Microsoft 365 Lists – first look and overview

What is Microsoft Lists? Refer to my old blog https://synkventures.com/2020/05/24/microsoft-365-lists-a-powerful-app-sharepoint-lists-not-needed-any-more/

Finally on 28th July 2020 Microsoft Lists have arrived in our tenants (10% targeted release), here is the icon and just click on it to access the Lists page.

Microsoft Lists icon
Microsoft Lists home page

What are the ways to create lists?

  1. You can create a blank list as we use to do like custom list in SharePoint.
  2. You can start with an existing excel which means that if you have excel you can use that create a list with same set of columns etc
  3. You can pick any one of the templates to create a list.
  4. You can also use an existing list of create a list which means you don’t have to start from scratch and any existing list can be used as template.

We will have a look at all these one by one but first let’s discuss templates.

What are the templates available and their usages?

  1. Issue Tracker: This to track issues, similar template is available in SharePoint as well, look at the video below how to create and what are the columns etc. You will notice that the interface is same as SharePoint Lists and also settings page is same so the learning curve is pretty small.
Microsoft Lists Issue Tracker Demo

2. Employee OnBoarding Template: Look at the video to understand what columns it has, this can be used for onboarding new employees or onboarding emoloyee transfers from one location to another or department

Microsoft Lists Onboarding template demo

3. Event Itinerary template demo: A lists to track series of events such as who is the speaker, location, number of people allowed etc, look at the video for more details

Microsoft Lists itinerary template demo

4. Asset Manager Template: This template can be used to manage assets if new assets needs to be assigned, transferred or an inventory of existing assets. All required columns like Serial number, manufacturer etc are already available, look at the video for more details

Microsoft Lists Asset Manager template demo

5. Recruitment Tracker: This template can be used to track recruitment candidates, has all options to store candidate information, who is the requester, for what role etc., look at the video to understand more.

Microsoft Lists Recruitment Tracker template demo

6. Travel Request Tracker: This can be used to track travel requests, it has all the columns you need, workflow of course can be created using Power Automate, good use of the “Location” column as users can enter location where they are travelling so you don’t need to maintain a list, flight cost, hotel cost etc, look at the video for details

Microsoft Lists Travel Tracker template demo

7. Work Progress Tracker: This template can be handy if you are managing a team or you are tracking different tasks, this template has all the columns you need such categorization, priority, start date , end date etc, look at the video for more details

Microsoft Lists Work Progress Tracker demo

8. Content Scheduler: This template can be used to track launch of content in your organization, it has all the columns you need such as Content type, author, publish date, content link etc, view the video to get more details

Microsoft Lists Content Scheduler template demo

Create a blank list: Use the same steps as before just use the option, blank list, it is more like a custom list we have in SharePoint and we can create columns as we wish. View the video for more details.

As you can see the experience is very similar as before and we have both modern way of creating ways also classic experience available with us, if you want to use metadata type it is also available.

Microsoft Lists Blank List demo

Create a List using an existing list: Use the same options as before just use the option existing list and you will be able to create a list out of an existing list. Benefit of this is that whatever customization with respect to columns, formatting and views you have done will be copied over. View the video for more details.

Create Microsoft Lists using an existing List

Create a List using an excel: If you have data in existing excel and you would like to turn it into Microsoft Lists then it can be easily done, view the video below.

Some points before you do this:

  1. There is a limit of number of rows for which data can be uploaded
  2. Your excel sheet needs to have data in “Table” format else it will not work and will give a message for the same.
  3. You can select multiple type of column type while uploading such as Single text, Multi text, Choice , Date time, Number , Currency depending on what data resides in the column or you can select not to upload data
  4. When you upload the excel it will be first uploaded to OneDrive and then list will be created, later it can be found in OneDrive.
  5. You have the ability to upload an excel from OneDrive as well.
  6. I also encountered an issue while uploading, I was not abe to save List under “My Lists” as it gave me this error “The Site does now allow Site Designs” so I had to share it in one of the SharePoint sites and then it worked.
  7. Your data along with columns will also be uploaded.

