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July 19
SharePoint Best Intentions – Planning versus Reality

I’ve published another article at, SharePoint Best Intentions – Planning versus Reality. You’ll like it. I promise.



July 18
SPDocKit Review – July 2018

Back in May I started doing marketing work for SysKit, the folks that bring you fine products like SPDocKit. One of the things they asked me to do was to write a review of SPDocKit from the view of someone that uses it. They know I’ve been a big fan of SPDocKit for years, so I was happy to do it. This blog post is my review of SPDocKit, or at least the first part of it. I had so many things to say SysKit had to finally cut me off and tell me to publish the thing. I may follow this up with some more thoughts later.

Here it is, my review of SPDocKit.

I've been a SharePoint Administrator for a lot of years, the majority of my professional career. Over that time I've seen a lot of SharePoint utilities come and go. A few have grabbed me as being must haves, and SPDocKit is one of them. Since the first time I used it I knew how much value it provided the SharePoint admin, and with each update it's gotten even better. Today I want to walk you through a quick review of a few of my favorite pieces of SPDocKit and how you can put it to use for you.

One of SharePoint's biggest strengths, and why I think it has been so popular is how easy it makes things for the users. IT is no longer the bottleneck to adding functionality or getting things done. If a user wants to add someone to their site, they can. If a user wants to create a new list, library, or even subsite, they can. No waiting on hold with the helpdesk. No filling out a web form that they didn’t know existed. No bribing IT with a bag of candy. All without IT lifting a finger. A win for IT, a win for the user, and ultimately a win for the business. But it does have a cost…

SharePoint's greatest strength, putting power in the hands of the people, is also one of its greatest problems. Users don't care about governance, security, storage resources, any of that. They just worry about getting their job done. Unfortunately, sometimes that runs afoul of IT, and without IT knowing about it. Over the years IT departments have either been blindsided by this, when data leaked out, or drives filled up, or they’ve cobbled together solutions to keep an eye on it. I learned a long time ago what my favorite solution to the problem was, frequent doses of SPDocKit applied liberally to my SharePoint farms.

SPDocKit is a tool, conceived and inspired by SharePoint experts, that documents your SharePoint farm in stunning detail. That sounds pretty boring on its surface, no one likes documentation. But the folks at SysKit have taken SharePoint documentation to a whole new level. They’ve made documentation fun, and very powerful. Not only does it do an impressively thorough of documenting a SharePoint farm, it produces completely customizable professional looking reports that are useful to admins, and their bosses. Personally, I don’t think any SharePoint farm is complete without SPDocKit. It gives the SharePoint Admin a fighting chance of keeping up with the growth and proliferation of their farms.

The SPDocKit installation is a breeze. Don’t take my word for it, download a trial for free and walk through the install yourself. It’s right up my alley as a SharePoint admin that enjoys clicking “next” and “finish” a lot. You have the option to have SPDocKit store its results in SQL, and I recommend that. Since you’re documenting SharePoint you have a SQL instance at your disposal. Letting SPDocKit use SQL allows it to take advantage of SQL’s database engine to run queries and give you better information faster.

Another nice touch is that while SPDocKit caters to SharePoint admins, it also has an install mode for SharePoint consultants, such as myself. This allows me to run it on a customer’s farm without leaving it there afterwards. Features like this showcase how in tune the SPDocKit developers are with the people that use their tools.

Once you get SPDocKit installed you’re greeted with a very friendly page that shows you what tools are at your disposal.


There are a ton of great tools in SPDocKit, but the ones I use the most are in the top heading, Documentation and Configuration. This is where SPDocKit got its start and where it really shines, in my opinion.

My trips into SPDocKit on a new farm usually start with “Take Snapshot.” If SPDocKit had a weakness (and I’m not sure it does) it would be that it does too good of a job collecting data. It finds useful information in many dark corners of SharePoint, and in that can be overwhelming depending on how big your farm is, or what information you’re looking for. To help combat the potential information overload, SPDocKit has a couple of options for what is collected during a snapshot. The “Default” mode is a good place to start. That report runs pretty quickly and gives you a good overview of what snapshots collect.


As you get more familiar with SPDocKit you can fine tune what does and does not get included in the Snapshot. Choosing the “Custom” mode lights up the “Options” step, which gives you more fine tuning on what is and isn’t included in the Snapshot.


You can run Snapshots as often as you’d like. SPDocKit keeps track of them all. At any point you can look at any previous Snapshot. You can create a report from the Snapshot, or even more.

The obvious power of snapshots is to give you an easily consumable look at your farm at that moment. See how things are going, so you can address something if it needs it, or be proactive and get ahead of any problems coming down the road. SPDocKit does that with ease, but it takes it one step further. It allows you to compare snapshots over time, so you can also see trends in your farm.


The Compare Wizard can also compare two different farms, for instance, if you want to compare your Test farm with Production.


If you choose to compare two snapshots from the same farm you get a dialog box that lets you choose which two Snapshots to compare.


Once you choose the Snapshots, SPDocKit gets to work comparing them. After that’s finished, you got a dialog like the one below.


