Create and manage brand compliant email signatures for Microsoft Outlook and Office 365 with ease
December 6, 2018
Provisioning SharePoint for Document and Email Management
December 12, 2018

During 2018 we have been able to make excellent progress on adding functionality to MacroView products and solutions:

  • MacroView DMF, MacroView Message – managing documents and emails in on-premises SharePoint Server or hybrid environments using both Office 365 SharePoint Online / OneDrive for Business and on-premises SharePoint Server.
  • MacroView DMF 365, MacroView Message 365 – managing documents and emails in environments using only SharePoint Online / OneDrive for Business as part of an Office 365 subscription.
  • MacroView Case and Matter, Case and Matter 365 – managing documents and emails for legal matters, such as occur in a Legal Department or law firm. The core component is MacroView DMF (DMF 365). The Case and Matter package includes modules and extensions that are relevant to legal users, together with an out-of-the-box design for a legal DM store in SharePoint.
  • MacroView Clause Bank – streamlining document preparation by making it easy to find. add and re-use standard, approved text & graphics content stored in SharePoint (O365 / SharePoint Online or on-premises SharePoint Server).
  • Custom Microsoft Office Template solutions for efficient generation of high quality documents.

We continued our focus on making business users more productive as they generate and manage documents and emails, while they work in the desktop applications that business users prefer – such as Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat.

Here are the highlights of 2018 (in no particular order). You can click any item to jump to a more detailed description.

 

Support for SharePoint 2019 and Office 2019
‘Preview’ support for Microsoft Office 2019 and on-premises SharePoint Server 2019 was available in MacroView DMF / Message v8.5 in September 2018.

Microsoft continually makes changes to the Windows desktop version of Office that is available as part of an Office 365 subscription. They also continually upgrade the version of SharePoint that is used for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.  MacroView monitors these changes on an on-going basis and issues new releases of MacroView DMF and MacroView Message with appropriate changes as required.
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Specifying Search Criteria by Picking from Term Sets
MacroView Search panels allow users to search for documents and emails in SharePoint based on content and / or metadata. A popular option for metadata is to use Managed metadata columns based on hierarchical term sets – the term sets are managed centrally and their tree-hierarchy structure nicely reflects ‘real world’ scenarios. In October 2018 we introduced a new Taxonomy Search control that ships as part of MacroView DMF and MacroView Message. The new control allows you to specify search criteria by picking valid values from a central term set. See this article in the MacroView Help Centre.

Taxonomy Search control allowing values of Document Type to be picked from a hierarchical term set.

Taxonomy Search is very efficient in operation. It does not attempt to load all the valid values for a term set until the user clicks into that control in a search panel. For added speed and ease of use, the Taxonomy Search control supports type-ahead.
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Enhanced Search Panels for Office 365 / SharePoint Online
The ability to define your own custom search panels is a very popular feature of MacroView DMF.  During 2018 we added support for Term Sets and Managed Properties defined at a site collection level. Previously these were only supported at Tenant level.

In May 2018 we added support for Refiners in Office 365 Search panels.
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Accessing Help and How-to Videos for MacroView
In the course of 2018 we added extensive additional content to the MacroView Help Centre. The Help Centre is an excellent source of information about how to install, use and troubleshoot MacroView products and solutions. Users of organizations that have a current license for a MacroView product can use the Help Centre to download latest available versions of the software that they have licensed and to create and view the status of support tickets.

We added a Support group to the MacroView tab of the Outlook ribbon, with buttons to Open the Help Centre and to fast-track to How To articles in the Help Centre.

Jumping to the MacroView Help Center from the new Support buttons in MacroView DMF

You can also jump to the MacroView Help Centre by clicking File>Info>Help in MacroView DMF Explorer and in any Open from SharePoint or Save As to SharePoint dialog displayed by MacroView.

For more about the MacroView Help Centre see Welcome to MacroView Support.
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Performance Improvements
Faster Display of the MacroView Profiling (Metadata Capture) Dialog
In mid-2018 we significantly reduced the time taken to display the MacroView profiling (metadata capture) dialog as you save files to Office 365, or when you edit the properties of existing files in Office 365.

Faster Expansion of Nodes in the MacroView Tree
You can click on a document library, document set or folder in the MacroView tree display and see the files that are stored in that area of SharePoint (Online or on-premises). During 2018 we refined this click action so that the software does not attempt to display the file list when you click the expansion indicator – only when you click on the node itself. The result is that you can now expand multiple levels in the MacroView tree and navigate to a lower level node significantly more quickly.

