Thursday, July 31, 2008

Microsoft Sharepoint “Tips of the Day”

Want a great place to get general Sharepoint tips and tricks? How about your Outlook mailbox?

Microsoft has made available a list of tips and how-tos for SharePoint, Sharepoint Designer, and InfoPath and of course, all the other Office products as well. Best of all, they are available by RSS feed, so you can have them delivered right to your Outlook mailbox.

You can choose which feeds you would like to subscribe to. Some of the most recent posts have included:

· How to Design an InfoPath Form based on XML Schema
· Create a workflow initiation form
· How to use variables in workflows
· How to export Excel data to a Sharepoint site
· Connect a Query String Filter to another Web Part

As you can see, the topics range from simple tasks to pretty substantial processes.

For a complete list of feeds and to choose what tips you would like to subscribe to, visit

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

SharePoint Pod Show

I'd like to turn you on to a new SharePoint-related podcast which a few friends of mine have recently started producing. Fellow SharePoint MVPs Rob Foster and Nick Swan have just finished recording Episode #1 of the SharePoint Pod Show. Along with Brett Lonsdale, Rob and Nick will be producing biweekly episodes about current SharePoint topics.

You can also send your questions to and these guys will answers them on air!

Good luck with your new show Rob, Nick and Brett.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Problem with SharePoint Infrastructure Update can affect your extranet

This WSS KB article (KBID 951695, Last Review : July 23, 2008, Revision : 4.0) from Microsoft includes an acknowledgment of a known issue after installing the Infrastructure Update (32-bit, 64-bit). Applying the upgrade in a SharePoint farm that uses Alternate Access Mapping with a reverse proxy or a network load balancer, such as in an extranet deployment, may cause some public URLs to become unresponsive.
"Microsoft is aware of this issue and is developing a solution. Before installing the Infrastructure Update, customers who use this configuration should use a test environment to verify that public URLs remain accessible after the update is installed."
A few more details can be found on Joel Oleson's blog. Joel goes so far as to recommend that organizations using Alternate Access Mapping should hold off on the upgrade until a fix is available. I tend to agree, unless you are one of those rare companies fortunate enough to have a test environment with Alternate Access Mapping which mirror production.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Create a Site Template from a Publishing Site

So you finally designed a perfect publishing site. You have it just the way you want it and you want to make sure that everyone uses this template to create sub sites that look just as good. Excellent! Now just save that site as a template and….what’s that? No “Save site as template” option? Uh oh. Unfortunately, MOSS does not support saving publishing sites as templates.

Never fear! There is a workaround! Simply turn off the publishing site features and you will have the ability to save your publishing site as a template.

The steps are as follows:
  • Create your publishing site and configure it the way you like.
  • Go to Site Actions à Site Settings à Modify all site settings
  • Under Site Administration, select “Site Features”
  • The status of “Office SharePoint Server Publishing” will be set to Active
  • Click Deactivate

Now your Site settings will show a “Save site as template” option.

Save your site template and then simply reverse the process to turn your publishing features back on.

Please note that publishing features will not be active on any site you create from this type of template. If you want to use them, you will need to turn them on as your sites are created.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

SharePoint TechNet Forums

SharePoint - Collaboration

Topics about team sites, project tracking, document collaboration, extranets, etc.

SharePoint - Community Advancement

Topics about improving or expanding the worldwide SharePoint community through blogs, forums, social networking, conferences, user groups, code camps, etc.

SharePoint - General Question and Answers and Discussion

General (typically presales oriented) questions and discussions.

SharePoint - Search

Topics about Search capabilities in SharePoint.

SharePoint - Setup, Upgrade, Administration and Operation

Topics about installation/setup and upgrade/migration as well as administration and operation.

SharePoint - Social Computing
Topics about MySites, blogs, wikis, tagging, social networking, knowledge search and brokering, communities, etc.

The complete list of SharePoint forum categories on TechNet is here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Take your Windows Vista compatibility issues to Microsoft

Free, unlimited installation and compatibility support has been made available for all worldwide customers using Windows Vista SP1 until March 18, 2009. Telephone support is available worldwide. Chat and Email support is available in US and Canada only. Why mention this on a SharePoint blog?? Well, if you are having any compatibility issues with Vista and SharePoint, now is your chance to call up the vendor (Microsoft that is) and talk it out for FREE!

