Applying site templates in SharePoint Online

This post describes a change to how site designs/ templates are applied to sites in SharePoint Online.

Intro

Microsoft published MC249248 in the Message Center on 7 April 2021 stating the following:

This new SharePoint release of scenario-based site templates will help you expand what’s possible with content, pages, and web parts while helping you quickly get started building your own site. Each template contains pre-populated content and web parts that are fully customizable to meet the needs of your organization. This is rolling out on SharePoint Online and mobile.

This was updated on 23 July 2021 with a new timeline stating that this will be complete for Standard Release in late August 2021. What the message doesn’t detail is how this affects the current process for applying site designs to sites you are creating via the SharePoint admin center.

This change landed in my Standard Release environment around the week commencing 16 August. We first noticed it because we no longer had the ability to apply site designs in the admin center!

Before this change you applied your site designs at the point of site creation:

Before the recent site template change, site designs were applied to SharePoint sites at the point of creation.

Following this change the “choose a design” option is no longer present for team or communication sites through the SharePoint admin center. In order to apply designs you now have to apply a site template within the sites settings after you create it.

How to apply a site template

  • Navigate to the site you wish to apply the template to
  • Press the cog > then select apply a site template

Here you are able to choose from Microsoft pre-built templates, or those you have created and deployed into your SharePoint Online environment (from your organization). The experience is slightly different depending on whether you are using pre-built or your own templates.

Using Microsoft pre-built templates

  • Under From Microsoft > select the template you wish to use > press use template
  • The wizard below will show you a progress bar as the template is applied
When applying a Microsoft template, a progress bar will appear as the template is applied.
  • This wizard will disappear once the progress bar reaches 100% and your template will be applied to your site.
A SharePoint site with a Microsoft template applied.

Using custom site templates from your organization

If like me you had already deployed site designs, these are now shown as site templates available from your organization.

  • Press the cog > then select apply a site template
  • Select From your organization > select the template you wish to use > press use template
  • Once you press use template, an orange message bar will appear letting you know that the site template is being applied.
  • The orange message bar will change to green once the site template has been applied. You have to refresh to see the changes
A SharePoint site with a custom template applied.

Resources

Working with the SharePoint Service Administrator Group in SharePoint Online

In this post we take a look at the SharePoint Service Administrator Group, what it is and how to use it in SharePoint Online.

In this post:

Background

Recently I had the task of creating, then modifying a few hundred sites in SharePoint Online. In our case we provisioned the Microsoft 365 group connected SharePoint sites using PnP PowerShell, but as part of this we set the primary owner as an individual admin.

During the process of updating the sites manually, it become more and more annoying that other SharePoint admins had to keep adding themselves into the recently provisioned sites in order to do anything – that is until I found the SharePoint Service Administrator group!

What is the SharePoint Service Administrator group?

The SharePoint Service Administrator is a security group that includes everyone that has been assigned the SharePoint Admin role in Microsoft 365. It’s also worth noting there is also a Company Administrator group also, which includes all users with the Global Admin role.

Greg Zelfond has provided a great write up of these roles over at SharePoint Maven. For the purposes of this post I will be focusing on the SharePoint Service Administrator group.

How to assign the SharePoint Service Administrator group to a site

Follow the steps below to add the SharePoint Service Administrator group as an additional admin of a SharePoint site:

  • Open the SharePoint admin center
  • Under Sites > Active sites > select the site you wish to add the SharePoint Service Administrator group to
  • Press Permissions > Manage additional admins
Select your site then press Permissions > Manage additional admins.
  • Under Add an admin > enter SharePoint Service Administrator
  • Press Save

Issues and troubleshooting

#1 Cannot add SharePoint Service Administrator as a group owner

If you are creating or editing Microsoft 365 group connected SharePoint team sites, you are unable to add security groups as owners or members of a M365 group. Security group driven M365 group membership has been a long-standing request of Microsoft, but Roadmap ID: 83113 added in May 2021 has group driven membership management as targeted for release in December 2022.

Workaround: When creating new sites, set the group owners/ members as you would normally (i.e. one or more individuals), then edit the site once created to add the SharePoint Service Administrator group as an additional admin.

