Archive for July, 2018

I was working on a project to automate Office 365 Group creation using Microsoft Flow and a custom system. When trying to convert the title from another system , which could include !@#$%^? and a bunch of other characters, I had to find a way to convert that string, into an URL friendly string with Microsoft Flow,  At the time of writing this blog, there was no regex support in Microsoft Flow, so we need to get a bit more creative!

How to convert string to URL friendly string with Microsoft Flow

One function that we have access to in Microsoft Flow, is the replace function. The Replace function allows you to replace a character by another one, in our case, we need to replace for example a hashtag (#) by nothing! While this is done one character at a time, you can also nest them, so while not pretty, you would have all the info in a single function. In the example below, I strip the Title dynamic property of the Trigger of the following characters: : % # * < > ? / ” @ & = / ; |) \ [ ] ~ { } ^ ! , .   

PS: The widget below has a “copy” button in the toolbar to make sure you copy it all!

I have created a quick Flow over here in a completely different system, just to show you the results! First, let’s create the simple Flow, three easy steps – Trigger – Create a Variable with the Friendly URL (Optional) – Update the Item

How to convert string to URL friendly string with Microsoft Flow

The value of the Variable is the formula we have above and remember to update it with the actual string that you want fixed! If you copy paste it from the blog, it will fix the Title property of the Trigger.

How to convert string to URL friendly string with Microsoft Flow

And here is the result:

How to convert string to URL friendly string with Microsoft Flow

As you see, my previous example did not take out the spaces, if you want a formula that takes out the spaces, you can use the following one!

Here is the result on the second item:

How to convert string to URL friendly string with Microsoft Flow

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I have been blogging about learning resources for a while and one of the best ways to learn from the experts is to attend in person conferences! Since Valo Intranet is sponsoring , we have a few passes to give away! There are two contests going on,  the first one is to simply retweet this tweet by Valo Intranet!  The Second one is trough this blog post and gives you the chance to win three Full Access Conference Passes to SPTechCon Boston 2018! To enter you simply have to put your name and email (They will not be shared with any 3rd parties unless you’re the winner of the pass), and you can get bonus entries if you follow @vladcatrinescu on Twitter and like the Absolute SharePoint page on Facebook! Furthermore you can tweet about the giveaway every day and get 9 bonus entries for every time you tweet!

The prize only includes the conference pass and not any travel costs or anything else. Just the conference pass! Here is a small paragraph about the conference

SPTechCon: The SharePoint & Office 365 Conference is returning to Boston, MA, August 26 – 29, 2018! SPTechCon is a training, problem solving, and networking event for those who are working with SharePoint, OneDrive, and Office 365.  This includes the varied uses and approaches to managing SharePoint; On-Premises (2013 thru 2019), Hybrid Variations, and SharePoint Online.  Sessions at SPTechCon are presented by today’s most approachable and knowledgeable instructors.   Find solutions to your current environment and seek ways to continue to Work Smarter, Collaborate, and Increase Productivity!

Good Luck, and if you are at SPTechCon, make sure to visit me at the Valo Booth to say hello :)!

Click here to view this promotion.
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A bit late on the blog post compared to the other MVPs, but I am honored, humbled and excited to announce I have been renewed as an Office Apps and Services (previously known as Office Servers and Services) MVP for a fifth year in a row! This year is even a bit more special as I have also been awarded the Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP for the first time, for my contributions in the PowerShell community!

Thanks to Microsoft community for giving me the opportunity to share my knowledge, I will continue to share my passion for Office 365, SharePoint, Flow and of course PowerShell! Special mention to the whole team at Valo Intranet who keeps encouraging me to do more and enables me to give back to community as much as I do! All of the five MVPs on the team got renewed and I am looking forward to creating awesome content with all of them this upcoming year!

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Product overview by Vlad Catrinescu – requested by, but thoughts are my own.
All proceeds from this review will be used to fund my 100-mile Pelotonia bike ride to end cancer.

Information Overload is an increasing problem both in the workplace, and in life in general. Information Overload is when you are trying to deal with more information than you can process to make sensible decisions. The result is that you either delay making decisions, or that you make the wrong decisions. And let’s be honest, we all feel a kind of information overload because of all the sources of information we have today. Even if we talk only Office 365, we need to look for information in SharePoint, Outlook, Groups, Planner, Teams, etc! With it’s latest release called attempts to solve this problem and allow users to focus on work rather than tools. 10 delivers your SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams documents, Outlook emails and calendar invites, plus Office 365 app notifications directly to your Outlook window… organized by topics, the way you think. The team gave me an early version of their newest release to test, so let’s see what the features are! 10

Having reviewed in the past, I will focus only on the newest features in 10! If you want a tour of the functionality that was already there in the past, check out this review: Review of One: Improve SharePoint Collaboration. 10 Overview

Similar to previous Outlook clients, 10 is a sidebar on the right side of your Outlook window. What is new in this version, is that the team now uses the power of the Microsoft Graph to analyze all of the data in Office 365 that you have access to, and group those by different topics. Right now, in this preview version of 10 , the sidebar is not yet responsive, so as you can see , some of the topics are cut off, but the team told me it will be fixed before this becomes final. 10

Once you clock on a certain topic, you get an overview of the number of items of each type, that are related to that certain topic. In the US Staffing example below, found one e-mail, one document and one calendar event!

Clicking on it again, you can see the different documents, events and e-mails relating to this topic, and clicking on them will automatically open them using the native Microsoft application assigned to it, or for documents, using Office Online and opening them directly from SharePoint, or OneDrive for Business. 10 also allows you to search for different topics to quickly access the different items associated with the topics that you’re interested in!

As mentioned previously, those features are added on top of the other great features included in the Outlook sidebar such as SharePoint integration ,easy drag and drop of documents and e-mails, and quick collaboration directly from Outlook.


You depend on Office 365 apps to get work done, but with the number of different apps, and different way of collaborating today, it’s tough to keep up with everything that is happening in your organization. The latest release of the sidebar for Outlook called 10 uses the Microsoft Graph, and machine learning to group information the way you think, by using topics, customers, project names, so you can work the way you think, and not by focusing on the different apps in Office 365.

I loved the idea of grouping information by topics, instead of apps and it made it a lot easier to find information proactively, rather than search for it in the different applications part of my tenant. The version I had is an early release beta, and while the “logic” functionality worked well, and it was able to find/group different items, the fact that the pane was not fully responsive made it hard sometimes so have full control over the topics window. This should not be too much of a big issue for customers as this should be fixed before it gets full released.

If you want to try this in your own tenant to see how it can help your users increase productivity and adoption of office 365, register for an early preview over here: or click the banner below!

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