Office 365 Tools for Lawyers and Legal Professionals

Broadening the base of potential Office 365/SharePoint Online users is the Legal Matters Center for Office 365. I attended an early session on this at the Ignite conference in Chicago.

Resources can be found at:

SharePoint 2013, Lync Courseware Review

I often get asked for suggestions for courseware. Not all training providers have their own material for all products.

So here are a couple of quick reviews of courseware for a couple of increasingly popular topics.

My aim is to find some resources to recommend, so that I can use my time to prepare additional  materials and exercises to cover custom topics and not preparing the core courseware.

Background

  • I recently purchased the e-book editions of both books from Watsonia Publishing
  • I have read the workbooks but at time of writing have not used them in a course
  • I am not getting a commission for these reviews

SharePoint 2013

  • INF1432
  • ISBN: 978-1-925121-31-5
  • Watsonia Publishing
  • For SharePoint Readers, Authors and Site Managers 978-1-925121-46-9

This material would require trainer to prepare a demo site (and ideally save a template) and permission groups, etc. ahead of time.

My usual approach is to make a typical student site with worked examples of lists and libraries as a starting point, make a template including content, and then make X copies of the site, one for each student.

Initial Thoughts

  • good overview at start
  • has basic set up notes and some sample files to use for uploading etc (student files are an “exe”, which my firewall was not keen on – why are downloads still executable files?
  • screen captures are current at time of this review for on premise SharePoint. For SharePoint online, there are some differences in the upper part of the screen. A handout could cover the differences.
  • Could be used for SharePoint 2013 on premise or online (as part of Office 365)
  • where it is a bit awkward  (as is most SharePoint courseware) is spreading list and library topics over three chapters. I tend to explore lists in detail and then libraries, my purpose here is to expose people to lists and common SharePoint functionality. When we move from lists to libraries, they have gained two things (a) a general understanding of the interface and how consistent it is and (b) most people have found at least one list they can use, so they have broadened their view of SharePoint from just libraries…
  • the previous point is a long standing beef of mine that courseware and courses should follow how people will use the features or product.

Re-arranging the workbook, I’d see a course using this book like this:

Day One

Theme – using and exploring SharePoint (moving to creating later in the day)

  • Getting to Know SharePoint
  • Navigating a SharePoint Site
  • Documents Lists and Libraries
  • OneDrive for Business
    • Syncing would be a key topic here
    • Sharing
  • Social Networking
    • particularly newsfeed, hash tags, following documents and people
  • Introduction to Lists (my heading, featuring content from:)
    • Working With Files and Items
    • Working With Calendars
    • Creating Lists and Libraries
    • exploring a range of lists, (contacts, calendar, issue tracking) exploring
      • datasheet view
      • connecting to Outlook, Excel
      • Alerts, Recycle Bin
  • Introduction to Libraries (my heading, featuring content from:)
    • Working With Files and Items
    • Creating Lists and Libraries
    • focusing on
      • Uploading, adding new documents
      • Editing documents
      • Checkout
      • Version control
  • Creating Views

Day Two

Theme is creating resources, features, in SharePoint

  • Searching in SharePoint
    • I’d do this on day 2, to be sure content added on day 1 has been indexed and can be found
  • Custom Lists and Libraries
    • content from Document Management (varying levels of content from here depending on client need)
    • creating custom lists (eg to replace registers in spreadsheets – in book in in “Creating Lists and Libraries” but could use an additional handout)
    • adding metadata to a library ( in “Creating Lists and Libraries”)
    • creating views using the metadata (in “Creating Views”)
  • Working With Workflows
  • Managing Security
  • Creating a Site
    • a blend of Preparing Your Training Site/ Working With Personal Sites/Creating Team Sites
    • I’d leave this for day 2, after permissions and groups, as “creating a site”
    • includes navigation, look and feel options
  • Authoring Web Part Pages
    • doing this later than in the book, after people have created lists, libraries and views and can bring it all together for their end users in one place
  • Other Collaboration Sites
  • SharePoint resources online (my heading, not in the book)

Topics I’d leave out

  • Custom Workflows – this is SharePoint Designer, and for good reason, most users wont get anywhere near SharePoint Designer – custom workflows could be covered as a later advanced session using an app from the store.
  • Working With Search – this is more advanced search config, might be a topic for an advanced session.

