Frequently asked questions in Activities

This topic lists the questions that Activities users ask most often and provides brief answers.

What is an activity?
An activity is a place where the people involved in a project can share information, assign tasks, and share resources, such as files, tools, and websites.
What is a community activity?
If Communities is deployed in your enterprise, you can create an activity from within the Communities application. A community activity can help a community work together to reach a specific goal. If the community from which the activity is created is a public or moderated community, then the activity is also public. If the community is private, then the activity will also be private. Community activities are displayed in the Activities views. When you open a community activity, information about the community to which it belongs is displayed in a community card in the navigation pane. The community card includes links that you can click to switch to the Communities application and work with the associated community.
Can I turn a standard activity into a community activity?
There is no automatic way to transform an activity. However, you can perform the following steps to start a community activity that contains most of the content in a standard activity.
  1. From Activities, save the standard activity as an activity template.
  2. From the community, start a new activity. Expand Template options, and then click Pick an Activity Template to choose the template you created in the previous step.
  3. To prevent confusing the standard and community versions of the activity, either delete the original activity if it is no longer needed or specify a different name for the community version of the activity.
Note: The members from the original activity cannot be added to the community version of the activity. The membership list of the community activity is determined by the membership list of the community.
How do I know which type of activity I am viewing?
Both standard and community activities are displayed from the My Activities view in the Activities application. The text Community Activity is displayed next to the title of a community activity. From within an activity, you know that you are viewing a community activity if a community card is displayed first in the navigation pane. Otherwise, you are viewing a standard activity.
What is a tag?
A tag is a single-word term that you assign to an activity or entry. All added tags are displayed in a tag collection that can be displayed as a list or a cloud. You can click a tag in the tag collection to retrieve a list of entries or activities that use the same tag.
What are the benefits of using tags?
  • Finding content that you added. When you categorize entries or activities with a single word that you define, it makes it easier to find the entry or activity later because the tag gets added to the tag collection. From an individual activity or an activities view, you can click the tag in the tag collection to retrieve the associated entry or activity.
  • Finding related content. Not only is the entry or activity that you tagged returned when you click a tag in the tag collection, but related activities or entries are also returned. Anything tagged with the same term, either by you or someone else and to which you have access, is returned. In this way, tagging helps you to discover new and potentially useful information.
  • Identifying trends. Tagging also makes it easier for you to determine what your colleagues are working on because the tag collection visualizes the most popular tags. The tag cloud displays the tags that are used most often in a larger, bolder font. The tag list displays the tags that are used most often first in the list. As a result, one glimpse at the tag collection can tell you what the members of your activities are most interested in.
What is a custom field?
Custom fields are fields that you can add to an entry to collect specific types of information. The following field types are supported:
  • Date. Stores a date value. You can type a date into the field or select a date from the calendar control that is displayed when the field is given focus.
  • Person. Stores a name. When you begin to type a person's name into the field, a list of names from the directory is displayed. You can choose a name from the list or continue to type the name or email address of the person.
  • Text. Stores unformatted text.
You can add any number of these field types, and then customize them by changing the field labels. By default, each entry is named after its field type. For example, the date field is named Date. You can then change the field label to reflect the information that you want to collect in the Date field; you could rename the field to Deadline, for example. By adding several new custom fields, and renaming them, you can create a custom entry.
What is an entry template?
An entry template is a prototype of an entry. Because you can add custom fields to an entry, you can also save a customized entry as an entry template, so that you can use it again later.
What is an activity template?
An activity template is a prototype of an activity. You can use a template to capture the required steps, contacts, resources, and tools used to complete a common process. After you create the template, you can create multiple activities from it for each project you begin that uses the process. You can create a template from a community activity and a community activity from a template. However, you cannot associate member information with a community activity template.
Why am I unable to drag and drop an entry?
You may not have permission to edit the entry. You can only move entries that you can edit. Owners can drag and drop any entry and authors can drag and drop only entries that they created. A quick way to determine whether you have permission to move an entry is to mouse on the entry. If you can move it, a drag handle is displayed. If you cannot move it, nothing is displayed. To help you determine where you can drop an entry, a drop box is displayed when you drag the entry to an area where it can be dropped.
How can I add structure to my activity?
Use the Activity Outline view. By default, the view has a flat structure. You can add structure to it by grouping entries together into sections.
What is a section?
A section functions as a container for a set of activity entries. When you add sections to an activity, you add structure to the activity. Rather than letting the structure be defined by an entry thread or the date on which entries were added, you can use sections to group entries together in a way that make sense to you and other activity members. You cannot create a multi-layered hierarchy in an activity; you cannot add sections to a section.
Why is the My Activities view empty?
The My Activities view displays all of the active activities to which you have access. This view is empty in the following cases:
  • You are a new user. This view is empty until you create an activity or are added to an activity by someone else.
  • Your activities were automatically marked complete due to inactivity. If you are not a new user and have participated in activities before, but they are not being displayed in your My Activities view, look for them in the Completed view. By default, the server marks an activity complete if it has not been updated in 90 days.