Faster Switching Between Recent Locations
MacroView DMF / Message in May 2018 contained an enhancement which made switching between recently used locations significantly faster.
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New Button Bars for File List and Search Results List
If you have ever struggled to find the Current View drop down in the MacroView group in the Outlook ribbon or in the MacroView DMF Explorer window, you will like the new button bar that displays above the file list in the December release of MacroView DMF / MacroView Message.

This new button bar makes it much easier to select a different view and to perform other functions on the file list, such as:

  • Apply and clear Key Filters (see also Filtering on Multiple Columns)
  • Toggling preview of files on and off
  • Refresh the file list
  • Reset column widths

MacroView file list, with new button bar highlighted

There is also a new button bar displayed above the search results list, which makes it much easier to choose a different sort order for the search results (e.g. display in order of Date rather than Relevance).  That button bar also makes it easy to:

  • Toggle preview of search results on and off
  • Refresh the files displayed in the current page of results
  • Reset column widths

MacroView search results list, with new button bar highlighted

The new button bars display above the file list in the same way across Outlook, DMF Explorer and MacroView Open from SharePoint and Save As to SharePoint dialogs – providing a consistent user experience.

The above button bars together with plans for other enhancements to the MacroView DMF UI were documented in a Roadmap issued in early November 2018.
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Filtering A File List by Multiple Columns
One of the advantages of the new button bar displayed above the file list is that it is much easier to find and use the Filter and Clear Filter buttons. Clicking the Filter button lets you filter the file list by multiple columns that have been defined as Key Filters. You can also filter by another column that is not a key filter.

This video in the MacroView channel on YouTube shows how you can Filter a file list by Multiple Columns.
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Improved Support for the List View Threshold
The List View Threshold is a SharePoint limit that you encounter when the View that you want to display contains many items.  By default, SharePoint defines ‘large’ as 5,000 files or folders.
In April 2018 we enhanced the expansion of a document libraries so that it is not impacted by the List View Threshold – i.e. you can now expand a document library that contains more than the List View Threshold number of folders.

In May 2018 we enabled selection of a different view when the currently selected view had triggered the List View Threshold. A warning message containing a link to an explanatory article in the MacroView Help Centre was added in July 2018.
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Avoiding Resource Throttling in O365
In January 2018 we enhanced MacroView DMF, MacroView Message and MacroView ClauseBank so that these products would not trigger the resource throttling that Office 365 can apply to applications that it sees making a lot of calls.
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Dynamic Deployment of Microsoft Office Templates
Most organizations that utilize custom templates in their Microsoft Office environment prefer those templates to be installed and run from a local drive. This approach is particularly attractive for notebooks, because it enables template-based generation of documents when the notebook is in ‘standalone’ mode – i.e. not connected to the corporate network because the user is out of the office. Having the templates stored on a local drive also delivers improved performance for connected desktop PCs.

However, the downside to having Office templates stored on a local drive is that deployment of new and upgraded templates is difficult. 

In several customer engagements throughout 2018 MacroView has addressed this issue by storing the Office templates in Microsoft Azure and having them download automatically to a local drive when the MacroView solution detects that the locally stored templates are out-of-date. The advantage of using Azure is that the master copy of each template is stored in the Microsoft cloud, which means that they are accessible whenever a PC can connect to the internet.

This dynamic deployment of Microsoft Office templates is much more efficient and convenient than having notebooks brought into the office at regular intervals for a refresh.
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Modern Authentication and TLS 1.2 Support
Modern Authentication – aka OAUTH2 – is Microsoft’s new standard for authenticating to a SharePoint Online or One Drive for Business area in an Office 365 tenant.  From an end-user perspective the big advantage of Modern Authentication is that it significantly reduces the number of times that you must enter your userid and password. Providing you access the O365 tenant regularly you will not need to re-enter your details until your password expires.

The other advantage of Modern Authentication is that you can have multiple Office 365 areas in your MacroView tree, with different authentication details for each area.  This opens the way to having separate Test and Production tenants and generally makes it easier to access and work with multiple areas in Office 365.

We introduced support for Modern Authentication in MacroView DMF v8.5, which was released in September 2018.

TLS 1.2 Support
MacroView DMF v8.5 also supports Transport Layer Security 1.2 – the new standard for secure access to web-based resources.  During 2018 we ensured that all MacroView products supported TLS 1.2, which is important as Microsoft withdrew support for earlier versions on TLS on 31 October 2018.
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Minimizing Metadata Prompts as You Save to SharePoint
Auto select non-Email Content Type
A notable feature of MacroView DMF and MacroView Message is the way these products support saving Outlook emails to SharePoint without any prompting for metadata. Part of this is automatically selecting the Email content type if the save is to a document library that has multiple content types. During 2018 we enhanced MacroView Message and MacroView DMF so that you do not have to choose a content type if you are saving a non-email and the destination library has only one content type other than Email.

