A great new Microsoft Syntex update has recently become available to allow you to annotate documents in SharePoint. When the file is opened in SharePoint staff can then draw and highlight various parts of the document. This allows users to collaborate on files with others by annotating i.e. highlight key sections/values. A key point to note here is that the actual document is not modified and an additional copy of the document is not made. So the document integrity it retained i.e. modified timestamps. I think universal annotation is currently available if you have a Syntex per user licence and is only currently available for .PDF and .TIFF files.
Recently a new update has been added to Microsoft Syntex Content Assembly to allow users to generate documents using images and tables as placeholders. I’ve have loved seeing the development of Syntex Content Assembly and using it to produce documents in bulk or single. The ability to add custom images or tables to documents is a big win for my customers. They will typically have lots of information in other lists or libraries and then want to use these entries to produce checklists & reports for engineers to perform actual on-site visits.
A big change is happening to Microsoft Syntex in that pay as you go (PAYG) is coming and this usage will be billed though a Microsoft Azure Subscription. This is currently in a FREE public preview and only initially for Syntex unstructured document processing (document understanding) and prebuilt document processing. I will setup Syntex pay as you go in my M365 tenant and Azure subscription and provide my thoughts.
A new Microsoft Syntex AI document processing model was recently released called freeform which purpose is to automatically extract information from unstructured and freeform documents such as letters, contracts or correspondence. Initially I was a little confused with the new freeform model type and what scenario you would use it for, so I needed to test it out & learn. My key confusion was what exactly are "freeform" documents and seeing which documents would work best with the model? I will attempt to answer this question in this blog along with introducing the freeform model and other Syntex model renaming changes.
SharePoint Syntex now makes extensive use of the Term Store (Managed Metadata Services - MMS) and does so in many different ways which I will go through in this blog. When Microsoft were working on Project Cortex and before SharePoint Syntex & Viva Topics were even known, there was a big investment by the SharePoint engineering team to improve the term store. The term store when moved to SharePoint online from SharePoint on-premise was literally moved "as is" (I believe!) to the cloud by Microsoft and it came with the old slow modern UI. Adding/administering terms took ages as users had to wait for often long periods of time whilst navigating between terms, adding terms etc. It was sometimes very painful so some people would even avoid using the termstore altogether and lose the benefit to provide a unified set of terms to apply to content in Microsoft 365 that can be reused between sites/libraries. So it was great that in early 2020 Microsoft announced they had modernised the Term Store - I was instantly curious how this was going to be utilised in Project Cortex as little was still known about it.
There is now a new document card view to display extracted model information (metadata) in a tile view in libraries that have a SharePoint Syntex document understanding model (DUM) applied. When a document understanding model is applied from a Syntex Content Center to a new library there are now three options (under advanced settings) to choose the default view of the library. Users do not have to choose to have this new document card view as their default view but it looks very good!
Over the past year Microsoft have released Sites.Selected permissions for both Microsoft Graph & SharePoint which can be given to an Azure AD App (App Registration). When created the app by default with Sites.Selected permissions does not have access to any SharePoint sites and has to be explicitly added added using Microsoft Graph or PnP PowerShell (Grant-PnPAzureADAppSitePermission) to the site(s) to be administered. Both processes only give the access Read or Write permissions to the site and not Full Control.