Tip o’ the Week #86 – Jump into SharePoint sites


Following last week’s IE9 “turn websites into apps” tip in ToW#83, here’s an early Christmas present, showing a couple of nifty ways of working with SharePoint 2010. It’s possible to add clip_image002SharePoint sites to your taskbar or start menu in exactly the same way as in that tip – open the site up in your browser, then drag the icon to the left of the site’s address and drop it onto your taskbar.

If the administrator of your site loves you very much, maybe they’ll follow the instructions below to add the ability to expose Jump Lists too. If your favourite SharePoint site doesn’t already have Jump Lists activated, maybe you could plead with the site’s administrator to do so…

If you don’t know who administers your SharePoint site, you could try “Request Access” from the drop-down box next to your name on the very top right of a site – in the “justification” section, explain what you’d like to do and if the wind is blowing in the right direction then your email will reach whoever is listed as the site admin…

Admins: get your site timezone right!

SharePoint sites have a standard “locale” which sets the way they behave in different languages, time zones,  different ways of measuring the calendar etc. The default when a site is created is (at least in the way it’s clip_image004been implemented in Microsoft), that the site locale will be English (US) – in most cases, not something that will really affect the end users, except for in one important aspect – date format (assuming you’re not in the US…).

That document you’re looking at, created on 07/08/11 … was it the 7th August or the 8th July? Was 01/08/11 the 1st August or 8th January…? In the first example, it might not matter a whole lot but if the document is 7 months older than you at first thought, it could be important.

clip_image005Changing the locale of your site takes only 1 minute – but will require you to have admin rights on the site, denoted by you being able to see a Site Actions button at the top of the page, and on clicking the down arrow button, the menu would offer you a Site Settings option. Click on that, then look for clip_image006the Regional Settings option under the Site Administration heading. Set the local as appropriate and check that any sub-sites will also inherit the same settings.

clip_image007Enable Jump Lists

There’s a sweet little addin to SharePoint that also takes moments to add to a site, but which automatically exposes all of a site’s lists, libraries etc as a jump list to a taskbar-pinned icon. There are detailed instructions, and a walk-through video, on the SPJumpList site, but essentially:

  • Download the SPJumplist.WSP file to your PC
  • On the root site of the Site Collection (eg sharepoint/sites/yoursite), go into Site Settings, and under the Galleries section, go into Solutions and upload the WSP file
  • Click on the arrow to the right of the SPJumplist item and choose Activate, then click on the Activate option in the following screen

This should now make the SPJumplist solution available to any sites within the collection, and it’s just a matter of switching it on – for each site you want to enable it on, go into Site Settings and under the Site Actions heading, look in Managed Site Features. Scroll down to the SPJumplist item, click Activate, and a jump list should appear, showing everything in the site’s navigation list.

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Tip o’ the Week #83 – some more IE9 tweaks


It’s been a little while since we dug into Internet Explorer in the Tip of the Week, so I figured it would be worth revisiting. Previous tips included some basics in #64 and #65 and there are others.

Docking & Undocking tabs

clip_image002Have you ever found a time when you’ve got two tabs open in IE9, and you’re flicking between them? Maybe cross referencing some information – like a flight or train timetable – with some other application? Watching training videos whilst trying to surf the web? If so, one solution would be to right-click on the IE icon on your taskbar and click on “Internet Explorer” – this will launch a new instance of IE, and you could open up the 2nd site in that window, thereby allowing you to do side/side window comparisons, move one to a 2nd monitor etc.

Well, there’s an even easier way – simply click on the tab you want to move, and drag it away from the group of tabs within IE – it will now spawn a second window with only that one tab in it. Brilliant! When you’re done, you can even drag the tab from the 2nd window and drop it back onto the tab group of the first window to consolidate them back again.