There are several results possible for each compared node. In the screenshot above, SPDocKit pointed out that the build number was different between the two Snapshots. The Snapshot taken before was running the April 2018 patch, 16.0.4678.1001. Some time after that, the farm was patched to the June 2018 patch, 16.0.4705.1000. If we drill down farther, we can also see there are differences in the site collections and content databases in the farm.


The place where SPDocKit really shines is with its reporting. As a nerd, it’s often tough for me communicate correctly with non-nerdy audiences. I get all excited about the technical aspects of something, and completely forget that not everyone else does. Sometimes I need help presenting in a way that can be easily consumed by my audience. SPDocKit lets me do this. It lets me see all the deep technical details of my farm, all the bytes of this, the users in that, but also lets me take that information, and distill it down to something that any CIO or other higher level person can look at and makes heads or tails of, without being overwhelmed by all the technical minutia. Not only does SPDocKit create easy to read, professional looking reports, it allows you nearly infinite customization options. This can be what information is reported, how deeply that information is reported, and even the style and colors used to report it. If your company has a particular color palette it uses, SPDocKit can make your reports match that. Want to put your corporate logo on the reports, too? Easy enough. And once you get the formatting exactly how you want it, you just save the template and SPDocKit lets you use that any time you create a report.

I fill pages with all the customization options you have, but I won’t do that. I’ll show you a couple and let you take SPDocKit for a trial run and explore on your own.

When you want to create a report, choose the Snapshot you want to report on and open it up. In the ribbon at the top you’ll see “Generate” in the Documentation area.


Notice “Customization” right next to that.

Choose the format you want your documentation in. I usually choose PDF, as that is easy to forward on to whoever I am reporting to. After you choose the documentation type I’m presented with a dialog box asking which Template I want to use. These templates let you pick what information is included in the report.


Like the default Snapshot, choosing the “Simple Documentation” template is a good place to start. If you change any of the objects reported, SPDocKit will ask you at the end if you want to save it. That’s how I created the cleverly named “Temp 1” template at the end of that list.

Once you’re satisfied that the information you want is in there, and the information you don’t want isn’t, click “Generate.” You’ll get the familiar Save dialog box where you can specify the name and location of your report.

SPDocKit will open the report for you after it’s been saved. It will probably be a lot of pages, so don’t be surprised if you don’t have to run the Report Generation wizard a few times to get exactly the right information. Here are a couple of screenshots of the report I ran on one of my test servers:




Here’s the Microsoft Word version of the same report, with a little color splashed on for good measure.


As you can see, for good or bad, you have a lot of flexibility.

I’ve run out of time for this blog post and I’ve only scratched the surface of what SPDocKit can do. There’s so much more to talk about. In an upcoming blog post I’ll gush over the other features that make SPDocKit such a great and indispensable tool.



July 17
Podcast 396 - Documents I've Destroyed

Todd is flying solo this week, so it's an extra good podcast. He covers several new releases from Microsoft like Known Folder Move, Idle-Session timeout, and SharePoint Online cmdlets. He also covers some tips on how to use the SharePoint Migration Tool and how to keep the Office 365 autosave from destroying your important documents.

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Podcast 396 - Documents I've Destroyed (Time 0_05_49;18)

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Running Time: 36:44


01:32 Todd got renewed!
04:52 How to Dig Deeper Into Your SharePoint Farm
04:23 5 Things You Can Do to Prepare for your SharePoint 2019 Migration
07:32 Use the Page Diagnostics tool for SharePoint Online
10:39 Known Folder Move
16:06 New SharePoint Online Management Shell
18:41 Azure Active Directory cmdlets for configuring group settings
24:18 Idle-Session Timeout Policy in SharePoint Online & OneDrive is now Generally Available
26:18 Take your summer back and automate your Office 365 migration
29:11 Use Save a Copy to modify a file without changing the original
33:58 SPS Charlotte
34:05 SharePoint Saturday New England 2018
34:36 Business Application Summit
34:52 SPTechCon Boston


July 11
Dig Deeper Into Your SharePoint Farm

Today I published an article at Petri, How to Dig Deeper Into Your SharePoint Farm. Check it out.



July 11
Podcast 395 - California is Jealous

In this episode you cannot win for losing. Todd took the week off. Yay! But Jonathan Mast filled his spot as microphone hog reducing your time with Shane. Boo! The good news is Shane and Jonathan have some great chats about Azure and SharePoint and how the landscape has changed for the better. For news there is some fun around Sensitive Data types in Office 365, Microsoft Teams adding archiving, and PowerApps Repeating tables. Even with all of the things working against him, Shane manages to create another awesome show!

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Podcast 395 - California is Jealous (Time 0_15_09;24)

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Running Time: 39:31


New GDPR sensitive information types help you manage and protect personal data
Microsoft Teams can now be archived
PowerApps Repeating Tables like InfoPath Part 1
PowerApps Repeating Tables like InfoPath Part 2
PowerApps Repeating Tables like InfoPath Part 3
SPS Charlotte
SharePoint Saturday New England 2018
Business Application Summit
SPTechCon Boston


July 06
5 Things You Can Do to Prepare for your SharePoint 2019 Migration article

The Internet is a pretty big place. There’s my blog, YouTube, some funny cat videos, lots of stuff in lots of places. I think it’s safe to say I’m the uncontested best poster here at It was a an uphill fight, but I prevailed. I’ve set my sights a bit higher. I’m going to start writing articles for as well. I’ve written a few things for them in the past, but hopefully I’ll do a better job sticking with it this time. I’ll still be posting here at, so don’t remove it from your Favorites bar just yet. I’ll just be augmenting it with some articles over at Petri. That’s a decent site too, so you’re probably already going there. If you’re not, shame on you, you should be.

