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Group site for developer blogs dealing with (usually) .NET, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2010, Office 365, SharePoint Online, and other Microsoft products, as well as some discussion of general programming related concepts.

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Corey Roth [MVP]

A SharePoint MVP bringing you the latest time saving tips for SharePoint 2013, Office 365 / SharePoint Online and Visual Studio 2013.

February 2015 - Posts

  • Using Office Preview for Windows 10 with Office 365

    The new touch-friendly Office Preview apps for Windows 10 (aka Office Universal Apps for Windows 10) have native support for connecting to your personal OneDrive as well as Office 365.  When you first install the apps, they will take over your file associations.  When opening any of the desktop applications in Office 2013, you’ll see this right away as it prompts you to restore file associations.

    PowerPointPreviewFileAssociationsWarning

    Since you can associate Office documents with the new Word Preview, Excel Preview, and PowerPoint Preview apps, that means we can use them to open documents in Office 365.  That means if you choose the option “Edit in PowerPoint” like in the example below, it will open with PowerPoint Preview.

    PowerPointPreviewOWAOpenInPowerPoint

    Windows 10 will open PowerPoint Preview for you and start opening the document from Office 365.

    PowerPointPreviewOpenDocumentOneDriveForBusiness

    Be warned, that opening documents from Office 365 takes a considerable amount of time.  This issue could be isolated to the tenant I was using though.

    PowerPointPreviewOpenFromOffice365

    If you haven’t added your Office 365 account to the Office Preview Apps for Windows 10 yet, you will be prompted for credentials when you first connect.

    PowerPointPreviewNoCredentials

    Now you can edit your document as normal.  Remember, that the Save button is gone now and your changes will be updated automatically as you type.

    One thing I discovered in this process is that the apps do not support SharePoint 2007 (don’t ask me why I know).  I haven’t tried SharePoint 2010 yet, but I suspect it will work.  If you do try it, leave a comment and let us know how it went.

  • Office Universal Apps for Windows 10 - Who needs a Save button?

    Today, Microsoft released their Office Universal apps for Windows 10 Technical Preview.  That’s a long way of saying that touch-friendly Modern Applications (formerly known as Metro and Windows Store apps) finally exist for Windows tablets.  I’ve had the pleasure of using the apps throughout the day.  I wrote an entire technical specification in Word Preview today and things worked well.  However, the biggest change for me is the lack of the “Save” button.  It simply isn’t there. 

    ExcelPreviewNoSaveButton

    For those of you familiar with Office Online (formerly known as Office Web Apps), this paradigm is nothing new.  Saves just happen auto-magically.

    ExcelOnlineNoSaveButton

    I’ve found myself really having trouble adjusting to it.  I am used to typing a sentence or two and reaching for Ctrl+S to save my document.  That simply isn’t necessary any more.  Your changes will automatically be saved as you type.  Where you need to be careful is if you are editing a document directly from OneDrive and you are on a slow or latent connection.  Sometimes it takes a while for those updates to be pushed up to OneDrive.  This makes me fearful on what happens when you are offline or if you have network connectivity issues while you are working on a document.  This will require more testing on my part.

    Another aspect I find a little bit difficult for the consumer to master is when creating new files.  Whenever you create a new document in Word, it will automatically name the document Document (1).  It automatically creates this file in your default save location.  It will increment the document number if you have already created a document already too.  That means whenever you start a new document, it creates a physical file somewhere even before you save.  This is different than Office for the desktop where the copy is held in a temporary location until you hit save for the first time.  To choose a filename for the document, you either need to choose Save as or you can click on the filename at the top of the app.

    WordPreviewChangeFilename

    I guess this works, but it’s definitely different than what we are used to.  If you are going to try out these preview Office apps, be sure and proceed with caution.  The last thing you want to do is lose half a document just because of some pre-release issue.

