So what about Joe SharePoint User?

The online SharePoint community has created this great “band of brothers” of SharePoint developers and administrators helping each other work through the ins and outs of developing for and administering SharePoint. But what about Joe SharePoint User? Who helps the poor sap that gets a SharePoint site dumped in their lap that is a result of our much toiled over installs?

There are books out there… but how feasible is that for an end user base of hundreds or even thousands of people? How do you get out those basic instructions that every content contributor needs (add a library, create a custom list, switch to edit mode)? In reality these content contributors have real jobs and can’t feasibly purchase and read these reference materials. There is the online SharePoint help reference, but it is on the technical side of things and pretty wordy for when a user just needs to know the three steps to get something done.

For my SharePoint installs, what I have done is create an end user SharePoint help site with FAQs, canned demos, and quick instructions to complete basic tasks. I don’t have any firm stats on how effective it has been, but it sure helps when I get support calls to just tell the end user to please visit this URL for their answer. I mean there are only so many times you can walk someone through adding a document to a library and not lose your mind.

The help site is a simple WSS site with lists and libraries. The permissions are set to allow any authenticated user in, and they can browse and learn at their own pace to their heart’s content. It is also a handy place to post announcements like system wide outages or that some new great resource is available. The site is not geared towards techies (they have a separate resource site filled with online articles, blogs and documentation). The site is meant for Joe SharePoint User who had no choice in the matter when it comes to how content is updated.

So I have decided to share these instructions. There is nothing earth shattering here… just the obvious written down in numbered instructions. But maybe it will help you out with your end user woes. I plan on adding to this as I can. If you have end user help solutions that work or instructions you would like to share, please do so! After all, at the end of a long day wrangling with SharePoint problems and technical challenges, the site was created for use by Joe SharePoint User.

[UPDATE 8/23/05] – Added 6 more sets of instructions for various things.

End User Instructions

Lists & Libraries

Navigation

Sites

Web Parts and Web Part Pages

 
Add a column to an existing list or library
  1. Navigate to the expanded view of the list or library.
  2. Under Actions select Modify settings and columns.
  3. Under the Columns heading, select Add a new column.
  4. In the Name and Type section, insert a name under Column name and select the type of information, or functionality, of the column.
  5. In the Optional Settings for Column section, optionally add a description for the column that provides more detail about what type of information should be entered into this column. Optionally set if data in the column is required or not and any other specific information related to that column type.
  6. Select OK. The Modify settings and columns page will load.

To reorder the column display in the New Item and Edit Item screens

  1. On the Modify settings and columns page under the Columns section, select Change the order of the fields.
  2. Using the drop down boxes to the right of each column name, reorder the column display. Select OK.

To reorder the column display in the page view

  1. On the Modify settings and columns page under the Views section, select the desired view or the default view.
  2. Under the Columns section, use the drop down boxes to the right of each column name to reorder the column display. Select OK.
 
Add a custom order to a list or library
SharePoint gives you sorting abilities for lists and libraries.

To view the available sort options:

  1. In the left navigation bar, select on the list or library name.
  2. Under Actions select Modify settings and columns.
  3. Under Views select the view name (Usually All Document on All Items).
  4. Under Sort is a drop down list with all available columns to sort the list/library by.

If none of these columns will sort the list/library according to your needs, you can setup a manual custom sort order. NOTE: This will not work for folders in a document library.

  1. In the left navigation bar, select on the list or library name.
  2. Under Actions select Modify settings and columns.
  3. Under Columns select Add a new column.
  4. For column name enter in Sort Order or your desired title.
  5. Under The type of information in this column is: select Number.
  6. Under Optional Settings for Column, add any additional information.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Click Go Back to “List/Library Name”.
  9. You should now see a Sort Order column listed.
  10. Select Edit in Datasheet.
  11. Using the datasheet view you can quickly assign each item a number for the order you want the items displayed.
  12. After all the numbers have been entered, select Modify settings and columns under the Actions menu.
  13. Under Views select the view name (Usually All Document on All Items).
  14. Under Columns deselect the check box next to Sort Order.
  15. Under Sort select the drop down under First sort by the column: and choose Sort Order
  16. Choose to show items in ascending or descending order.
  17. Click OK.
  18. Click Go Back to “List/Library Name”.