What happens when you create a list and how to create under SharePoint Site ?

If you will notice the List URL you will understand that the List App is actually running from your SharePoint My Site as we have our “OneDrive” running, a sample URL below so I believe all Lists are being created under your My Site. Check below URLs and you will understand. Anyhow our my sites are nothing but a SharePoint site so it makes sense to utilize them.

Main URL:

https://yourtenant-my.sharepoint.com/personal/tenant_com/_layouts/15/lists.aspx

A specific URL:

https://youtenant-my.sharepoint.com/personal/yourtenant_onmicrosoft_com/Lists/Listname/AllItems.aspx?env=WebViewList

You have the ability to save list under a SharePoint site when you create a list, instead of My Lists select SharePoint Site this will create the List under SharePoint site, a link will be added in menu automatically and also you can find under the Site Contents.

Create Microsoft Lists Under SharePoint Site

Create a List from existing SharePoint List: Yes this is true you can create Microsoft Lists using existing SharePoint List, check the below video for details. Basically you will have to use “From existing list” option and you can select SharePoint sites and it will show compatible Lists whuch can be used.

Create Microsoft Lists using SharePoint existing Lists

List formatting: List formatting is already available in same way as it is in SharePoint lists, you will also notice that for templates some columns already have formatting such as Progress column, for more information on Lists formatting visit here https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/declarative-customization/column-formatting and https://pnp.github.io/sp-dev-list-formatting/

Microsoft Lists formatting sample

How to create a Rule in Microsoft Lists: Rule is a great idea introduced by Microsoft which works similar to List formatting but has much more, check the video below in which I highlight a column and also add an exclaimation icon based on specific condition and that too only via few clicks.

Create Rule for Microsoft Lists demo

How to access Microsoft Lists via PowerShell?

You can access Microsoft Lists just like any other list and I hope all kind of commands work, check below the screenshot to believe it

Microsoft Lists access via PowerShell

Sharing options in Microsoft Lists: When you create Microsoft Lists under My Lists it is accessible only by you so if you want to share with others you need to share with other persons. When you create under a SharePoint site then it will be accessible by SharePoint site users as well.

Share options in Microsoft Lists

You can also share individual items as well.

Integration options: This is a big topic so I just want to say few lines as it has all the abilities for extending the functionality using Microsoft Graph, Power Automate, PowerApps

How to access normal SharePoint List in Microsoft Lists way:

If you want to see the new Microsoft Lists experience in any modern SharePoint list, go to the URL and append this query string after AllItems.aspx like this. AllItems.aspx?env=WebViewList

Credit goes to this tweet:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Summary: This is a great decision from Microsoft to introduce Lists as a standalone App, it will provide a great value. It has huge capabilities which I have not been able to cover all things but I will do this in subsequent blogs.

Connect with me on Twitter or Linked In if you need more information.

References: https://aka.ms/mslists

Add SharePoint on premise site as a tab in Microsoft Teams

Currently there is no integration available to add a SharePoint on premise library or site as storage like we have a connected SharePoint online with Microsoft Teams.

I don’t think a feature like this will be released soon as well but there is an easy way to add a library or site as Website tab in any Teams.

This of course does not provide you seamless integration but atleast provides you access to on premise SharePoint site or library inside Teams.

You can view this small video to understand how to do it, you can add any website SharePoint site, library or any other site

Add website as tab in Microsoft Teams

Connect with me on Twitter or Linked In if you need more information.

How to call Microsoft Graph API from PowerShell to get Microsoft Teams details?

Let’s start with PowerShell script and then we can break it down, so here is a code which can get details of a team using Graph API.

There are bunch of parameters which you need to replace it with your own details and in this blog I will explain how to get those.

