Author Archives: jdourastraining

SharePoint Metadata

13 Aug 20
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Many organizations that adopt SharePoint as a document management system simply import the files in their shared drives in one fell swoop, without considering some powerful SharePoint tools, like Metadata.

This mistake can lead directly to a failed implementation- the so called document graveyard. SharePoint Metadata prevents this fate and prevents good data from being buried with the bad.

What is SharePoint metadata?

Metadata is data about documents. It may include a document’s origin (author, date written), its context (client, vendor, case number), and purpose (type, approval). There are standard metadata fields, like the date the document was last printed, and customizable fields that can be anything that is relevant to the document and useful to a user.

Even without SharePoint, Microsoft documents have metadata. In most Microsoft Office programs, metadata is visible in the information section of the file tab.

SharePoint Metadata is visible in columns in the spreadsheet view of a document library. Custom metadata can be added to document libraries to make these views more useful.

For example, the spreadsheet view of a document library of sales materials could display the product names, publication date, or other useful information without opening any of the files in the library.

How does SharePoint use Metadata?

SharePoint uses metadata to improve its search results, but it is also valuable for creating ad hoc and permanent custom views.

Document libraries can be sorted and filtered by their metadata to show only the documents that are useful. For example, if a salesperson only wants to see the documents that pertain to a specific client, he can quickly filter out only those documents. He can then re-filter the documents to include only contracts, or only sales of a certain size.

Nested file folders, as is commonly used in shared drives, cannot so quickly be re-filtered or reorganized. Moving files around from folder to folder is fairly simple, but instantly sorting out agreements for all clients, then resorting by the salesperson’s name is impossible.

Saving custom views in SharePoint

These custom filtered and sorted views can be saved and retained permanently. Different SharePoint pages can display different custom views.

For example, if a business were to have a separate page for each client, a custom view, filtered by SharePoint metadata, could display only each client’s documents on their respective pages, even if all of the documents were in the same library.

SharePoint Metadata is one consideration in designing an organizational structure for documents, called a document taxonomy.

Tactful Taxonomy

Good SharePoint taxonomies still divide documents into different libraries and folders, but these groupings tend to be much larger. Instead of having individual folders for each client and sub-folders for agreements, proposals, contacts, etc., it may be appropriate to use one large folder for client documents and use metadata and views to filter only agreements for a specific client.

Try not to go overboard. Good taxonomies include only what is crucial. If filing documents isn’t obvious, then users will skip the system. Complex metadata just gets in the way.

Please contact us with any SharePoint training or SharePoint development needs.

See similar articles on our SharePoint Training Blog and our Legal Document Management blogs.

For more power Sharepoint techniques see our other Sharepoint Tips.

Different Ways to Upload Documents in SharePoint

13 Aug 20
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Upload documents - SharePoint

SharePoint is a great way to organize documents – far better than a shared drive – but sometimes it can be a little confusing when trying to upload documents into a SharePoint library. If your company recently updated from an older version of SharePoint, the uploading process might be very different than what you were previously used to; or,  if you just started using SharePoint the first time, you might not be aware of the many different ways to upload documents into a SharePoint library.

The nice thing about SharePoint is that there are usually a number of ways to do different things within the software. Uploading documents into a library is one of those functionalities that has multiple ways to do it. Picking the one that is easiest for you can take some experimentation, until you are familiar with the different possibilities available to you.

In my example, I’ll be using SharePoint 365, but these options are also available to you in 2013, 2016, and 2019 versions of SharePoint. It is always nice to have choices, since your preferences help make your everyday tasks easier ,and allow for a more efficient process.

Here are the options:

Drag n Drop

Dragging and dropping documents into the library is probably the most familiar process. However, companies switching from SharePoint 2010 might not know about this upgrade, as SharePoint 2010 did not allow the option. This option can be used for uploading new documents, as well as moving documents from one library to another.

  1. If you are loading documents from your desktop, select the documents to be uploaded.Select files
  2. From here, left-click on the documents, and hold down your mouse button and drag them over the top of the library until you see Drop Here… appear in the library.Drop Here. . .
  3. Let go of the mouse button, and the documents will start uploading.

In some case, depending on your company’s policy, there might be additional steps to tag documents. Check out the Just Tip articles for “SharePoint Metadata” and “How to Use a Quick Edit Menu in SharePoint” for more details about these potential extra steps.

Upload Button

When you enter a SharePoint library, there is a line of commands at the top. One of those commands is Upload. This command allows you to upload one document at a time, which can be helpful in cases where you need to find the document to get it uploaded, or you just have one document to upload in the library. The same additional steps might be necessary, after uploading the document in the library, as the Drag n Drop method, which are dictated by company policies and procedures.