So if your document libraries have only two content types (say Email and Document) you will never be prompted to choose a content type as you save with MacroView.

Auto-Record Folder Name as Value of Document Type
During 2018 we also enhanced MacroView DMF so that when you drop into a folder, the name of the folder is automatically recorded as the value of the Document Type metadata column. You can specify the internal name of the metadata column – i.e. you are not restricted to just Document Type.  If you create a new folder, these extensions continue to work – you do not have to re-configure any folder-level defaults.

These automatic metadata extensions allow users to have the familiar experience of saving into folders, but with metadata recorded automatically to make subsequent filtering and searching more efficient.

Current User displayed as Default Value of Person or Group Columns
OOB SharePoint does not allow you to specify a default value for a Person or Group type column, but MacroView DMF does. If the MacroViewDMFDefaultPersonGroup  extension is loaded, MacroView DMF will display the current user as the default value of any Person or Group column that appears in a profiling (metadata capture) dialog.  You can always click the icon or type ahead to choose a different user, but having the current user displayed by default often does save user effort.
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Providing a Great Experience the First Time You Run MacroView DMF
In late 2018 we released our new First Run Experience, which is logic that runs the first time you use MacroView DMF 365 or MacroView Message 365 in order to:

  • Activate the MacroView license (if it is not already activated)
  • Register your Office 365 tenant (so that MacroView will discover and display all the areas for which you have permission)
  • Create a sample MacroView library in your OneDrive for Business personal site
  • Play a short video to help you get started with using MacroView

The objective of this new First Run Experience is to make a new user’s initial encounter with the MacroView software as easy and productive as possible. Having watched the introductory video the user can drag and drop emails to the newly installed sample library and see how MacroView automatically records the attributes of the email as metadata without needing to prompt the user.

The First Run Experience is relevant to new users within an organization that has already licensed MacroView software.  It is also relevant to evaluators who are trying out the MacroView software for the first time.  Going forward, an evaluator might want to use the right-click, Create command (see below) to provision a new MacroView-style document library in a SharePoint Online area that is accessible to all the members of the evaluation team.
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Improvements in Automatic Email Filing
The way MacroView DMF and MacroView Message let you drag and drop to save Outlook email to SharePoint is good, but it’s even better when Outlook emails are saved automatically to SharePoint. During 2018 we enhanced the automatic email filing capabilities of MacroView in several areas:

(Personal) Email Filing Rules
Each user of MacroView DMF or MacroView Message can define email filing rules that fire as they send and receive emails.  We refer to these as Personal Email Filing rules because they can be different for each user.

In February 2018 we adjusted MacroView DMF and MacroView Message so that when Save on Send is enabled, if a personal sent email filing rule is satisfied, a copy of the outgoing email will be saved automatically without displaying the Save to SharePoint dialog.

Predictive Email Filing (PEF)
MacroView PEF is an optional module available for MacroView DMF and MacroView Message which recognises filing (luggage) tags in the subject of sent and received emails and uses those tags to automatically file the emails. If the email does not already have a filing tag, MacroView PEF can suggest filing locations.

In June 2018 we upgraded MacroView PEF so that it supports load-balanced SharePoint Server environments.

Also in June we enhanced the Save function of MacroView DMF to cope with situations where the same incoming email was being saved simultaneously by MacroView PEF running on multiple user PCs.

In August / September 2018 we made several enhancements to the performance of MacroView PEF, including local caching of the logic used to recognise filing (luggage) tags, making PEF calls asynchronous and tuning of the SQL queries used by MacroView PEF as it suggests filing locations.

Corporate Email Filing (CEF)
This will be another optional module for MacroView DMF and MacroView Message that we are planning to release in early 2019.  As the name suggests, MacroView Corporate Email Filing rules are corporate rather than personal. The CEF rules are stored in a central SharePoint location and require very little ongoing maintenance.  A single CEF rule can handle the automatic filing of incoming and outgoing emails for an unlimited number of projects / matters / transactions.
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Improved Support for Group By Views
On-Premises SharePoint 2013, 2016
In February 2018 We introduced support for paging the second level of Group By views.  The page size at the second level is determined by the Files in File List setting (i.e. the setting that controls the page size in any MacroView file list display).

