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7 Quick Tips About IBM Connections

November 11th, 2016 | Posted by elfworld in Connections | IBM - (7 Comments)

IBM Connections is a great tool for collaboration. But there are some very quick and cool things you can do to make it work even more efficient for you. Here are 7 tips:

1) Filter your activity stream

A lot of people find the activity stream (news stream on the IBM Connections front page) to be overwhelming and confusing. Not to worry, you can filter out anything you want. There’s a pull down menu at the top of the activity stream, under the status field, that you can use to choose the specific information you want to se updates from:

Pull down menu

Click on it to choose the application you want to see updates from, so that you won’t get drowned in information:

Pull down menu options

 

2) Save postings for later

Sometimes you see a posting in the activity stream that you want to either read or follow up on, but you haven’t got time right now. This can simply be solved by saving the posting. Simply click on Save to save it for later:

Save posting

You will find this posting under Saved in the left menu. Read all about saving and unsaving postings here.

 

3) Sort a search result by application

Let say you do a search on all contents in Connections:

Search field

 

The search result will look like this:

Search result

You can now sort the search result by application by clicking on the application name in the left side menu:

Search menu

If you want to look only in files, you choose Files. If you want to search only in wikis, you choose Wikis. And so on.

 

4) Quickly find your most recently updated communities

A very quick way to find your most recently updated communities is to click on the Communities menu at the top. Those communities will be listed at the bottom of the pull down menu:

Communities menu

 

5) Find the latest post in a forum thread that is sorted as a conversation

In a forum thread, you can choose to sort it either by date (upon which you can choose to show the oldest or newest posting at the top) or by conversation. If it’s sorted by conversation, it can sometimes be hard to know what the newest posting is. Luckily you have a link at the top of the forum thread where you can choose to jump to the latest post:

Latest posting

 

6) Convert an activity entry into a To do

Sometimes someone will post or share something into an activity that triggers the need for an action. In those cases it’s important to set a due date and assign this task to someone. Thankfully, you can actually convert most activity entries into a To do. Here’s a an ordinary entry. By expanding it and then click on the More pulldown menu, we find the option for converting it into a To do:

Convert to To do

After choosing this, you can assign it to someone, as well as set a due date and add tags and more information and attachments. You can even convert emails that have been uploaded to the activity in this way!

 

7) Quickly search for people and profiles

Under the Profiles menu at the top, you find a menu item called Directory:

Directory menu

After clicking on this you will get a search field where you can simply start typing the name of the profile or person you’re searching for. Connections will suggest profiles for you while typing

I hope these quick tips are useful to you. If so, please leave a comment or share it on social media. If you have anything you want to add or give me feedback, leave comment!

Very often, the start page of a wiki in IBM Connections tends to look like this:

Text only wiki

This looks very dull. It’s not very inviting for the users and the need for scrolling will make it harder for the users to find what they are looking for. Yes, you can tell the users to search the wiki, but believe me, they won’t!

I’ll admit it straight away: The wiki pictured above is made by yours truly, and it was made to document how to make wikis (am I meta or what?). The feedback from the users was that while my documentation was really good, it wasn’t very inviting for them to start using it. In this day and age, people want easier access to things. They want pictures and graphics, and their cell phones have spoiled them when it comes to no need for scrolling and having big colorful buttons to push.

A few months later we introduced Skype for Business in our company. And when the time came to create a wiki on how to use Skype for Business, I decided to try and spruce up the documentation a bit more. So this is the start page for the Skype for Business wiki:

Wiki icons

This time the feedback was much better:

  • Users didn’t have to scroll
  • The page looked much more inviting with graphics
  • The icons and text gave a good description of what each link was about

Both the icons and the text are clickable links (I show you how to make image links in a Connections wiki further down in this posting) and we took this even a step further in our next wiki. I can’t take full credit for what I’m showing you next. It was shown to me by Erik Borse from the company Item, and I rolled with it and expanded upon it.

We created a wiki to document our internal processes. From the wiki start page (which I cannot show you), you can click on an icon for Strategy and management. This is the wiki page you arrive at if you click on that icon:

Powerpoint icons

Each box is clickable, and it gives the user a quick and easy way to click on further down in the wiki structure. In addition, each box has it’s own unique color. If a user clicks on the orange box, all boxes and colors on the underlying pages will be orange. This way the user knows she is still within the same subject and page structure.