    If an activity has been marked complete, but should not have been, it can be restored to the My Activities view by the activity owner. If you are not the activity owner, ask the owner to restore it. (You can find out who owns it by opening the activity from the Completed view and expanding the Members section.) If you are the owner, to restore the activity, find it in the Completed view, click More to expand the activity description, and then click Restore.

    Note: Your system administrator can change the time interval after which activities are automatically marked complete.
  • If there is an activity that you know you have accessed before, but you cannot find it in the My Activities view, try looking in the Active view in Public Activities. Public activities have no membership list, but instead are accessible to anyone who has access to the Activities server. Public activities only display in the My Activities view if you are the creator or are a member of the activity.
How can I prevent unwanted activities from cluttering up my views?
One approach is to pare down the activities that are displayed in your My Activities view. Always mark activities for which you have accomplished the goal as completed. This action removes them from the My Activities view. You can also tune out of an activity; when you do so, it is removed from your My Activities view.

Another approach is to assign priority levels to your activities. For example, you can mark important activities as having a high priority. When you do so, they are added to the High Priority view. You can then go straight to that view to find out what is new in the activities that you most care about. The best part is that the priority settings that you specify are private; the priority views that result from them are unique to your environment. In other words, your manager will not find out if you tune out of an activity.

How do I determine whether to delete, complete, or tune out of an activity?
  • Deleting. Only delete an activity that you and all of the activity members no longer need. Deleting the activity moves it to the Trash view. You can restore a deleted activity from the Trash view, but only until the trash is emptied. Trash removal is done on a schedule that is specified by your administrator. You can only delete an activity that you own.
  • Completing. After you finish using an activity to track the progress of a work project, mark it complete. Completing an activity moves it to the Completed view. You can always reference completed activities from the Completed view; this view is not emptied. You can only complete an activity that you own.
  • Tuning out. If you are not interested in an activity, you can tune out of it to prevent it from showing up in your main views. The importance that you designate for your activities is private, so no other members will know if you tune out of an activity. Members can still send you notifications about specific entries. Any member role can tune out of an activity.
Why am I unable to delete a member from an activity?
You must be an author or owner of an activity to remove a member. Owners can remove any member. An author can remove readers and other authors only. You can remove yourself from an activity, but only if you are not the sole remaining owner of the activity. If that is the case, change the role of an existing member to Owner, and then delete yourself. You can only edit the member list of a community activity if the members were added individually and not as part of a full community's membership, and you can only remove authors and readers. If the full community membership list was given access to the activity, you must remove the member from the associated community. To remove a member, click Members in the navigation pane, click Remove for the person's name, and then click OK. After you remove a member, entries created by that member can still be viewed by the remaining members, and can be edited or deleted by the owners of the activity.

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