  • A quick look at Universal Office Apps for Windows 10 (Touch)

    Since the release of Windows 8, we have all ben wondering when we would see a touch-optimized Office experience.  We saw apps delivered to both iOS and Android first, but still nothing for Windows other than Office 2013 for desktop.  All of that changes today as Microsoft has release previews of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint as Universal Apps for Windows 10.  If you are not familiar with the term Universal app yet, this is a single app that can run on Windows 10 desktops, tablets, and phones.  Support for Xbox One has even been pledged but there hasn’t been any updates on that in quite some time.  These look just like existing apps for Windows 8.1 formerly known as Metro, Windows Store, and now Modern Applications in Windows 10.

    You’ll need to be running the latest public build (9926) of Windows 10 to try these preview out.  The original blog post had links to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  However, they have been removed for the moment.  However, I still have the links to Word and Excel handy.  These links only worked for me in Internet Explorer.  If you try them on a Windows 8.1 computer, you won’t see the “Get” button nor will you be redirected to the Windows Store to download the app.  The blog posts says you can do a search from the new Windows Store (Beta) app, but I haven’t had it work yet.  This is typical though when a new app is released to the store.

    After you have installed the apps, launch them from your start menu or by asking Cortana.  We’ll start with Excel Preview.  Notice, Excel Preview listed as a Modern Application where Excel 2013 is a Desktop Application.

    W10b9926SearchExcel

    When each Office Preview app starts, it will show you a quick three-step tutorial on how to get started specifically highlighting touch features.  Here, you learn how to move columns by touch.

    ExcelPreviewStartup1

    You can add rows and columns with a tap.

    ExcelPreviewStartup2

    Here, you have the option to join the customer experience improvement program.

    ExcelPreviewStartup3

    Once you start the app, you’ll see a familiar screen with templates that you can use to get started.  It will automatically pull in your recent files that you have used on OneDrive.

    ExcelPreviewOpenFile

    Be sure and click on the Accounts button to add your Office 365 account if you have one.  Unfortunately, you have to do this in each app separately.

    ExcelPreviewAddAccount

    You’ll then be able to see a list of all your apps across OneDrive for Personal and Business use like you see in this example from Word Preview

    WordOpenLocations

    If we create a new document, we’ll see a new touch friendly Excel.  The buttons and icons are spaced a part to make them each to touch with your finger.

    ExcelPreviewNewDocument

    One feature I really like is the light bulb icon.  Clicking this will allow you to search for functionality that you can’t find in the ribbon.  For example, if I wanted to insert a chart, it gives me the options right there by typing the word “Chart”.

    ExcelPreviewLightbulb

    Excel should be able to open many of your existing spreadsheets as well.  Although, I found that Excel Preview crashes quite a bit more than the other Office Preview apps.  Some of my spreadsheets it just refused to open.  That’s to be expected though.  Excel spreadsheets can get complicated quickly and this is a preview product.

    ExcelPreviewDocument

    Some spreadsheets are out-right not supported.  If you are pulling data from a SharePoint list or using PowerView, it will display an error message telling you why.  I’m not surprised this doesn’t work but maybe it will some day in the future.

    ExcelPreviewCantOpenFileSharePointError

    For desktop users of Office 2013, the biggest change you will have to adjust to is that you can only have one file open at a time.  Now before you start bashing Universal apps on Windows 10, keep in mind that the Office apps on iOS and Android have this same restriction.

    I’ve been pretty excited to see the launch of Office for Windows 10.  We’ll cover Word Preview and PowerPoint Preview in an upcoming article.  While you may not use these apps on your Surface Pro 3 in desktop mode.   I think these apps will do great when the device is running in Tablet mode.  If you have been thinking about running Windows 10 on your device, be sure and check out my review on IT Unity.

  • Configuring Information Rights Management (IRM) on a document library in Office 365

    Last year, I wrote a post on how to get started using Information Rights Management in Office 365.  That post covered what you need to get started as well as how to enable IRM at an individual file level.  This post is a follow-up to that one and covers how to configure IRM on a document library.