Did you know IE9 recently trounced every other browser at blocking “malware”, in an independent test, scoring 100% effectiveness against the 13% scored by Chrome, Safari & Firefox..?clip_image003

Turning websites into Apps

IE9 has so many features besides its excellent security – faster performance, hardware-accelerated graphics, HTML5 (etc etc), but one of the top usability ones is the ability to pin websites to your taskbar.

Some sites will expose Windows 7 jump lists, so once you’ve pinned them you can go straight to specific parts of the site (like your messages, calendar, favourites, friends lists and so on). This is the first part of treating a web page more like an application.


The jump lists can do more than just help your navigation on the site – take the excellent National Rail enquiries IE9 experience that was mentioned in ToW #74. The jump list lets you go straight to the departures/arrivals board for your most commonly used stations – it really does start to feel like a custom application rather than a simple website.

To pin any site to your taskbar, just open the page in IE9, and drag the tab (similar to the method for spawning a 2nd window), but this time just drop it onto the task bar. An alternative is to drag & drop the icon to the left of the site’s address.


When you click on the docked icon on the taskbar, it will launch the page in its own IE9 window, and also displays an icon of site’s logo – clicking on this takes you “Home”: back to the main page of the site, rather the normal IE home page. Again, just like an application rather than a web site.

As you can see from the screen grabs above, there are plenty of popular sites which implement jump list support as a minimum – check the Beauty of the Web site or or this Softpedia article as a starting point to identifying which pages may support IE9 specifically. Of course, you can always just try adding a site directly and see if it does support jump lists or not.

clip_image007Clutter me not

Now, pinning web apps to your task bar is all well and good when you only want one or two, but if you have a selection you’d like to pin, it could clutter the whole taskbar up. There is something of an alternative, however: simply open your page, press the ALT key to show the menu, click on Tools and select Add site to Start menu. You don’t see jump lists in the Start Menu but if you right-click on the icon and Pin to Start menu, or if the icon shows up in the list of most recently used programs, then the jump list will be visible.

This shortcut on the Start menu can be moved around, put into groups, dragged off the menu onto your desktop or other folders, and yet whenever you launch the app, it will be in its own window, with its “home” button, so just like an application.

As it happens, you can turn any shortcut into an “app”, by renaming the extension from .url to .website

– eg.

· Copy a shortcut to your desktop

· Launch a command window (WindowsKey+R then enter cmd)

· Change to the desktop folder (normally that will be just by entering cd desktop)

· Rename your shortcuts by entering ren *.url *.website

· Close the command window and test your new “app” by opening the new shortcut…

Tip o’ the Week #81 – I’m Late!

clip_image002We’ve all had that feeling when you just know you aren’t going to make it in time for your next meeting… You know, you’re in Building 1 and the meeting’s at the top of Building 5, or you’re stuck in traffic, or in another meeting that’s already running over and isn’t going to end any time soon..?

Obviously, it would be polite to tell people when you can’t make it to a meeting on time… but emailing everyone to say you’ll be late will just make you later still…

clip_image001I’m Late! I’m Late!!

If you use Windows Phone 7, have a look in a calendar appointment which is a meeting (ie where there are invited attendees, rather than just an appointment you’ve put in your own calendar), and you’ll see a “late option on the menu at the bottom of the screen…

…tap on that and it will create an email ready to be sent to everyone in the meeting (if you’re the organiser), and if you’re merely an attendee, you can choose if you want the whole meeting to know of your tardiness, or if you’d rather just send an email to the organiser directly.


clip_image003Everyone who uses Exchange 2010 with its Unified Messaging capability (where voice mail is handled by Exchange) can also dial in to collect voicemails, have the Exchange Server read out emails and calendar appointments etc. One of the options when in the calendar, is to say “I’ll be late” – whereupon the server will send an email on your behalf to everyone – useful if you can’t actually type at the time (maybe you’re in the car, or running along the corridor…)

From within Lync, it’s easy to get to your Voice Mail – click on the large telephone icon near the top of the main Lync window, and you can dial into or set up Voice Mail from there.

clip_image004Try calling Voice Mail and saying “Calendar for today”, and the Exchange server will read out details of your current meeting, or others in the schedule. You can then tell it you’ll be late, and by how much, or even simply say “I’ll be 10 minutes late.