For existing sites, just update the additional admin as per the guidance above.

#2 No SharePoint Service Administrator group to choose from

If you have not assigned the SharePoint admin role to anyone in your tenant yet, the SharePoint Service Administrator role will not be available to select from when trying to assign it as an additional admin. In the below example, this tenant only had one global administrator, but the SharePoint admin role had not been explicitly assigned.

When I tried to add the company administrator role it worked no problem.

Workaround: Assign the SharePoint admin role to those you want to be included in the SharePoint Service Administrator group, or use the Company Administrator group if you only have global admins in your tenancy.

How to remove commas from number columns in Lists

This article describes how you can remove commas (thousand separator) from number columns in Microsoft/ SharePoint Lists.

Introduction

You may have noticed a comma or thousand separator appearing when using the number column in Microsoft/ SharePoint Lists. Commas appearing in number columns in SharePoint have been a long-standing issue, going back as far as SharePoint 2010 and beyond.

In classic SharePoint, a common way to solve this problem was to convert the number column into a text column and validate it to remove commas using a formula such as =ISNUMBER([ColumnName]+0). However, with modern SharePoint, plus the advent of Microsoft Lists it’s now become easier to manipulate columns using column formatting to achieve the desired result.

I personally encountered this issue when importing data from excel into a modern SharePoint list. In my situation, the preview offered when importing from Excel did not show the commas in my data. It was only once it was imported into SharePoint that the commas appeared.

Remove commas from number columns

  • Left-click on your number column
  • Under Column Settings > select Format this column
  • Ensure the Format Columns tab is selected, scroll down and press Advanced mode
  • Remove the text from the box and add the following JSON:
{
  "$schema": "https://developer.microsoft.com/json-schemas/sp/v2/column-formatting.schema.json",
  "elmType": "div",
  "attributes": {
    "class": "=if(@currentField > 0,'', '')"
  },
  "children": [
    {
      "elmType": "span",
      "style": {
        "display": "inline-block"
      }
    },
    {
      "elmType": "span",
      "txtContent": "@currentField"
    }
  ]
}

  • Press Save
How to add JSON formatting to number columns to remove commas.

Note

Microsoft added roadmap item 68716 in October 2020 for Microsoft/ SharePoint lists to include support for thousand separator in number columns. As this time of writing, the roadmap states this feature is due for release in June 2021 which will allow List owners/ members to choose if the comma should appear or not.

Copy of this page option missing in SharePoint

This post describes an observation of how the copy of this page option will be missing for certain pages in SharePoint Online and how to get around it.

Modern pages are great in SharePoint Online…they look good, are easy to author and can be shared really easily once published. However, there are some quirks to the user experience when creating and copying pages, in particular the copy of this page option.

The issue

In the old days of SharePoint 2010, you could only copy or move pages through site content and structure – unless you used PowerShell. Well nowadays it’s as simple as a couple of clicks from the ribbon: 

  • Press + New
  • Select copy of this page
Copy of this page option available in SharePoint Online.

Or at least that’s what I thought! The problem occurs with the default homepages within modern SharePoint sites. When you go to try to make a copy of the homepage you will find the option is not available.

Copy of this page option missing from menu.

Workaround

The way I’ve managed to get around this issue is to make a copy of the homepage in the Site Pages library, then rename it to something more meaningful. To do this:

  • Open the Site Pages library
  • Select the Home.aspx page
  • Press Copy to
  • Leave the copy to location as the Site Pages library > press copy here
  • Press the three dots next to the copied page > rename
  • Give your page a new name > press rename
Copy the homepage, then rename it to something more meaningful.

That’s it, you can now work on a copy of the page in the same way you would using the copy of this page option.


How to build a knowledge base in SharePoint

This post will detail step-by-step how to build a knowledge base using the modern authoring experience in SharePoint Online.

Contents

Intro

SharePoint and knowledge bases have gone hand in hand for many years. If you have been involved with SharePoint for any length of time it is not an uncommon request to be asked to build a knowledge base at some point. With the advent of AI and machine learning within Microsoft 365, plus the introduction of Knowledge & Content Services (formerly Project Cortex), SharePoint Syntex and Microsoft Viva Topics, you may think the need to build a traditional knowledge base has gone the way of the dodo.

