SharePoint Document Management – Facts about versioning

Main selling point

Versioning has always been one of the main selling points for SharePoint Document Management. At least, that’s what I always use as an, there are more of course, argument for storing documents in SharePoint instead of file shares. While I was preparing my presentation about Best Practices: Document Management in SharePoint 2013 for SharePoint Connections Amsterdam 2013, I started to wonder if versioning worked as well as I thought it did. Let’s take a closer look.

New versions

When are new versions actually created in SharePoint? A new version is created when you:

  1. Upload a new document
  2. Upload document with the same name
  3. Change the properties of the document
  4. Open, edit or save the document

Upload a new document

The first version is created when I upload a new document into a SharePoint document library:

Upload document with the same name

What happens if I upload the same document again? The following pop-up appears:
Yes, I am sure! So I click on Replace it:
The document is now version 0.2.

Change the properties of the document

Let’s change the name of document:
This also results in a new version:
Please be careful! Even without actually changing the properties but clicking on Save results in a new version.

Open, edit or save the document

This one makes sense of course so after I open the document in the browser and edit some text a new version is created:


What about co-authoring? Working together with multiple people in the document, how does this impact the versioning? This is the official answer from Microsoft:

“During co-authoring of a document, when a different user begins working on the document or when a user clicks save to upload changes to the library. The default time period for creating new versions during co-authoring is 30 minutes, but an administrator can change that setting.”
I actually tried this in my Microsoft Office 365 demo tenant but without success. After staying in the document, with multiple users, for over 30 minutes no new versions were created. Unfortunately I cannot test this in an on-premises SharePoint site.

Does it work?

To be honest, that really depends on your situation and business requirements. Let’s take a look at my work situation:
I write project proposals together with a technical specialist, project manager and account manager. I create the proposal and for me its now version 0.1. After I am done, this can take multiple days, I create version 0.2 and hand the document over to the technical specialist. He or she writes her part of the proposal and turns it into 0.3 before handing it over to the project manager. After the project manager and the account manager are done, the proposal is at 0.5 and can be send to the customer as version 1.0.
This doesn’t work with SharePoint versioning because SharePoint keeps creating versions after I continue working the next day and after I close and reopen the document. You can have more control with versions. You have to work with check-in and check-out. The only downside is that it disables co-authoring.
Please really take a look at your or your customers, or your own, requirements around versioning to see if SharePoint versioning works.

Document Sets are awesome!

During my assignment at an asset manager in the Netherlands, I really started to appreciate the power of Document Sets in SharePoint. I never really was a big fan (not sure why exactly) and never used them. One of my colleagues from the Intranet Team showed me the benefits and now I think they rock! I recently wrote an article for the DIWUG E-Magazine where I also write about Document Sets. In this post I would like to show you an example of the use of Document Sets within my own team at Macaw. Let’s take a look!

Storing publications and presentations

Our department finds it really important to share SharePoint knowledge by writing internal or external publications. We store the publications in Document Sets. The following screenshot isn’t an actual representation of our use of Document Sets but gives you a good perspective:

The publications are grouped by SharePoint version. Each visitor can immediately search for the SharePoint version they are looking for and also get a glimpse at the author. Let’s create a new publication:

Every author has to attach metadata to the publication. This improves the Search results and every visitor gets all the details of the publication. After entering all the metadata the following screen appears:

This is what I love about Document Sets! The welcome page. You see a description and all the important metadata such as the URL of the publication. I hope you noticed a different view compared to the library, where the document sets are grouped by the SharePoint version. The content of the Document Sets has a different view and different metadata! Awesome! This is why I recommend using Document Sets instead of folders, you have a lot more flexibility and options. It really improves User Adoption of SharePoint and Document Libraries. So how do you recreate this solution? It’s really easy.

Content type and site columns

We start by creating a new Content Type based at the default Document Set Content Type:

We create new site columns or attach default site columns to provide the metadata of our Document Set. Create a new document library and attach the Document Set Content Type:

  • Click on Library in the ribbon
  • Click on Library Settings
  • Click on Advanced Settings
  • Select Yes to allow the management of Content Types
  • Click on Ok.

The Document Set is now available in our library.

Document Set Settings

A Document Set has very useful settings. Let’s take a closer look at these settings:

Allowed Content Types

This settings enables you to set the default Content Types within the Document Set. I don’t recommend using this feature because it doesn’t work properly. Let me show you. I select a Document Content Type called Fact sheet as my only allowed Content Type. This is what happens:
The Fact sheet appears under New Document but after uploading a document the following happens:
In case the document library contains more Document Content Types the default one is selected. I recommend using the Default Content option.

Default Content

The main reason you want to use the Allowed Content Type feature is because you want your end-users to create Document Content Types with a predefined template. There is an easier way to do this. That’s using the Default Content option. You can add templates here, these templates are automatically added to the Document Set after an end-user creates a Document Set. Very handy!

Shared Columns

Again, a very cool feature. By adding Shared Columns all the document inside the Document Set inherit the Document Sets metadata. I really recommend using this feature because it improves the Search results in your SharePoint portal.

Welcome Page Columns

You probably noticed the metadata fields at the welcome page right?
How can I display those metadata fields? By using this feature!