To call from your mobile, try setting up a contact in Outlook to dial into your Unified Messaging mailbox – set the contact’s phone number (for Microsoft UK users) to: +44 118 909 nnnn x p12345678#, replacing “118 909 nnnn” with the phone number you’d use to dial in to your own Exchange UM, and “12345678” with the handy 8 digit (or whatever length) PIN that the Exchange server wants you to set. clip_image005

If you don’t know what your PIN is, never fear – you can reset it quickly from Outlook 2010, by going to the File menu and clicking…

Just make sure when you have to change the PIN, you remember to update the Outlook contact(s) that contain it, to reflect your new number. If you call the standard access number from another phone, you’ll need to tell it what your extension number is, but if you’ve got your mobile set up in the GAL properly, then it’s possible that Exchange can tell it’s your phone, so all you need to provide is your PIN. If you dial from Lync (as above), then you’ve already logged into the network so don’t even need a PIN. Clever, eh?

It’s worth setting up a couple of contacts to get you straight into UM – one with the number as above to take you to the spoken voice prompt, and one with the number +44 0118 909 nnnn x p12345678#001, which will automatically switch to using touch-tone numbers, and will drop you into playback of voice mail messages – handy if you know you have a new message to retrieve, especially so if you’re in a public space (where talking aloud to the server will have your tarred with the epithet “loony”) or other noisy environment, where you’d never be understood anyway.

Finally, if you like to update your voice mail message (saying you’re at WPC or MGX or Tech Ready, for example) then set up another contact with the number +44118909nnnn x p12345678#006212 – dialing that from your mobile phone will take you straight to the “record your message after the tone” prompt.

Tip o’ the Week #77 – Saving docs straight to SharePoint

clip_image002Here’s a simple tip inspired by Luke Debono, who was asking how he could save directly from within an Office application to our departmental SharePoint site, using Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010.

clip_image003Now, if you open a document from a SharePoint site then you might get to view/edit it in a browser, or perhaps open and edit within an Office application. On the backstage/File menu, you’ll see a few clues that the document is on a SharePoint site – like the location, or (depending on whether the functionality is enabled on the SharePoint) the ability to check the document out & in, see previous versions etc.

clip_image005If you’re writing a new document and want to publish it directly to SharePoint, you can do so directly from within Word, Excel & PowerPoint – go to the File menu and select the Save and Send option, at which point you’ll be able to save it straight to the SharePoint of your choice, maybe even one of the more recently used sites…

URL or UNC? U B the judge

If you’re working outside of Office applications but still want to save your stuff straight into SharePoint (your MySite for example?), then it’s still possible. SharePoint is clearly accessible via a URL (eg http://sharepoint etc), but you might not know it’s also available via the old-fashioned “UNC”…

clip_image006universal naming convention
A naming convention for files that provides a machine-independent way to locate the file. A UNC name usually includes a reference to a shared folder and file accessible over a network rather than a folder and file specified by a drive letter and path.

UNCs were used in the old LAN Manager and NT days, to connect to file servers. They took the form of \\server_name\share_name, characterised by the phrase “whack whack” – as in “connect to “whack whack server_name whack share_name”…

In this instance, you can generally convert the SharePoint URL into a UNC by ditching the http:// piece and substituting forward slashes to back-slashes. If you’re in the File dialog of any application, you can type a UNC into the “File Name” box and hit Save or Enter, then the File dialog will be re-pointed to that location… allowing you to save your file (under a chosen name) into that location.

Once you’ve pointed the File dialog to browse into your SharePoint, you could even add it to Favo(u)rites to make it easy to get there in future… bearing in mind if you jump straight to \\sharepointemea\00sites\sitename then you’ll see all the other SharePoint folders that go to make up the site.