$clientId = "<<yourclientid>>"  
$clientSecret = "<<yourclientsecret>>"  
$tenantName = "<<yourteanantname">>  
$resource = "https://graph.microsoft.com/"  
$URL = "https://graph.microsoft.com/v1.0/teams/<<yourteamdid>>"  
  
  
$tokenBody = @{  
    Grant_Type    = "client_credentials"  
    Scope         = "https://graph.microsoft.com/.default"  
    Client_Id     = $clientId  
    Client_Secret = $clientSecret  
}   
  

$tokenResponse = Invoke-RestMethod -Uri "https://login.microsoftonline.com/$TenantName/oauth2/v2.0/token" -Method POST -Body $tokenBody  
Invoke-RestMethod -Headers @{Authorization = "Bearer $($tokenResponse.access_token)"} -Uri $URL

So let’s start with “yourclientid” and “yourclientsecret”, for these we need to login to Azure portal and do an “App Registration”. To call an Graph API you need an App to with correct access to resources.

URL to Azure portal: https://portal.azure.com/

Follow below steps to get the App Registration done:

  • Once you have logged into Azure portal, search for “App Registration” and click “New registration”
Azure App Registration
Azure New Registration
  • Give a name as you would like and click “Register”.
Register App in Azure
  • Important thing to note is Application (client) ID which you need to provide as <<yourclientid>>
App Registration Azure
  • Click on API permissions on left and click “Add a permission” and then select “Application permissions”.
API Permissions Graph
  • We have to give specific permissions so that we can read data, search for “group” and select “Read.All” as shown below and the click “Add Permissions”.
Add Permissions Azure API
  • Don’t forget to click “Grand admin consent for xxxx” else your API will not work
Add Permissions Azure Graph API
  • Next step is to create a secret so click “Certificates & secrets” on left menu. Click on “New Client Secret” and give a name and click Add, If it’s production better to select Expires as Never.
Certificates and Secrets Graph API
  • Once created please copy and keep it which will be our another pramater that is “<<yourclientsecret>>”.
Client Secret Graph API
Install-Module MicrosoftTeams
Import-Module MicrosoftTeams
$credentials=Get-Credential
Connect-MicrosoftTeams -Credential $credentials
Get-Team

So now we have got all the parameters so you can run the PowerShell by applying the values you have found and created and result will be like below

So this is a very basic example of calling Graph API from PowerShell and get details of Teams.

I will be writing another blog very soon to get all Apps used in Teams of a tenant which will be based on above concept.

Connect with me on Twitter or Linked In if you need more information.

References:

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Impact: how we work, live and survival of fittest

Coronavirus has changed the way we live and work unprecedently. These has been difficult times for everyone and I can bet no one is untouched by this.

Things have changed in many ways for us, companies in terms of the way we work, comapnies operate and collaborate together.

Social media has been flooded with tips around how to work from home, how to take meeting etc, I am not an expert on how to work from home so I am not going to tell you anything about it even though I have been working from home for past two months now, earlier I use to work once or twice in a month.

I can certainly say that it works and it is not so difficult if you are determine to make it work and people like us who are from IT background always find a way to work with IT tools.

The challenge has been more for people from non IT backgrounds who are more than ever dependent on IT tools to work and collaborate together, conduct meetings, training etc virtually rather than in person.

Even if you are from IT background learning curve has been steeper more than ever to cope with new tools or how to use the existing tools in most efficient way.

I must say that the phrase “Survival of fittest” is true now in every sense of way, be it for health, work or companies or tools / apps.

Although all kind of institutions have been impacted due to this but my focus has been on schools, colleges and healthcare.

A tool which has seen a sharp increase in usage is Microsoft Teams, if we talk about numbers it has now more than 75 million daily active users by April end which was 44 million just a month ago in March. Microsoft teams has 200 million daily meeting participants.

We can very easily infer that Microsoft Teams is the fittest of all in its competition not just due to numbers but the way it enhances productivity and easy to collaborate, it has a great concept of chat based workspace with countless high quality apps available to be used created by Microsoft and partners.

Check my references at end if you would like to start using Microsoft Teams.

We at CGI has also been impacted like everybody else but I can say CGI has played at front, not only we contributed socially for different causes but we have taken challenges such as rolling out Microsoft Teams in just two weeks of time.

