Thursday, April 26, 2018

The SharePoint Properties Pane (successor to DIP) is available for SharePoint 2013

Last year at Ignite we were all psyched that Microsoft gave us a replacement for the old Document Information Panel (DIP) in Word which allowed us to set metadata stored in SharePoint columns. DIP disappeared with Office 2016 (and you had to edit properties in the info settings page instead), and finally we got a replacement. However, it only worked for documents stored in SharePoint Online.

I did a proof on concept of this with a colleague last year as well, so it was just a matter of time until it was properly release.

The announcement slipped past me as there has not been a lot of whoo hah around it. Reading the release notes for the December 2017 CU for SharePoint 2013 it states:
  • Enables the new Document Information Panel feature that's visible in Word 2013.
Maybe a bit cryptic, and I haven’t tested if Word 2013 shows the SharePoint Property Pane, but at least Word 2016 shows it just fine against a document stored in SharePoint 2013.

So, patch away and enjoy SharePoint properties once again in Word!

Word SharePoint Properties Panel.PNG

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

How to run AzureAD PowerShell commandlets in Azure

I have a PowerShell script which today uses AzureAD commandlets to perform some write operations in Azure AD. This script is to be run on a schedule, and where better to run this than in Azure. It could be as a web job or as an Azure Function.

When running in an app service we cannot use interactive login, but have to use the connect signature below which takes an ADAL app id and a certificate:

Connect-AzureAD –TenantId <tenantId> –ApplicationId <appid> –CertificateThumbprint <thumbprint>

This means we have to create and ADAL app which accepts a certificate, as well as make sure we can access the certificate from the app service.

For this tutorial I’ll go with an Azure Function, but the steps are pretty much the same.


Install the AzureAD or AzureADPreview command lets on your local machine.

Steps covered

  • Create a self-signed certificate
  • Create an ADAL app
  • Grant the ADAL app access to write to AAD
  • Create an Azure Function
  • Load Azure AD PowerShell in an Azure Function
  • Connect to AzureAD using an ADAL app and a certificate

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sneak peek at managed navigation for HUB sites

A granite mountain peak rising up above pink-hued clouds
Photo by C├ędric Servay at Unsplash

One of the cool features of the new hub sites is that associated sites inherit the navigation of the hub. This means you have one place to configure navigation, and you don’t have to resort to any of the numerous custom solutions out there to solve this. Hub sites makes it very easy to create small hierarchies of sites with a common navigation structure.

A lesser known fact is that the hub navigation also support managed navigation, a popular way to configure navigation since its inception in SharePoint 2013, and something constantly asked for in modern sites.

This post will show that you can achieve it today, but you should probably wait until it’s properly supported.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Expose values from an existing InfoPath field to a SharePoint field

Photo by adrian on Unsplash

Ok, I know InfoPath is not the future and all, but I happen to have one client which has an old InfoPath solution for reporting incidents at their facility. I have previously migrated this from SharePoint 2007 to 2013, which involved some XML manipulation in the process, and I did spare you a blog post on this :-)

Either way, the lists of incidents which goes back years have now been hooked up to PowerBI via the on-premises gateway, so the customer is slowly taking the leap to the cloud.

And, turns out, the date field which has the date of the incident was never exposed as a SharePoint field, a field which is pretty nice to report on for incidents.

I fired up SharePoint designer, promoted the field in question and re-published the InfoPath form. This ensured all new items would have a date in the incident date field, but all existing items were still blank. So how could I in the easiest way possible get the value from the XML files promoted to the SharePoint field? Turns out it was very very very easy.

It was a matter of looping over all list items and running SystemUpdate() on them. This ensured modified date and modified by fields were not changed, but the value got populated.

Below is my PnP PowerShell snippet which saved the day.

Get-PnPListItem -List "Incidents" |% { $_.SystemUpdate();$_.Context.ExecuteQuery() }

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Free status bar extensions for modern SharePoint sites

Did you think we were being lazy over at Puzzlepart? Think again. This time we give you a status bar top extensions.


Get the code at

The above image shows two notifications, one which checks if the Office 365 Group support external member or if the site allows sharing with external users. The other highlights a classification setting if it’s a specific value, in this case sites with classification Confidential or above will show a status message.

Technically it consists of three extensions, one base extension doing the rendering, and then you can add any number of other extensions which render a message based on the logic you decide. If there are nothing to render, then the status bar will not render.

I’m not saying the communication between the parts is the most graceful one, but it’s a pattern we are trying out – and it works, and you can use the base renderer with your own logic. Take a look at the two samples provided and you should figure out how to create your own. The clue is the messageId parameter which has to be the same for all extensions, to make them aware of each other.

Get the code at

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Working with Hub Sites and the search API

Photo by Sunaina Kamal at Unsplash.

Hub sites are a nice way to create a virtual two level site hierarchy without using sub sites. An administrator will nominate a site as a hub site, and then other sites can associate themselves to this hub. By associating a site to a hub the site will inherit the navigation and the visual look of the hub itself, ensuring a consisting look and feel. Also items from associated sites will surface in search at the hub level (as long as you have read access to the item).


Note: The hub site feature is currently in preview and only available for target release tenant at the time of writing.

After playing with hub sites you might want your favorite developer to create something for your hub sites, and this is where the search API is handy.