One of those “I never noticed that” on the Check Permission dialog box…

In one of my help desk calls, someone asked why a user who only had Contribute permission seemingly had a ton of other higher level permissions associated with their account. Being the cynical IT person that I am, my first thought was “OK, what did they misunderstand?” However, looking at the following, I had to agree that they had a lot more than Contribute:


In 99% of the times I’ve used Check Permissions, I don’t see “The following factors also affect this level of access for” section. What’s worse, I didn’t know right off WHY this person was getting that additional information. It certainly wasn’t as part of their SharePoint permission group settings.

It took me a bit of time to finally figure out what the difference was. This particular person was originally put in the Site Administrators area for this site, as they were one of the original business owners. Roles shifted and their permissions were altered to only have Contribute, but no one removed him from the Site Administrators group. Once I did that, all the “following factors” disappeared.


“InfoPath cannot connect to the server” – that sucks…

The other day, I was trying to customize a list form using InfoPath, and I started receiving this error:

InfoPath cannot connect to the server. The server may be offline, your computer might not be connected to the network, or InfoPath Forms Services 2010 might not be enabled on the server. To fix this problem, start by checking your network connection, and then trying again.”

Um… no, the server is up, I’m connected to the network, and InfoPath Forms Services is working just fine on every other site out there, thank you very much.

So… off to Google (or Bing) that error message, hoping for something fairly quick and simple. After a little digging, I came up with this blog post that pointed me down the right path:

To quote the meat of his post:

Since this was not an issue with other site collections we can narrow it down further that it is only with the InfoPath Site Features (IPFSSiteFeatures). This is a hidden feature in all site collections and can only be viewed through PowerShell. I found by simply disabling and re-enabling this feature fixed the problem.

Using PowerShell, you have to run the two commands:

PS C:\> Disable-SPFeature "IPFSSiteFeatures" -url "http://Server/Sites/SiteCollection"
PS C:\> Enable-SPFeature "IPFSSiteFeatures" -url "http://Server/Sites/SiteCollection"

Once I did that, everything went back to normal. I wish I knew a bit more behind the *why* of that happening, but I’m more into triage and keep moving… and this worked.

Did you know that Visio can check your site for broken links?

This is one of those features I stumbled across a number of years ago, and it still seems to be a very well-kept secret. You can use the Web Site Map diagram to tell Visio what site to map out. Visio will also X-out every page image where the link is broken.

For more information, check out

I know there are probably site crawlers and link checkers that are more comprehensive and have more whistles and bells to play with. But it’s hard to argue with a tool you may well already have sitting on your desktop.

Slides from SharePoint Saturday Redmond – Leading Your SharePoint Customers To Water… *and* Teaching Them How To Drink

Here are my slides from SharePoint Saturday Portlandia on November 14th, 2015. We had a good turnout, and I made it through the session even though I was nursing a cold.

I think the most enjoyable part of this is the discussions afterwards. I love how this content sparks ideas and the “I could do that” statements.


Slides from SharePoint Saturday Redmond – Leading Your SharePoint Customers To Water… *and* Teaching Them How To Drink

Here are my slides from SharePoint Saturday Redmond on October 24th, 2015. Thanks to everyone who attended, as well as all the great questions and comments afterwards. I really do like presenting this information. 🙂


Slides from Portland SPUG – Leading Your SharePoint Customers To Water… *and* Teaching Them How To Drink

Here are the slides from my presentation at the Portland SharePoint User Group meeting on 2015/10/21. Thanks to everyone who was there, and thanks for the positive comments and questions.


Slides from SharePoint Saturday Boise – Leading Your SharePoint Customers To Water… *and* Teaching Them How To Drink

Sandra Mahan and I presented this session at SharePoint Saturday Boise on October 3rd, 2015.


Copying from Word into a Content Editor web part? Please… just don’t.

This is a bit of a “drive-by” blog post, in that it’s not overly techie in nature. It’s just a plea to those who figure that pasting content into a Content Editor web part directly from Word is a great idea…

Please don’t. For both your sake and the sake of your SharePoint support person.

When you put content into a Content Editor web part, SharePoint generates all the HTML code behind the scenes so that things render pretty much like you see it on the screen… also known as WYSIWYG (pronounced whizzy-wig, and stands for “What You See Is What You Get”)

When you copy content from a Word document, it’s actually pasting the Word HTML into the web part, so now you have both the Word HTML *and* SharePoint’s HTML. Sometimes they play well together, and sometimes… they don’t.