My first article, 5 Things You Can Do to Prepare for your SharePoint 2019 Migration, went up this week. Check it out. You can leave comments there or here. I’m checking both places.

If you have ideas for articles, for here or there, let me know. I’m always happy to take requests. Even “stop writing” requests. Smile



July 02
Renewed as Microsoft MVP

July 1st is one of my favorite days of the year. It’s the beginning of the second half of the calendar year, the days are long, the sun is bright, and of course, it’s Canada Day! And our own Independence Day is right around the corner. It’s about this time I start getting out my shorts with the elastic waistband in preparation for all the good eats.

July 1st has also been, for the last decade, MVP renewal date.

The MVP Program is a program at Microsoft were they recognize people in the community that support and evangelize Microsoft products. I have gotten the award every year since 2006, and without too much hyperbole, it has changed my life. It has opened doors for me that otherwise would have been very difficult to open, and it has allowed me to surround myself with many like-minded folks, most of which are much smarter than me, and most of which I am lucky enough to call friends. It’s been wonderful, to say the least. So every year, when July 1st starts getting close, I get nervous. I get nervous that my contributions in the previous year weren’t enough to earn the award for another year. That would be very sad indeed.

Fortunately yesterday I got the happy email,


I’d like to thank Microsoft for the opportunity and for renewing me each year. I’d also like to thank everyone that reads my blog, responds to my tweets, and comes to my sessions. I do all of this for you all, and knowing it helps you is what keeps me going.

And congratulations to all of my fellow MVPs out there that either got renewed, or were awarded for the first time.



June 21
Podcast 394 - Hate Them Right in the Face

Todd and Shane both got new toys last week, and they start off the show gushing over them. They do eventually get into some meaty Office 365 goodness. They talk about a free way you can kick start your SharePoint Online sites, how to secure your Azure AD accounts, how to keep up with all the new things in OneDrive, and a couple of PowerApps videos Shane made. All of that and some love for GDPR, this week on the Cloudy Podcast.

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Podcast 394 - Hate Them Right in the Face (Time 0_27_54;10)

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Running Time: 46:12


01:33 SharePoint 2019 – Something to Look Forward to!
24:21 Introducing SharePoint Starter Kit
28:00 Securing privileged access for hybrid and cloud deployments in Azure AD
32:05 OneDrive Message Center Updates
34:04 First GDPR now Memes. When will it stop?
40:09 PowerApps Random Function
40:10 PowerApps Code Comments
40:11 PowerApps Repeating Tables like InfoPath
42:30 SPS Charlotte
42:35 SharePoint Saturday New England 2018
43:30 Business Application Summit
43:32 SPTechCon Boston


June 20
Podcast 393 - Hairy Spice

Todd and Shane cover a lot of ground this week. They talk about whether you should upgrade to SharePoint 2016 now that SharePoint 2019 has been announced, how to see the URL behind those tricky URL shorteners, what's so great about Google Fi, Shane's battle with orphans, and how you can tame Flow and PowerApps with PowerShell.

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Podcast 393 - Hairy Spice (Time 0_27_44;02)

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Running Time: 42:59


02:14 Now that SharePoint 2019 is Announced, Should I Even Bother with SharePoint 2016?
08:46 Resolve Short URLs with PowerShell
12:53 All SPC18 podcast episodes recap
19:58 Google Fi
210:00 Cheap phone stand
39:27 Business Application Summit
40:00 SPS Charlotte
40:30 SharePoint Saturday New England 2018
41:00 SPTechCon Boston


June 13
Podcast 392 - He Who Shall Not be Named

No Shane this week, so Todd is at the helm serving up some podcasting goodness. He starts off talking about Microsoft buying Github. Then he digs in to a bunch of great Office 365 topics. How to keep up with your DNS records, new SharePoint cmdlets, how to get a free Office 365, and why you should start your day at All of that, and no Shane. Everybody wins.

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Podcast 392 - He Who Shall Not be Named (Time 0_00_38;15)

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Running Time: 38:28


10:14 Microsoft Bought GitHub and the Clippy Jokes Escalated Quickly
11:26 Best practices for using assigned Office 365 DNS records
19:03 New SharePoint Online Management Shell
20:22 PnP PowerShell
23:51 Office 365 Developer Subscription
29:19 SharePoint install error about .Net 4.5
32:07 Microsoft sinks data centre off Orkney
35:50 SPS Charlotte
35:51 SharePoint Saturday New England 2018
36:36 SPTechCon Boston


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June 2018

 Todd's Upcoming Events

SPTechCon Boston 2018August 26-29, 2018