The Sort Order column should not be displayed anymore and the list/library order should be the order you specified.

When New Item is selected for this list/library, the Sort Order will be an option for data entry. If the new item needs to inserted somewhere in the existing list, all sort items will possibly need to be modified. Do this by editing each item, or by displaying the Sort Order column again the view.

 
Add a web part to a page
  1. Portal users: Select Edit Page under the Actions menu.
  2. Portal and WSS site users: In the upper left, find the Modify link that says Modify Shared Page or Modify My Page.
    1. Adding a web part to the Shared View of a page will add the web part to the page view for ALL users
    2. Adding a web part to the Personal View of a page will only add the web part to your personal view of the page, no other user will see the web part on their page unless they add it for themselves.
    3. To switch between views, click on Modify Shared/My Page and select Shared View or Personal View from the list.
  3. Click on Modify Shared Page or Modify My Page, mouse over Add Web Parts and select Browse.
  4. Under the Web Part List, drag and drop the desired web part to the location of your choice on the page.
  5. Click the X close button at the top of the Add Web Part pane to close.
 
Change the title of a list or library
  1. Navigate to the expanded view of the list or library.
  2. Under Actions select Modify settings and columns.
  3. Under the General Settings heading, select Change general settings.
  4. Under the Name and Description section, edit the name in the Name field. Optionally update the description as well in the Description field.
  5. Select OK. The Modify settings and columns page will load.
 
Change a title on a Web Part Page
  1. Navigate to the Web Part Page.
  2. On the far right side of the screen, select Modify Shared Page. Mouse over Modified Shared Web Parts, and select Web Part Page Title Bar in the menu that pops up.
  3. The Web Part Page Title Bar tool pane will load on the right side of the screen. Alter the page title under Title. You can optionally add a Caption and Description.
  4. Select OK. The tool pane will close and the title bar will update.
 
Create a list template from an existing list
Save your list as a template for use to create new lists on the same or similar site.

  1. Navigate to the expanded view of the list or library.
  2. Under Actions select Modify settings and columns.
  3. Under the General Settings heading, select Save list as template.
  4. Under the File Name section, enter a name in the File Name field.
  5. Under the Title and Description section, enter a title and description under Template title and Template description. This is the text that appears on the Create screen.
  6. Under the Include Content section, optionally choose to include the list’s content in the template file.
  7. Select OK. An operation success screen will appear with a link to the list template gallery. If the list will only be used on the current site, select OK and the Modify settings and columns page will load. If the list needs to be added to another site, select the list template gallery link on the operarion success screen.
  8. Select the template name. At the prompt, choose to Save the file locally or to a network share.
  9. Navigate to the site where the list needs to be added. Navigate to the list template gallery by removing default.aspx from the URL and appending this to the URL: _catalogs/lt/Forms/AllItems.aspx.
  10. Select Upload Template. Select Browse and browse to the saved STP template file. Select Open.
  11. Select Save and Close in the toolbar. The template file is uploaded to the gallery.
  12. Navigate to the Create page for Documents and Lists to create a new list based off the template.

Note: If the list does not appear on the Create page, contact your SharePoint administrator. You may have created the list template from a different type of site that is not compatible with the new site.

 
Create a site or workspace under an existing workspace
  1. Go to the existing workspace.
  2. Click on Modify This Workspace on the far right.
  3. Choose Site Settings.
  4. On the Site Settings page, click Manage Sites and Workspaces.
  5. Click the Create link in the bar at the top.

    ** Does not apply to document workspaces **

 
Editing the group header text in lists/libraries that utilize the Group By feature
Some lists and libraries use Grouping to organize data. How to update the text used in the grouping headers:

  1. Navigate to the expanded version of the document library or list.
  2. Select Modify Settings and columns under the Actions menu.
  3. Under Columns select the column that the list/library is grouped by, for example, Topic.
  4. Under Optional Settings for Column, the different text is listed out in the Type each choice on a separate line: field.
  5. Locate and change the text for the item.
  6. Select OK.