To find the workbook, search for Watsonia Publishing and INF1432

In Summary

I could see this as viable courseware for two day course for contributors, owners and managers, with some additional handouts and some tweaking of sequence.

Other SharePoint resources I’d recommend

I’d recommend teams on a course get one each of the following

The Apress book

The first book is not courseware, but it is an excellent post course reference. It gives in detail the steps you need for any process a site user, contributor or owner will need.

SharePoint 2013 User’s Guide: Learning Microsoft’s Business Collaboration Platform, Fourth Edition

  • By: Tony Smith
  • Publisher: Apress
  • Pub. Date: June 12, 2013
  • Print ISBN-10: 1-4302-4833-5
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-1-4302-4833-0
  • Pages in Print Edition: 536

The Microsoft Press Book

I recommend this second book as a tool to use with your own end users, post course. While I often call this the “SharePoint Picture Book”, I mean this in the sense it is easy to follow for end users. Its actually pretty comprehensive in its range of topics.

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Plain & Simple

  • By: Johnathan Lightfoot, Michelle Lopez, and Scott Metker
  • Publisher: Microsoft Press
  • Pub. Date: May 15, 2013
  • Print ISBN-10: 0-7356-6700-4
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-0-7356-6700-6
  • Web ISBN-10: 0-7356-7214-8
  • Web ISBN-13: 978-0-7356-7214-7
  • Pages in Print Edition: 440

Microsoft Lync Online

  • Watsonia Publishing
  • INF1422
  • ISBN: 978-1-925121-35-3

Lync, especially as part of Office 365 is a moving target.  At time of writing the screen captures matched the current product. Lync is about to become Skype for Business, which may require an update of the courseware.

The sequence of topics from Creating contacts to Presenting is in a logical order, and covers all of the skills people will need for using Lync for IM, ad hoc discussions and meetings. The skills covered in meetings and presenting could also be used for delivering small group on line training.

The topics covered are:

  • Lync Contacts
  • Instant Messaging
  • Working With Calls
  • Meetings (includes Recording)
  • Presenting
  • The Lync Mobile App
  • Lync Options

I think for most groups a 3-4 hour session would give plenty of hands on and practice.

To find the workbook, search for Watsonia Publishing and INF1422

 

Office 365 – SharePoint Online Resource from Microsoft

Folks

This new resource covers planning, adoption and more. I see this as a resource for end user training material

Office 365 Customer Success Center​

Steven

Office for Android Tablets – Preview

This is a key step by Microsoft, preview versions of the big three from the Office suite are available for Android Tablets. Not final versions, but worth exploring. So far I have installed them on my old Nexus 7 (with KitKat). I’ve done a few basic tasks in Word, but haven’t checked them out in full (report next week)

If you want to try them out use the links below to get to the Google Play Store

When you get to the Google play store search also for  OneDrive and OneNote (There is even OneNote for Android Wear!)

If you are on any other device you are already catered for MS Office for most devices

So why is this a big deal?

As Office 365 and SharePoint online start to get some traction, users will want to work with content in the field. Android tablets are a cost effective way for business to provide a handy, but functional tool. While there are third party apps for working with Office files, I found this a mixed success and the lack of these apps is what lead me to moving to a windows tablet (and the cost of basic windows tablets becoming competitive).

So when the final apps are released, companies can give staff a good android tablet and use Office 365 (and bank the money they saved vs buying i-Pads).

Steven

Sharing Information vs Knowledge is Power

Watching the Ted Talk: “Stanley McChrystal: The military case for sharing knowledge” started me thinking about the issues he discusses for the perspective of SharePoint trainer, a trainer and an ex public servant.

