Anita Fritz

MacroView 2017 Highlights

During 2017 we were thrilled to be told by a number of customers – both new and existing – that MacroView is the standout software available for enabling Windows desktop solutions that use Microsoft SharePoint for managing documents and emails. By ‘use Microsoft SharePoint’ we mean that the storage and search engine is O365 / SharePoint Online, on-premises SharePoint Server, or hybrid combinations of these.

We believe that this positive feedback stems from:

    • Making SharePoint easy to use for managing documents and emails, particularly from the desktop applications that business users prefer – such as Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
    • Providing the functionality that business users need to make the move from Outlook folders, Windows file shares or even a traditional DM system to SharePoint as their new way of managing documents and emails
    • Coping with volume – in various dimensions – including SharePoint environments with thousands of site collections, sites, document libraries, document sets and folders and millions of documents and large numbers of users

During 2017 we have worked on all these areas. Here are the highlights (in no particular order). You can click on any item to jump to a more detailed description.:


Major Upgrade of MacroView ClauseBank
At MacroView we believe that managing documents and emails often starts with generating those documents and emails.  And that the smart way to generate a document is to reuse standard, approved content rather than key all the content from scratch.

MacroView ClauseBank provides users with an easy and intuitive way to find and view available standard, approved text and graphics content items and to retrieve those items into the Word document, PowerPoint presentation or Outlook email that they are drafting. Behind the scenes the reusable content items are stored in SharePoint (either Online or on-Premises), which makes deployment of new content simple and quick.

2017 saw a major upgrade of MacroView ClauseBank (to v8.4). New features included:

    • Tree structure of the ClauseBank automatically refreshed to show newly created libraries and folders (no need to right-click, Refresh when you see a Refresh Required indicator)
    • Content expiry with automatic alerts sent to nominated Content Experts when ClauseBank is implemented with O365 / SharePoint Online
    • Support for inserting Microsoft PowerPoint clauses in Word
    • Options to display all Clause libraries and to exclude specific libraries
    • Options to show or hide ClauseLink functionality
    • Copy and pasting content directly from the full screen preview
    • Support for re-branding elements of the ClauseBank User Interface

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Public and Private Groups in O365
In line with our commitment to taking full advantage of Office 365 / SharePoint Online we added support for Private and Public Groups to MacroView Message, MacroView DMF and MacroView Case & Matter. The site collection corresponding to the new Group appears in the MacroView tree display for those users who are part of the Group.  As part of this we introduced a new Show Private Group sites configuration setting for SharePoint Online tenancies.

For more information on this new feature see this MacroView Help Desk article.

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Enhancements to Client-side Search Panels
Being able to search across SharePoint for documents and emails without needing to jump out of familiar applications such as Outlook, Word and DMF Explorer is one of the most popular features of MacroView DMF and its related products. During 2017 we significantly enhanced the capabilities of MacroView Search across Office 365 / SharePoint Online. These improvements are also relevant to Client Side Only implementations with on-premises SharePoint Server. Client-side search panels:

      • can now be deployed from a central SharePoint location
      • can now have a default ordering specified for results
      • can now have a Result Source defined, and can be restricted to a particular server
      • support Stemming (e.g. link, linkage, linking, linked…) 
      • support Trim Duplicates.

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Improvements to Tree Display – especially for Large Trees
Document stores continue to grow over time, so more and more organisations are finding that they have large numbers of ‘sub-nodes’ in their SharePoint tree – e.g. site collections with hundreds of sub-sites, sites with large numbers of document libraries, libraries with thousands or folders and / or document sets, etc. In the course of 2017 we make a number of improvements to the way MacroView DMF and its related products handle these large SharePoint tree structures:

  • In Office 365 / SharePoint Online and Client Side Only environments MacroView now supports large numbers of site collections and sub-sites. Previously a maximum of 500 could be displayed.
  • In Office 365 / SharePoint Online and Client Side Only environments MacroView performs well as you expand a document library that contains a large number of folders or document sets.  When expanding a library the Nodes to Trigger Filter and Nodes to Block Show All settings now apply to both SharePoint Online / CSO and on-premises SharePoint.
  • In Office 365 / SharePoint Online and Client Side Only environments MacroView now support Filter Site Collections by Favourites.
  • In an on-premises SharePoint environment, significantly improved performance when expanding a document library that contains a large number of folders AND metadata navigation is defined.  The Folders heading node is now displayed almost instantly so that you can filter for the folder or document set that you want to work with.
  • Re-engineered to handle scenarios where a user had a large number of nodes in the local cache (as a result of having expanded a lot of nodes since the last Clear Cache). Previously such scenarios could lead to freezing and other issues in Outlook and Word.
  • Refresh Required indicator no longer displayed if the only changes have been deletion of folder or document set.
  • Right-click, Clear Filter on and Office 365 / SharePoint Online node no longer triggers filter dialog – instead the node is expanded.
  • When you right-click, Filter a node, the default filter is the most recently applied manual filter. This makes it easier to re-apply a previous filter, including after an automatic Filter has been applied as a result of navigating to a node (e.g. in Open File Location).
  • On Right-click Refresh, expansion state of all nodes is retained.

