Blog posts

Updating your Device(s)

ICT actively encourages users to regularly update devices for a number of reasons …


    1. Security patches and updates
    2. Device health
    3. Compatibility with applications and services
    4. Latest features and functionality


All of the reasons are important, but in a world where we now work on the basis of “zero trust”, security is of paramount importance.


Suppliers and software application work on a similar basis of “trust no-one” and “keep the device up to date”.


Many applications will only work on a limited subset of previous versions.  Most of the major software companies, including Microsoft, work on the basis of supporting apps to run on the current and one or two previous versions.


On 1st March 2023, Microsoft Teams will only work on iOS 15 and higher.  This ensures security and functionality stay “in step” and provides the best experience to you.


If you use Microsoft Teams on any iOS device that has a version of 14 or lower then you should be updating the operating system to the latest version possible for your device so that you can continue to work.  This will also ensure that you have the latest security patches and updates and are not putting yourself or others at undue risk.


Updating your device is simple and easy.  Head to the device settings and under General look for Software Update.  Ideally you should turn on automatic updates.  Update your device or upgrade to the latest iOS 16.

SharePoint – Essentials

The Microsoft 365 suite contains many powerful tools and services.  SharePoint is the most fundamental in delivering storage to support almost all these services.

SharePoint can, however, be confusing so in this blog post we’ll aim to try and clear up some of the confusion.

If you take only one thing from reading this post it should be this …

    • One Drive for Business is for Personal file storage.
    • SharePoint is for group files.
    • SharePoint is for much more than just storing group files.

So let’s dig into this a bit more …


1. Fundamentals.

SharePoint is NOT just another file share (or the place where your group files are going to be moved to)!  SharePoint contains many useful elements and for some it is the versatile swiss army knife of collaboration.

A SharePoint site can not only deliver file storage so that you and your work group, department or faculty can work together on files.  It can also deliver pages of information, news, and act as a landing page for your team where they can discover what’s happening and see updated information.

For this to work, you are going to need to understand some other concepts and have people who are prepared to manage and update the site and pages.


2. OneDrive for Business vs SharePoint.


As already stated, OneDrive for Business (ODfB) is for personal file storage.  ODfB is NOT for long term sharing or storage of group files.

You can see our One Drive for Business Basics blog here.

SharePoint is the place for Group files and group working.


3. What’s a Site, a Page, a Document Library and a Web Part?


SharePoint Site – is the collection of pages, documents and information delivered as a managed area where you can set specific access rights for a group of users.

Page – is a webpage in the SharePoint site.  You can deliver information and dynamic access using “web parts”.  A web part is a function which can help you to show information such as a time in a different location, weather or a collection of files or other useful elements.

Document Library – this is a storage space where you can group files and then grant access to a group of people to the whole library.  So for example you might want to include different sets of useful information or files into a discreet document library – e.g. finance files in a separate document library from HR files or work instructions, or maybe you want a more easily accessible video library of meeting recordings or training videos.

Web Part – this is a small piece of pre-written code that is built to work on a SharePoint page to allow you to deliver some specific information.


4. Security in SharePoint


When a SharePoint site is created it comes with three default groups – the Owners, Members and Visitors groups.

Owners – these are the people responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the site.  They have the ability to add people to the other groups (Members and Visitors), create new groups and add people to those groups, change the access controls and generally have a large range of controls.

Members – these are the regular collaborating users in the group / department / faculty.  They generally have edit access to the site so can potentially add and update new pages, add, edit and delete files from document libraries and see what is in the site.

Visitors – the people added to the visitors group usually have “read only” permission – so they can read pages of information and view files within the document library, but they can’t edit the files.

So the default permissions are …

Site Owners = Full Control
Site Members = Edit
Site Visitors = Read

It is possible to change the access for a page or a file so that a restricted set of people have access, or to grant additional people access to a resource within the SharePoint site.

The other permissions that can commonly be granted to users or groups of users are as follows:

Full Control – Has full control
Design – Can view, add, update, delete, approve, and customize
Edit – Can add, edit and delete lists; can view, add, update and delete list items and documents
Contribute – Can view, add, update, and delete list items and documents
Read – Can view pages and list items and download documents
View – Can view pages, list items, and documents but not download

NOTE the difference between Read and View – a user with view access cannot download a document but someone with Read access can!


5. Metadata


Metadata is a means of filtering or refining a data set.  So in SharePoint that might be a list of recordings, but with metadata you can filter based on the subject covered, etc.  In the exaple shown below we have added a column to contain metadata about the subjects covered in some videos.


Image of a SharePoint library showing metadata


6. Syncing


The simple rule here is … DON’T Sync SharePoint libraries.

