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What people want from SharePoint 2013

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While at the SharePoint Summit in Toronto this past month, I paid attention to what attendees were asking and found some very interesting. I had the chance to present twice during this 3-day event including a full day workshop called “Discover SharePoint 2013”. This gave me a chance to go over the new features and the time to dive into them a little more with the attendees. My other session covered the Content Search Web Part, which is probably one of my favourite things in 2013. Here are the questions I got both at the Quebec and Toronto Summit, as well in some of the other sessions.

Make sure to visit this article often as I will be adding links to how to solve some of these questions.

Discover SharePoint 2013

Before I get started with looking at what people want from SharePoint 2013, make sure you take a look at my workshop presentation to see some of these new features at a glance. I tried to focus mostly on the features you can see and use rather than “enhanced performance” and other intangible changes from a Power User’s perspective.

They want more from the Drag and Drop to Library

In SharePoint 2013, users can now easily Drag and Drop files from their computers. Which is awesome! Of course, you have to watch out with this feature since no metadata information will be fiƒlled out using this method. But it does help users bring documents faster and happy users means happy SharePoint.

SharePoint 2013 Feature - Drag and Drop

I received many questions around this feature but one stood out every time “Can we drag and drop emails from Outlook to SharePoint 2013?”. Unfortunately the answer is no, you still need a third party tool for that. However, I do believe there are some free ones out there available for download.

Grasp the multilingual features a little more

Probably because I did this workshop at the Quebec and Toronto Summit, I was exposed to many more people with this requirement. Here, many companies have no choice but to make SharePoint available in more than one language due to the very prominent French language here in Quebec. SharePoint 2013 brought some changes both good and bad. I shouldn’t say “bad” but it is very different for the Power User to change language.

SharePoint 2013 Display Language gone

One example of this is that SharePoint now uses your browser or computers regional setting to set the language for browsing SharePoint. As you can see in the screenshot above, you cannot change the language on the fly. I was talking to a very large engineering company with over 15,000 users in different countries but mainly in Quebec that sees that as a major upgrade stopper. Many users are on French computers but would rather or must work in an English environment. With SharePoint Out-of-the-box they won’t be able to do this. Granted there is a secret option in the users profile but it does not help us in all scenarios. What about the Site Owner that wants to make sure his site is ok in all languages?

Ok let’s ignore that for a second and look at the rest SharePoint 2013 has to offer. We are still using Site Variations as the core functionality for Web Content Management and multilingual support. And a new Translation Service that allows Bing to translate your page or to export it into a translation file for manual translation.

Some of the questions I heard were around bringing back the display language option in the user’s welcome menu, if the Managed Navigation worked well with the multilingual options on Terms and if Terms would translate automatically both in Search Results but in the Document Library as well.

(Upcoming blog posts)

  • How to add the Display Language back into the menu in SharePoint 2013
  • Using Managed Navigation in a multilingual SharePoint site
  • How well do Managed Metadata Terms work with multilingual sites


What is the Product Catalog?

After spending a few minutes if not hours explaining the new features of Search in SharePoint 2013, we eventually start talking about the Product Catalog. And this isn’t just with newcomers to SharePoint 2013, I tried asking a few others specialized in the world of SharePoint and could not get a clear answer.

SharePoint 2013 Product Catalog

The question that is often asked is “Well what’s the purpose of it? How does it work? Why can’t I just use the Content Search Web Part?”

And these are all very good questions.

(Upcoming blog posts)

  • What is the SharePoint 2013 Product Catalog
  • Using the Product Catalog for navigation
  • What is Cross-Site publishing and how do I use it?


SkyDrive – SkyDrive – SkyDrive Pro

I am getting many questions around this during my sessions. But it doesn’t end there, the problem occurs when I a meeting customers that are interested in having social features enabled. They simply do not understand what it means to have SkyDrive Pro and are often confused with the free public service.

SharePoint 2013 SkyDrive Pro


SkyDrive is a free public service often compared to DropBox so that someone can store files, videos, pictures etc. on their personal storage and access it from anywhere. In SharePoint, the term SkyDrive in the top navigation refers to My Site, a personal Site Collection for each user in SharePoint. Finally we have SkyDrive Pro, which essentially is the ability to Sync a Site or Document Library with your computer as seen in the screenshot above.

(Upcoming blog posts)


Finding and displaying content easily

Every time I start talking about the new Content Search Web Part, not only do I get excited but so do the Power Users and Site administrators. With SharePoint, we opt to delegate power to users and let them build their own sites. The issue for Power Users has always been to display the right content to their users. Limitations created by Sites or Site Collections in terms of query our content has always existed and created some problems for the users, resulting to code or third party options to get the job done. The Content Search Web Part is currently only available for the On-Premises SharePoint 2013 Enterprise but we are expecting it to arrive for Office 365 eventually.

SharePoint 2013 Content Search

The advantage with this Web Part is that it allows you, the Power User to build your own query and display it the way you want.

Learn more about the Content Search in SharePoint 2013

(Upcoming blog posts)


Coauthoring on Documents using SharePoint 2013

This one is a mystery to many, working on the same document at the same time. When and how does it exactly work? Since SharePoint 2010, Microsoft introduced this feature to help people in the organization work on the same document and it is again available for SharePoint 2013. No one seems to know how it works and what the end-user experience is with Office installed and with Office Web Apps.

SharePoint 2013 Co-Authoring

(Upcoming blog posts)

  • Co-Authoring Documents with SharePoint 2013 – The End User Experience


Other Uncertainties

These are the questions I received during my latest session at the Toronto SharePoint Summit. Of course there are many more questions and I will try to add them as I continue my SharePoint projects. Some I may have already covered in some way or another:

Hopefully I’ll be able to answer some if not all of the questions I received and explore some of these features a little more. Be sure to check back here often or follow us on Twitter to get updates on these articles.

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