Welcome Page View

Also a very powerful feature to display different metadata inside the Document Sets compared to the view of the Document Sets in the Document Library. We first have to change the default All Documents view to group by the Document Sets based at SharePoint version and only show the Author field:

To set a dedicated view for the Document Set we have to create a new view:

So how do we get this view to be the default view for the Document Set? By selecting it at the Welcome Page View option.

This is how Document Sets can benefit your business. I really hope you found this post useful and you can start working with Document Sets in your business.

Yammer and SharePoint – Extend SharePoint search results with Yammer

While I was writing my previous post about the Post feature between SharePoint and Yammer, I stumbled upon another cool new feature! Apparently, the search results are connected with Yammer:

I hadn’t read about this new feature at all so I thought, let’s click on Search on Yammer:
My default Yammer network opened and a search for the words SharePoint and Contracts was executed. The Yammer search results also have refiners available, these are the four tabs you probably noticed: Conversations, People, Files and Topics. Let’s take a closer look at the refiners.


I can easily follow the conversation of a particular SharePoint contract by clicking on View full conversations:
I can start a discussion, open the contract or click on one of the topics. Clicking on a topic starts a new search for discussions and documents related to the selected topic.


All the users related to the two keywords are displayed. In this case only myself because of my job title SharePoint Consultant. This is a great refiner to find colleagues with a certain expertise or knowledge related to your search scope. Just click on the users name to open his or her Yammer profile:


All the files (documents) are shown with the two keywords, in my examples this is only contract. Be aware that only documents uploaded to Yammer are shown here! Not the documents you post from SharePoint to Yammer to start a discussion. I can download the document or go to the documents profile page:
I really like this profile page. You can easily browse through the document and there is even an option to leave comments in the document:
Awesome right? At least I think so! You can view the followers of the document (to connect and collaborate) or add related content.


The final tab shows the related Yammer topics with the search results keywords. In my case the only topic available is SharePoint:
Another very nicely organized Yammer menu is presented. All the related topic conversations, files, notes, images, videos and links are available. Yammer is really a well made Enterprise Social Collaboration tool with many useful business features! This promises a bright future for the integration between SharePoint Online and Yammer.

Integration with SharePoint

I do have one critical comment about this new integration. Yammer only shows documents uploaded to Yammer. It would be really nice to also see documents posted to Yammer from SharePoint so you can view the discussion about the document.

SharePoint Online & The Yammer App

In This Tip Of The Day I want to discuss the Yammer app for SharePoint (Online) 2013. Let’s take a closer look how the app works.

Installation process

I start by installing the Yammer App. I have to browse to the SharePoint Store:

The app is free and the only thing I have to do is click on Add it:
The installation process only takes a couple of minutes. After its done, I click on the Yammer tile:
The App has three feed options: Group, Home and Comment. Before we can choose a feed, I have to sign in:
I need to sign in once and approve the trust between my Yammer account and the SharePoint site:
The trust is enabled and I can choose a feed type:

Group feed

I have to select a Yammer network and an Group ID. The pop-up gives you a description how to obtain the ID. Got the ID? The feed appears:

This feed can be used when a team or department has a related Yammer group. For example, the Contoso Sales team discusses sales updates in Yammer and also have a SharePoint team site to store their documents. You can add the Yammer App in the SharePoint Sales team site. The users have the option to add new messages from Yammer:

The message appears very quickly in the Yammer SharePoint App:

Every user can also add messages, no surprise, from the app to Yammer.

Home Feed

To change the feed type an user with full control or contribute permissions can click on the wheel icon on the top right corner of the web part. This is something I will discuss further in this post but for now I will focus at the feed itself. I have to select one of the Yammer networks related to my account to view the home feed of that network:

Comment feed

The comment feed is comparable to the new Post feature. I can create a Yammer page to talk about any SharePoint object such as documents, pictures, sites or pages. For example:
After entering the link to the time-off policy document, Yammers creates a comment page:
The Post feature is really aimed, for now at least, at documents. By using the comment feed you can also discuss other interesting and valuable SharePoint objects.


Although I really like the Yammer App and the features it offers, I have a couple issues with it.
My Firefox browser didn’t like the Yammer web part at all! It’s really unstable because it didn’t show the sign in button:
I posted a link to a video in Yammer and a preview is generated. This preview disappears in the feed of the App.
Permissions to change the feed

I found it very unusual that every SharePoint user with contribute permissions is also able to change the feed of the web part. I can imagine that every site owner wants to display one feed and not letting users with contribute permissions change this themselves.

SharePoint Online My Site doesn’t show profile picture

I had a strange issue within our Macaw SharePoint Online demo tenant. The profile picture of one of our users didn’t show within the My Site:

I found it very strange that the picture appeared when I edited the profile picture field:

Weird right? What made it even weirder (is that a word?) was that the image was available within the webmail:

Strange right? To great thing about Office 365 is that you can ask Microsoft for support! I received the following solution:

  1. As an Admin, browse to Tenant Admin | User profiles.
  2. In the People section, click ‘Manage user profiles’
  3. Search for a broken user.
  4. Edit the profile. Set ‘Picture Exchange Sync State’ to 0 and save the profile.
  5. Edit the profile again. This time, on the ‘Picture’ property, click ‘Remove’ to remove the picture from SharePoint.
  6. Edit the profile a third time. This time, set ‘Picture Exchange Sync State’ back to 1.
  7. Have the user browse to their My Site upload a new photo. (It may take some time for the cache to clear and this to reset)

This did the trick for me! Hope it helps you as well.