SharePoint document libraries are generally VERY large.  When you sync a document library (or add a shortcut to OneDrive for Business) then the library or shortcut linked area get synced using the OneDrive for Business sync client.

If you have a whole department’s or research group’s files in a SharePoint document library then you also run the risk of accidental deletion and potentially then not being able to recover files.

As an example, after syncing just 35,000 files from a library containing 230,000 files,  it took over 2 hours to “un-sync” the library!  That’s on a VERY fast (1.2Gbps) fibre optic internet connection with zero contention.

Microsoft’sown documentation has limits and guidance on the total number of files that you should sync across One Drive for Business and synced SharePoint libraries (your “sync set”).  Many SharePoint libraries would breach this recommendation in their own right, let alone as part of a larger “sync set”.

Imperial ICT do NOT recommend syncing of SharePoint document libraries and in fact on many SharePoint sites the functionality is disabled to prevent offline file storage (synced files).


New Features and Updates in Microsoft 365 – December 2022 and January 2023

A number of new features and updates have been announced affecting several Microsoft 365 apps and services.


Viva Insights

Viva Insights brings you a daily email briefing before you start your day, helping to ensure that you have the right information in advance of your meetings and reminders which are pertinent to you.  The Viva Insight briefing email is personal to you and cannot be seen by anyone else.


In January 2023, Microsoft will be pausing the briefing emails while they implement improvements and additional personalisation.  The current update states that briefings should return at the end of February following the “make over”.

During the period when there are no emails, you can still view your personal insights by using the Outlook add-in or adding the Viva Insights app to Microsoft Teams.


Microsoft Teams Updates

Everyone Mention

Commencing in late January 2023, a new feature will roll out allowing Teams users to mention everyone in a group chat or meeting chat in one simple way.  Currently you can @ mention each person individually, which is fine in a small group chat or meeting chat, but if you have a large meeting chat or group chat running and want to alert everyone there is currently no simple way to do this.


Once the new feature is live you will be able to type @everyone and then everyone in the chat will receive a notification just like they do when they are individually @ mentioned at the moment.


Breakout Rooms

From late December ’22 or early January ’23 depending on roll out, Teams Breakout Rooms will support co-organiser management.  So if you create a meeting and set a “co organiser” on the meeting then the co-organiser will have full management rights over Breakout Rooms.


More Reactions in Teams

A greatly expanded set of reactions are currently rolling out in Teams for use in Chat and Team conversations.  The reactions for meetings remain limited for simplicity, but for chat and threaded conversations there are now over 800 “emojis” to choose from.  These are available from December 2022.


Multi Factor Authentication Improvements

Commencing at the end of February 2023, Microsoft will begin roll out of enhanced Multi Factor Authentication replacing the push notifications with number matching.  Many organisations are seeing an increase in attacks due to MFA fatigue due to users just hitting approve without thinking about what they are approving.

Number matching requires the up to date Microsoft Authenticator app to be installed from either the iOS App store or Google Play store fro Android devices.  If you have been approving MFA requests via an Apple watch then you should uninstall the apple watch app and approve all authentication requests via the phone – the watch app does NOT support number matching.

Number matching works by displaying a number following successful username and password verification.  The authenticator app will then provide information on what app is being accessed and the location of the access request (including a map display) and require the user to enter the number as displayed on the login screen of the app.

Screenshot of number matching at login

Number matching display during login


Screenshot of Authenticator app during number matching

Number matching on Authenticator App

One Drive for Business – Basics

One Drive for Business (ODfB) is the personal storage area assigned to each user as part of their Office 365 license.

One Drive for Business is delivered as a “personal SharePoint site”.  You get all the great SharePoint features such as collaboration and co-authoring if you choose to share a file (see below for some guidance), but it is a personal site.

If you look at the address for your One Drive for Business, you’ll see that it has “-my” after the tenant name but that it sits on SharePoint, and the address also contains your User Principle Name (but with the @ and . characters replaced with _).


Within Imperial College London, every user gets an initial quota of 5 Terra Bytes (5TB) of storage space.  If you manage to fill that (and there’s no competition to try!), then we can extend your quota further should you need it.  We can only do that once your One Drive for Business is consistently using more than 90% (4.5TB) of the quota.

OK – so how much is 5TB really?

85,000 CD quality MP3 tracks – roughly equivalent to 1,000,000 hours of listening, which is about 114 years of back to back listening.


1.5 million photos


2,500 DVD quality movies


File Versioning

OneDrive for Business and SharePoint both support automatic file versioning.  So you don’t have to add version numbers onto documents any more, nor do you have to remember where you are up to.

When you open a file from your ODfB the default is to open the current version.

You can see all the versions of a file by clicking on the vertical dots to the right of the file name (when you hover over the file in the browser) and then choosing Version History.

