Tag Archives: Office 365

Sensitive Information Types in Office 365 allow you identify sensitive content that is held in Exchange and SharePoint Online and restrict its use.

You can leverage existing rules (e.g. Credit card numbers) or define your own.

The rules are applied as part of the search crawl.  The content of a document or email is analysed and if, for example, a credit card number is found a property is set on the document.

Depending on the licence that you have for Office 365 you can then run searches to identify the offending content or apply policies that restrict its use.

Sensitive information types are not guaranteed to find every offending document but they are a great broad brush approach to information security and compliance.

If you are working with scanned images that have been OCR’d and converted to PDF+Text then there is a good chance that these will be identified.

Further reading;








Microsoft has added Communication sites to SharePoint Online.

These allow users to create aesthetically pleasing micro sites within a SharePoint Online tenancy.  See below;

Communication sites are a useful addition to the capabilities of SharePoint Online and make it easy for users to create a nice responsive site.

Customisation capabilities, however, are not as rich as you had with classic SharePoint publishing sites so we will be working with those for a few years yet.

The standard supplied modern web parts are ok and with effort you can write your own using the SharePoint framework.

Further reading;






A Few Tips for Working with SPFX Web Parts

Ok so a quick re-cap.

Microsoft are have made to the page and web part model in SharePoint – the new SharePoint Framework.

If you create a modern team site in SharePoint you will be able to create a welcome page that uses this new framework.

Creating a modern page


Adding News

Add the new headlines web part to add a news rollup.  You can add news which will automatically rollup to the news tab on the SharePoint mobile app for following sites.


Adding a Useful Rollup

This can be done using the highlighted content web part.

To make this more intuitive in this example we have created a new content type.  Intranet Subject Page.  This inherits from site page and has been added to site pages library.

Now we can add our web part and configure it to only rollup up our “Subject” pages and ignore news and landing pages.


So this web page will now (ok, when matching content has been added and search crawl has run) show all pages from the entire site collection where the content type is Intranet Subject Site Page.

Making the Modern Page Your Home Page


In Summary

We’ve just scratched the surface of what you can do with modern team sites and SPFX web parts.  The take away from this is very much;

  • Try and get some experience with the new web part model, it will become more widely used as Microsoft release the accompanying publishing page model.
  • The new model works very well in tandem with the accompanying apps – such as the SharePoint App for Mobile.
  • Check out https://ensentia.com/free-client-side-web-parts-sharepoint-spfx/
  • This information is correct as of Q1 2017 (i.e. Microsoft is going to be improving this part of SharePoint this year).



Example Client Side Web Parts for SharePoint (SPFX)

Ok so a quick re-cap.

Microsoft are making changes to the page and web part model in SharePoint – the new SharePoint Framework.

To take advantage you are going to have to write or obtain web parts created in this way.  Luckily the great and the good of the SharePoint Community have been quick to rise to the challenge.

You’ll find some links below.  If you wish to build these projects you will need a development environment (See this article) and some background on working with SPFX web parts (See this article).

If you want us to build any project for you then you’ll need to drop an email with the url for your resources / CDN (maybe “https://company.sharepoint.com/sites/intranet/SiteAssets/spfx40/” for a test).

SPFX 40 Fantastic Web Parts


Available from here.





A taster of what is coming in 2017 for SharePoint

The short version?  More things, prettier things, better things and a growing trend for Microsoft providing apps to solve the business problems people used to develop in SharePoint (StaffHub, Teams et al)

The longer version?  Now what gets you excited might depend on what you are interested in or using SharePoint for, hopefully our heading below will draw you to the most relevant area.


Pretty Things

Publishing Pages

So 2016 gave us the modern team site (O365).  In 2017 the same is coming for publishing.  You will be able to easily created beautiful responsive publishing sites.

These pages will use out of the box and custom web parts developed using the new SharePoint Framework.

Custom Themes

Office 365 custom themes will be updated to include more themes overall, the ability for a user to upload their own theme and an option to use Bing images as your theme.

Document Management & Compliance

Copy and move to SharePoint

Copy and move files between OneDrive and SharePoint in web experiences. In CY17, Microsoft add the ability to move an copy files between a greater range of locations.

Mobile Scanning for OneDrive for Business

Using the OneDrive mobile app seamlessly take a photo, convert it to a PDF, and store it in OneDrive for Business. This will come first to Android followed by iOS and Windows Phone.

