Brian Blogs on SharePoint

Information, curiosities, and observations about SharePoint and the community.

Archive for September, 2009

SharePoint Saturday – Raleigh

Posted by Brian Gough on September 24, 2009

The SharePoint Saturday in Raleigh is coming up soon.  November 7th, to be exact!

To register or get more information, click here…SharePoint Saturday – Raleigh

If you are not familiar with what a “SharePoint Saturday” is…  it is an all day event of presentations from local and national experts all focused on SharePoint.  development, administration, third party tools, best practices, you name it.

SharePoint Saturday events have been a huge success and are getting better and better all the time.  it is free to all attendees, so don’t’ miss it!

I will be presenting on creating custom forms for your lists using SharePoint Designer.  So if you show up, be sure to say “hi”.




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Checkbox required?….Yes, No, maybe so…?

Posted by Brian Gough on September 15, 2009

I have had several folks ask me why they cannot make the ‘Yes/No Checkbox’ data type a required field so I thought I would put it down on “paper” ( e-paper??) anyway….

It makes sense when you stop and think about it a bit. There are two possible values that this can have, Checked (Yes) or Un-checked (No).

It will ALWAYS have to have one of those two values. There is no option for an “empty” Yes/No Checkbox. So in a way, it is “required” by default, since it will always have a valid value of checked or un-checked.

To have the option of being “required” is rather superfluous. Make sense?

So, what to do if you want to force someone to choose between ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ options?

You should use the ‘Choice’ data type and have the options of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. This data type can be set to be ‘required’. Then you can leave the default value empty so the user is forced to set a value. You have the option of displaying the values as a dropdown or as Radio Buttons.

Okay…Yes, the option to choose checkboxes is also available but that would allow users to choose both ‘Yes’ AND ‘No’… what does that mean??? “Maybe”?? PLEASE do not do that to people… that’s cruel!


Hope this helps.

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Speaking at Code Camp

Posted by Brian Gough on September 5, 2009

I will be presenting a Hands-On-Lab at this years Code Camp on October 10, 2009.

Lab Description – Tired of the same old display page or edit page that you get with SharePoint? Would you like to be able to control what fields can be edited or highlight a particular field? This Hands-On-Lab will walk you through how to use SharePoint Designer to create your own custom display page and edit page, and show you how to set your custom pages as the defaults used by your list. This is a great way to learn how to get more from your lists and improve the overall User Experience.

This is a 300 level course using SharePoint Designer

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It’s Camping Time again!

Posted by Brian Gough on September 5, 2009

Time for another Code Camp! Wahoo!

Speaker registration is now open!!


Attendee registration will open later this month, so book mark the site and stay tuned!

If you are interested in speaking, get registered now as spots are filling up fast!

More info about what a Code Camp is can be found here…

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Using ‘Send To’ context menu option

Posted by Brian Gough on September 2, 2009

OK gentle reader, this is a long one, so grab your double-caf-half-caf-diet latte and get comfortable… here we go…

One of the options available to a document library item is the “Send To” option found in the context menu.

This offers several choices as you can see and another option can be made available that is not shown yet. First we will touch on what is shown above…

Download a Copy – this sounds pretty self-explanatory, but there is a small twist. When you choose this option you get the dialog box shown giving you the option to open or save the document.

Choosing ‘Open’ will do just that, open the document.

Choosing ‘Save’ will open the ‘Save As’ dialog box so you can save a copy of the document to your local workstation or network drive.

Email a Link – this will open your default email client and insert a link to the document in the body of the email. You can then add your recipients and subject and send the email. The recipients will then have a link they can click that will points directly to that document, not the library.


Create Document Workspace – This option will create a sub site using the Document Workspace site template and a copy of the document into the ‘Shared Documents’ library of the new sub site. This could be very useful but it depends on what you want over all is a bit out of scope for this article. I will touch on Document Workspace in a separate article.


Other Location – this option gets a bit involved… Basically it gives you the option to add one or more document library locations to copy the document to, and it keeps track of those locations for future updates and copying.

The first time you choose this option you see this…

It pre-fills the destination with the current sites URL, and file name is pre-filled with the name of the document you are working against. Unfortunately there is no “browse” feature to search through a list of document libs on the current site or navigate a site collection. You have to get the full URL to the document library you wish to copy to and insert that URL in the Destination textbox. Use the ‘click here to test’ link to make sure your URL takes you to the correct document library. The destination MUST be a document library or an error will be thrown in a later step.
The option to create an alert is exactly that; it will create an alert so you are notified anytime that document is updated.
The option ‘Prompt the author to send out updates when the document is checked in?’ will provide an option to update your copies when you use the ‘Publish Major Version’ context menu. Notice the option at the bottom of the screen shot below.