Well the pricing of the above services means that my organisation won’t readily adopt these new things, so for now at least continuing to leverage metadata rich lists & libraries will have to suffice! Here’s how I built a knowledge base in SharePoint Online…

IT Knowledge base image

Site features

  • Custom site theme/design
  • Mega-menu navigation
  • PnP modern search V3
  • Custom page templates
  • Site Pages library with additional metadata
  • Lookup value lists
  • Change log list

Web parts used

  • Image with colour block
  • Search box
  • Highlighted content
  • Image/ text
  • Page properties (KB articles)
  • Search results web part
  • Searh filters web part

Approach

I wanted to leverage the modern page authoring experience for creating pages, as there are several people adding content to the knowledge base (KB). So with that in mind the knowledge base is built around the Site Pages library, using the metadata applied to each knowledge base article to drive dynamic web parts throughout the site such as search, page properties and the highlighted content web part.

Within the KB, all KB articles get categorised by the type of technology, application and product they fall under. These work for my KB as I can fit KB articles within these headings. For example:

KB article: How to fix the sync connection in SharePoint 2010

TechnologyApplicationProduct
MicrosoftSharePoint ServerSharePoint 2010

Site Pages library

As mentioned above, the Site Pages library is the lynchpin to the entire knowledge base. Starting with the Pages library, I created columns to capture additional metadata about each KB article. Here are the columns I created:

Technology: lookup column, values held in custom list
Application: lookup column, values held in custom list
Product: lookup column, values held in custom list
Knowledge Type: choice column
Topic: Managed Metadata column
Contact: Person or Group

Technology, Application & Product are what drive each view within the Site Pages library. I have created a view for each Technology and Application, which are used for web parts embedded within the relevant pages (for example: Microsoft).

Product is used as a way to formalise the type of KB articles that are created (for example: Procedure), with Topic effectively being a way to tag KB articles with a wider variety of terms to aid searching and filtering.

Custom site theme/ design

I originally provisioned the site based on the news, resources, actions template in the SharePoint look book. From here I created a simple custom site theme following the excellent blog post how to configure and apply a custom theme in SharePoint Online by Greg Zelfond.

The only thing I did different is I used a different website to generate my theme which you can use here. This theme generator site allows you to access more of the colours that are used when creating a theme to potentially create a multi-coloured theme. For more information of this check out another great post by Laura Kokkarinen here.

Use a theme generator to create a custom theme for your SharePoint Online site.

Homepage

The homepage of the knowledge base is broken down into three key areas: search, recently added and the browse area.

Search: Search web part as part of the PnP modern search solution V3. Connected to a custom search results page (more information below).

Recently added: Highlighted content web part that only shows pages from this site, filtered by recently added earlier this year.

Browse: Three column section consisting of images, text and button web parts. I used the images from the look book template to get the correct sizing for the images above. When updating the images I noticed they didn’t update immediately which I wrote about how to fix here.


The navigation for the KB has been created using the mega menu option within the Change the look > Navigation options. The links have all been created manually for each section, with each link going to either a dedicated page or a view created from the Site Pages library.

Mega menu navigation in the IT KB.

Search web part

The search for the knowledge base is all based on web parts from the PnP modern search solution V3. From the homepage there is a search web part. Before configuring the search web part on the homepage you will need to create and configure the search results page and web part as it is required as a data source. I followed the guidance from the PnP modern search solution documentation to configure the search web part with the following properties:

The search web part configuration on the knowledge base homepage.

Search results

The search results is a dedicated page created within the knowledge base that includes the search box, search results and search filters web parts. The search box web part is configured in exactly the same way as on the homepage and just serves as a consistent way to see your search results and search again if required.

The search results web part has been added to a separate, one-third left section underneath the search box web part shared with the search filters web part. The search results web part has the following settings:

Connect to source: Page environment
Page environment’s properties: Search
Search: Search query
Use a default search query: No
Query template: {searchTerms} Path:{Site.URL} FileType=aspx
Result source identifier: No
Sort order: Created, size
Sortable properties: None
Connect to a search refiners web part: On
Use refiners from this component: Filter
Connect to search verticals: Off
Enable query rules: On
Include personal OneDrive results: Off
Selected properties: {searchTerms} Path:{Site.URL} FileType=aspx
Refinement filters: None
Show paging: On
Number of items per page: 30
Number of pages: 4
Hide navigation: No
Hide navigation if disabled: Yes
Results layout: Simple list

Search filter web part

The search filter web part has been added to the search results page with no additional configuration changes made. Don’t forget (like I did), to get the search filter web part to start to work with your search results, you need to turn it on within the search results web part – under connect to a search refiners web part!


Page templates

I’ve used page templates within the knowledge base to standardise the layout of each KB article. At the time of writing there are only two templates to choose from: an application template or new KB article.

Example KB article page template

The KB article page template includes a page properties web part that shows the Knowledge Type, Contact and Topic.

The layout of each KB article page template is as follows:
One-third right section: Text web part (left), Page properties web part (right)
One column section: Two text web parts
One column section: Two text web parts

How to create a page template

  • Create or open the page you want to use as your template
  • Press the down arrow next to the save button > Save as template

Page templates will now appear under saved on this site when creating a new page. Templates are also saved in a “Templates” folder within the Site Pages library.

Create page templates to standardise how knowledge is created.

More information on how to manage and delete templates can be found here.

Issues & next steps

Dependant drop-down lists, Power Apps and the Site Pages library

One area I would like to improve on is including the ability to have dependant drop-downs for Technology, Application and Product when applying metadata to KB articles. When creating the KB, I did work on two ways to achieve this- but they both fell short in the end.

My first attempt was to customise the Site Pages library new and edit forms using Power Apps. I used this article by Microsoft on how to create dependent drop-down lists in a canvas apps as a starting point, but had to make some changes to account for the additional third level of drop-down. Although I got this working within the context of PowerApps, I had to abandon this method as creating new pages in the Site Pages library via Power Apps is not supported. My experience was that once I customised the form in Power Apps, it pretty much broke the Site Pages library. I was unable to create new pages and it would default to an old style wiki page and not let me create modern site pages.

Custom forms for document libraries only supports editing custom metadata. Editing or managing file(s) is not supported.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/connectors/sharepointonline/

After this failed, I also tried an older way of doing this by using JQuery and SPServices as described here.

Initially I got this to work too, but it was also a pretty poor solution when working with modern pages as the only way to actually get to the dependent drop-downs was by pressing “Edit all” which took you to the classic version of the edit properties page.

Aside from this, you also have to jump through several hoops to add in the old content editor web part, which are too numerous to describe in this post but have linked to one of them.

There was also a recent change to how classic forms work with modern lists that stopped this method working all together. Although this seems to be resolved, my understanding is you have to set your list to run in the classic experience in order to get this method to work – so I’ve scrapped this too!

I currently have no solution for dependant drop-downs, but am open for suggestions that are low code or relatively easy to implement. Feedback so far from users is that they aren’t all that bothered about it as the process to apply metadata is easy.

Images not updating when refreshing

As I was in the process of updating the KB homepage I noticed that when replacing some of the images or other assets that make up the page, they weren’t visibly updating after a forced browser refresh. I wrote a separate post called how to force images to update in SharePoint Online which details how to resolve this.

Updating the modern search solution

When I began building the KB I deployed what is now version 3 of the modern search solution. Since then the PnP team have created PnP Modern Search V4, I’ve personally decided not to update my search solution as at the time of writing V4 doesn’t support suggested keywords which is a part of my solution.


Limitations of copy/ move options in SharePoint and Teams

In this post, we will explore what copy and move options are available for end-users in SharePoint, Microsoft Teams and OneDrive, their limitations and what resolution options are available.

Overview

The move and copy features in Microsoft 365 are a welcome addition for anyone used to the pains of moving or copying files in classic versions of SharePoint. Gregory Zelfond has a fantastic write up of how to move and copy documents in SharePoint and OneDrive which gives a great explanation of the move/ copy actions which I would recommend everyone check out.

