We periodically send out Support Bulletins to give our customers information and advice on using our Microsoft SharePoint-based applications.

Support Bulletin #1 – Updating Web Parts
Support Bulletin #2 – Crow Canyon Print Manager
Support Bulletin #3 – Spell Check in our SharePoint Applications
Support Bulletin #4 – Marking High Priority Tickets and Leads by using Color-Coded Rows
Support Bulletin #5 – Using the Datasheet View and Task Pane with SharePoint Lists
Support Bulletin #6 – Using Associated Items More Effectively
Support Bulletin #7 – Many Possibilities with Notifications and Alerts
Support Bulletin #8 – Using Dynamic Forms To Manage User Input

Support Bulletin #1 – Updating Web Parts

Web parts are an important component of Crow Canyon’s SharePoint applications. We use web parts that we develop and it is important to keep the web parts up-to-date to get the latest functionality, performance, and fixes. For the Crow Canyon web parts, this is done in Central Administration, in the Crow Canyon License Manager.

Our recommendation is that these web parts are checked for updates at least every two weeks or when we send out a notice that there has been a significant update.

Support Bulletin #2 – Crow Canyon Print Manager

Whether using any of the Crow Canyon applications, you may find you need to print tickets, reports, and other list items from within SharePoint. Our Print Manager web part (included with our applications) allows you to print well-formatted documents from SharePoint list items.

See the Print Manager User Guide for more details.

Support Bulletin #3 – Spell Check in our SharePoint Applications

A frequent request is for Spell Check in our SharePoint and Office 365 applications for SharePoint. We want to make you aware of a tool that could be used to accomplish this. This is ieSpell, a third-party tool that we think is worth taking a look at. It could assist with spelling on the Work Log and other text areas in our ticketing and customer support system.

We wrote up a short guide on how it could be used: Using ieSpell with SharePoint Applications from Crow Canyon. For more details on its usage and licensing, see the tool’s web page at www.iespell.com. We hope this helps provide Spell Check for your users in our applications. (Note that there are similar addins for Firefox and other browsers.)

Support Bulletin #4 – Marking High Priority Tickets and Leads by using Color Coded Rows in SharePoint Lists

The Color Choice Field that we provide with our Crow Canyon applications for SharePoint allows you to color code items in a list based on selections in a drop-down (choice) column. You can assign a different color to every choice and the row for that item in every SharePoint list view will be marked with that color.

Using the Color Choice Field, you can highlight high priority and important tickets in the Ticket view, turning them red or whatever color you choose. Or you can use this in Leads or Opportunities (in the Crow Canyon Customer Service version) to quickly identify items that need attention. There many other ways to use the color coding, such as coloring tickets by assignment or department or status.

Existing choice columns can be converted to Color Choice fields using the tool’s “Convert” function (the Color Choice fields can also be turned back into regular choice fields without any loss of data). See the Color Choice Field User Guide for more details on how to use this tool.

Support Bulletin #5 – Using the Datasheet View and Task Pane with SharePoint Lists

The Datasheet View is a great tool for editing SharePoint lists. It allows you to quickly modify and update multiple items in an Excel-like format. It is especially useful on our Tickets and Assets lists, which can have large numbers of items that need updating frequently.

The Datasheet View can be used on any list as an alternative to the Standard View. When in a list, simply go to List Tools/List in the ribbon and then choose Datasheet View over on the left. This puts the list items in a spreadsheet format, allowing editing to occur in place, including adding and deleting items in the list. In addition, rows of list items can be copied to Excel simply by highlighting them, then copy and pasting into an Excel spreadsheet.

