2974.entry

August 11, 2008

File Locked by another using MOSS user pt 2

Filed under: MOSS, Office 2007 — Tags: , , — stephenmuller @ 2:44 am

I had put in a log entry for this a while ago but

  • It was for 2003
  • And it didnt work for me in this situation.

The situation was when I tried to edit a specific document I got the message box that another user had it opened for editing, no matter what I did even deleteing it and re-uploading it I still got the message.

What ended up working was simply to Check it out change something then check it back in and close and from then on it was fine!

Go figure maybe the check in/out removed some locking file?

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.


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.

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


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