  1. Once in the library, click the Upload command. Upload button
  2. Once the dialog box appears, click the Browse button and search for your document. Browse fro documents
  3. Select your document, and click the Open button to complete the process of choosing your document to upload.Open buttonDocument chosen
  4. Click OK at the bottom of the dialog box, and the document will upload. OK

File has been uploaded

Open with Explorer

This last option is only available while using Internet Explorer.  It requires the ActiveX functionality, which is only available by using Internet Explorer. This method of uploading is similar to the Drag n Drop method, except you drag n drop into a folder-style window. This can also be used for transferring documents from one library to another, but two folder windows need to be opened at the same time (one from each library) to do this.

  1. To open the folder window and begin the process, go to the library into which you need to upload documents, and click the Library tab of the ribbon. Library
  2. In the Connect and Export group, click the Open with Explorer command.Open witth Explorer button
  3. A folder window will open for the library, which will look like this:Folder window
  4. From here, you can drag n drop documents into the library, or open another folder window from another library, and, using the same steps,  transfer documents from one library to another library.

Again, this last option is only available if you are using Internet Explorer, and you might need to go back to the library and do extra steps to complete the uploading process, based on company policies and procedures.

You can empower your organization’s SharePoint platform by taking a training course from AdvantEdge Training.

Adding Subprojects in Microsoft Project

13 Aug 20
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Add Subprojects - MS Project
Project Managers might need to get lists of tasks for a project from more than one source in order to track everything throughout the project. The project manager could link the files, but in most cases, linking too many files can cause issues with the main Project file. When too many files are linked together, computers, connections, and Project file sizes can cause issues, unless your company is using the Enterprise level for MS Project

Instead of linking the Project files, why not insert them as Subprojects? This process is very easy, and puts everything in one place. The main difference is that linked files update when the main file is opened, whereas Subprojects do not automatically update. Deciding which method to use is usually left up to the project manager, the software, and the system being used by the company. Regardless, using Subprojects is a viable option to add the necessary tasks from an outside source, so proper tracking can be managed.

Here is how you can use Subprojects:

  1. Ensure you have the main Project file opened, and that you have access to the file, with the outside sourced tasks, to be added to the main Project file.
  2. Select the task to which you want the Subproject tasks added – Note that the imported set of tasks will always insert above the selected task.Task List
  3. Click the Project tab of the ribbon, then click +Subproject in the Insert group, to the far left.Insert Subproject
  4. Find and select the file you wish to insert, then click the Insert button. Insert button  File to insert
  5. The group of tasks will be inserted, and you are done!Inserted files
MS Project can help all of you projects runs smoothly; learn how with a training class from AdvantEdge Training.


Outlook Today Overview

13 Aug 20
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Overwhelmed by email
Opening Outlook can be daunting at times, especially if you are someone who receives one hundred-plus emails every night. All you see is chaos first thing in the morning, and you are instantly stresses out, before you get anything done. There is an easier way to view your day or week in Outlook, by using the Outlook Today view, which can be setup to be your default view in Outlook.

The Outlook Today is easy to setup, and can be personalized to fit your needs. If you want to just see daily items to be completed, along with a quick idea of the number of unread emails, and what is coming down the pipeline that week, you have those options. This overview allows you to quickly look at your plan of attack, without being overwhelmed by an overburdened email inbox.

Let’s take a look at how to use this great tool:

First, open Outlook, and click your email address, located above the various folders.Open Outlook

This will open the Outlook Today view.

From here, locate the Customize Outlook Today link and click it. It might be located in the upper right-hand corner, or somewhere below the view.

Once you click the link, it will open the Customize Outlook Today pane. There are several options to setup.

Customize Outlook Today

The first option is the Startup option, which allows you to have this view as your default view when opening Outlook. Click the radio box, and a check mark will appear next to When starting, go directly to Outlook Today. Now, this view will be the first thing you see every morning, or whenever you open Outlook.

The next option allows you to choose which email folders you will see in an unread email overview. If you’ve taken our Time Management with Outlook class, you will know how to set rules for incoming emails, and you can set those folders to show up in this view. When done, the Outlook Today view will show you an email folder overview something like this:Outlook Today email folder overview

The Calendar setup will show you the number of days you want to see, and events that are happening on those days. This can range from one to seven days, . After you have setup this part, the events from your calendar will look like this in your Outlook Today view:Calendar setup in Outlook Today

The Task section has a few more options that let you have a dual sorting system, and let you decide which tasks you would like to see listed. The tasks will list in order, with non-dated tasks showing first, with a check box to the left, allowing you to mark your tasks as done in the Outlook Today view:Tasks in Outlook Today view

The last section the Customize panel let’s you choose a style. There are several styles to choose from; once you choose the style you like, click the Save Changes link. This link will be located in the upper right-hand corner of the settings pane. Outlook will then take you to your new Outlook Today view, so you can make sure you like it.

Make better use of your time  and end you inbox clutter with a Outlook class from AdvantEdge Training & Consulting.

New Excel 2019 Function: MROUND

07 Jul 20
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MROUND Function in Excel

Every new version of Microsoft Excel comes with new or updated functions. The 2019 version of Excel is no exception. One of the new functions is MROUND.