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Bulk saves, Uploads now done using Parallel Processing
If you have dragged and dropped multiple emails or multiple files from a Windows folder using a 2017 build of MacroView DMF or related product you may well have noticed how rapidly the save proceeds. This is because we have re-engineered the bulk save processes to take advantage of the parallel processing capabilities that are present in .NET.  These bulk saves will be particularly fast on PCs that have multi-core CPUs and ample memory.

We have also introduced a setting that can be used to control the degree of parallelism – use of this may well be appropriate in Citrix and similar Virtual Desktop environments.

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Attachments Split off and saved separately
A lot of organisations have asked that MacroView in a single drag and drop action be able to split attachments off and save them separately, along the body of the email (or the complete email) saved as an MSG. 

During 2017 we added this new feature to MacroView Message, MacroView DMF and MacroView Case & Matter. To control this new feature we added a new configuration setting called Save Attachment Type. Using this new setting you can opt to have:

  • Complete message saved as previously (i.e. as a single MSG with the attachments embedded)
  • Complete message and attachments saved as separate files
  • Message body and attachments saved as a separate files
  • Prompt displayed as each individual email is saved, so that the user can choose the approach

For more information on this new feature see this MacroView Help Centre article.

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Saved to SharePoint category set on emails in Deleted Items folder
If you have configured Delete Emails on Successful Save, MacroView will move an email to your Deleted Items folder as soon as it have been saved in SharePoint. MacroView DMF and related products now set the Saved to SharePoint yellow category flag on emails that are saved to Deleted Items in this way. This makes it easy to know that a copy of the email is in SharePoint, even if it no longer in your InBox or other Outlook folder.

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Refinements when incoming emails are saved automatically
By using MacroView Email Filing Rules and / or the optional MacroView Predictive Email Filing module you can arrange for incoming emails to be filed to SharePoint automatically as they arrive in your InBox.  During 2017 we refined this automatic filing action in a number of ways:

  • Delete Emails on Successful Save is ignored when incoming emails are filed automatically.  Otherwise the user may well be unaware that they have ever received the email.
  • No Processing dialog displayed as the email is being saved. This avoids disrupting the user if they do are doing other work in Outlook when the email arrives.
  • No prompting for metadata as the email is being saved. Again the objective is to avoid disrupting the user as the email arrives. If a new email arrives but needs metadata, a new Not Auto Filed category flag (blue colour) is set on the copy of the email in the InBox, to remind the user that this email was not filed automatically as it arrived, and so they need to file it manually.
  • Auto-reply emails (e.g. Out of Office, message recalls, meeting request responses) no longer filed automatically.

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Inserting Specific Versions as Attachments
When you are inserting an attachment that has multiple versions, MacroView DMF and related products let you select what version you want retrieved and inserted.  Following a suggestion from a customer we now display Version Comments for available versions as tooltips, which makes it much easier to make an informed choice of version.

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Cope with Microsoft Outlook Security Patch
In October 2017 Microsoft pushed out a security patch which caused the MacroView file list and search results lists in Outlook to be displayed with no content. In subsequent days it emerged that the same patch had caused similar havoc with many other applications, including some of Microsoft’s own!

MacroView rapidly published a workaround that involved deployment of a User Registry setting. In December 2017 we released new builds of MacroView DMF and related products that had been re-engineered to display the file list correctly, without requiring use of the special Registry setting. A fix for the search results list will be available early in 2018. The overall result will be that MacroView will be fully compliant with Microsoft’s new tighter security arrangements.

 For more information see this MacroView Help Centre article.

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Enhanced Support for Views
During 2017 we updated MacroView DMF and related products so that they respected the Default View defined at folder or document set level, and to respect the Show all items within Folders setting when displaying a Group By style view.

We also developed the functionality to support paging at the second level of a Group By view. The result will be that Group By view will display with good performance even if the nested categories contain hundreds or even thousands of detail items.  We plan to release this new functionality in early 2018.

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Splash screen on initial load of MacroView DMF Explorer
At first glance this might appear a small change, but it certainly has had a major positive impact!  MacroView DMF Explorer is a very popular part of MacroView DMF and MacroView Case and Matter, because it provides a Windows File Explorer-like interface for SharePoint.  Now as MacroView DMF Explorer loads, a splash screen displays.  This lets the user know that the load is underway, and removes the temptation to start multiple instances of MacroView DMF Explorer.

Splash screen displayed as MacroView DMF Explorer loads

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Auto-removal of old Document IDs when saving DOC files
Before the introduction of the DOCX format, Word documents were saved in DOC format. These DOC files use a different technique to store field codes such as Document ID. The unfortunate result is that when the file is viewed as a DOCX in Compatibility Mode it can appear to have two different Document IDs.

