SharePoint social and Harmon.ie favorites in Outlook

 

One of my current clients works with the Harmon.ie Outlook addon for copying emails and documents to SharePoint.  I believe it is a neat and useful tool which can complement OneDrive for Business.

I recently got a request to allow users to create favorite libraries/sites on SharePoint and have this list be synced with Harmon.ie.

Summary

Harmon.ie does not seem to have a way access SharePoint 2013’s “follow” functionality. This may be possible with registry edits or custom code, but I have not found the solution yet.

However, Harmon.ie can sync with the My Links list, which is part of the User Profile Service from SharePoint 2010 and onwards. Libraries can be added to this via the “Connect to Office” button. It is also possible in MOSS 2007.

SharePoint 2013 “follow”

In SharePoint 2013, new “follow” functionality has been added, allowing users to follow People, Documents, Sites, and #Tags. It is then possible to see updates via the newsfeed on your My Site.

follow1

The idea was to allow the client to select which sites they would like to follow, then use that information for two purposes:

  1. Display a list of favorite sites on the landing page
  2. Input for the “favorites” in the Harmon.ie Outlook client

The first goal turned out to be fairly easy – once I found out that the “Site” content type on the My Site is not actually searchable. There is a premade REST/jQuery soution available via I Am Following which worked beautifully.  The page includes a link to the code download on Codeplex.

The second turned out to be quite a bit harder. I spent a lot of time investigating the Harmonie documentation and tried everything I could find, including using registry edits for site propogation in the Harmon.ie favorites. That site propagation turned out to only work for the enterprise client, not the free client and was really more for prepolating the client with specific sites. I was not able to get the registry edit “SyncFavoritesWithMyLinks” working, as described on Add My Links to the sites and favorites lists.

Conclusion: there is currently no good way to sync the followed content on SharePoint 2013 with Harmonie.

However….

My Links

After lots of frustrating, I was rereading the documentation on the Harmonie site and came across the following:

When working with SharePoint 2013/2010, harmon.ie adds the document libraries defined via the SharePoint 2013/2010 ribbon button Connect to Office to your favorites list.

Source: Favorite Locations

My Links is the old bookmarking functionality in SharePoint, used in SharePoint 2007 and 2010. It was replaced by the follow functionality in SharePoint 2013. It requires the User Profile service to be enabled, as it is a per-user list.  Clicking the button adds the current library to My Links.

You can access this, exactly as the documentation states, via the Library tab of document libraries:

follow3

This same functionality is used to create shortcuts in Microsoft Office applications for opening and saving documents.

To make this document library be added to the favorites in your Harmon.ie client, follow these steps:

  1. Click the “Connect to Office” button in the applicable library
  2. Restart Outlook (the list is checked on application startup)
  3. Find the new list in your favorites in Harmon.ie

You can maintain the My Links list by clicking on the dropdown on the Connect to Office button. You’ll see that the list looks pretty much as it did in SharePoint 2007.

follow4

 

Sources

Harmon.ie: Favorite locations (in Outlook)

Office Blogs: Following in SharePoint 2013

Thanks go to Wictor Wilén for his tips

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