A major of theme of this talk is that “the organisation will benefit from ready access to information“.  The burned out leftie in me would extend this to “Society will benefit from ready access to information“. But for the moment lets think organisation.

One of the major potential advantages of SharePoint is to allow exchange of information across silos. For this to happen, site owners and admins need to think about permissions in terms of the organisation not just the unit or  silo they are in. If read access to content is based on the silo and reflect management structure not need or community of interest, then no benefits are gained from collaboration. Wheels are reinvented, mistakes are repeated, solutions and troubleshooting tips are not exchanged.

There are a lot of business cultural assumptions to overcome in sharing. I often get comments that as a trainer I am “giving away all my secrets” or that my YouTube channel is “giving it away for free”. In the modern world however, my secrets are not just mine. Microsoft and Adobe and third parties invest a great deal of effort in distributing information about how to use their products in every medium possible. So my “secrets” can be easily found.  This sharing by these firms makes “Knowledge is Power” obsolete and has a business benefit -Support has a cost – so organisations will use software and other tools with support resources widely available.

I can concentrate on massaging this information to give you context and value but secret it is not. Sharing what I learn also has other values for my little business.

There are other issues raised by this talk, this is just one angle.

 

Where do I find Office 365 Resources?

Via Mary Jo Foley (of the Windows Weekly Podcast), this a page of free Office 365 Resources –  includes Office 2013 resources, quick reference guides and e-books. Well worth exploring: Office 365 Resources

Office 365 – SharePoint App Error message on Installing

If you are

  • Getting this error: “Sorry, there was something wrong with the download. Try adding it again.”
  • in Australia

Then this article is the “fix” for you.

I ran into this problem while preparing my new public facing Office 365 site last week. Some apps installed OK and then it just happened. Uninstalling and re-installing wont fix it.

In summary the solution is:

  1. Temporarily remove the “defective” app
  2. Go back to the SharePoint Store – in the top right set the language to English (United States)
  3. Then when you are adding an app – when you get to the Trust Screen stage – Click Language Options and Choose English (United States)

Good Luck

Steven

 

End user training resources for Office 2013 and Office 365

A quick post to a Microsoft resource summarising all the quick reference guides and other materials for helping end users with getting up  to  speed on Office 2013 and Office 365 . A good read for trainers too. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj871004.aspx

Office 365 Backup Options Part 1

The basic Problem

Microsoft back up Office 365, but we’d all like our own backup, because we can sleep better that way….

My choice is different to what you might choose due to:

  • Cost – I need to find a service to suit a micro business and a micro business budget!
  • Existing services – eg I already have cloud and on site backup facilities
  • Scale of backup required – I am willing to accept more manual backup features than you, I have to consider backing up Email from Exchange – I may do this manually to allow me to choose a cheaper Office 365 back up service with fewer features. Continue reading “Office 365 Backup Options Part 1”

Finding SharePoint 2013/Office 2013/Lync Quick Reference Guides

There is a growing trend away from issuing workbooks or courseware to every trainee on a course.  The pattern is towards one set of courseware for the team and quick reference guides for the individual trainees.

So here are some leads to quick reference guides.

From Microsoft

Third Party examples

Regards

Steven

 

 

How do I change Office 365 plan?

I often get asked this question on courses, and the answer is a bit involved. for full details please go here: Can I switch to a different Office 365 plan or subscription?

How to fix: SharePoint Online won’t open documents or attachments in client applications (eg in Word or Excel on the desktop)

This is a frustrating problem

There are two steps

Step 1. Enable the “Open Documents in Client Applications by Default ” service – see steps here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2859986

Step 2. Check the Library Settings –> Advanced Settings–> Opening documents in browser is set to “Use the server default (Open in the client application)”

 

 

Hybrid SharePoint Online – Existing on Premise Active Directory and Exchange

The following  collection of light reading is to guide those who need to connect SharePoint Online and existing on premise Exchange and Active Directory

The aim is to have on log in with cloud and on premise services synchronized. Continue reading “Hybrid SharePoint Online – Existing on Premise Active Directory and Exchange”