In the good old days, finding where the copy/move features were in SharePoint of old was a small triumph in of itself. Buried within the bowels of manage content and structure, the move feature looked pretty scary – from the confusing navigation tree to the spinning green wheel of worry as to whether your file was actually being moved or not.

The copy/ move features are much, much better now – mainly the unified user experience across M365 makes it much easier to get to grips with and understand. It is now literally as simple as selecting the files or folders you want to copy/ move > pressing copy/ move and do it…well almost!

An example of how easy it is to move files to a new location in SharePoint Online.

Current limitations

As good as the copy/ move features are now, they do however come with their own limitations. When I initially outlined this post in December 2020, much of the limitations were the same as today, however there was a 2GB limit for each individual file that was being copied/ moved in a single operation.

Later in December 2020, Microsoft announced an increased upload file size limit from 100 GB to 250 GB for SharePoint, Teams and OneDrive. Shortly thereafter the SharePoint limits service description was also updated, seemingly to reflect this change. As of February 2021 the requirements are:

No more than 100 GB total file size
No more than 30,000 files
Each file must be less than 15 GB

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/office365/servicedescriptions/sharepoint-online-service-description/sharepoint-online-limits

When I first realised the above limitations, I thought a way around it might be to just copy the data from source to a new location using the Migration Manager. This will not work as you are only able to specify one level of folder within a given document library in SharePoint, Teams or OneDrive. If you are required to migrate the data to sub-folders two, three or more levels deep within a document library, the Migration Manager will not be able to complete this.

You can only select a top-level folder from a given document library via the Migration Manager.

Practical example

The requirements above becomes an issue when migrating data at scale in my opinion. For example, with a file server migration – organisations that migrate all their file server data into Microsoft 365 with a view to restructure after the fact, the limitations of these requirements become much more apparent.

The 100 GB total file size limit, as with the no more than 30,000 files could cause issues where file server data is concerned as it will stop data owners being able to move large parts of their data structure to new locations if it exceeds this limit – although you could also argue this is also a good thing!

The increase of the individual file size does make a big difference to the overall picture, but now with a 250GB upload limit it could be even more difficult to move data around in future.

Resolution options

I’ve only been able to come up with one actual way to get around this problem – and once again ShareGate is our friend! Running migrations using the ShareGate desktop app allows you to copy from the relevant sub-folder, or to the relevant sub-folder in the destination – no matter how many levels down it is.

You can copy from and to sub-folders using the ShareGate Desktop App.

I’ve been able to copy either all folders/ sub-folders in a location or select specific using the copy content only option. In the example below I’ve navigated several folders deep within a SharePoint library and selected the specific folders I wish to copy.

To do this you just select the folders you wish to copy, or if it’s just one or two you want to leave behind press select all > then CTRL + click the folder you want to omit from the migration.

Aside from this, the only options would be to either:

  • Only have a top-level folder structure in the destination, to allow you to use the Migration Manager
  • Reduce the total size/ number of items being moved to allow you to use the native copy/ move features in M365

Useful SharePoint URLs

This post is to serve as a reference point for all the useful shortcut URLs in SharePoint that help admins and super users get their jobs done much easier.

There are several blog posts by others with these URLs in them, but I wanted to preserve them in my own blog for future generations! Most of these links have come from SharePoint 2010, so if you want them to work in differing versions just add a 14, 15 or 16 after the layouts folder to work in 2010, 2013, 2016 or SharePoint Online.

My favourites

TitleURL
Site contents/_layouts/15/viewlsts.aspx
/_layouts/15/viewlsts.aspx?view=14 (old style view)
Manage content & structure/_layouts/sitemanager.aspx
Audit log reports /_layouts/Reporting.aspx?Category=Auditing

Users and permissions

TitleURL
People/_layouts/people.aspx
Groups/_layouts/groups.aspx
Site Collection Admins /_layouts/mngsiteadmin.aspx
Advanced Permissions /_layouts/user.aspx