MROUND is a little different than other rounding functions, as you reference a cell with a number and tell it to give you the closest multiple requested by you. For example, if I tell the function to give me the closest multiple of 400, then when I place a 1 in the referenced cell, it will give me a zero. However, if I place 300 in the referenced cell, the function will populate a 400. If I place 500 in the referenced cell, I will get 400 as well; but if I place 700 in the referenced cell, I will get 800.

Check out this video to see how to set up the function and see how it works:

Learn more ways that Excel can make your work easier by taking an Excel training as a private group at your company or as an individual in our virtual Training Center with AdvantEdge Training.

Using Eyedropper to Match Colors in PowerPoint

07 Jul 20
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Using Eyedropper to Match Colors in PowerPoint

While building a PowerPoint presentation, it is common to want certain colors to match within the slide, so that elements of the slide do not look out of place. Anytime we can make a slide more appealing to the senses, makes it easier for listeners to focus the substance of the presentation. As humans are so visual, it can be easy to go overboard with colors. Thus, we do need to make sure we use colors that pull things together, instead of the slide looking so wild that everyone is wondering what happened to it.

One way to pull colors together is to use the Eyedropper function to ensure colors match other elements of the slide. We are not necessarily looking for things to be symmetrical, but rather more consistent. This will help others focus on the important parts of the presentation. Eyedropper works great for elements such as text boxes, as well as other items within a slide.

Text Box Example

Today, we will use text boxes for our example. Below we have a slide in which the text at the top blends too much into the background.Fading Header

The header text needs a background color to make it stand out. We want to use a color that already exists in the background picture, but we do not want the color we use to look out of place. By following the steps below, we can make text color harmonize with the background picture.

  1. When using Eyedropper, you must select the item where you want the color changed. In this case, it will be the text box.Select Header
  2. The Drawing Tools contextual tab will appear. If it is not active, then click it. Drawing Tools Tab
  3. In the Shape Styles group, click the drop-down menu for Shape Fill, and select Eyedropper. Select Eyedropper
  4. Your cursor will change shape, allowing you to select the appropriate color. As you hover above different areas of the slide, your cursor will change color to give you an idea of what color will be used for your text box.Match Colors - TealMatch Color- Brown
  5. Once you find the color you want for the text box, left-click and the text box color will change to the color you were hovering over.Using Eyedropper to Match Colors - Harmonized text box

Now the header looks like part of the picture, instead of something that doesn’t belong with the slide.

Functions like Eyedropper allow you to create dynamic slides for your presentation, keeping your audience alert, and focused on the presentation.

Learn more about the functionality available, as well as how to create presentations that keep your audience engaged with a PowerPoint class from AdvantEdge Training.

Sorting by Multiple Columns in Excel

08 Jun 20

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Multiiple column sort in Excel

When working with large chunks of data, we sometimes need to sort the data to figure out where we need to focus our attention. This could mean that we need to quickly sort our data by more than one column, allowing us to make decisions on which path to take, without having to create new Excel template in that moment.

There are a number of ways to sort data in Excel, but using the Sort command (located on the Data tab of the ribbon) is the easiest, as the sort order you see is the sort order you get. The nice thing about the dialog box used for the Sort command is that it is easy to add, delete, or rearrange sort levels. Other methods of sorting data, ones in which you do not use the Sort dialog box, can cause issues, can be more problematic, especially if you try to undo and redo the sorting at a later time.

Having column headers makes the whole process easier, but sometimes raw data downloaded from a database does not give us column headers. The good news is that it does not keep you from sorting your data, as there is an option checkbox for data without headers, but you must know which columns to sort when this happens.

Follow the steps of in this video to sort data using multiple columns:

Make your life easier and your data less overwhelming. Learn to make Excel work for you by taking a live or online training course with AdvantEdge Training & Consulting.

Creating Excel Templates

04 Jun 20
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Excel TemplateCreating an Excel template allows a person to reuse a workbook setup over and over, without the need to recreate the wheel every time, nor continuously to clean out old information. By using a template, your workbook is ready and waiting for you to enter data; everything else will happen automatically, when you automate your workbook.

Most of the time, when we are told to use a particular template, the file we are asked to use is not an actual template. This is why the person telling us to use the template also reminds us to do a Save As and rename the file, so we don’t overwrite the existing file. That’s the first indication that it is not an actual template.

The nice thing about a template is that it forces you to save your newly opened template as a workbook. Thus, it is extremely hard to accidentally overwrite your template. To overwrite a template, you would need to follow a number of steps and rename the updated template with the exact name of the old template.

Want to up your skills in Excel? Check out what AdvantEdge Training has available for you in our virtual class room or private onsite group Excel courses.

Managing Remotely in the Time of Covid19 – Podcast

05 May 20

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Podcast interview with Jenny Douras in managing employees remotely while in Covid19 work from home conditions.