Andy's 25 Advent SharePoint Tips

Written by Andy Dale. Posted in Editors' Thoughts

1st Site Templates - Try to encourage a uniform look to your SharePoint Sites by creating a Site Template. Just create a normal Site then click Site Actions - Site Settings - Save As Site Template. Give it a suitable name then the next time you create a site you will find it under the tab 'Custom'... 

A SharePoint List from Andy Dale

2nd Uneven Widths - Sites can have more impact if you vary the column widths. Edit the webpart by entering a width from Site Actions - Edit Page - Modify Shared Webpart. It can be effective having the left-hand column with the webparts set to 2.5 inches and the right column set to a width of 5 inches.  Try an image in the narrow left column and then text in the wider right one. 

3rd Content Editor - A great webpart for adding titles, text information boxes or images with hyperlinks. Just click Edit Page - Modify Shared Webpart - Rich Text Editor to add your text, colours and hyperlinks.  

4th Themes - Change the background colour and look of your sites by clicking Site Actions - Site Settings - Themes. There are a few naff ones but don't be scared to try the black one 'Reflector' as it can be very effective. 

5th Top Link Bar - As you add more tabs to the Top Link Bar it reduces the width of each one. My advice is don't put more than 9 tabs on as it gets too messy. If you are on a 'Published Site' then think about checking the 'Subsites' option under 'Navigation' this will give you some dropdown options. 

6th Regional Settings - It is ok for the Americans but for the rest of us always remember to change the 'Regional' settings on your top level site (Site Actions - Site Settings - Regional Settings) otherwise in the UK you will be letting your fireworks off on 

7th List Template - If you have a good Custom List or Document Library then save it as a Template. Settings - List Settings - Save List As Template. It will then appear when you try and add a new webpart to the page. 

8th Content Type Templates - With Content Types you can add templates for different office applications as well as the default Word Document. Add an Excel Spreadsheet Template or a Corporate Powerpoint Presentation layout. (Have a look at the post on Content Types). 

9th Clear out Site Template Gallery - If you keep creating Site Templates the Site Template Gallery gets quite full and messy so delete templates that you no longer need and give the ones you do sensible names. 



10th Useful Clips - Purchase the SharePoint CBT Clips (available from Officetalk) and install them on your portal to let the users see how to perform 65 different SharePoint tasks with quick two minute videos. Reduces calls to IT the Department. 

11th Permission Levels - Create your own permission levels from Site Actions - Site Settings - Adnanced Permissions - Settings - Permission Levels. You can create a permission for 'Document Approvers' who only have rights to approve and can not delete documents.  

12th Copy Code - I leave developing to the Officetalk Developers next-door but with the Content Editor webpart you can easily copy lines of code that are lying around on the Internet (like our Christmas Countdown) and paste them in the 'Source' section of the Webpart. Now you can be a developer as well!   

13th RSS Feed - You can make a SharePoint list into an RSS feed simply by clicking the Settings - RSS Settings from the List or Document Library.   

14th Explorer View - To copy a number of files from your network drive straight to SharePoint 'Explorer View' and option from any SharePoint List or Document Library under 'Actions' can be very useful. As it turns your SharePoint Window into a Windows Explorer View (Actions - Open in Explorer View) you can then drag files straight in from the normal Windows Explorer if you tile the windows. 

15th Scanning - Add an application like Dark Blue Duck to give you the option to add new documents in a document library straight from a scanner. You can then add the appropriate metadata. 

16th Spreadsheets - If you already have a list in Excel that you want to become a SharePoint list then all you have to do is use New - Import Spreadsheet and then browse to the spreadsheet.  

17th Names in Contacts - Why did Micosoft give you 'Full Name', 'First Name' and 'Last Name' fields in Contacts? Best way around these extra entries is to delete 'Last Name' and then rename 'Full Name' to 'Last Name' as they won't let you delete 'Full Name'. 

18th Tidy up Quick Launch - Remove Sites, People, Groups from Quick Launch bar as the basic user will not need these and 'less is more'. 

19th User Tasks - To create a view where the User only sees items in a list where their name is mentioned in one of the fields enter a value of [Me] in the Filter section. Yes, you need the square brackets. You might also find the [Today] entry useful it you want to display items after, or before, today. 

20th Offline SharePoint - Mentioned a few times before but for laptop users the FREE offline Colligo Reader allows them to always have SharePoint even when they have no network. (check it out at

21st Quick  Launch Views - On any List or Document Library in SharePoint you can create different views based on filters you apply to the list. A good example is a column called 'Status' can have a View called 'Completed' that only displays items where the entry is 'Completed' in the Status fileld. You can create this View from Create View from the right-hand dropdown labelled View. When you have a View that is useful copy the URL address and then enter it with a relevant title on to the Quick Launch Bar (Site Actions - Site Settings - Quick Launch).  

22nd Sharepoint Reviews - A new website started this months which give you independent reviews on all SharePoint Add-ons and even gives away a few free ones. Well worth a look, again, and don't forget to fill-in a good review about Officetalk.

23rd Hide Title Field - It annoys many SharePoint Administrators the fact that you cannot remove the Title Field. Workrounds often include renaming it but as it is a 'Text' field it is quite restrictive. If you change the Advanced Settings so that the first entry 'Allow Management of Content Types' is selected then you can 'Hide' the 'Title' field under the 'Item' Content Type. 

24th Content Query Editor - A superb webpart that allows you to find Documents or Announcements from several sites and display them in one place. It is only on MOSS but certainly worth investigating.  

25th Officetalk Website - Whatever you are doing with SharePoint don't forget to visit the new Officetalk website ( before you go anywhere else. Happy Christmas from Officetalk 

This list was first published in Andy Dale's Weekly SharePoint Blog

To download a pdf version click here

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Andy Dale
Author: Andy DaleWebsite:
Andy Dale (MCSE) works for leading UK SharePoint specialists Office Talk as the Senior SharePoint Consultant. Office Talk are a Microsoft Gold Partner, based near Birmingham in the heart of the UK, who specializes in everything SharePoint.

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