Learning SharePoint: the Basics

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If your organization relies on SharePoint to run its business processes, you most surely have already noticed that working with SharePoint is challenging and requires some learning and preparation. We’re taking up the task to help you with learning SharePoint step by step. Let’s start with the basics!

What is SharePoint?

SharePoint is a Microsoft product that represents a browser-based workspace for document sharing and team collaboration. With more than 100 mln users worldwide, SharePoint is used by companies to build corporate intranets and store, manage and share content across teams, departments and the whole enterprise. It allows an organization to address many of its needs, from workflow management to file storage to team communication to project management. We can dwell on what benefits SharePoint brings to organizations for an eternity, but if you’re reading this article, you probably already know that. So let’s jump to the essentials.

SharePoint Team Sites

Microsoft offers a wide range of Site templates, like Blog Site, Records Center Site, Publishing Site and others. But let’s focus on Team Sites, as these are probably the ones you deal with most.

A SharePoint Team Site is a workplace where your employees collaborate on a project or a specific task. Each Site has manageable accessibility options and allows site members to collaborate on a document simultaneously, share content, set up task lists, search through several team sites and much more.

Lists and libraries

This is what SharePoint Sites are made of. New SharePoint user might find lists and libraries hard to tell apart. Let us explain the difference.

  • SharePoint lists

A SharePoint list slightly resembles a table in Excel. It includes headings, or columns, as metadata and rows of data. Basically, everything you create in SharePoint is a list, and you can use it to store various types of data, for example, team contacts, customer contacts, project tasks, and even a team calendar. Besides, you can manage which of your team members can access and edit a specific list and also link and synchronize lists with Outlook and other team members.

  • SharePoint libraries

A SharePoint library is a list that is used to store documents and other files. It allows for content preview, versioning, approval and many more. Like other lists, libraries have rows (for content) and columns for metadata. So, not every list is a library, but all libraries are list. Does it make sense?

Here is tip for you: use libraries to store documents. Though you can attach documents to an item in your list, if you want some order in your SharePoint to make it more manageable and easy to organize, use libraries instead.

SharePoint columns

As we’ve already figured out, both lists and libraries have this attribute. To put it simple, columns are tags that help you categorize files and rows. Columns allow you to filter documents, sort them and group according to the specified parameters, which makes it very easy to find specific content. Besides, columns add extra information to your content – metadata.

We hope that you’ve found this information useful and it will help you become a true SharePoint ninja in the future. Keep tabs on the Digital Design blog for more insights about learning SharePoint development!

Need some help with SharePoint? Contact Digital Design! Our specialists will help you optimize your SharePoint product so that it boosts your company’s productivity.