Screenshot showing how to find version history for a file on OneDrive for Business

Screenshot showing how to access version history.

Once you have the version history open you can choose to delete a version or restore an earlier version.  Alternatively you can open a version so that you can compare it against the current version.
Note – you can only Open the current version (you can’t restore it because it is the most up to date version and you can’t delete the current version).

Screenshot showing version history for a file

Screenshot showing version history for a file.

Screenshot showing options for a file version

Screenshot showing actions that can be carried out on a version of a file.

Recycle Bin

You can delete a file or version of a file and then restore it for yourself.

This works for 90 days, after which you will need to ask ICT for assistance, up to 180 days.

If you deleted it more than 180 days ago, then it’s gone for good.

Use the Recycle Bin link in the navigation bar on the left side of your ODfB to see the files and folders that you deleted.

Screenshot of recycle bin

How to access the Recycle Bin in One Drive for Business.

Select a file or version of a file to then be able to restore the file.

Screenshot showing how to restore a file or file version from the recycle bin

Screenshot showing how to restore a file or file version from the recycle bin



Do NOT share files with large numbers of people or for long term sharing.  Use a SharePoint site for long term group access or sharing.

Sharing from your One Drive for Business is designed for short-term, small-scale collaboration.  It is NOT designed for you to deliver long term access or to run a group or department file share.

N.B. If you have shared files and are leaving College then you need to give those files to someone else – when you leave College your license to access Microsoft 365 will be revoked and your personal One Drive for Business data will be deleted automatically.

Imperial College London do NOT allow “anyone” sharing.  Anonymous links are dangerous and can lead to serious GDPR data breaches.


Screenshot showing how to start sharing wizard

Screenshot showing how to start sharing wizard


The sharing controls

The sharing controls


Advanced sharing controls

Advanced sharing controls

You can share directly with people, either by selecting them from the internal directory, or with external people by entering their email address or institution UPN.

Screenshot showing how to add people to sharing

Screenshot showing how to add people to sharing

When you choose to share you can control what level of access is provided (Edit, Review or Read).

Sharing access levels

Sharing access levels


Sharing access levels - main sharing dialogue box

Sharing access levels


You can also see what you have shared by using the Shared link in the left navigation bar in ODfB.  You can then choose between the files that have been “Shared with you” (i.e. shared by others for you to read, review or edit) or “Shared by you” (your files which you have shared).

Screenshot showing shared files

Screenshot showing shared files


You can control the access at any time.  Select the file or folder and then click on the menu and choose “manage access”.  You can stop all access by clicking on the “Stop sharing” option at the top, or you can change the access for individuals who no longer need access.


Access to manage access

Access to manage access


Managing access

Managing access


What’s a UPN?

Your UPN is your User Principle Name.  At imperial we use username followed by the domain (which means it is different from our primary email address).  Other institutions may well also have a UPN which is different to the primary email address.

If you are sharing with others then ask them if they have a Microsoft 365 UPN (i.e. do they login with something other than their primary email address).

UPNs are also used when adding people to Microsoft 365 groups to ensure that the user is correctly authenticated and access is granted appropriately.

If you are being added to a group (Team or email group) at another institution, make sure that you have given them your UPN for seamless access.

Do you know who are you sharing with? Profile pictures make life easier.

Office 365 is an amazing set of tools and it makes it very easy to share and collaborate on documents, BUT do you know with whom you are sharing a file?


We usually use a user’s email address or look them up in the address book by typing their name, but what happens when you have multiple people with similar names?


Here at Imperial we’d suggest that adding a photo to your profile will really help you and your colleagues to connect successfully.  Your profile photo is only visible within College, so external users won’t see your profile photo.  Having a profile photo on your account can really help avoid those “oops, I sent it to the wrong person” type errors.


How do I set or update a Profile Picture?

  1. Log in to using your username and password and MFA if required.
  2. Click on the icon at the top right where your initials (or current picture are visible)

  3. Hover over the initials or icon and a camera image will appear – click on this to bring up a Change or Upload picture window (if you have pop ups turned off in your web browser then you will
    need to allow these before you can change your profile picture).

  4. Choose to upload a picture – select your profile picture using the file explorer window and click open to upload the picture.

  5. Use the zoom controls and the cursor to move the picture so that it is centred in the frame
  6. Click Apply – the new picture will be applied

  7. Click Done – and see your new profile picture against your account.


What “rules” apply to Profile Pictures?

Imperial ICT recommends that your profile picture should be a genuine likeness of you.

College has professional profile photo shoots held at different campuses throughout the year (see Staff photoshoot | Administration and support services | Imperial College London for details), or you could just ask a colleague to take a photo for you on your phone and then upload that.

