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Archive for the ‘Tips and Tricks’ Category

Branding your O365 Tenant

Posted by sharepoinTony on September 11, 2019

OK, before the real designers and branding experts out there dig in…let me state that this is not ‘true’ branding. I use the term branding simply because I think it is more recognizable for the majority.  I also don’t feel that people looking for the following information will search on something else.

So What is it I am talking about?

Simple settings and steps you can take to apply your corporate colors and logo to your O365 tenant/sites.

First of all, this will be the first of at least 2 posts related to the same topic.  So hang in there.  I am going to start with Tenant Settings and in the next post cover how to “lock-down” your sites so people won’t change the corporate color scheme and logo that you set up for them.

Considering that O365 is all about empowering people, this may seem counter-productive.  However I think most companies out there want consistency in their sites and many don’t want kitten themed sites unless they are a company focused on cats.

So let’s get to it.

Navigate to: Office Admin Center>Settings>Organization profile

Edit the “Manage custom themes for your organization” section

Upload your logo!

Make the logo clickable – this may be very handy, but it isn’t required

Depending on your company policy for branding you may NOT want to select/upload a Background Image

**Key Item** Check the “Prevent users from overriding their theme” check box

Set the Accent Color, Navigation bar, Text and Icon Colors – your site may have different options based on the type of tenant you have and the license levels…but there will be 3 color choices for you to make.  This sets up the theme for you.

Click Save

Note that it may take a while for these changes to filter down to all of your sites.  Typically the admin center gets it immediately.

Now you have the basic settings in place that will apply to all of your O365 sites.  Super simple yes.


Posted in O365, Tips and Tricks | Comments Off on Branding your O365 Tenant

Retention Policy Fails to Delete Records

Posted by sharepoinTony on January 29, 2012

Retention settings in SharePoint 2010 are pretty straight-forward.  There are Stages, which allow you to define actions taken on the document/item in a sequence.  You create a retention stage by creating an Information Management Policy, select your retention actions and voila you have established a simple retention.  SharePoint 2010 allows for multi-stage retention, the ability to trigger custom workflows, and apply your policy to folders.

The other day I was Declaring Records and setting Retention, specifically setting a deletion date for records based on a Content Type

My first stage declared all documents (based on a content type) as a record 1 day after a date from a specific date column of the specified content type. Dandy.  I defined the stage under the “Non-Records” section.  I went on to create a 2nd retention stage which Permanently Deleted the document 2 days after the date in that same column.  I also was careful to select the “Use the same retention policy as non-records” option in the Records section.  Now all I had to do was upload some documents, apply the appropriate metadata and sit back & wait.

[Note that the # of days used was specifically to allow me to test the retention behavior.  Once I verified the behavior in various scenarios I planned to update the policy to actual time periods that were appropriate for this content type.  I recommend you always test your Information Management Policies and Retention stages, especially for company Records!]

Several days later I discovered that although documents were now “Records”, none had been deleted.   I checked for errors, checked both the Information Management Policy and Expiration Policy Timer Jobs, but found nothing to indicate a problem.   After searching online and finding nothing that would expose the problem, I decided to change my policy.  I deleted the 2nd stage under Non-Records and created a new single stage under Records.  The stage contained the same retention information as the original…with the exception that I set deletion to 1 day after the date rather than 2 days.  I wanted to speed things up. 

I really wanted to speed things up so I went to the Timer Job Definition for the Expiration Policy and selected Run Now to force the timer job to run rather than waiting another day.  The documents that had been declared records previously, with the appropriate date that would indicate deletion, WERE deleted by the policy.  I honestly don’t know if this is “expected” behavior or not, but it was what I experienced on two different SharePoint 2010 farms.

It appears to me that if you are using a Retention Policy to Declare a Record, and you want to take some other action later such as Move to Recycle Bin or Permanently Delete you must place that stage in the Records section.  Don’t trust the radio button that declares “Use the same retention policy as non-records” without testing the stages you created. 

Posted in SharePoint 2010, Tips and Tricks | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Moving OneNote between SharePoint environments

Posted by sharepoinTony on January 12, 2012

If you who have discovered the benefits of using OneNote shared notebooks AND have sync’d the notebook in a SharePoint library…this post is for you.

We started using OneNote 2010 with our MOSS 2007 farm, and because of the kind of shop we are – we setup a new SharePoint 2010 environment to run beside our MOSS farm.  Fast forward to January 2012 and our SP2010 environment is our ‘production’ intranet now.  Our MOSS environment is still chugging along and we are going to keep her for a while, but how we use that farm has changed significantly over time.