Galleries

TitleURL
Site Columns/_layouts/mngfield.aspx
Site content types/_layouts/mngctype.aspx
Web parts/_catalogs/wp/Forms/AllItems.aspx
List templates/_catalogs/lt/Forms/AllItems.aspx
Master Pages/_layouts/ChangeSiteMasterPage.aspx
Themes/_catalogs/theme/Forms/AllItems.aspx
Solutions/_catalogs/solutions/Forms/AllItems.aspx

Site administration

TitleURL
Regional settings/_layouts/regionalsetng.aspx
Content and structure/_Layouts/sitemanager.aspx?Source={WebUrl}_layouts/settings.aspx
Content and structure logs/_Layouts/SiteManager.aspx?lro=all
Site libraries and lists/_layouts/mcontent.aspx
User alerts/_layouts/sitesubs.aspx
RSS/_layouts/siterss.aspx
Search and offline availability/_layouts/srchvis.aspx
Sites and workspaces/_layouts/mngsubwebs.aspx
Workflows/_layouts/wrkmng.aspx
Workflow settings/_layouts/wrksetng.aspx
Related Links scope settings/_layouts/RelLinksScopeSettings.aspx
Content Organizer Settings/_layouts/DocumentRouterSettings.aspx?Source=settings.aspx
Content Organizer Rules/RoutingRules/Group%20by%20Content%20Type.aspx
Site output cache/_Layouts/areacachesettings.aspx
Term store management/_Layouts/termstoremanager.aspx
Searchable columns/_Layouts/NoCrawlSettings.aspx

Look and feel

TitleURL
Welcome page/_Layouts/AreaWelcomePage.aspx
Title, description and icon/_layouts/prjsetng.aspx
Master page/_Layouts/ChangeSiteMasterPage.aspx
Page layouts and site templates/_Layouts/ChangeSiteMasterPage.aspx
Tree view/_layouts/navoptions.aspx
Site theme/_layouts/themeweb.aspx
Navigation/_layouts/AreaNavigationSettings.aspx

Site actions

TitleURL
Manage site features/_layouts/ManageFeatures.aspx
Reset to site definition/_layouts/reghost.aspx
Delete this site/_layouts/deleteweb.aspx
Site web analytics reports/_layouts/WebAnalytics/Report.aspx?t=SummaryReport&l=s
Site collection web analytics reports/_layouts/WebAnalytics/Report.aspx?t=SummaryReport&l=sc

Site collection administration

TitleURL
Search settings/_layouts/enhancedSearch.aspx
Search scopes/_layouts/viewscopes.aspx
Search keywords/_layouts/listkeywords.aspx
Site level recycle bin/_layouts/RecycleBin.aspx
Site collection recycle bin/_layouts/AdminRecycleBin.aspx
Site collection features/_layouts/ManageFeatures.aspx?Scope=Site
Site directory settings/_layouts/SiteDirectorySettings.aspx
Site hierarchy/_layouts/vsubwebs.aspx
Site collection navigation/_layouts/SiteNavigationSettings.aspx
Site collection audit settings/_layouts/AuditSettings.aspx
Audit log reports/_layouts/Reporting.aspx?Category=Auditing
Portal site connection/_layouts/portal.aspx
Site collection policies/_layouts/Policylist.aspx
Storage Metrics/_layouts/storman.aspx
Record declaration settings/_layouts/InPlaceRecordsSettings.aspx?Source=settings.aspx
Content type publishing/_Layouts/contenttypesyndicationhubs.aspx
Site collection cache profiles/_Layouts/RedirectPage.aspx?Target={SiteCollectionUrl}cache profiles
Site collection object cache/_Layouts/objectcachesettings.aspx
Content type service application error log/Lists/ContentTypeAppLog
Site collection output cache/_Layouts/sitecachesettings.aspx
Variations/_Layouts/VariationSettings.aspx
Variation labels/_Layouts/VariationLabels.aspx
Translatable columns/_Layouts/TranslatableSettings.aspx
Variation logs/_Layouts/VariationLogs.aspx
Suggested Content Browser Locations/PublishedLinks/
Document ID settings/_Layouts/DocIdSettings.aspx
SharePoint Designer Settings/_layouts/SharePointDesignerSettings.aspx
Visual Upgrade/_layouts/suppux.aspx
Help settings/_layouts/HelpSettings.aspx