Office 365 / SharePoint Online
The December release of MacroView DMF / MacroView Message supports Group By views in Office 365 / SharePoint Online with up to two levels and paging at both levels. See this MacroView Help Centre article.
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MacroView Provisioning Solutions
2018 saw excellent progress on our ability to offer solutions that implement a design within Office 365 / SharePoint Online. Such solutions are referred to as provisioning solutions, because they not only create the new site collections, sites, document libraries, document sets and folders; they also handle the definition of details in those new areas such as site content types for a new site collection, content types and views for new document libraries, shared metadata columns for new document sets, etc.

We receive very positive customer feedback about our ability to add custom items to the right-click menus that MacroView displays – right-clicking is convenient and intuitive. So we have developed right-click>Create commands that handle provisioning tasks that are relevant to our various products. 

As an example, users of MacroView DMF 365 and MacroView Message 365 who have the appropriate permissions can right-click in the MacroView tree on the node for the Office 365 Tenant and choose Create> Site Collection.  This will create a new site collection with the type, title and URL specified by the user. The right-click> Create command will also provision the new site collection with site content types for MacroView Document and Email.

Right-click> Create makes it easy and convenient to provision a new Site Collection

In addition to these right-click provisioning commands, MacroView has developed a range of Powershell applets that handle common provisioning tasks, such as adding a new view, adding a new content type etc.

All the MacroView Provisioning commands are compatible with PnP, Microsoft’s de-facto standard for provisioning. For more information see this MacroView Blog Post.
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Tidying Up Emails That Have Been Migrated to Office 365
When you migrate existing emails from Outlook / Exchange to Office 365 / SharePoint Online you end up with a lot of MSG (or EML) files that do not have the same file naming and metadata attributes (and maybe even format) as the MSG files that MacroView creates as you save Outlook emails to SharePoint. A similar situation can arise when you switch to MacroView DMF or MacroView Message from another Outlook add-in for filing emails to SharePoint.

MacroView Standardiser 365 is the answer in these situations. Standardiser traverses all the document libraries in a selected site and its sub-sites, automatically processing all the email files stored therein so that their format, naming and metadata treatment is standardised (i.e. same as if saved by MacroView).

MacroView Standardiser 365 also ships with several provisioning features that are relevant to managing emails – such as adding the new metadata columns wherein MacroView automatically records email attributes and a new Emails view that provides an attractive display of the emails stored in SharePoint.

You can specify a range of IDs for Standardiser 365 to process, which is handy when processing emails in a large Office 365 document library.
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Advanced Document Assembly (ADA) Solutions
During 2018 the Office Templates Solutions team within MacroView has made impressive progress on enabling document assembly solutions that are both easy to use AND easy to create and maintain. These solutions utilize our ADA Framework.

The ease of use stems from:

  • Answer files – variable content in the document – e.g. the names of Parties to an agreement, key dates, addresses, etc – are stored in such a way that they can easily be re-used when updating the document or generating subsequent documents.
  • Smart Content Controls – the content control feature of Microsoft Word (2010 or later) is used in an enhanced fashion, so that variable content is automatically re-used at all relevant points in the document or document package.

Assembling a document easily and quickly by using smart content controls

The problem with many document assembly solutions is that creating (marking-up) the base or precedent document requires skills similar to programming skills. The MacroView ADA Framework removes the need to programming skills by providing a Word button bar that a precedent administrator can use to create the smart content controls and insert them as desired in a Microsoft Word document. The buttons available have been proven to allow the automation of the assembly of quite complex documents and document packages.

Toolbar with buttons for marking up a document to make it into an ADA precedent

A real advantage of these ADA solutions is that they require the deployment of only a Microsoft Word document. Thanks to the use of content controls, the assembly automation logic is built into this single document.  A Bank or financial institution can provide the ADA document to its agents and service partners, and thereby out-source the document creation while at the same time ensuring high-quality documents with all required content.
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Followed Sites, Shared with Me
During 2018 the Favorites mode of MacroView DMF and MacroView Message has been further enhanced to include files and folders that have been “Shared with me” and any sites that you are following.

 

MacroView Favourites mode, with new groups Shared with me and Followed Sites

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New Videos in the MacroView Channel on YouTube
During 2018 we continued to place a major focus on publishing videos to the MacroView Channel on YouTube that describe the features of MacroView products and provide how-to information for their use. Examples include:

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For More Information
For more information about MacroView software and how they enable solutions for generating & managing documents & emails contact MacroView Solutions.