In late 2017 we addressed this issue by having MacroView DMF and related products automatically remove any old Document ID field that is present in a DOC file as such files are saved using the Save As to SharePoint command in Microsoft Word. Note that this auto-removal does not occur when a DOC format file is saved to SharePoint by drag and drop or other means.

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Improved support for multi-language environments
MacroView DMF and related products have always sought to support multiple languages, including languages (e.g. Chinese) that require double-byte characters.  During 2017 we further improved this multi-language support in situations where the title of a document library was in a language different to that defined by the Culture setting in the user’s Windows environment. E.g. a document library title can now be in Portuguese while the user’s PC is in Spanish.

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Extensions for MacroView DMF (Customisations)
MacroView DMF and related products ship with a lot of functionality, but even so customers often require additional functionality.  In many cases the best way to handle these additional functionality requirements is with a MacroView DMF Extension. The MacroView DMF is specifically designed to allow custom logic to run at a number of points – e.g. as the profiling dialog is about to be displayed, in a custom Search Panel or as custom options on right-click menus.

During 2017 we created a range of MacroView DMF Extensions, some of which are potentially relevant to a wide range of customers. A good example is Send As PDF / Copy as PDF, which adds options to the menu that displays when you right-click on a file or files in a MacroView file list.  Send As PDF retrieves the right-clicked file(s) from SharePoint (online or on-Premises) and converts them to PDF before inserting them as attachments in a new Outlook email. Copy as PDF conveniently converts files to PDF as they are copied from one area in SharePoint to another.

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Enhancements to MacroView Predictive Email Filing
MacroView PEF is an optional module available for MacroView DMF that makes filing of incoming or outgoing emails much smarter. During 2017 we made a number of enhancements to MacroView PEF, including:

  • Creation of an API to allow direct update of the internal table that contains the filing locations that correspond to user defined tags (e.g.  Matter Number, Project Code, Policy Number, etc.)
  • New setting to prevent users from changing these locations – e.g. by saving manually to a different location
  • Revise the PEF filing logic so that it has much higher performance when processing a large number of incoming and outgoing emails that contain PEF filing tags
  • Development of a MacroView extension (Create New Email ) that allows a user to right-click on the area for a Matter/ Project/ Policy and create a new email with the relevant PEF filing tag already present in its Subject

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MacroView Unique Document Numbering Improvements
MacroView UDN arranges for unique document IDs, current version number and other document reference information to be displayed in the footers of Word and Excel documents in SharePoint. In an on-premises SharePoint environment MacroView UDN can also number documents sequentially across the whole document store – just like a traditional DM system. A companion product called MacroView AOI works with MacroView UDN to provide enhanced version control options. MacroView UDN and AOI are available as optional modules for MacroView DMF and are included as standard in MacroView Case & Matter.

During 2017 we made a large number of improvements to MacroView UDN:

    • Re-engineer the logic that assigns Unique Document IDs so that it copes with very high volume usage and ensures that all saved files receive an ID correctly
    • Updated the server-side installation of MacroView UDN for SharePoint 2016 server
    • Added support for running MacroView UDN server in a load balanced environment
    • Add a Discard all changes button to the UDN ribbon
    • Adjust UDN/AOI to work with folders whose names contain “+”
    • Update caption and footer with Document Reference when document is opened read-only, when opened from an attachment and when opening multiple documents
    • Adjust UDN so that right-click, Print is supported when Word is not already running
    • Resolve display issues when UDN is running in Excel 2010 in a Citrix environment
    • Adjust so that check-out is not removed when saving a new version or overwriting an existing version of an XLS file.

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Other Improved Support in MacroView DMF
Other improvements in MacroView DMF and related products made during 2017 include:

    • Deprecated terms no longer displayed when choosing a value for a Managed metadata column
    • Users with appropriate permissions can now right click to discard a checkout that has been applied by another user
    • Support for Meeting Forward request type
    • Support for Transport Layer protocol (TLS 1.2)

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Extensive new content in MacroView Help Centre
A MacroView Help Centre that is powered by Zendesk was introduced in late 2016. The Help Centre is a great way to request support and to monitor progress of your support tickets.

During 2017 we have loaded a large amount of content to the MacroView Help Centre, including:

    • Latest releases of all MacroView licensed products (subscribe to receive automatic alerts)
    • Knowledge Base articles
    • Evaluation Guides for MacroView DMF, MacroView Message and MacroView Case & Matter

For more information see Welcome to MacroView Support.

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New Look MacroView Channel on YouTube
Videos are a great way to communicate the capabilities of MacroView products and solutions and the techniques for using those products and solutions – e.g. when training new users.  So during 2017 we upgraded the layout of the MacroView Channel and loaded a large number of new videos.  You might like to check out the following:

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

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