The really good part here is that there’s no need for the users to design those graphic buttons in a graphical tool You can create them in Microsoft Powerpoint.

  1. Start Powerpoint
  2. Go to the ribbon called Insert:
    Insert ribbon
  3. Click on Shapes:
    Shapes
  4. Choose the shape you want. The mouse pointer will now become a cross hair
  5. Click inside the Powerpoint document, hold the left mouse button pressed and then drag the mouse pointer to the right until you the figure has reached the desired size:
    Shape
  6. Release the mouse button
  7. Double click on the shape to go into editing mode. Add the text you want. If the text gets too big, you can either decrease the font size (just like you would change font size in a normal text document) or click on any of the circles surrounding the shape to resize it by pulling back or forth:
    Shape with text
  8. You can change the color of the shape in the ribbon menu:
    Color ribbon
  9. Click on the shape and make sure it looks like this:
    Shape with text
  10. Copy it (Hold down CTRL+C). If you hear an error sound from Windows, click outside the box and the inside it again to mark it. Try again
  11. Go to the wiki article, put it in edit mode, place the cursor in the spot where you want to paste the shape and paste it (CTRL + V):
    Pasted

PS! Making buttons like this from Powerpoint only works in Windows, it will not work on a Mac! 

What will work on both in Windows, Linux and on a Mac, however, is pasting regular images into the wiki article. And now I’ll show you how to create a link to another wiki-article, so that when a users clicks on an image, that article will load. This method works both for regular images and images created with Powerpoint:

  1. Open the wiki article you want to link to
  2. Go to the URL-field, mark the entire text and click copy it (either by right clicking on it or CTRL + C):
    Copy URL
  3. Go to the wiki article you are editing and click on the image you want to create into a link, right click on it and choose Image Properties:
    Image Properties
  4. The following screen will pop up:
    Image Properties Popup
  5. Click on the tab called Link:
    Link tab
  6. The popup will now give you this form:
    Link attributes
  7. Paste the wiki page address into the URL field. Use the Target pull down field to choose whether this link should be opened in a new window or not
  8. Click OK

That’s it. Now the image will contain a link that will open the wiki page you linked to. Save the wiki article and test that everything works fine (it should).

I’m not saying this is the perfect way to construct wikis, but in my experience it does make wikis look nice and easier to use. And it’s really easy to learn how to do it, without becoming an HTML expert. Of course, if you do know HTML, you can make some pretty impressive wiki designs, but I wanted to show you an easy trick which is more achievable for everyone.

Did you like this tip? Leave a comment either here or on the social media platform where you found it! And give me a follow!

Just like you have version control of files in IBM Connections, you also have complete version control of wiki articles inside a wiki. Every time someone edits an article, and save the changes, the last version of that wiki article will be kept.

The versions of the article are listed at  the bottom of the wiki article. Click on the tab Versions, to the righ of the tab Comments:

Wiki versions

Restore previous version

You can restore a previous version of a wiki article in the following way:

  1. Find the version you want to restore and click on the link to the right called Restore:
    Restore wiki article
  2. You will now get the following message:
    Wiki versions
  3. Click OK to restore this version. This will now be the current version, and the version you replaced will now be pushed down on the list. Connections will even tell you what version you restored the current version from:
    New version

You can now of course restore back to the previous version by clicking on the Restore link behind it in the list. Here I’ve done this:

Restore original

Compare versions of wiki article

You can also compare versions to see what’s different between them. If there is more than one version of a wiki article, you will see this at the bottom, under the tab Versions:

Versions

To compare two versions against each other you choose the number of the versions in the pull down fields. In the picture above, I’ve selected to compare version five against version four. Click on Show comparison. Both articles will now shown next to each other:

Version comparison

The text marked green is the text that’s been added or changed in the newest version and the items coloured yellow are text that’s been deleted in the newest version.

You can also choose to compare other versions in the fields at the top:

Choose version

So as you can see version control of wiki articles is a very useful tool.

Please leave your feedback below. Always appreciated. And if you have any questions regarding Connections, don’t hesitate to ask.