Central administration

TitleURL
Manage web applications/_admin/WebApplicationList.aspx
Create site collections/_admin/createsite.aspx
Manage service applications/_admin/ServiceApplications.aspx
Manage content databases/_admin/CNTDBADM.aspx
Check job status/_admin/Timer.aspx
Manage farm administrators group/_layouts/people.aspx?MembershipGroupId=3
Configure service accounts/_admin/FarmCredentialManagement.aspx
Configure send to connections/_admin/OfficialFileAdmin.aspx
Configure content deployment paths and jobs/_admin/Deployment.aspx
Manage form templates_admin/ManageFormTemplates.aspx
Manage servers in farm/_admin/FarmServers.aspx
Manage services on server/_admin/Server.aspx
Manage farm features/_admin/ManageFarmFeatures.aspx
Configure alternate access mappings/_admin/AlternateUrlCollections.aspx
Perform a backup/_admin/Backup.aspx
Restore from backup/_admin/BackupHistory.aspx?restore=1&filter=1
Perform site collection backup/_admin/SiteCollectionBackup.aspx
Convert farm license type/_admin/Conversion.aspx
Check product and patch installation status/_admin/PatchStatus.aspx
Check upgrade status/_admin/UpgradeStatus.aspx

Common actions

TitleURL
Create new_layouts/spscreate.aspx
_layouts/create.aspx
View lists_layouts/viewlsts.aspx
Create site groups _layouts/permsetup.aspx
Quick launch_layouts/quiklnch.aspx
Workflow history list/lists/Workflow History
SharePoint server version + patch level/_vti_pvt/Service.cnf (run at site collection level)
Web part maintenance mode?Contents=1 (classic)
?maintenancemode=true (modern)
Save as site template_layouts/savetmpl.aspx
Manage user alerts_layouts/AlertsAdmin.aspx

How to force images to update in SharePoint Online

This is a quick tip for anyone who has noticed when they update images in modern SharePoint sites that they don’t seem to update.

I’ve recently been doing a lot more authoring/ page editing in modern SharePoint and a small quirk I have noticed is around images. Usually, if you update an image and overwrite the original a forced browser refresh (CTRL+F5) does the trick – the image will update to show the newest version.

The problem

I’ve been doing the exact same thing in a SharePoint communication site recently and noticed that the updated image would not display – no matter how many times I force refreshed the browser, no matter which browser I use (I flit between Chrome and Edge Chromium quite a lot). The image(s) were saved in the Site Assets Library, not weren’t checked out either so no reason why they would not display once overwritten.

The image (product, right) doesn’t update to reflect the changes made in SharePoint.

The solution

I’ve found a really simple way to get around this:

  • Right-click on the image > Open the image in a new tab
  • Force refresh (CTRL + F5) the image in a new tab
  • Navigate back to the SharePoint communication site > force refresh (CTRL + F5) again
  • The image will now be displayed as expected
Opening the image in a new tab or window then force refreshing will update the image on the SharePoint page.

If anyone else has come across this issue, or found any other ways to solve it – let me know in the comments!


How to add best bets or promoted search results in SharePoint

In this post we will look at how you can add, edit or remove best bet keywords in classic SharePoint and how to do the same with promoted results in modern SharePoint.

Classic SharePoint

In classic SharePoint you are able to highlight search results you wish to make more prominent by using keywords and best bets. Best bets appear at the top of the search results page with a yellow star ⭐ next to them.

Best bets will appear at the top of the search results page in classic SharePoint.

Keywords and best bets are all managed centrally via the Search keywords under Site Collection Administration section within your top-level site.

How to add keywords in classic SharePoint

A keyword is a definition for common terms or phrases that are used within an organisation. Keywords are what search queries will match to return a keyword result. Before you get started, you must have Site Collection Administrator permissions to manage keywords.

  • Click the Site Actions menu, choose Site Settings
  • On the Site Settings page, in the Site Collection Administration section, click Search keywords
  • On the Manage Keywords page, click Add Keyword
Add Keyword from the Manage Keywords page in classic SharePoint.

Enter the following information for each keyword you create:

  • Keyword phrase: what the search queries will match to return a keyword result
  • Synonyms: additional words that users might type when searching for the keyword, separated by semicolons. Synonyms must be shorter or equal to 100 characters
  • Best bets: the recommended results for the keyword. Best bets will appear in the order listed
  • Keyword definition: optional text that will appear with the keyword (optional)
  • Contact: the person to inform when the keyword is past its review date (optional)
  • Start date: the date you want this keyword to appear in search results
  • End date: the date you want this keyword to no longer appear in search results (optional, leave blank for no expiry)
  • Review date: the date you want this keyword to be reviewed by the contact (optional)
How to add a keyword best bet in classic SharePoint.

How to edit/ delete keywords in classic SharePoint

  • Click the Site Actions menu, choose Site Settings
  • On the Site Settings page, in the Site Collection Administration section, click Search keywords
  • Click on the keyword you wish to edit and press Edit. When editing a keyword you are able to update all of the information listed above, plus:
    • Add additional best bets
    • Change the properties of a best bet
    • Change the order of best bets by updating the number of the Title next to the best bet
How to edit keywords in classic SharePoint.

How to delete keywords in classic SharePoint

  • Click the Site Actions menu, choose Site Settings
  • On the Site Settings page, in the Site Collection Administration section, click Search keywords
  • Click on the keyword you wish to delete and press Delete
How to delete keywords in classic SharePoint.

Modern SharePoint

Promoted results

Although a lot has changed with the advent of the modern search experience in SharePoint, you can still create and configure keywords and best bets – now called Promoted Results! Microsoft have published comprehensive guidance on how to manage query rules and add promoted results here, but summarise the steps myself below.

First you will need to consider whether you want your promoted results to appear across the tenant, a site collection or site within SharePoint before beginning. In this example I am creating a tenant-wide promoted result.

  • Navigate to the SharePoint admin center > More features > Search. Press Open
  • Within the search administration page, select Manage Query Rules
Open Manage Query Rules from within the SharePoint admin center.
  • On the Manage Query Rules page, select a result source for the new query rule (you can change this later)
  • Select New Query Rule. The new query rule has the following configuration options:
    • Rule name: enter the name for the new query rule
    • Context: restrict the rule to queries performed on a particular result source, from a particular category of topic page, or by a user matching a particular user segment
    • Query Conditions: define when a user’s search box query makes this rule fire. You can specify multiple conditions of different types, or remove all conditions to fire for any query text. Every query condition becomes false if the query is not a simple keyword query, such as if it has quotes, property filters, parentheses, or special operators
    • Actions: actions can add promoted results above the ranked results, add blocks of additional results promoted to always appear above ranked results or ranked so they only appear if highly relevant, or change ranked results, such as tuning their ordering
    • Publishing: make the query rule active during a particular time period
  • Add all the relevant information, then under Actions press Add Promoted Result
  • Add a Title, URL and Description for your promoted results
  • Make sure Render the URL as a banner instead of as a hyperlink is checked
  • Press Save
Create a new Query Rule and Promoted Result in modern SharePoint.

Now, when you search across Microsoft 365, you will be able to see your promoted result!

The newly created promoted result shows across Microsoft 365 search.

How to edit or delete promoted results in modern SharePoint

You can manage your query rules and promoted results through the Manage Query Rules page much like creating a new rule. To edit or delete a query rule/ promoted result:

  • Navigate to the SharePoint admin center > More features > Search. Press Open
  • Within the search administration page, select Manage Query Rules
  • Select the result source for the query rule you wish to edit
  • Click on the drop-down arrow next to the name of the query rule you want to change. From here you can:
    • View, edit, copy, delete or make the query rule inactive
  • If you are deleting a rule, once you press Delete you will be prompted with a message to confirm you want to delete the query rule. Press OK

Additional resources

Bonus! Use promoted results in PnP modern search solution

A nice little addition to this post is that if you have deployed the PnP Modern Search solution in your tenant then you can use best bets, or promoted results in the search results web part for this in the same way too!

NOTE: Best bets or promoted links are only supported in v3 of the PnP modern search solution.

Best Bets