    If you haven’t enabled Rights Management in your Office 365 subscription, you’ll need to do that first.  My previous post can walk you through the steps.  You’ll find Rights Management under Service Settings now on the administration site.  Once IRM is configured on you subscription, go to the document library and view the Library Settings.  From there, click the Information Rights Management link.  When you configure IRM for the first time on a library, it will prompt you for a policy name and description.  This message here will be visible to users when viewing the document.

    IRMDocumentLibraryConfigureDefault

    Click the SHOW OPTIONS link to view the settings we can configure on the document library.

    IRMDocumentLibraryAdvancedSettings

    You have quite a bit of flexibility to configure what users can do to your files from here.  However, you don’t quite have the level of granularity on permissions that you do when configuring Rights Management from within Office.  In the first section, you can prevent users from allowing documents that don’t support IRM.  For example, if you upload an XML file (at least I am pretty sure you can’t do IRM on that), the file upload will be blocked. 

    You can also turn IRM after a period of time.  This setting is good if you know that the documents are only sensitive for a period of time.  For example, maybe an acquisition is occurring on a certain date and then the documents are no longer sensitive.

    You can also prevent users from viewing the documents in the browser.  You may have various reasons for why you would want to do this.  It’s not enabled by default, but you can turn it on.  When you do have it enabled, the Document Preview panel will not show in the document library and clicking on the document opens it directly in Office.

    IRMDocumentLibraryOWADisabled

    If you do allow your users to view documents in the browser, they will get an error message when using the document preview functionality.  However, they can still view the document in the browser using Office Online (formerly Office Web Apps) when clicking on the OPEN link.

    IRMDocumentLibraryPreviewDenied

    In the Configure document access rights section you can prevent users from printing the document.  This simply disables the print dialog inside Office.  Users could still find ways to get around this if they tried hard enough.  Remember that the settings in this section affect viewers and not users with full control permissions.

    You can also set how long the user’s rights are valid before they expire on the document.  This setting is important.  If a user downloads the document and copies it to a flash drive, he or she will be prompted once to get rights to the document.  Now, if the user left the company but still had the file they won’t be able to open it once the rights expire.  You just need to pick the number of days before the license expires.  The higher the value, the less often the user has to login to get rights again.  However, if the value is too small, you may annoy the user by prompting them more often to get rights.

    In the set group protection and credentials settings, you can specify how often users must verify their credentials.  You can also specify a security group where users are allowed to share the documents with other members of the group.  This is completely different from the security settings on the document library.  For example, a user might not have access to the document library, but they received a file from it on a flash drive.  If the user is in the security group you specify here, he or she will be able to open the file.

    Once you have configured, IRM on your document library you can test it.  Clicking on the document will show it in Office Online.  The message you configured for the policy at the top.

    IRMDocumentLibraryOfficeOnlineWithMessage

    When you click on OPEN IN WORD, we’ll see the document with additional settings in the tool tip.  Since I have full control of the document library, I have permissions to edit the rights management policy from within Word using the Change Settings button.

    IRMDocumentLibraryWordMessage

    To really verify functionality, we will want to login with another user account.  In my example, I logged in with a user that has Viewer permissions.

    IRMDocumentLibraryWordMessageViewOnly

    Clicking View Permissions, I can see what permissions the user has exactly.  It also tells you when your permissions expire.

    IRMDocumentLibraryWordPermissionsView

    When you look at the back stage in Office, you’ll see that many of the links are disabled such as Print

    IRMDocumentLibraryBackStagePermissionsDenied

    If your expiration date is getting near, you’ll see a message inside Office notifying you.

    IRMDocumentLibraryExpiration

    The settings for Information Rights Management have matured quite a bit since SharePoint 2010.  You have a lot more control of what you can specify as defaults in your document library.

    IRMDocumentLibrary2010Mode

    Information Rights Management is a great feature in Office 365 and easy to set up.  I find it is still highly under utilized by most organizations.

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