Here is the link for more information:


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Search across Site Collections

Somewhat of an old news, but I realize that we don't have a blog entry about this, what I believe, very important topic that a lot of people have asked about in the past. So here it is…

So the scenario is that you have deployed WSS in your company and you do not have a need for most of the MOSS features at this time (personalization, records management, My Sites, etc.). Using WSS, you have setup a separate site collection for each department in the company. The HR department wants to know why they can't search for information in the Marketing department directly from their own site without having to navigate to the Marketing site. You explain to them: "You are not in the same site collection. Remember when you guys had asked that you want your own database because of the sensitivity of your data… well, we had to give you your own site collection. WSS does not support search across site collections". That doesn't go well with the folks in the HR department and you are scrambling to find a solution.

Relax… you now have the option of rolling out Search Server Express 2008 ( It's a free product that provides searching across multiple site collections (among other powerful MOSS like search features). It has been out for a few months now, but it's still not a well known fact in the market. I was staffed part time at the Microsoft's Search Server Express booth at TechEd and until we took a nearby whiteboard and wrote down in big bold letters Free Search, we were not getting much traffic at the booth.

Ok, so you are probably a bit skeptic by now and asking: "What's the catch? Why would Microsoft make this a free product?" You are right. There is a catch! The Search Server Express 2008 cannot be scaled. It can only be installed on one server. Having said that, I don't think you should write it off and say that it's useless because it doesn't scale. Think about it… if you are a small to medium size business who needs MOSS like searching capabilities, you buy a beefed up server with a quad core processor and 32GB+ memory (not that expensive these days…) and you're all set! There is a lot of content you can index and search with this machine. Definitely worth taking a look if you haven't done so already!


Friday, July 11, 2008

How do I make our SharePoint site stop asking me to login? – Part III

In my previous 2 posts, I explained the settings needed to allow Internet Explorer to automatically login to your SharePoint sites without presenting the popup login box. Even if you have addressed the issues I documented there however, you may still receive repetitive login boxes when opening files with the MS Office programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

The problem occurs when you are working on Windows Vista, and has to do with the way Vista accesses SharePoint data locations when using a fully qualified domain name without a proxy server. If you are using Windows XP as your desktop operating system, using a proxy server for internet access, or are typing a NetBIOS name to reach your SharePoint server - this problem should not exist and this solution will likely not help. The full issue and solution is now documented in the Microsoft Knowledge base in article
#943280. Here is the quick and dirty answer they recommend, which has successfully fixed the problem in my own personal testing.

First of all, the way Vista accesses SharePoint data locations has been modified by Vista Service Pack 1 - so... you really should install SP1. If you cannot install SP1 or are awaiting a central deployment, you can request a specific hotfix from Microsoft instead by following the steps mentioned in the knowledge base article above.

Once you have Vista SP1 or the hotfix installed, a registry entry must be created to list the URL's to which Windows is allowed to automatically send credentials. Of course, all of the normal cautions that you receive when editing the registry should apply here. Here's how to do that:
  1. Go to START > RUN, and type regedit.

  2. When the Registry Editor window opens, follow this path:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Services > WebClient > Parameters.

  3. Right-click the 'Parameters' subkey, and choose New > Multi-String Value.

  4. Type the name AuthForwardServerList.

  5. Open the AuthForwardServerList value and type in the list of SharePoint server URL's that are trusted for your organization - one URL per line.

    You can use wildcards to reduce the number of lines needed.
    (e.g. http:// *
    You will have to type in separate URL's for both http and https URL's if you use them.
  6. Close the Registry Editor window.

  7. Reboot your PC, or at least go to START > ADMINISTRATIVE TOOLS > SERVICES, and restart the WebClient service.

These steps should eliminate the login box from occuring within the MS Office products. See my previous posts (Part I and Part II) if your login prompts occur in Internet Explorer.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I've been presented with the 2008 Microsoft® MVP Award for Windows SharePoint Services

I have received notification that I’ve been presented with the 2008 Microsoft® MVP Award for Windows Server - Windows SharePoint Services. This is my second consecutive year of being honored with this award, but I have to say that the amount of gratitude, appreciation, and personal satisfaction in being re-awarded has not diminished at all. In fact, the opposite case is true. This type of recognition from one's peers just doesn't get old.

In truth, this award speaks volumes about the quality of folks with which I am fortunate enough to be associated. SharePoint Solutions is hands-down the best company I have ever had the opportunity to work for. Owners Jeff Cate and Kevin Pine have assembled a top-notch team of quality, hard-working people who are passionate and enthusiastic about being the best we can be for our customers. If you have purchased our SharePoint software add-on products, attended our SharePoint training classes, or engaged our expert consultants then I'm sure you'll agree.

For my part and on behalf of my wife Bekkey, please accept our humble thanks to both the SharePoint Solutions team and to the SharePoint community for letting us be part of this great team. It is truly a pleasure and an honor. We are indeed blessed to be so fortunate.