The Problem: How could I access data fields from a SharePoint Person column to display in another column?
I’ve been developing a laptop booking system in SharePoint and PowerApps.
As part of the Bookings list, I need to display data columns for the borrower’s name, user id and email address. This data is all included within SharePoint’s ‘Person or Group’ data type, however, I can’t access the Person data fields using lookup or calculated columns.
A couple of weeks ago I discovered a University document called the New Learning Technologist Development Toolkit. And so I began a new project to follow it and develop my skills in Learning Technology. Obviously a project like this needed some way over the top organising… 😁
A while ago, I developed my own Microsoft Team called ‘Team of Me’, for organising myself and bringing my notes and notifications together in lockdown. This seemed like a good place to organise my training plans, so at first I created a channel in this Team to collect resources for this new project.
I began setting up a plan in Planner, creating lists of links, collecting PDF resources, making a few notes in the OneNote notebook and setting up some helpful Flows to channel messages into the right places, and cheer my progress along.
However, I soon discovered that the New Learning Technologist Toolkit, which looked like a short PDF, was actually a lot bigger than I’d thought. Everything it mentioned sent me down another rabbit hole of links and documents, and I realised it would need several channels in its own right to organise it all.
In fact, I began to suspect that becoming a Learning Technologist would take a lot longer than the 4 weeks listed after all. Who knew🙄. And so I decided to set my project up in a new Team of its own, which I’ve called ‘My New Learning Technologist Toolkit Team’.
The challenge now was to copy across the content I had collected and created in my original Teams channel into this new team.
In my previous post, I added Flow to a Microsoft Teams group, and set up conditional testing to post a message in one of two Teams channels, depending on the value chosen in a metadata column when a file was uploaded to a SharePoint library belonging to the Team.
The next steps to improve on this Flow will be:
Changing the SharePoint column name to ‘Relevance’ and the option labels, Teams channel names and Flow conditions to say ‘Urgent’ and ‘FYI’ rather than ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Never’. This morphed into the far more complicated problem of waiting for the SharePoint column value to change before continuing the Flow. Jump to this section.
In the message that’s posted to Teams, change the text displaying the uploaded file’s URL to a working link to the file. Jump to this section.
Post the message in Teams using the name of the person who uploaded the file to SharePoint. Jump to this section.
Another thing I would like to do is to add the updates as cards in ‘To Do’ columns in the Teams group Trello board. Jump to this section.
I resumed my progress with Microsoft Flow after a pointless side quest attempting to change my favicon in SharePoint. I had very little success there, though I learned a lot, but with this, thankfully, I am having better luck.
To get started, I watched some of a video course on LinkedIn Learning: Microsoft Power Automate: Beyond the Basics, with Gini von Courter. I’ve watched enough of these now that I find Gini quite calming and pleasant to listen to: it’s a no nonsense way to get back in the frame of mind for the Microsoft universe (which is like the Marvel universe, but kind of solid, unmoving and heavy).
As it turned out, this course was ideal for me, because I’d already set up a Teams group for my current project and Gini started off with adding Microsoft Flow to Teams. Being quite new to Microsoft Teams, I hadn’t thought of doing that before, but it does make a lot of sense and offers some useful opportunities worth practising.
If you’re looking for how to do this yourself, let me save you some time: there’s a good post about it here: How To Change The Favicon In SharePoint Online, but it does require SharePoint Designer and the last 2 steps didn’t quite work for me.
Once upon a time…
I was almost making progress on starting a SharePoint project when instead I got annoyed with the enormous number of identical tabs that SharePoint opens in the browser:
Too much, SharePoint, and it all looks the same!
So I wanted to upload a favicon for my subsite. It’s the little icon that goes in the web browser tab to distinguish one site from another. Like this:
My favicon of choice, but bigger
It’s maybe a 10 minute job to change it on ANY NORMAL WEBSITE. So I thought it would be a nice, useful way to find out a little bit more about the workings of SharePoint…🤪
Having overcome (thank God) my initial stumbling block of all-consuming dread, I have begun building a practice site for using SharePoint document libraries and lists with Microsoft Flow (or PowerAutomate as I think it is now called).
I’m Attacking SharePoint and Flow with Swiss Cheese
I may have mentioned in previous posts (that I might not have published yet) that I am at the beginning of a big project to tidy up an old shared network drive, delete what’s no longer in use, and move all its remaining associated filing systems and processes into SharePoint. This is to be done for the purposes of efficiency, standardisation and automating of data protection. Yay.
A year ago, I hadn’t heard of SharePoint. (And yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away…) Since then, I’ve approached it first with an open mind, and then with increasing dread.
So when I first heard about this project, I thought, “Please, for the love of God, no.” What to do. SharePoint is part of my job, so I have to stop this negativity and get into it.
And if there’s one thing I know I am, it’s stubborn as ****. So there will be a way.
So. Who are those people most well known for stopping any panicking and making people get on with things? That’s right, Management Consultants. So I did some internet research, and discovered there are ways to get on with such things. First I would tackle my project with Swiss Cheese, then Salami, and then a Pomodoro. It’s no wonder these management types bring such comfort and reassurance everywhere they go.
Kicking off with the Swiss Cheese method, I am nibbling little holes out of my project until the rest makes enough sense to slice up like salami. So here goes…
That also looks simultaneously deadly boring and nightmarishly terrible?
(ahem, involves SharePoint, obvs)
If SharePoint was having a bath it would be like this
To recap my previous posts on this, I am starting work on a big project to tidy up the filing system on a big shared network drive that has been used by many different people in different ways over many years. As well as sorting out the files themselves, the filing procedures used by the office staff will also have to be rationalised, standardised and brought in line with data protection regulations, using metadata, SharePoint, possibly PowerApps, and Flows, which are the new version of SharePoint Workflows. And the office staff will hate that.
For those who have managed to avoid it, SharePoint is what happened when Microsoft sent their Trainspotting and Alphabetisation Club to learn bureaucracy from every big organisation in the world. I fully expect someone from Microsoft to land in my comments someday and say that’s true.