Now that our SP2010 farm is heavily used, we don’t like that we still have a shared OneNote notebook lingering out there in the old MOSS environment.   We do have other OneNote notebooks out there, but they are old, smelly notebooks that we don’t really use.  We keep them because they are now an archive of specific notes.

There is one notebook however that is still alive with activity, so we just want it ‘where we are’.  We have a better home for that notebook.  One that we visit daily and where we have other related content.  So it was an easy decision to move the notebook from the MOSS library to the shiny SharePoint 2010 library where it belongs.

OK enough of the back-story.  Down to the nitty gritty…

To move your OneNote 2010 notebook

  1. Open the SP2007 library in Explorer
  2. Open the SP2010 library in Explorer View
  3. Guess the next step….yep drag the OneNote folder from one to the other
    • yes, you can copy and paste -or- cut and paste if you prefer that to being a bully by using ‘drag’ method

Whew! That was tough.  WAIT, there is more!

Notify the people sharing that notebook of the new location, they will have to ‘change location’ to sync to the notebook.  Here are the arduous steps:

  1. Right-click the NoteBook
  2. Select Properties
  3. Click the Change Location button
  4. Click the address bar and type or paste in the URL to the new document library
  5. Click the Select button

I chose to send folks these steps as part of the message that the notebook was now in it’s new home.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled SharePoint blog browsing.   Happy Notes.

Posted in SharePoint 2007, SharePoint 2010, Tips and Tricks | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

A few words about the Daily paper

Posted by sharepoinTony on December 22, 2011

The _______ Daily is out!

Like anything else in this world there are pros and cons to the Twitter driven produced “Daily”.  Many people have them; they are easy and some say fun to create.  Many others hate them because of the daily tweet reminding you that the new edition is out.  Although there are options for Weekly versions, not many choose that option.

While there are good arguments around these “papers”, both for and against publishing them, I find them useful and am willing to ignore the dozens of tweets announcing them daily.  Live and let live.  Some people want them, like them, and use them.  Why does that have to hurt YOU.  If you are using twitter you are getting gazillions of tweets passing through your stream.  A few dozen more is minor in the scheme of things.  Now let’s get on to the meat of this post.  I believe that there are some nice features to the product that are overlooked as benefits.  What is that you say, benefits?

Have you ever scanned a tweet, rushing by in the stream, noted something of interest but just didn’t have time to go off and read the linked article?  You can’t ‘favorite’ every interesting tweet you see.  Later, you think of that tweet, dang who tweeted that?  Was that yesterday or the day before?  Scrolling through your stream looking for something like that is painful.  If you haven’t tried that, go ahead and try it – I will wait.  What do you search in twitter?  Will a hash-tag really help?

Archives image

OK, now a few hours have gone by and you are back here waiting for me to get to the point.  The feature I speak of is the little ‘Archives‘ icon way up at the top of the paper.   This gem allows you to pick a date in time and see the paper generated on that day.  This is a much easier way to find that missing tweet.  You can browse through the paper to find the article that you wanted to read.  Clicking this icon pops a little calendar that allows you to pick the date.  Didn’t find what you were looking for, just click Archives again and try a different date.

So not only can you use the Daily Paper as a way to review tweets gone by, but you can go back in time to find the things you wanted to see.  Some days I don’t go into twitter at all, I just review my daily paper The sharepoinTony Daily.

Another good feature to use, often in conjunction with the Archives is the ability to “See all articles”:

List Articles

Selecting this link will provide you with a list of all the articles.  This list is in a more efficient format for scanning through tweets captured by that edition of the paper.  The link is located on the far right side of the horizontal navigation at the top of the paper.  Also notice the two little icons under the “See all articles” link.  If you are looking for a tweet that had a link to a photo or video, these icons are your friends.  Choosing them will provide you with those tweets grouped on their own page.

Talking about that horizontal navigation…



Those topics are not always perfectly categorizing tweets, however they do group tweets and selecting a topic will give you a full page of tweets that were placed into the category.  Sometimes clicking through those categories is a great way to see something you missed in the stream or elsewhere in your tweet search.

Browse the tweets of the day, the paper is a relaxing alternative to the tweet stream.  For me it is a way to keep up with some of the tweets for those times when I can’t stay engaged on twitter live.


Posted in Tips and Tricks | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

SharePoint 2010 iFilters and PDF setup

Posted by sharepoinTony on January 31, 2011

About iFilters

IFilters are components that allow search services to index content of specific file types, letting you search for content in those files. They are intended for use with Microsoft Search Services (Sharepoint, SQL, Exchange, Windows Search).

This post pulls together information and steps to do what I consider the typical “pdf setup”.  I find that most often I am asked to setup a SharePoint 2010 system to not only display the pdf icon, but also to enable search, and to allow the pdf’s to open in the browser window.   I am writing this because I haven’t found a step-by-step guide that includes all 3 of these behaviors together.

There are several different things to do to implement the use of PDF’s in SharePoint.   You have to add the icon to display;  you have to adjust General Settings to allow pdf’s to open in the browser, and you enable SharePoint to search for pdf’s by installing the iFilter.

You may also want to Download and install the Microsoft Office 2010 iFilter Pack:

Let’s get started.

These steps should be completed on the SharePoint “application server” (primary SP server

  1. Download AND Install Adobe’s 64-bit PDF iFilter (Make sure you get the 64-bit version – iFilter 9)
  2. Download the Adobe PDF icon (select Small 17 x 17) –
    1. Give the icon a name or accept the default: ‘pdficon_small.gif’
    2. Save the icon (or copy to) C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\TEMPLATE\IMAGES

Note: Some say that you may need to use the specific file name “pdf16.gif” for the icon to display correctly in the next step.  I have not experienced any issues that confirm this SharePoint hearsay.

  1. Steps to Edit the DOCICON.XML file to include the PDF icon
    1. Per Microsoft support ( ) Stop IIS by running IISRESET /Stop
    2. Start NotePad, Run as Administrator, and then navigate to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\TEMPLATE\XML to open/edit the DOCICON.XML file
    3. Scroll down to the <ByExtension> section of the file, skipping past the <ByProgID> section
    4. Within the <ByExtension> section, insert <Mapping Key=”pdf” Value=”pdficon_small.gif” OpenControl=””/
    5. Save and close the file
    6. Go back to your cmd prompt window and run IISRESET /Start

The easiest way is to copy an existing entry – just copy any “Mapping Key” line that has the OpenControl attribute… and replace the parameters for Key and Value.  It is better to copy from within the xml file than to copy the above line for pasting because the double quotes may not be correct.  Make sure you use the correct image name that was placed in the images directory.

Check the SharePoint site to see that the PDF icon is now displayed.

  1. Add PDFto the list of supported file types within SharePoint (to enable Search)
    1. In the web browser, open SharePoint Central Administration
    2. Under Application Management, click on Manage service applications
    3. Scroll down the list of service apps and click on Search Service Application
    4. Within the Search Administration dashboard, in the sidebar on the left, click File Types
    5. Click ‘New File Type’ and enter PDF in the File extension box. Click OK
    6. Scroll down the list of file types and check that PDF is now listed and displaying the pdf icon.
  2. Navigate back to Central Administration/Application Management (to allow PDF’s to open in the browser)
    1. Select the appropriate web application (you may have to repeat these steps if you have multiple web apps) then click on General Settings in the Ribbon
    2. Scroll down to “Browser File Handling” and set this to Permissive
    3. Click the OK button.  (Repeat the last two steps for additional web apps)
    4. Close the web browser
  3. Stop and restart Internet Information Server (IIS) – IISRESET
  • Perform a full crawl of your index.  SharePoint indexes file names with the extensions listed under File Types and ignores everything else. When a new file type is added, you  have to perform a full crawl to force SharePoint to identify all files with the ‘new’ file extension.

Additional Note: there are some reports that the Adobe iFilter installation will not properly update the Registry in some environments.  Check the Adobe iFilter installation information or search online to find possible Registry edits if the above steps do not achieve the desired behavior for PDF files in SharePoint.

UPDATE: Found a nice white paper on this topic by Dave Coleman that is a good reference:

Posted in Install and Configure, SharePoint 2010, Tips and Tricks | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Information Management Policy Label limitations

Posted by sharepoinTony on January 28, 2011

I can’t say this is how it will work in your environment…I can only tell you that the following is what I experienced when testing Labels in MY ENVIRONMENT.

What am I talking about?

Well, in SharePoint 2010 Server I enabled a number of document management & records management features. I also setup a content type using some custom site columns. Then within a Records Center document library I configured a Retention schedule in the Information management policy settings.