An often-overlooked feature in Datasheet View is the Task Pane. The Task Pane contains “Office Links”, which allow interaction with Access and Excel. The Task Pane can be activated using the Show Task Pane option in the ribbon or by using the arrow in the narrow bar at the far right of the Datasheet View. SharePoint Quester offers a two-minute video that explains the use of the Task Pane: Exploring the Datasheet View Task Pane in SharePoint 2010 Lists

Note: If you run into issues using Datasheet View on a 64-bit Windows OS with 64-bit Office 2010, see this article from Microsoft. Excerpt: “By default, the Datasheet view of a list or library is not supported when you are using the 64-bit version of Microsoft Office 2010 installed on a 64-bit Windows operating system.”

Support Bulletin #6 – Using Associated Items More Effectively

The Crow Canyon Associated Items web part greatly increase the functionality of our SharePoint-based Service Request and Customer Support systems by providing subtasks that can be associated with each request, issue, and project. Some support issues are easily resolved, but others require multi-step processes, with subtasks assigned to different people or groups.

Our applications have the ability to not only create and link multiple subtasks to a ticket, but also to update these subtasks in bulk and automatically, based on changes to the ticket. For example, we are often asked, “When a ticket is closed, can the subtasks also be closed?”. This is quite possible with configuration of our Associated Items web part.

See the Associated Items User Guide for more details on how to use this tool.

Support Bulletin #7 – Many Possibilities with Notifications and Alerts

A critical piece of a Service Request Support system, whether IT Help Desk, Facilities, Customer Service, Asset Management, and more, is that the people need to get notified and alerted at important junctures in the request’s lifecycle. One of the most important points for notifications is on the initial submission of the request. Who should get notified? What should be the content of the notification? Should it be by email or text? Should different people or groups be notified for different requests?

Our Crow Canyon Service Request system can provide any level of notification based on any criteria on the incoming ticket. Using our New Ticket Notification utility, both the user submitting the ticket and designated staff can receive notifications. Our utility allows you to set who gets what email and whether it includes a link to the ticket or not.

In addition, you can designate a “Category Owner”, whether one or more individuals or a group, who gets notified when tickets of that category are submitted.

For more complex notifications, we have an Alerting function. In this tool, you designate who the recipients are, what event triggers the alert, what conditions cause the alert to be sent, and what Mail Template is sent. The level of granularity in setting up these alerts is as deep or as shallow as you want.

For example, you can create an alert notification upon new ticket arrival that emails a particular person or group based on category, priority, location, who the requester is, and virtually any other values on the new ticket. You can set up a specific Mail Template to be sent upon meeting these conditions. This Mail Template can include data about the ticket as well as a link to the ticket.

If you want to notify someone by SMS (text) messaging, that is also possible, simply by putting the cell phone’s “email to text” address in the Recipients. Most cell providers have this capability; for Verizon, it is (phone number)@vtext.com; for AT&T, it is (phone number)@txt.att.net. Simply add that email address to the Recipients and create a simple Mail Template for that alert (no more than 160 characters), and the notification will be sent as a text to the cell or smart phone.

In these ways, our program provides a truly astonishing degree of flexibility as to who gets notified based on what criteria and what message they get. This applies not only to New Ticket Creation, but also to ticket assignment, modification, approaching due dates, completion, and other points in the request’s progress from creation to completion.

Support Bulletin #8 – Using Dynamic Forms To Manage User Input

Crow Canyon’s SharePoint applications now include a “Dynamic Forms” feature. A user entry form (such as a Ticket or Request form) can change and adapt as the user fills it out. Fields and tabs on the form can be shown or hidden depending on selections the user makes in other fields.

For example, if the user selects a Category such as “Equipment Request”, a tab for “Equipment Needed” can be shown, with fields specific to that request. If the user chooses another Category, this tab is hidden. Alternatively, the choice of “Equipment Request” could show new fields on the form instead of showing a new tab.

The new Dynamic Forms feature makes the forms truly responsive to the user input and provides flexibility and control to the form designer. Just about any field can be used to determine whether to show or hide other fields or tabs on the form.

While this feature is commonly used on the Ticket and Request forms, it can be used with any list item in the Crow Canyon system.

See 2-minute video overview
See 4-minute video of configuration details

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