July 2014 - Posts

When it comes to using Ink in Microsoft Office, it’s been there for longer than you probably have realized.  Even if you had a Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2, you probably never took advantage of it.  The device was simply too heavy.  Now, with the Surface Pro 3, you might have noticed the ability to use Ink is all throughout Office.  It turns out it’s not just in OneNote.  You can use it throughout the Office suite, you just have to look for it.  Read on this post to make the most of the Surface Pen so that you can become an Inkmaster!


Inking in Word

Did you know that you can use ink when reviewing a document?  I didn’t until Surface Pro 3.  When you are reviewing a document, look for the Ink Comment button, it may be collapsed depending on the width of your screen.


Once you click it, you will see a new special comment box, just for inking.


Grab your stylus and start writing.  It will automatically expand as you add more text.


You can also use the Start Inking button to start drawing on your document anywhere.  As soon as you bring the stylus close to the screen in an Office app, the Pens menu will appear.


Once you click the button, the standard inking ribbon appears and you can write and draw all over your document.


You can use a variety of pen colors in addition to highlighters.


Inking in Outlook

You can also use Ink in Outlook of all places but it’s a bit more difficult to find.  When you are replying to a message, click Popout to open the message in a unique window.  If you remember, Outlook is actually launching an instance of Word for the text editor.  By doing that, you can click Start Inking from the Review menu.  When you do that, you can Ink in your reply along with using the highlighting features.


Inking in Excel

Ink will show up just about anywhere.  All you have to do is wave the stylus over the screen in Excel and you will see the Pens menu show up.  Click on it and you can start Inking to your heart’s content.


Inking in Excel is a great way to annotate things.  Take a look.


Inking in PowerPoint

PowerPoint supports ink as well.  Want to make some comments on someone’s slides?  Just bust out your Surface Pen and make your notes.


Ink in Lync

When you are conducting an online meeting with Lync, it supports Ink as well…sort of.  You can use the whiteboard feature in a meeting.  It works ok, but it’s not really designed for a stylus.  It doesn’t feature any of the standard menus nor does the eraser function work when you press the bottom button on the Surface Pen.  You can still draw some things with a stylus, but it would be nice to see an update.


Ink in Visio

Like the Lync team, the Visio team apparently decided to go with their own Ink implementation as the controls are a bit different.  Hovering the stylus over the screen will not activate a Pens menu in Visio.  Instead, you need to go to the Review menu and click on Ink.


Here you have a choice between a Ballpoint Pen and Highlighter.  However the icons in which you select them are different.  After you select the tool you want then you have to select the Color and Weight.

Once you draw on the diagram, it will create a shape automatically for whatever you draw (if you have the option checked).


It also features highlighting tools.


Ink is everywhere in Office

It doesn’t matter what Office application you are using, chance are you can use your Surface Pen in it.  I find that this has already transformed the way I work.  Even when I am using the mouse, I often keep the Surface Pen in my hand so that I can mark on something with ease.  I use it to review documents, take notes, and annotate.  Having the Surface Pen in your set of tools gives you a slight advantage when you are working on Office documents.  Maybe, it’s not for everyone, but once you get used to using it, it’s hard to go back.  In fact you wish your colleagues had a stylus too when they are working on documents with you!

Be sure and check out my complete Surface Pro 3 review if you are considering one.

I’ve been doing a lot of work with content type hubs and sharing them between multiple SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 farms.  The main thing I took away from this experience is that.  Content Type publishing is easy to break and hard to fix.  In my particular case, I ended up with content types that were published by one Managed Metadata Service Application and I wanted them to be published by another service application instead.  If you just change the settings on your Managed Metadata Service Application proxy before unpublishing the content types, you are going to end up in a bit of bind.  The old content types won’t unpublish no matter what you do.

Here’s how you fix it.  From here on out we’ll refer to the bad content type hub and the good one.  The bad one being the one where the content types are published from but are no longer wanted.  What I have discovered is that if you change the Content Type Hub Url to an invalid address, we can get the types unpublished.  Run the following command in PowerShell to change the Content Type Hub to an invalid URL such as http://server/contenttypes.  Set the name of the Managed Metadata Service Application as appropriate to your environment.

Set-SPMetadataServiceApplication -Identity "Bad Managed Metadata Service Application" -HubURI http://server/contenttypes

You will get an error that says that it cannot activate the Content Type Hub feature but that is ok.  Now, you need to ensure that the content type hub is activated on the proxy.  Select the following options:

  • Consumes content types from the Content Type Gallery at http://server/contenttypes
  • Push-down Content Type Publishing updates from the Content Type Gallery to sub-sites and lists using the content type.


You can leave the other options checked or unchecked as desired.

Once you have configured the proxy, you need to make sure that this service application is associated with the web applications that you are having trouble with in the service application associations.  This may be the case already, but if it is not associated this content type hub won’t be present on the Content Type Publishing page in the site collection.

Now, we need to run a few jobs.  Go to Monitoring –> Job Definitions, and then run the Content Type Hub job.   Do this on the server farm that is hosting the Managed Metadata Service Application.  Check the job history to make sure it executes.  It usually is quite fast.  Now on the farm hosting the web applications that you are having issues with, run the Content Type Subscriber job for each web application.  If you did this right, you should be able to watch the job run on the Running Jobs page.  Sometimes, it takes quite a while.


Once, it’s done, you can go back to the subscribing site collection and verify that the content types from the bad content type hub are no longer published.  Now you need to go back to the proxy settings of the bad Managed Metadata Service Application and uncheck the content type hub settings.

  • Consumes content types from the Content Type Gallery at http://server/contenttypes
  • Push-down Content Type Publishing updates from the Content Type Gallery to sub-sites and lists using the content type.

At this point, the bad content types are gone and we need to transition over to the new good Managed Metadata Service Application.  Set the Content Type Hub Uri to the new correct content type hub if you haven’t already.  You can use a similar PowerShell statement like the one we used above.  Next ensure that this service application is in the service application associations for the web applications you want to publish content types to.

Now, you are going to need to republish all of the content types.  Your best bet is to run a PowerShell script to do this.  There are some out there on the Internet, but I’ll post mine to the TechNet script center in the future.  Finally, go to the Content Type Publishing page of each affected site collection.  This is kind of a pain if you have a lot of site collections and I haven’t found a script to automate it yet.


    Finally, run the Content Type Hub job on the farm hosting the good Managed Metadata Service Application.  Once it has finished, run the Content Type Subscriber job on all affected web applications.  With any luck, you should have your published content types working in good order again.