If you choose ‘Yes’ to update the copies, you will see a screen similar to the one below asking you to choose which location(s) you wish to receive the updated copy and SharePoint will automatically copy the published version to that location(s).

When you click OK, you will see a screen like this to verify the location(s) you chose.

You will then be shown a screen to let you know if it was successful or not. If you did not put in a URL pointing to a document library, this is where you will see the error thrown.

After you have done this process once, the context menu will change for that document.

Notice there is now an ‘Existing Copies’ option. Choosing that option will show a screen much like we saw earlier but showing the destinations associated to the document.

Choose the locations you want to send a copy and the steps are just like you encountered earlier.

All pretty slick and it works like a charm. So this could be a viable option if you find that you really need to copy your content to alternate location(s).

But what happens if you need to remove a destination? I bet you did not notice that an option for that has not been seen in any of the menu options huh? Admit it, you did not even think about this little piece did you? J

That’s OK, I got your back.

If you have to remove a destination from a document for whatever reason; it no longer exists, or is no longer needed, you can manage your destinations very easily.

In the context menu for the document, choose ‘View Properties’.

You will now see the menu bar with a new option available, ‘Manage Copies’.

Clicking ‘manage Copies’ opens a window like this.

From here you can manage the destinations and add new destinations. Notice the destinations are grouped by those that prompt for update and those that do not.

Clicking the ‘Update Copies’ will open the ‘Update Copies’ window we have seen before where you can choose which destinations get updated. This way you do not have to check in the document again, you can just push it out as is.


Clicking the edit icon opens a window much like we saw at the beginning of this process, with a new button for ‘Remove Link’.

Now you can update the settings as you need or remove the link all together.

Well I guess that about covers it… but wait there’s more!

One last thing to bring to your attention and then we can all get back to work…

Not all of our users may be that computer savvy and expecting them to get a full URL to a document library, let alone multiple document libraries, may be a bit to ask. There may be a solution for that…

…a custom ‘Send To’ option. Calm down… I do not mean you have to hire a developer to create a custom solution for you. SharePoint already makes this available to you. Isn’t that nice of them?!

This option makes it possible to have one single destination where all the documents in a library can have a context menu option for sending a copy to, and do it with a simple mouse click.

Here’s how to set this up…

Go into the settings for your document library and click the ‘Advanced Settings’ option.

A little more than halfway down the screen you should see an option for ‘Custom Send To Destination’.

Here you can enter a name for your destination and the URL to a Document Library

You can see I named my destination ‘Shared Docs’ and gave it the URL for the Shared Documents library. It should go without saying that the name should be somewhat descriptive so users get an idea of where it is going. Duh?

Click OK and then go back into your doc lib.

Now the context menu will show your custom option for users to leverage, and it is available to all the documents in the library.


Pretty slick huh? Unfortunately each document library can only have one custom send to destination. If you really need to have multiple locations, then you will need to use the ‘other locations’ option.

So, that should cover “Send To” about as deep as I can. I hope you found this useful.


Happy coding!!


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Workflow whoas… er… woes..

Posted by Brian Gough on September 1, 2009

It has been a long time since I have been forced to use the Out Of the Box workflows in MOSS and I am sorry to say, I am a bit un-amused.

Working with a document library, I have major and minor versioning enabled, require approval, and must check out to edit.

Using the OOB ‘Approval’ workflow, I created a workflow that is to be triggered whenever a Major Version is published. This is an option to select when setting up the workflow.

When I edit a document and save it I am presented with the dialog box to choose to save it as a minor or major version. When I save it as a minor version, the WF does not get triggered. Good, this is what I want.

However, when I edit the document and save it, then choose, “Major Version ( publish)”…

…the document is saved in a ‘Pending’ state but the approval workflow I created does not get triggered.

In addition, the context menu option “Publish A Major Version” is no longer available since it is trying to publish a major version and is in a ‘Pending’ state.


So now my document is sitting there waiting to be approved, but the “approvers” are not notified and no tasks assigned because the workflow did not get triggered. Major bummer.

Now, if I save the document as a minor version, then use the context menu option ‘Publish A Major version’, the workflow is triggered properly and runs as expected.

I have tried all kinds of variations, all with the same result. So, the “integration” with Office 2007 is not quite where I think it needs to be.

If anyone knows of a fix to this, I would love to know about it.

I have not found one mentioned in any of my searches.

This is all occurring on build in case you care.




<<< UPDATE >>>

My thanks to Dan Lewis for making this suggestion…

If you enable the workflow to be executed manually by users with Edit rights, the above process works fine.

Now, when the user chooses to publish a major version via Word 2007, they are presented with a dialog box for the workflow properties and it executes just fine.




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