Tag: SharePoint Online

Workaround for Office 365 SharePoint Site Mailbox App mailbox name rewrite issue

Site Mailbox is an App available in SharePoint Online  that helps by providing a central place to file email and documents that can only be accessed and edited by those with the appropriate site permissions.

When creating a Site Mailbox in SharePoint Online, a client and I ran into a funny anomaly. We know that there is a limitation in that once you’ve created a site mailbox, you can’t change its email address. Since the email address for a site mailbox is the display name of the site, when you name the site, you normally choose a name that will also work well as the email address. That’s all fine.

The expectation we had in my client’s scenario was to use SMO-###AAAAAA@site.microsoftonline.com with the 3 digit project number + Project Title.  An example of the desired address we wanted would be:


..the bolded text being the SharePoint Site Title “193 My Project Name” with its spaces removed by the system.

The important part for the client was the project number. Problem is, if one makes a site title with just a number, or leading with a number, Office 365 inexplicitly strips it out, and replaces it with seemingly random characters:

SharePoint Site Title Used: “193” Generated Site Mailbox Address as created by SharePoint Online: SMO-14136KETL@site.microsoftonline.com

As explained, if we just go with their current Site Title, the leading digits (and space + dash + space) get removed- no good. There is no way to change the Site Mailbox address after creation (ref: http://community.office365.com/en-us/f/148/t/235624.aspx). It’s not an option in either the GUI or via PowerShell.

My Workaround

In my scenario, the Client already had an internal established notation to prefix projects with the letter “p”. Therefore it would acceptable to prefix the project number with a letter.

1. For each existing or new SharePoint site you intend to add a new Site Mailbox App, temporarily alter the site name (Site Settings > Title & Description) to begin with a single letter. In this case, we altered all their existing Project sites in the format (note the “p” prefixed on the site title):

Site Title: “p193 My Project Name

2. Deploy the Site Mailbox App. The email address generated will come out as in the style SMO-p193MyProjectName@site.onmicrosoft.com.

3. Once Site Mailbox App is fully deployed, change the Title of the site in Site Settings back to “197 My Project Name” (without the “p”), therefore avoiding inconsistencies elsewhere including in document tags, metadata & last but not least, leaving people wondering why there’s a wacky letter at the start of your site title. J 4. That’s it, you’ve somewhat hacked your way around this strange little behaviour of how email addresses are generated when creating a Site Mailbox. Conclusion As for why the SharePoint Online system really does not seem to like email addresses that start with numbers, I have no info at this time. Certainly an address of SMO-193MyProjectName@site.sharepoint.com would meet general email RFC specs. Why the address comes out as SMO + alphabet soup + @site.sharepoint.com is a mystery and seemingly undocumented. I suspect it would be part of a secret sauce that only a select few MS Engineers may know – or it’s a simple pattern that’s obvious from the output email addresses. If anyone knows the reasoning behind the email address rewriting in play with site mailboxe, please do share in the comments!


RSS blog feed missing items in Office 365 SharePoint Online?

A client reported in that their homepage newsfeed which was being fed from the RSS feed that comes with the Blog on SharePoint Online, was missing it’s content. Despite there being blog posts, the RSS feed was rendering just the header section with no article content.

The reason this occurs is because feed items will expire after a certain period of time, 7 days by default. To change this,  follow these steps:

1.      Navigate to the blog post list your RSS feed is reading from. e.g. https://<mySharePointSite.com>/Lists/Posts/AllPosts.aspx

2.      From the ‘List’ ribbon, select ‘List Settings.’

3.      Select ‘RSS Feed.’

4.      At the bottom of the page, adjust the thresholds. The upper limits are 1,000 items and 9,999 days old.

11-5-2013 9-41-41 AM

Note that there’s a bit of a caching mechanism in place – I had to wait 20 minutes or so to see the posts return to the RSS feed.

Personally I think 7 days is a very low threshold for this kind of thing and is bound to create similar confusion as to what we experienced. No doubt it made a lot of sense when crunching numbers to design a scalable global Cloud architecture, but if we want to get more small business & mom & pop users on O365 it’ll be good not to put in too many abstract default limits. Hopefully Microsoft will take note and crank this up to something more standard like 30 or 90 days!

OneDrive for Business (formerly SkyDrive Pro) File Size, Number, Type & Character Limits and Restrictions


Note: As of February 2014 SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro are renamed to OneDrive and OneDrive for Business.

First of all, since most people get confused about the topic – here’s an explanation of the difference between OneDrive, and the other service, OneDrive for Business.

​If you work with a lot of SharePoint documents, you can probably appreciate the appeal of syncing your SharePoint library content to your computer. Doing so brings the following benefits:

  • 24/7 access to your documents. Read and edit while  you’re offline. Everything syncs with SharePoint whenever you go back     online.
  • Browser-free interaction with your documents. Opening your documents in a Web browser is fine, but working directly in your file     system is usually more convenient.

