May 2, 2015

Save site template missing in SharePoint Online and Office 365

So by now you've noticed that they've removed the site command "Save site as template"  in SharePoint Online and you don't know what to do.

1. Make sure you're not trying to make a template from a publishing site.  SharePoint has difficulty creating site templates from publishing sites.

2. Browse to and save your template as always.

3. I'm not sure how long this method will work, but I'm sure an app could handle this no problem.

Apr 9, 2015

SharePoint 2013 workflow 255 character limit for string variables

In all my years of SharePoint workflows, I had never come across the 255 character limit for strings until recently.  I tried lots of solutions until this one ocurred to me:

Instead of using a string variable, create a multiline input parameter.  You can then use it as you would a regular variable, concatenating text onto it, without running into problems.  

Be aware that not all workflow actions can handle strings longer than 255 characters.
Working actions:
  • Email

Not working:
  • Log to history

The limitation on storage size for any SharePoint 2013 workflow variable is 256KB, so you should have about a 64,000 UTF-8 character limit (not tested).

Jan 13, 2015

Broken SharePoint 2013 webpart page

If you've been editing custom pages using SharePoint Designer, you know how fragile they can be. 

A wrong key can break a page that worked a few minutes ago and you get the generic error:

 "Unable to display this Web Part. To troubleshoot the problem, open this Web page in a Microsoft SharePoint Foundation-compatible HTML editor such as Microsoft SharePoint Designer. If the problem persists, contact your Web server administrator."

  1. Routinely create backup copies of the page for comparison and restoration
  2. SharePoint Designer likes to randomly add   characters to your markup which will break the page.  Search for and delete these.
  3. Never delete the original new form from a page.  Hide it, but never delete it.  This will keep the attachment functionality working correctly.