If someone calls me and asks for help making a bulleted list look right because the third and fourth bullet have different spacing and they can’t seem to fix it, it’s usually because they copied the original list from Word, and then they tried to edit the list in SharePoint. Different HTML, different spacing…

If you’re hardcore and up to the task, you can open the Edit HTML option and wade through all the HTML, removing extra Word styling and tags. It’s not fun.

Or, you can take the content, copy it to something basic like Notepad, erase all the existing stuff in the web part, and then paste the non-formatted text back in. Format it within SharePoint, and things will be consistent.

I want your page to look good just like you do. But I really don’t want to take dozens of lines of HTML and clean things up for you. Just don’t copy directly from Word if you want to update the page in SharePoint later on.

Do you pick your technology, or does your technology pick you?

This is one of those topics that I’ve been close to, both from an observation perspective as well as my own career.

As a “technology person”, people expect you to know everything (or learn it quickly). It’s possible to be aware of a large number of technologies but most people end up concentrating on a few specific areas that pay their bills. There are rare people that seem to pick up everything, but I’m not that person. The question for most IT people is… what technology do I focus on, and when should I decide to learn something new (or drop something that I already know/work with on a regular basis)?

It seems like there are two scenarios that play out in my mind. If you’re a consultant, you’re always trying to ride the bleeding edge of what’s in demand and what will keep you employed. If you’re working as a regular employee, you’re focused on working with whatever technology keeps you employed.

I’m going to step back into my Notes world as an example… mainly because I went through this. As a Notes developer, it was my job to make sure I knew as much as possible about Notes development. That could mean just Notes client development, but it also included web development as well as XPages as the Notes environment evolved. It used to be you could focus on Formula language and sort of ignore LotusScript. Then it was needing to know LotusScript but XPages was still a nice to have. Now it seems you have to know XPages, and client development is sinking quickly as an in-demand skill.

As a regular employee in an organization using Notes, I focused mainly on Notes client development, as we had a lot of that. When I found myself unemployed and headed into the consulting/contracting world, I found that I wished I knew more about web development, portals, XPages, etc. When I was able to get re-employed by my original company, I was back in my sweet spot of client development again.

While I would have been happy to continue to do that and push those limits, life had different ideas. We moved from Notes to SharePoint, and now SharePoint is my primary focus. Much like Notes, saying you’re a SharePoint developer can been a variety of things… out-of-the-box development, SharePoint Designer workflows, JavaScript web development, C# coding, etc.

To the point of my title… I could take a step back, decide that I think Hadoop, big data, and Python are where it’s at, and start planning my post-SharePoint technology life. I could also look at all the options available to me in the SharePoint and Office 365 world, and push myself within the arena that I’m already familiar with.

I think it’s important to keep an eye open to where IT trends are going, but no one has a crystal ball. Telling someone they need to leave their current technology may make sense from the outside looking in, but sometimes that technology picked you given where you’re at and the opportunities that are available.

Keep your eyes and your mind open to where things are going, and take a realistic look at the future of your organizational choices and your personal career. Then decide… do you need to pick your technology, or are you OK with the fact that your technology picked you?

How did I miss “Enable enhanced rich text content such as tables, images, and hyperlinks”?

I have a customer testing a new custom list that tracks policy and procedure reviews. The form has been altered using the Customize Form button that opens up InfoPath (yes, I love InfoPath!). Everything has been going well, except for a certain enhanced rich text control on the form. The customer reported that they did not have any way to make a hyperlink in that field.

It’s set up in the list to be a multi-line text field that uses rich text (so I can allow for hyperlinks). I have another field that’s set up the same way. On the form, the second field works just fine. You go into the field, highlight a word or phrase, and you get the option to make it a hyperlink in the Ribbon Bar. But that first control… not so much.

I checked the list and they were identical in how they’re set up. I checked a list item and there were hyperlinks in both fields. Looks like it works to me. She replied that she must be doing something wrong, as she wasn’t getting the hyperlink option. I went out there in a new item, and guess what… I wasn’t getting the hyperlink option either.

When I started looking at the properties of the control, I found an option that I guess has always been on by default, and I’ve never really noticed it before:


It was unselected in my problem control, and that’s why I wasn’t getting the hyperlink options. When I selected that option and republished the form, it worked just like the other control did.

Lesson… pay attention to *all* the properties, even the ones you normally overlook.