We have an initiative going on called “Respond, Rebound and Reinvent”, more details here: https://www.cgi.com/en/article/cgi3r/working-together-respond-rebound-and-reinvent-through-phases-pandemic

Read some interesting articles here:

https://www.cgi.com/canada/en/article/cgi3r/cgi-deploys-microsoft-teams-4000-remote-client-staff-just-over-two-weeks

https://www.cgi.com/en/case-study/cgi3r/cgi-helps-carrefour-completed-1-5-million-online-orders

https://www.cgi.com/en/case-study/cgi3r/using-automation-help-improve-patient-and-physician-care-and-flatten-curve

I can certainly say that CGI is one of the fittest if not fittest of all.

Connect with me on Twitter or Linked In if you need more information.

References:

https://teamsdemo.office.com/#/0/0

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-teams-blog/bg-p/MicrosoftTeamsBlog

Microsoft 365 App – Bookings – A walkthrough

You must have booked an online appointment on sites for small businesses or salon or some kind of services but did you know that there is an service provided by Microsoft 365 as well for these kind of bookings. Although it has been around since 2016 it was made available for all E3 and E5 licenses recently.

I must say that Bookings App / service is very easy and intuitive to use, let’s have a quick walkthrough first and then we can look into some scenarios where it can be useful.

  • Booking page: Page is configurable in all aspects such as how booking page can be accessed, some text about data usage and control, scheduling policy, how to notify users, color theme of page. Check a screenshot below
  • Customers: You can add customers or import them as well
  • Staff: You can add staff and their availability schedule
  • Services: You can add what kind of services you provide
  • Business information: You can add more than one Business
  • You can create booking page which can be only accessed internally in organization
  • Customize email notifications
  • You can share booking socially and you can also disable the option if you want
  • Reports: You can download data upto 120 days
  • Booking is also available as an App in Microsoft Teams which makes it easy to use for organizations
  • Data can be accessed via Graph API if you want to build applications or further extend functionalities, read more here https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/graph/api/resources/booking-api-overview?view=graph-rest-beta

Overall very rich functionalities and will meet your needs. Ability to access data via Graph API enables lot of possibilities.

Bookings App in Microsoft Teams

In general Microsoft 365 Bookings can be used by enterprise, small companies, shops to enable bookings in their public facing sites but apart from this it can be used internally by enterprises for various purposes.

  • Appointments for Service Desk kiosks
  • Appointments with HR for queries
  • Appointments with finance for resolutions

This was a quick walkthrough of Bookings in Microsoft 365.

If you want to try out Bookings I have created a demo which you can utilize

https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/Test@cgikislay.onmicrosoft.com/bookings/

Connect with me on Twitter or Linked In if you need more information.

Resources and references:

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-bookings-blog/you-can-now-do-more-with-microsoft-bookings/ba-p/298461

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-bookings-blog/bg-p/Office365BusinessAppsBlog

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/business/scheduling-and-booking-app

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/graph/api/resources/booking-api-overview?view=graph-rest-beta

Private Channel in Microsoft Teams #teams #channel

I attended SharePoint Saturday Event in Stockholm, you can read more here http://www.spsevents.org/ and http://www.spssthlm.org/

One of the things in which a lot of people were interested and I also get to know was about Private Channels in Microsoft Teams. Currently we are able to create Channels but they are not private and can be accessed by all Team members.

Apparently this is the most sough after feature in Teams in User Voice. Latest information I got from two guys from Microsoft in a session about Teams was Private Channel will be available in end-October and might be available in Nov to Tenants

Interestingly the Private Channel will have it’s own SharePoint site collection and not as a folder in existing SharePoint site as it happens now. It will only have four Apps available to be used in beginning for rest of Apps you have to go to main Team.

As explained to me is that idea is to get the Private Channel usage going and then later more Apps will be made available.

Some people were concerned with new Site Collection being created for each Private Channel but this seems to be logical as we do not want permission broken folder in our library as it will be a nightmare for future and having a site collection of it’s own makes it scalable.

Keep an eye here when it is available and also on User Voice page https://support.office.com/en-us/article/create-a-private-channel-in-teams-60ef929a-4d68-418b-bf4f-5784db184ec9

Ask me on Twitter or Linked In if you need more information