To sync a library: Go to the library > click Sync at the top of the page > click Sync Now in the OneDrive for Business wizard.

Keep in mind the following restrictions and limitations related to syncing SharePoint libraries.

How many items can I sync?

  • You can sync up to 20,000 items in your OneDrive for Business library,  including folders and files.
  • You can sync up to 5,000 items in other SharePoint libraries, including folders and files. These are the libraries you find in various SharePoint sites, such as team sites and community sites.

What’s the size limit for downloading files?

In any SharePoint library, you can download files of up to 2 GB.

What’s the character limit for files and folders?

These limits apply to files and folders that you add to a synced library folder for uploading to SharePoint. In normal practice, you’re unlikely to hit these limits. But I’ll mention them here, just in case:

  • File names can have up to 128 characters
  • Folder names can have up to 256 characters
  • Folder name/file name combinations can have up to 260 characters

If you have a file, folder, or combination that exceeds the limit, the item will remain in the synced library folder, and an error icon will appear on the item to tell you that there’s a sync problem.

Invalid characters & filenames

Folder Names and File Names

  • Do not use: ” # % & * : < > ? / { | } ~
  • Do not use the period character consecutively in     the middle of a file name.  For example, “file..name.docx”     is invalid.
  • You cannot start a file name with the period character
  • File names cannot be longer than 128 characters
  • You cannot use the period character at the end of a file     name
  • Many other symbols are not recommended such as     $^()-_=+[]`! (other international currency symbols and international     symbols should be avoided in site names, but some are more acceptable in     file names. Ascii is preferred when possible.

In addition, file names and folder names may not end with: (Many of these are international symbols)

.files, _files , -Dateien , _fichiers , _bestanden , _file ,_archivos ,-filer,_tiedostot ,_pliki ,_soubory ,_elemei ,   _arquivos ,_dosyalar ,_datoteke ,_fitxers,_failid,_fails ,_bylos ,_fajlovi,_fitxategiak

Invalid file types

You cannot upload OneNote files, or files with a *.tmp or *.ds_store extension. Additionally, you cannot upload desktop.ini, thumbs.db, or ehthumbs.db.

Additionally, you cannot upload types of files that are blocked on the SharePoint site. If your organization is running SharePoint Server, the list of blocked files may vary depending on what your administrator sets up. If your organization is running SharePoint Online, the default list of blocked files is fixed and can’t be changed. To see a list of the default blocked files, see Types of files that cannot be added to a list or library.

** You can use the following PowerShell Script to clean up invalid characters, file lengths & upload otherwise problematic files to OneDrive: http://hansbrender.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/skydrive-pro-powershell-script-checks-and-moves-folders-and-files/ **

OneDrive for Business library limits and workarounds

The OneDrive for Business library in all SharePoint Online plans in Office 365 comes with 1 TB of storage per user. There is not presently an option for purchasing additional storage for the OneDrive for Business library.

The good news, however, is that the storage space in your OneDrive for Business library is in addition to the storage space you get for SharePoint Online sites plus the storage space allocated for each user subscribing to these sites. The baseline limit in most plans is 10 GB for SharePoint Online sites plus 500 MB per subscribed user. Importantly, additional storage can be purchased for SharePoint Online sites. For details on the storage limits for different SharePoint Online plans, see SharePoint Online: Software  boundaries and limits.   If you’re concerned about exceeding the storage capacity of your OneDrive for Business library, consider the following options:

  • Instead of uploading  documents to your OneDrive for Business library, upload them to libraries on team  sites or community sites you’re following, and in which you have     Contribute permission for the libraries.
  • Periodically review the  documents you’re storing in your SkyDrive Pro library, and delete  documents you no longer need. Note that when you delete documents, you also need to empty the recycle bin if you also want to reclaim the storage space.

Other options for storing documents in SharePoint

Uploading to your OneDrive for Business library is typically the way to store documents, especially since the OneDrive link is always available at the top of the page. What’s more, it’s easy to share any document with selected people, with no setup requirements beyond opening the Share dialog box, and inviting people to share.

But it also makes sense to consider the lifecycle of a document. For instance, if you’re planning to share a document, and you expect people to discuss it and work on it together, you could store the document on a team site or community site, places where selected people gather with a specific sense of purpose.

Of course, sometimes you might initially store a document in your OneDrive for Business library, but then determine that it belongs in a team site or community site. It’s fine to move documents but it’s important to remember that you or other people with whom you’ve shared the document might have posted links to it, perhaps in a newsfeed. In this case, once the document is moved, these links will no longer be valid and will need to be re-created in order to point to the new location of the document. With this detail in mind, you might want to reconsider uploading certain documents to team sites or community sites in the first place.



3rd Party Options

For those who need more files to sync: There are some 3rd party tools for uni-and bi-directional server-based file system replication with SharePoint libraries on the market: