Month: April 2014

SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 diverge even further – different icon sets

During a meeting with a customer yesterday, they spotted something amusing that I hadn’t noticed until they pointed it out. Have a look at the following screenshot from Office 365 and see if you can spot the issue as well:



And, did you discover it? The Edit Item button isn’t using it’s regular icon, but uses the same as the Delete Item button! Here’s how it should look like usually:

Now, the issue isn’t caused by Office 365 directly. In this case, we have some  JavaScript that does some smaller DOM manipulations, and replaces the Edit Item button with a different one (but which looks just the same). The code that gets inserted into the DOM contains the image as follows: <img style=”left: -511px; top: -103px;” src=”/_layouts/15/1033/images/formatmap32x32.png?rev=23″ unselectable=”on”>

This works perfectly fine in older versions of SharePoint as well as SharePoint 2013, but in Office 365 you get the Delete icon for the position left: -511px; top: -103px. The correct position in Office 365 is left: -511px; top: -137px. What SharePoint actually does is not to use a separate image file for each icon, put rather “store” all icons in a single image to save on bandwidth and increase performance (to learn more about this, visit your preferred search engine and look for “CSS sprites”). And exactly this image (formatmap32x32.png) is different in SharePoint 2013 (the same for RTM all the way to SP1) and Office 365. How different? Have a look at the animation which shows both version for a second each:



So, what does all this mean?

Just recently, changes to the DOM of Office 365 pages that made it different from the one in SharePoint 2013 were made by Microsoft, see e.g. the blog posts “Office 365 Update Changes ‘Display Name’ on Required Fields” by Marc D Anderson and “Office 365 Needs to Treat the UX as an API if Our Customizations are to Stay Off the Server” by Andrew Connell (ok, I just have to make a Star Wars reference here: “I am altering the DOM, pray I don’t alter it any further”). In my opinion, this change here falls into a similar category, with Microsoft making a small change in the background that can have a negative effect on customizations that rely on the icons. For example, if you want to use the same icons as default SharePoint, and thus make use of the same code, you now need to be careful that things like the issue I mentioned at the top of this blog post don’t occur in your solutions. So don’t just simply rely on the fact that it may have worked before, but make sure that if you’re using SharePoint icons, the correct one is indeed used.

And as final words,

New options in the SharePoint Online Management Shell PowerShell cmdlets

A few days ago, Microsoft released a new version of their SharePoint Online Management Shell (the PowerShell cmdlets that can be used to manage SharePoint Online). In this blog post, I will briefly explain what was changed and what you can do now with the new options. Note: The new internal version number for the cmdlets is : 15.0.4569.1506


The first new attribute that is available is for Site Collections and is called SharingCapability. Basically, this attribute tells you if sharing has been enabled for a site collection or not. The three possible values are Disabled, ExternalUserSharingOnly, and ExternalUserAndGuestSharing (see also

When you run Get-SPOSite  | select Url, SharingCapability you’ll get a list of all site collections and the corresponding Sharing Capability.

You can also set the values, so if you want to enable sharing for a site collection for authenticated users only, run Set-SPOSite -Identity <YourSiteUrl> -SharingCapability ExternalUserSharingOnly:


For tenants, there are three new attributes: DisplayStartASiteOptionSharingCapabilityStartASiteFormUrl

You can get the current settings by simply running Get-SPOTenant:

SharingCapability simply shows you which settings have been set for your tenant in general.

DisplayStartASiteOption and StartASiteFormUrl can help you with allowing users to create new site collections, and which form to use. For example, there’s a sample app from Richard diZerega from Microsoft that you could customise for this purpose.

DisplayStartASiteOption controls if the “new site” link is available when you click on Websites in the Ribbon. If it’s deactivated, you don’t get to see such an option:

Turning it on (Set-SPOTenant -DisplayStartASiteOption $true) will provide you with the link:

If you don’t want to use the default form, you can then also specifiy your custom form via Set-SPOTenant -StartASiteFormUrl  <FormUrl>.

Please note that these two options are also available through the UI.  These two options can be found in the SharePoint Admin Center under Settings:

If DisplayStartASiteOption  is set to false, “Hide the link” is activated for Start a Site:


Setting it to true, “Show the link” becomes active:


Lastly, if you set a URL for StartASiteFormUrl, the corresponding field is set:


 External Users

The last changes in the new version of the cmdlets offer a few new attributes for external users: InvitedByWhenCreatedAcceptedAs

When you run Get-SPOExternalUser, you can see who invited the external user, when he accepted, and with which email address:

Additionally, you also have the option to get the external users of a single site collection only, and not the whole tenant, by running Get-SPOExternalUser with the -SiteURL parameter:


Speaking at SP24 – SharePoint Online vs On-Premises vs Hosted – Making the Right Choice

In two weeks, the 24-Hour SharePoint Conference (SP24) will take place. With 106 sessions, there are surely also a few that might be interesting to you, so go and register asap!

I’ll be presenting on “SharePoint Online vs On-Premises vs Hosted – Making the Right Choice”

April 17th 6:00 - April 17th 7:00 SharePoint Online vs On-Premises vs Hosted - Making the Right Choice  Business - Beginner Rene Modery You're planning to implement SharePoint, but do you need to host it in-house, or is a move to the cloud a valid option? Is an on-premises SharePoint farm a better choice than SharePoint Online? Or should you host SharePoint somewhere else in the cloud, for example on Azure? This session will give you an overview of your options, their respective benefits and drawbacks, and will show you how you can make an informed decision on which platform to choose.


Reawarded as Microsoft Office 365 MVP

On 1 April 2012, I was awarded as Office 365 MVP from Microsoft for the first time. Today, just as last year, I received the confirmation that I have been reawarded for another year.

I am truely honored to be both recognised for my efforts for the community as well as being part of an amazing group of people, who deliver a lot of great content, share their knowledge, and help the community grow and advance.