Outlook and Teams Updates – November 2022

Following Microsoft Ignite (Microsoft’s annual technical conference), a number of updates for Outlook and Teams have been released.


During the Ask Me Anything (AMA) session held on 8 November 2022 many of these were covered with quick demos.

The session recording can now be viewed here (Imperial users only).


If you want to join future AMA sessions then please register to be added to the invitation by following the instructions in the blog post here.

Office 365 Training – 2022 / 23

Flipped open silhouette of a head with Office 365 app icons


We are delighted to announce the new 2022 / 23 training sessions bookable for the following Office 365 courses.


Getting Started with Office 365

This course covers the basics of Office 365 to help you get started and be confident using One Drive for Business, Office Online and to work with colleagues on shared documents.

Running at 10am on the following dates:

20 October 2022
08 December 2022
12 January 2023
07 March 2023
22 May 2023
03 July 2023

Click here to book.

Collaborating with Microsoft Teams and other O365 Services

Do you want to know how to do more with Microsoft Teams, collaborating with your colleagues, working in a single multifaceted workspace?  Come and find out how to do more with Microsoft Teams and other collaborative services.

Running at 2pm on the following dates:

20 October 2022
08 December 2022
12 January 2023
07 March 2023
22 May 2023
03 July 2023

Click here to book.


Join the OneNote training to find out how you can replace the paper notebooks, search for content and use the “swiss army knife” app that is included in your Office 365 subscription.  In addition to looking at personal Notebooks, the course touches on the use of Class and Staff notebooks for teaching and management purposes.

Spaces are available at 10am on the following dates:

03 November 2022
15 December 2022
16 January 2023
09 March 2023
25 May 2023
04 July 2023

Book a place here.

Power Automate

This introductory course will help you get started with Power Automate – understanding the basics and how to build automation for personal productivity.  Automation can help with saving time and reducing errors by removing the human element from repetitive task processing.  Build it once, reuse the process time and time again in a repeatable method.

Sessions are running at 2pm on the following dates:

03 November 2022
15 December 2022
16 January 2023
09 March 2023
25 May 2023
04 July 2023

Book a place here.

An Introduction to SharePoint

We are developing a new SharePoint course and will announce further details once this is available.


Available on demand most Tuesdays from 2.45pm.

Learn about the new Webinar feature in Teams and attend the training so that you can then request the Webinar feature for your account.

Book a session here.

Office 365 Ask Me Anything (Well Almost) – 2022 / 23


We’re pleased to announce our new season of Office 365 Ask Me Anything sessions for the Academic Year 2022 / 23.


These will start on Tuesday 13 September 2022 at 10am and then be held on 2nd Tuesday of the month at 10am and on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 9am.

We’re varying the times a little as we know it’s not always convenient to make a 9am or a 10am slot.

We also know there are some clashes so we’ll try to move things for obvious clashes of date.


Online using Microsoft Teams


These sessions are open to all staff to join, listen, watch and ask questions about components of Office 365.

More Info

Whether you want to know about Teams Meetings or Webinars, new functionality being introduced or how to do something clever in Power Automate come along and find out more.

Some sessions will have a particular focus while others will be completely open.


Sign up by completing the online form.  We’ll then add you to the sessions.


Creating Accessible Content using Office 365 Tools

We all create content that is viewed and used by others.  Do we actually think about our reader(s) and their needs?


Over 70% of all disabilities are invisible.  That means that many reader(s) would benefit from some form of accessible content.


I found this blog post which outlines 10 habits that we can all adopt to deliver more accessible content for our reader(s).


View the blog at 10 Habits to create accessible content – Microsoft Accessibility Blog

Screen capture in Windows and Mac OS

There are lots of reasons why you might want to grab a clipping of the whole or part of your screen.  Whether you are writing instructions for a handbook or a procedure, or just trying to capture an error message to pass on to your local support person.


Both Windows and Mac operating systems have built in screen clipping functionality.



To invoke screen clipping on a Windows 10 or 11 system press the Windows, Shift and S keys at the same time.  You will be presented with a floating bar which allows you to choose to clip the whole screen, or you can click and hold the left mouse button while selectig the area to “clip”.


Once clipped you can choose to open the clipping in an editor where you can add ink and highlighter marks, and you can save your clipping as a picture file for later use.  You can also copy your edited clip including inking and paste that into a document or email.


Find out more about Windows screen clipping on Microsoft’s support pages.


Mac OS

You can grab the whole screen by using the Command, Shift and 3 keys at the same time.


If you just want to select part of a screen then press Command, Shift and 4 at the same time, then use the mouse cursor to select the area that you wish to clip.


Find out more about Screen clipping for Mac OS at Apple’s support pages.