One of the options presented to you in the policies screen is “Labels”.  The description given is

“You can add a label to a document to ensure that important information about the document is included when it is printed.”

When you check the Labels checkbox the option expands to allow you to enter the text or properties you want to display, the font and font size, the general placement of the label (left, right, or middle), and a Refresh button that allows you to see the label that you are generating for your documents.

After applying the label, and saving my work, I thought I would test to see how the label is applied and where it prints.  This is where I found these limitations:

  • Labels are only added to documents created within the SharePoint library (using “New Document”).  Uploaded documents are ignored by this feature.
  • Labels are only applied to the default document type, which typically is a MS document. 
    • Labels are NOT applied to PDF, JPG, TIFF, etc.
    • I only tried a few doc types, but it appears Labels will be applied only to Word and Excel files.
  • Labels are located at the top of the document, you have no option to place it elsewhere, including the header or footer.

If you need this feature to meet a requirement in your environment, then you may want to test before you assume the feature will do what you need it to do.

Posted in SharePoint 2010, Tips and Tricks | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

SP2010 Incoming e-mail behavior

Posted by sharepoinTony on December 20, 2010


I have a SharePoint 2010 library with incoming e-mail enabled.  The settings save all attachments in folders grouped by subject and Save the original e-mail.  The library incoming e-mail configuration also Accepts e-mail messages from any sender.  I have verified that incoming e-mail is routed to the library and attachments are saved correctly. 


The original email message is kept for the FIRST email to arrive in a folder

  • Any additional emails that arrive in the folder, from the same or different sender do not save the email message. Subsequent email messages are discarded!
  • Emails with the same attachment going into a folder (folders based on subject) are discarded when the setting to Overwrite files with the same name is set to No – EVEN if the email is from different senders
  • Only unique attachments are saved into the folders in this scenario

Changing the library to Save attachments in folders grouped by e-mail sender altered the behavior significantly:

  • Both the email and attachment are saved for subsequent e-mails from the same sender
  • Emails with the same attachment from the same sender are saved into the folder, however the new attachment is discarded

This behavior makes some sense, however it seems odd that the email message is discarded.  Be warned. 😉  I will be presenting on this topic (In-coming e-mail in SharePoint 2010) at the SharePoint Saturday San Diego in February so join us if you are interested in this topic.

Posted in Install and Configure, SharePoint 2010, Tips and Tricks | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

SP2010 in-place upgrade error resolution

Posted by sharepoinTony on November 1, 2010

After running the prerequisiteinstaller successfully, I was running Setup.exe during an in-place upgrade I ran across the following error:

Setup is unable to proceed due to the following error(s):

A system restart from a previous installation or update is pending.  Restart your computer and run setup to continue.

I found only a few blog posts on this, one on TechNet by Bill Baer which points to a couple of registry keys that could be modified to resolve the problem and allow the upgrade to continue.  I tested the registry key solution in a vm test environment, and it did the trick, resolving the error and allowing the upgrade to continue to completion.    (That article describes several different issues that may happen during your SharePoint Server 2010 installation/upgrade and possible solutions)

While implementing this upgrade on a production machine I was a little more concerned about this error and that solution when the same error occurred.   I attempted to restart the system, however the same error returned.  I attempted to re-run the prerequisiteinstaller, reboot, and then run the setup.exe again – but continued to receive this same error.  In this case we had Microsoft Support on the line already so I asked about this error and how to resolve it.  The response was: 

  1. Stop the Print Spooler service
  2. then disable it
  3.  then complete a system restart 

After doing this the SharePoint 2010 installation (setup.exe) ran to completion successfully.    If you have the Print Spooler running on your server you may want to ask yourself if you need that service or not.  In our case, we didn’t so I left the service disabled after the upgrade completed.  You may want to restart yours.

Posted in Install and Configure, SharePoint 2010, Tips and Tricks | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Warm-up SharePoint 2010 sites

Posted by sharepoinTony on October 20, 2010

Technorati Tags: ,,


Customers may ask for a “warm-up script” to enable their SharePoint sites to load faster after a restart, etc.  With versions of SharePoint prior to 2010, such as 2003 and 2007 there were several variations of scripts developed to accomplish this, each with their own negative impact.  Generally, Microsoft recommended against using these scripts in a production environment.  For SharePoint 2010 there is a new and better solution which is an extension to IIS.  You must evaluate your environment to determine if this solutions is appropriate or not.


Use the Application Warm-Up Module for IIS 7.5.

IIS Application Warm-Up for IIS 7.5 can be configured to initialize Web applications by using specific Web pages and user identities. This makes it possible to create specific initialization processes that can be executed synchronously or asynchronously depending on the initialization logic. In addition, these procedures can use specific identities in order to ensure a proper initialization.

Steps To Implement

  1. Download the 64-bit version for Windows Server 2008 R2 from the site (Application Warm-Up Module for IIS 7.5)
  2. Install the module on the machine hosting SharePoint 2010 web applications
  3. Configure the module by launching IIS Manager
  4. Click on your SharePoint site, double-click on the Application Warm-Up item
  5. Select Settings from the Actions section on the far right pane
  6. Select both options in the Settings dialog and click the OK button
  7. Click Add Request….
  8. Enter the URL of your SharePoint site (typically the main page) – the status codes will auto-populate
  9. Enter a name for this Request in the Request context parameter field, click OK
  10. Click Edit User Context… to specify authentication settings
  11. Select Set Username and Type only from the Mode selection box of the Edit User Context dialog
  12. Select Windows from the Type selection list (or another appropriate option for the environment)
  13. Enter the User name and click OK
  14. Repeat steps 7-13 for each site or site collection running on this IIS server which you want to ‘warm-up’


  • If you try to use Anonymous or do not set the User Context the module will not work & will generate errors in the event log.  There are situations where Anonymous would work, such as an external SharePoint site with Anonymous access enabled then you could use Anonymous in the User Context settings.
  • This module will warm-up the site after an IIS Reset, Server Reboot, or Application Pool recycle.


Using the IIS Application Warm-Up Module

Posted in Install and Configure, SharePoint 2010, Tips and Tricks | Leave a Comment »

Epilogue to Calendar Reminder

Posted by sharepoinTony on September 8, 2010

The Calendar Reminder (Part 2) post has been the most viewed post on my blog over the past year.  There have been a few weeks where other posts surfaced as number 1, but when I review the stats for the past 12 months, the calendar post is certainly the most popular.    There is obvious interest in this topic.

Since the time of the original post, I have had several other calendar related requests and from them I have pulled one feature that might be of particular interest to those of you who found the Calendar Reminder post useful.  This is a twist on the reminder, but certainly related.

How would you like your SharePoint Calendar event email reminder to include a link to create an Outlook event for the user?

Here is how to accomplish this using SharePoint 2007


  1. A SharePoint calendar
  2. A workflow associated with that calendar

Steps to add a link to add the event to the users Outlook calendar in the email they receive from SharePoint.

  1. Create (or go to) the event in the SharePoint calendar
  2. Open the event (view) and Right-Click on the Export Event link, Copy the link
  3. Jump over to SharePoint Designer, open the workflow for the SharePoint Calendar where the event resides
  4. In your email (or the variable used to create the message text) add in an html anchor tag and paste in the link you copied in step 2
  5. Find the “ID=” portion of the link, remove the id number and insert a lookup – use the <Add Lookup> button
  6. Select the ID of the current item for your lookup (this way the link works for any item created in this calendar)
  7. Don’t forget to add the quotes and end tag syntax to your anchor – see example below:

If you would like to add this event to your Outlook calendar, <a href=”http://webappname/sites/sitename/_vti_bin/owssvr.dll?CS=109&Cmd=Display&List={ec72e475-45aa-4f06-83e0-855ec9ca94d4}&CacheControl=1&ID=[%Calendar:ID%]&Using=event.ics“>CLICK HERE</a>, then click to Open, then click Save & Close in the Outlook calendar item.

This example provides both the Outlook calendar item and instructions on how to use it.  Notice that the portion highlighted above should contain the link you copied with the ID removed.  The link must come from your server and the specific SharePoint Calendar that you are providing to the Outlook item.

Perhaps you would rather not create such a complex workflow as the Calendar Reminder posts provide.  If want to just send an email at the time of the event creation that included the ability to add the event to the Outlook calendar – you can simplify the workflow to notify the recipients and include the above link.   This allows the user to create their own reminder using Outlook!

I want to point out that this idea originated (for me) with Laura Rogers 2009 post entitled “Appointment email Link, via SPD workflow“.  Thanks and kudos to Laura for sharing the idea and steps with the SharePoint community.

Posted in Calendar, SharePoint 2007, Tips and Tricks | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »