Selecting the email address for your Team in Microsoft Teams

When you create a new team in Microsoft Teams, by default Teams will create a new Office 365 Group for you that is linked to the team. The name of the Office 365 Group is automatically determined based on the name you give your team. In other words: it’s not necessarily exactly the same as your team name, so it might not be the name that you want. The same goes for the email address that is created for this Office 365 Group.

Why would that be a problem? To me it’s about the email address that comes with the Office 365 Group (and therefore the team): I would like this email address to be as short and convenient as possible for the team, since it’s also often used as a distribution list when you’re sharing something from other applications.

So how do you get around that? Currently the only way is to create your Office 365 Group first. If you do this from the Office 365 Portal, you will see a field where you can fill in the desired email address – only the part before the ‘@’ sign. After you enter it, Office 365 will tell you right away if that address is available or not.
NB: you cannot alter the email address of an existing O365 Group through the UI. That can only be done with PowerShell, using the Set-UnifiedGroup command.

Once you’ve created the desired O365 Group and email address there, you can go to Microsoft Teams and create a new team based on that existing O365 Group.



Side by side Calendar View in Outlook Online

If you work with multiple calendars in Outlook 2013 or 2016, you will undoubtedly have used the option to view them side by side. This works fine in day, week and even month view. There is also the Overlay Mode if you want to merge it all into one virtual calendar, but the side by side view often works better to compare schedules.

When you use Outlook Online (so in Office 365), your options are more limited. When viewing multiple calendars, Outlook will use Overlay Mode by default.

So is there no side by side mode in Outlook Online? Yes, there is, but only in the Day view. You can access this side by side view as follows:

  • Enable multiple calendars by selecting them in the left pane
  • As soon as you click the ‘Day’ view link (or the ‘Today’ link – which is obviously also a Day view), another link called “↔ Split” will appear above the view links. Click this and you get a side by side calendar view for the selected day.

If you are already in the side by side view, the ” Split” link will change into a “→← Merge” link that takes you back to Overlay Mode.


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:


and voilà, you’re there!


SharePoint Explorer View: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Nearly every customer I have spoken to uses the Windows-like Explorer View in SharePoint (available since SharePoint 2003). This view mimics the Windows Explorer View, giving you the illusion of a nice folder-based view of your content, allow for things like Cut & Paste, drag & drop, just the way you do in Windows Explorer, to quickly move around files and folders. Sounds ideal right?
Although it has clear benefits, the downsides of this function might cause more trouble than you expect.

Getting it to work
First of course, you need to get this function working. It’s out of the box you say? Think again. Depending on your environment, getting the Explorer View to work might be a right nightmare. All the necessary parameters on your server and client need to be set just right, which is not the case in many enterprise environments. Plenty of people have already blogged and discussed about this, for example here and here. Microsoft even released a separate whitepaper back in the day on how to get Explorer View to work in SharePoint 2003.

A specific point I recently ran into is the question if the SharePoint 2010 Explorer View works in combination with SSL. The answer is definitely yes, but be sure you have a valid certificate otherwise it will not work. A self-signed certificate for example is not good enough in this case.

The type of browser is also important. First of all, you need to have Internet Explorer for Explorer View to work. It will simply not work in a non-IE browser.
Then, the browser compatibility overview for SharePoint 2010 explains that there are some limitations for 64 bit browsers that require workarounds. Unfortunately it does not explicitly mention (or actually, it’s not mentioned at all) that the SharePoint 2010 “Open in Explorer” function providing integration with Windows Explorer is not available in 64 bit Internet Explorer. The option is then simply greyed out.


An important point is that Explorer View can apparently only run as a 32 bit process. So in a browser like IE9 x64, which tries to run all processes as 64 bit – both the main browser process itself and the processes happening it the tabs – the Explorer View will not work. In IE10 however, a hybrid approach is used: the main browser process runs as 64 bit, but any process that requires to be run in 32 bit mode will be run as 32 bit. This is good news, because it means you can still use IE10 x64 and still have a fully operational Explorer View – even with the Enhanced Protected Mode (EPM) enabled.


Moving files with Explorer View
I’ve used Explorer View many times in situation where I want to reorganize some files inside a web site, mainly because in SharePoint 2010 (and 2007) there is no good alternative to move multiple files or folders around quickly (the Manage Content & Structure function for example only allows you to move a single file). This is all fine, as long as things like versioning and metadata aren’t very important for that content. These are some important limitations that a lot of people are not aware off, which could cause unwanted loss of data, without a way to get it back.

Let’s say you open two SharePoint 2010 Explorer View windows, one at the source location and one at the target location. If you use Explorer View that way to move your files across Web Sites, Site Collections or even Web Applications, you could actually be losing data. Depending on the situation, SharePoint is unable to safeguard the old versions or the metadata of the document. You get NO warning about this, and after the move that data is GONE with no way to revert this! It all depends on the distance across which you are moving, existence of the necessary content types, and even the fact if you are doing a Cut & Paste or a Copy & Paste.

This is what you need to keep in mind:


Looking for an alternative to the Explorer View because you can’t get it working, or the limitations have too much impact for your environment? Try looking in CodePlex first. There are several good solutions available for building your own file/folder organizer for SharePoint that you can extend yourself. There are also commercial third party tools that offer this kind of functionality, but keep in mind that most of those are administrative tools, while you probably want to offer this functionality to regular end users of you team sites.