Office 365 Groups preservation and deletion policy

Create and manage preservation and deletion policies that affect Office 365 Group mail and files in one step using the Security and Compliance Center

Scanning – Office Lens iOS feature updates

New capabilities with Office Lens for iOS.  Multi scanning; scan multiple images in a row and save/send as a series.  Rotate scanned images3D touch feature to change modes.

OneDrive for Business SharePoint Online Document Library Sync

The ability to sync SharePoint document libraries, including Office 365 groups, added to the Next Generation Sync Client (NGSC). NGSC will also sync OneDrive for Business Shared Folders.



Microsoft StaffHub

Ok so not strickly speaking SharePoint but interesting because it provides the sort of solution that many people have tried to create before in SharePoint.

Microsoft StaffHub is a new app coming to Office 365 that connects Deskless Workers to the information they need to do their job for the day. StaffHub is currently in preview – find more information at http://staffhub.ms.


FastTrack | Dropbox to OneDrive for Business Migration

FastTrack Center will offer file migration services from Dropbox to OneDrive for Business as a new benefit provided by the FastTrack Center. This migration service will be available to customers with 150+ seats of eligible Office 365 plans.

Propeller Heads


SharePoint Online – Webhooks on SharePoint Document Libraries

Unlock the Webhooks development scenario through the Microsoft Graph. These WebHooks set of APIs allow developers to get notified with changes from SharePoint lists and document libraries in a performant and reliable way.


Many organisations are using SharePoint Online.

SharePoint will very often become the intranet in such organisations.

This then raises the common compliant that the corporate brand / identity is not implemented in SharePoint.

In fact many user’s we find are confronted with the raw, out of the box, look.


SharePoint “Branding” as a project, however, tends to raise a few eyebrows since it has a slightly unfair reputation for high cost and complexity.

Let us look at a simple way to change the look of SharePoint online.  This approach also works for SharePoint 2013 and 2016.

Firstly we will take a design cue.

Skeleton Leaves Composition on white background


Let us assume that this image is representative of our organisations’ brand / identity.

Now we will download and install the design tool.


In the design tool we will.

  • Change the background image.
  • Change the colour (Next to “recolor”) to the corporate deep purple.
  • Click “Recolor” to change SharePoint to tune into our new identity (We are cheating here to avoid having craft each individual colour used which is what those color slots control).
  • File > Save > MyLook.SpColor


Now we will go the theme gallery of SharePoint and upload the spcolor file.

You will find this located at;




Now we can go to the site assets library and upload our leaf.




Now we will manually assemble a composed look.

You will find the list under Site Settings > Web Designer Galleries > Composed looks.


Now in the composed look we will ensure that;

  • The Master Page URL points to the existing seattle.master or olso.master
  • The Theme URL is set to your new spcolor file.
  • The Image URL is set to your background image.


Save this new composed look.

Now when change the look of the site we can select the new composed look.


Once applied to the site it will be rendered with something like the corporate brand / identity you were looking for.


Ok great.

But what is that I hear you say?  Full branded intranet, something like the below is what you had in mind?


Well this all starts with that same “Composed Look”.  Why these sort of “intranets” look more “branded” is because the content and layout of the pages has been made more engaging through the use of web parts, page layouts and the such.

We normally work with our customers creative team to ensure that they best understand how to do this.


Microsoft have recently announced the release of SharePoint Webhooks Developer Preview.

You can read the announcement here and further technical information here.

Webhook support in SharePoint provides an additional means to automate process in response to a change to or addition of a list item or document stored in SharePoint.

The mechanism allows you to register external application(s) with SharePoint online which will be called when an event occurs.

Historically many on premises SharePoint implementations used event receivers to run code in response to such events.  Classic examples have included setting specific permissions on documents at point of creation, automatically creating folder structures, sending documents to record centres and so on.  As event receivers are not permitted in SharePoint Online many organisations who have benefitted from using event receivers have been hesitant to migrate to the cloud.  This announcement potentially eases migrations for such SharePoint users.


Having been announced earlier this year the finer details of the SharePoint Framework are now being released.

For the uninitiated the SharePoint Framework is the latest in a line of development approaches available for creating custom experiences inside of SharePoint.  This has been problematic since the advent of SharePoint Online because Microsoft, quite understandably, do not want any custom code running on their servers.

Previous approaches to solving this issue have been compromised to an extent.  Code would either run on another server but be presented inside of an iFrame (so it appeared to be running within SharePoint) or it would run in the browser on the current SharePoint page (possibly using a script editor web part) but with a compromised means of deployment and limited access to events affecting the page.

What this equated to in terms of the user’s experience was usually slow response times and a lack of the responsiveness and interaction that modern web experiences are expected to provide.

Enter the SharePoint framework.

Microsoft have now provided and will continue to refine a framework to deploy customisation that can run as part of a SharePoint page.  Your custom scripts are called in response to page events such as render, can use Rest, JSOM to communicate with SharePoint and leverage JQuery, Office UI Fabric, React, Angular and the so on to build engaging experiences.

This opens the door for the development of interactive and responsive single page applications and custom experiences from inside SharePoint as part of your overall collaboration, intranet, document management, etc solution(s).

For further details see here.  The overview in this article provides a nice summary of how the framework is constructed and those organisations with SharePoint developers there is a good guide to setting up development environments and getting started.  If you want to deploy client side web parts you will also need to enable scripting.

This represents a significant step forward for SharePoint development.  We are actively working with our clients and partners to ensure that this approach is considered and used where appropriate to improve and future proof SharePoint based solutions.


Microsoft have recently made available the capability to copy files from One Drive for Business to SharePoint Sites.

You can find out how here.

You can get more background here.

This article describes the feature set as of Summer 2016.

The feature is highly useful; particularly where your users have stock piled a lot of files in OneDrive which really need to be managed centrally for better collaboration and / or long term storage.  You can now delegate the process of centralising this data to the users themselves whereas previously this was an operation more suited to advanced users.

The new feature is, however, not without limitations.

  • Followed sites do not necessarily appear immediately under the destination tab.
  • You will only be able to see destination sites where the site was created using the Team Site and Project Site templates.
  • There is a limit upon the amount of data which may be transferred in a single copy operation – effectively rendering files over 50Mb unable to be copied.

If you are hitting these limitations you may do a number of things.

  • Be patient – If your destination site does not appear, limit the number of sites that you are following, ensure that the site (or sub-site) which you want to copy to is being followed and wait.
  • Ensure that the site you are copying to was created with the project site or team site template.  If it was not then it will not appear in the list of sites to copy to even if it is a followed site.  If you used a different template then either use a different method of copying files OR rebuild the site, starting with the team site template.
  • Use a different method to copy the files.  You can use explorer (refer to this article) or talk to us about our migration options.




Modern document libraries are now rolling out to all Office 365 commercial customers worldwide. You can learn more about how to use modern libraries in this article, “What is a document library?” or watch the video at, https://blogs.office.com/2016/06/07/modern-document-libraries-in-sharepoint/.

The new interface is attractive and easy to use.  For the majority of SharePoint users it will be a very positive thing.  It is not, however, without it’s limitations.  These are of particular consideration for user’s heavily orientated towards document and records management.

So lets focus on the potential potholes for such customers.

Once multiple documents are selected you have limited capability to do anything nice like bulk check-in, you can only move, copy, delete.

The new quick edit function does not work well with multiple content types (it allows you to enter a data for a field which the document’s content type does not carry).

Linking through to editing a view is more complicated than before.

The way that the library interacts with the ribbon, masterpage and composed look is different so custom brands might be affected.

Sending a document to a record centre is not available because it is on the ribbon which is absent.

When you edit the properties of a document you CAN change the content type.  When you edit the properties of a folder you CANNOT change the content type.  Setting content types on folders is important in many records management / retention scenarios.

If you were using functionality change the view being used by virtue of the content type of the folder in which you were located then this is not fully observed by the new interface.

Now you can work around any of these limitations by clicking the “Return to classic SharePoint” in the bottom left hand corner but this does muddle the user experience.

You also have a certain level of control in regards to use of modern lists – See https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Differences-between-classic-and-new-experiences-for-lists-and-document-libraries-30e1aab0-a5cc-4363-b7f2-09e2ae07d4dc

In it’s current form (Summer 2016) the experience looks great for basic scenarios but for existing customers using SharePoint for document and records management should look before they leap.