One of the pain points of having content stored in SharePoint is being able to easily access and use the content in your desktop applications.
For example, you’re mid way through writing an email and you want to include a link to a file that you know is in SharePoint, better start up that browser and start clicking… It’s just not as easy as it should be, is it?
OnePlaceMail Release 6.2 has introduced some great new features to help with these issues.
Before you stop reading thinking “I don’t have OnePlaceMail and I don’t want to buy a product”; The Express Edition of OnePlaceMail is entirely free (it’s not a trial or time limited) – just download it and you’ll be happily accessing SharePoint from your desktop in minutes.
In this article I’m going to look at the different ways OnePlaceMail is now allowing you access and link to content in SharePoint in a much more user friendly way.
Inserting SharePoint Content into an Email
First let’s look at the mechanism, then we’ll explore the options.
When composing an email simply click on the Insert from SharePoint button
Then select the SharePoint file(s) from the OnePlaceMail Insert window and choose to Insert as Link
Job done, the links are now inserted into our email
Inserting multiple links at once
As we saw in the screenshots above, we can select one or multiple files to insert in a single operation. During testing we ran it through inserting over 1000 links in a single operation, not that we are expecting many users to go that far but rest assured it will handle it nicely (and save you about a week over having to do it manually!)
Insert links from search results
Not sure where that files is in SharePoint? Either you didn’t create it and put it into SharePoint, or you’ve long since forgotten where you put it. No problem, the Insert from SharePoint window provides an awesome search tool complete with hit-highlighting of results and scoping search to site-collection, site, or library/list.
As with a browsing operation to find our files, from the search results we can select one or multiple files to insert.
Preview/verify before you insert
You’ve found the file or item in SharePoint, or have you? Want to quickly check before you insert it. Simply right-click on the item either from a browse or search and open it in a browser.
What would you like to link to? You now have options
The standard linking mechanism within SharePoint for document libraries always uses the URL directly to the document file. I often find myself wanting to link someone to the Item Properties (i.e. the SharePoint page containing the metadata and then the user can easily open the document in one click if they want to); SharePoint simply doesn’t give you a way to do this. OnePlaceMail does, providing the options to “Link to document” or “Link to document properties”.
These options are available to you whether you have browsed or searched to find the document using OnePlaceMail.
Smart link labels
The label of the inserted link will use the file name (Name in SharePoint) if linking directly to the document, or the Title if linking to the document properties.
Consider the following document in SharePoint
Inserting both a link to the document and a link to the document properties results in
I think you’ll agree this is a lot nicer than the out-of-the-box SharePoint offering of Send To | E-mail a Link
Which results in an absolute URL that’s encoded (I chose a shallow site structure so I could fit it in my screenshot )
Link to document using the Static URL (Document Id URL)
If you have enabled the SharePoint 2010 Document Id feature, OnePlaceMail will automatically detect this and use the static URL provided by the Document Id feature. This allows documents to be moved or relocated without breaking links.
Inserting SharePoint Documents as Attachments
Whenever possible I would recommend including a link to a SharePoint document in favor of retrieving the file from SharePoint and including it as an attachment to the email. There are some cases however where this is required, such as sending an email to someone outside the company who does not have access to your SharePoint environment.
Including documents as attachments is just as simple as inserting links, on the Insert from SharePoint window simply select one or more documents and click Insert as Attachment.
Encourage the use of SharePoint and sending links rather than attachments
Most of us know we should at least consider storing a file in SharePoint and sending a link rather than just attaching the file and emailing it out.
Here’s a great use case that shows just how powerful OnePlaceMail can be in driving adoption of SharePoint and breaking bad habits.
You’re in a hurry and just need to flick an email off to your team with the sales forecast that you whipped up in Excel. You compose a new email, address it to your team and attach the Excel spreadsheet.
Here’s where OnePlaceMail gives you a gentle nudge in the right direction.
You are then presented with the familiar OnePlaceMail Save to SharePoint window (providing quick access to your favorite locations, recent locations, and ability to browse/search the entire SharePoint environment)
The link is then automatically insert into the email and you are ready to send. As an added bonus the location you saved the file to has the Document Id feature enabled so the link uses the static URL provided by the Document Id feature.
So in this quick scenario we have gone from a user who really just wanted to quickly attach a file and send it, to having the file stored once in SharePoint and a link sent out to multiple recipients, and the link uses the static URL provided by the Document Id feature to ensure link won’t be broken if the file is subsequently moved. All this with very little added effort or thought on the part of the user.
Inserting links to SharePoint list items
Documents (files) are only half the story, OnePlaceMail will just as easily allow you to browse or search for list items (e.g. Announces, Tasks, Issues or any Custom Lists that you have created).
Inserting content from SharePoint is just one of the new features, refer to the OnePlaceMail Release 6.2 Highlights for more.
Please join the OnePlaceMail community and tell us how we can make it even better.