Accessing your Audit Reports in SharePoint Online

I was used to my SharePoint audit reports index being available as a link in Site Settings > Site Collection settings.
In SharePoint Online however, that link appears to be gone. I can still edit the Audit Settings, but there is no link to open the actual reports.

I’ve seen different reasons mentioned for this. This might be done on purpose, because the Office 365 Protection portal has become the access point for audit/compliance reports.
This doesn’t help me, because in this particular case I did not have access to the Protection portal of the customer. But if I need to check something for SharePoint Online, then obviously I would like to have access to at least the reports for SharePoint Online. That seems reasonable if you are a Site Collection administrator, doesn’t it?

Luckily there is a workaround: the URL for the audit reports is accessible, you just need to know it.
After the URL to the root of your site, append the following:

/_layouts/15/Reporting.aspx?Category=Auditing

and voilà, you’re there!

auditreports

You cannot delete a DropOffLibrary in SharePoint Online

If you enable the Content Organizer feature in SharePoint, a library with the name DropOffLibrary is automatically created for you. This is the place where you drop off your documents, after which the content organizer rules kick in and move your documents to the appropriate target location.

I was doing some testing with this feature in a test site in SharePoint Online and wanted to clean up afterwards. So what I did was disable the Content Organizer feature. Result: no more content organizer rules, but the DropOffLibrary was still there. So of course I went into the library settings, expecting to delete it from there. Surprise: the link to delete the library is missing for the DropOffLibrary.

As it turns out, there is a property called AllowDeletion which is set to False for this library, probably because it is so tightly linked to the Content Organizer feature. What you would hope for is that feature deactivation causes this property to be set to True, but that’s not the case.
I tried a few other options, like deleting it through SharePoint Designer but you can’t delete it from there either.

Several blogs mention that you need to set the property AllowDeletion to True using PowerShell:

$list.AllowDeletion = $true
$list.Update()

But unfortunately, that only works in SharePoint (2010, 2013) On-Premises. The property is a member of the Microsoft.SharePoint.SPList class, but not available as a member of the Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.List class, so not part of the CSOM (yet) and therefore deletion of this list cannot be set to allowed.

In other words, once you activate the Content Organizer in SharePoint Online, there is no way to get rid of the DropOffLibrary. What you can do of course is hide it as much as possible, but that’s not really cleaning up. So if you are considering the Content Organizer for a SharePoint Online site, make sure you want this because there is no complete way back.

 

Search results not showing duplicates

Recently I ran into the issue that the SharePoint Online search was not returning all expected search results – or so it seemed.

To do a test on a site with many items, I uploaded around 7000 documents, all with a different file name but the contents were identical.
As it turns out, SharePoint by default hides the duplicates -and doesn’t show you the ‘Show Duplicates’ link, which is hidden in the popup window for a search result anyway.
The effect was that while I was expecting 7000 results from a search, I only got 1 hit.

If you want to see all your results, you would ideally want to switch off some option on the results web part, to tell it to stop hiding duplicates. Unfortunately that option is not available on the web part UI (something Microsoft should really have put in there IMHO).

Luckily there are some workaround, and you can also enable the ‘Show Duplicates’ link, although I think that solution is far from ideal.
You can either change the TrimDuplicates setting in the web part code (by exporting the web part, changing the setting and re-uploading it), or change the query in the web part settings to make it GroupBy the property DocumentSignature.

Here are the relevant blog posts describing all this in more detail: