Microsoft SharePoint is a web-based collaboration, management and sharing platform that allows you to handle your organization’s documents, data, social activities, processes, information and much, much more.
It’s ease of use, extensibility and flexibility make it a popular choice among organizations of all sizes. In fact, Microsoft market research estimates that 78 percent of Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint to manage their employees, documents and processes. When used in collaboration with any cloud storage service, it can add a great deal of versatility to your organization (if you’re thinking of signing up for a cloud storage service, I’d consider this comparison chart).
Due to this growing popularity of SharePoint, it makes sense to know everything there is to it, which is exactly what we’re going to do now. Let’s start with how we can access it.
There are three ways to access SharePoint.
- SharePoint Foundation
- SharePoint Server
- Microsoft Office 365
SharePoint Foundation is ideal for organizations that want a secure web-based platform. It comes with a basic set of features that mostly revolve around document management and collaboration. You can develop any specific application you want on this platform.
SharePoint Server comes with an extended set of features to give you the flexibility you want. Advanced search, web content management, enterprise services and social networking are some of the features you can make great use of.
Office 365 has a cloud-hosted version of SharePoint, where you can develop custom applications and scale them without worrying about the infrastructure costs. Though its features are not as extensive as SharePoint Server, it still has many excellent development capabilities.
In this tutorial, we’re going to focus on running SharePoint through Office 365 as this is likely the most common way to do it.
Go to https://products.office.com/en/business/office-365-enterprise-e3-business-software. On this page, you can choose to buy the product or go for a free trial if you want to just try it out for a few days.
If you click on the “free trial” link, it’ll take you to this page.
Enter your details and click on Next.
In the next step, you’ll be asked to create your user ID and password.
Once you do that, you’ll be asked to prove that you’re not a robot. The system will ask you to enter a phone number to text or call for confirmation. On the next page, you have to enter the code that was sent to your phone number.
With this step, your installation is complete and you’re good to get started. You’ll be redirected to your home page, but it can take a few seconds depending on the speed of your Internet connection.
Now one thing to note: if you already have Visual Studio installed in your system, you can skip this step. Otherwise, you’ll have to install Visual Studio to use SharePoint.
Simply download Visual Studio, run the installer with the default choices and, once it’s done, restart your computer.
Next, open your Visual Studio and go to File > New > Project. On the left-hand pane, you’ll a list of directories. Navigate to Templates > Visual C# and you’ll see Office SharePoint listed as one of the options.
Select it and double-click on “Install Office Developer Tools Project.”
This will install the developer tools and that’s it — you’re ready to start working with SharePoint.
Let’s now run through a few basic tasks to help you get familiar with SharePoint.
Working with Sites in SharePoint
Site is the core component of SharePoint and it represents the starting point for all developers. Sites can include your everyday components like a document library, calendar, task list and so on.
You can create a single site or a collection of sites for a department or project, depending on the purpose for which you’re using SharePoint. In general though, you would create a single site only if:
- You have a small organization and want to bring all your tasks under a single site collection
- You want to create a site that uses the same metadata or navigation as the existing ones
- You’ve created a template and want all your sites to stick to it
- You plan to have only a small number of sites for your organization
On the other hand, you’ll create a site collection if:
- Your organization is large with many business units
- If each department needs many different sites for managing different responsibilities
- Your organization generates lots of content
Depending on the above factors, you can choose to create a site or a collection.
That said, let’s talk about how to create a site collection because that’s more common than creating a single site.
Creating a Site Collection in SharePoint
To create a new site collection, go to www.portal.office.com. This will redirect to your Office 365 homepage.
From this list of items, click on the Admin icon and you’ll be directed to the admin dashboard. On this page, choose Resources >Sites.
On this page, click on a button called “add a site.”
This action will take you to another page, like this.
Enter the required information. You will have to give a name for your site and choose its type. Next, you’ll have to set the administrators for this site. Click on the small icon next to the administrator text field, and this should open up another page.
Enter all the people you want to be admins and click OK.
That’s it. Your site collection is ready for you to use. You can manage all your sites from the SharePoint admin center.
Adding Content to a Site in SharePoint
The next basic task that you’re likely to do is to add content to a site. Go to a site collection you created.
On this page, you can add new documents, upload them and even sync them with your cloud. On the left pane, you’ll have a list of choices and from this list, choose “site contents.” On this page, navigate to a link called “site settings” on the right-hand top corner and this should take you to the settings page.
With these choices, you can customize the look and feel of your site, add permissions to users, set search settings and do so much more.
There are many types of content you can add to your site. Content is broadly divided into:
- Business Intelligence
- Community Content Types
- Digital Assets
- Display Template
- Document Content
- Document Set
- Folder Content
- Group Work Content
- List Content
- Special Content
To access these content types, go to Site Settings > Web Designer Galleries > Site content types.
From this list, choose the type of content you want to add.
For example, if you want a video, click on a link called “video” and this should take you to the corresponding page.
Add the video, tweak the settings to match your preferences and you’re done. This way, you can add as much content as you want to every site, depending on your business needs and the site’s purpose.
Add or Delete SharePoint Users
As an admin, another common thing you’ll have to do often is to add or delete users. The best way to add users is to first create a group with appropriate permissions; then you can add users to this group.
To create a group, go to your site and click on “site settings.” Go to “users” and “permissions” and click “site permissions.” You’ll see this page.
Now, click on the icon called “create group.” Enter the name and description for this group and modify the settings to what you want.
Once the group is created, you can add users to it.
Likewise, to delete users, simply click on a user and choose “remove users from the group.”
That’s how you get started using Microsoft SharePoint; there are plenty of things you can do with this versatile piece of software, evinced by the fact that it’s used by many different companies across many different industries.
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We hope this SharePoint tutorial has set you up properly to use the application, please let us know if you have any questions or remarks in the comments below. Thank you for reading.