Now any data that was assigned the old group text will need to be assigned the newer one.

  1. Navigate to the edit screen for the list or library item.
  2. Locate the field that is being used for grouping and select the new text.
  3. Select Save and Close.
 
Format a Links web part to use a bulleted list on the home or area page view
  1. Go to the portal area or WSS site with the Links web part.
  2. Portal users: Select Edit Page under the Actions menu.
  3. Portal and WSS site users: In the upper left, find the Modify link that says Modify Shared Page.
  4. Click on Modify Shared Page, mouse over Modify Shared Web Parts and select the name of the Links web part.
  5. The Link web part tool pane will load on the right side of the screen.
  6. In the tool pane under Selected View, select the drop down and choose <Summary View>. An alert dialog will pop up warning you that switching views will remove any changes you have made to the view and may disable Web Part connections that depend on columns in the view. Select OK.
  7. In the tool pane, select OK. The tool pane will close and the Links web part will update using images as bullets.
 
Move a document in a document library to another library location
  1. Click on the document library header in the title bar to open the expanded view of the library.
  2. On the left navigation bar under Select a View, select Explorer View.
  3. Right click the document you want to move or copy, at the prompt click Yes, and then select Copy or Cut.
  4. Directly to the left of the files is the Other Places menu. Click the Document Library name at the top of that list to navigate to where the document needs to be copied/moved to.
  5. Right click in the open area where the files are, at the prompt click Yes, and select Paste.
  6. Return to the regular view by selecting All Documents under Select a View.
 
Order the left side navigation (WSS/Team Sites only)
The left hand side navigation of all WSS/team sites is a list of the available lists and libraries on the site. The Documents, Pictures, Lists, Discussions, Surveys, and My Information links are static and can not be removed. The links listed under each appear in the order that their navigation setting was turned on. It is a “first added, first listed” method.

It is possible to order the links, but it is a manual process that requires manual updates every time a new item is listed.

Steps to update the left navigation in a predetermined order:

  1. Determine the desired order.
  2. In the left navigation bar, select on the list or library name.
  3. Under Actions select Modify settings and columns.
  4. Under General Settings, select Change general settings.
  5. Under Navigation, select the No radio button.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Go through each list/library and complete this step.
  8. After every list/library has been removed from the left side navigation, start with the list/library you would like to display first and return to the Navigation setting. Refer to steps 2-4 above to do this.
  9. Under Navigation, select the Yes radio button.
  10. Click OK.
  11. Go to each list/library and complete this step in the order you want them to display on the left navigation bar.
  12. Any new lists/libraries added to the site after this has been completed will appear at the bottom of the list of links.
 
Remove the “Add New XXX” links from the portal area page
Note: This tip is more geared for Portals, as the general target audiences for portal sites are large and are Readers only. WSS sites should keep Add New and Edit functions (if appropriate) since their purpose is collaboration.

  1. Select Edit Page under the Actions menu.
  2. In the upper left, find the Modify link that says Modify Shared Page.
  3. Click on Modify Shared Page, mouse over Modify Shared Web Parts, and then select the web part from the list that appears.
  4. The web part tool pane will load on the right side of the screen.
  5. In the top portion of the tool pane there is Selected View and Toolbar Type. Change the Toolbar Type to No Toolbar.
  6. Select OK. The page will reload and the Add New XXX link for that web part will disappear.
 
Set up announcements to disappear from the screen when they pass their expiration date
Note: This does not apply to the expanded view of the announcements web part. In the expanded view you can still access all announcements until they are permanently deleted manually.

  1. For Portal: Select Edit Page under the Actions menu; Select the arrow to the right of the announcements title bar and select Modify Shared Web Part.
    For WSS Site: Select the arrow to the right of the announcements title bar and select Modify Shared Web Part.

  2. Under Selected View, select Edit the Current View.
  3. Under Filter, select these options:
    1. Select Show items only when the following is true:
    2. Under Show the items when column, in the first drop down select Expires.
    3. In the second drop down select is greater than or equal to.
    4. In the field, enter [Today].
  4. Select OK.
 

Dustin Miller and Heather Solomon from SharePoint Experts