Welcome back to to my series on the basics of SharePoint.  Before we could get into any nuts and bolts of SharePoint (all the uber geek fun stuff) we had to first cover what SharePoint is.  Now we're ready to dive into how to create content in SharePoint.  (Notice I said create content, not any form of structure.)  We have to crawl before we can walk, right?  Then we can move on for the super users on how to create structure, the things that hold the content.  So far in this series:

  • Part 1 – What is SharePoint?
  • Part 2 – Creating Content (this post)
  • Part 3 - Working with Views
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    Before you get bored to death, let’s jump in and take a look.  For all the tasks below, I will do my best to show how to do it in SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 as there are differences between the versions.  For demonstration purposes I will be using Internet Explorer browser. 

     Introduction and Definitions

    Let’s define a few things (if you know this stuff already, feel free to jump ahead to the steps below):

    1) What are the different types of content we can create?  Well that depends on the structure you create them, but you can create things like:

    • Files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, etc) – stored in a document library
    • Items (Tasks, Calendar entries, issue items, links, etc.) – stored in a list 

    Document libraries (there are different types for different purposes) store documents (files).  They can technically just about any type of file you want (certain types are excluded like .exe). 

    Lists don’t store documents per say, they store list-style data like Excel or Access.  Each list item is a line item or record of data.  Obviously there are more types of content, and how you do it depends on the level of customization in your SharePoint sites.  But for our purposes, we’re going to assume everything is default, and I will walk you through the basic more commonly used content repositories. 

    2) What are views?  Views are the way that a user (such as yourself) sees and interacts with the content in a list or library.  The list or library is basically an unordered, unstructured pile of content.  A view defines how you see that data, like what columns of metadata are visible, how the content is sorted, filtered, grouped, limited, organized and displayed.  Every list or library has a view by default.  There are 2 types of views – system views and personal views.  System views are ones created and maintained by administrators and you as a non-admin can only use them.  However, any user can create a personal view, and only he/she will be able to see that view.  For example an administrator or site owner will create a library for you, and populate it with a set of documents, say 500 of them.  You only care about the documents that you upload, and the thought of trolling through hundreds of documents to find what you want is no bueno.  So you can create a personal view to filter the list of visible documents to the ones you created.  We’ll talk about views in more detail in the next installment, so stay tuned! 

    3) What does “check out” or “check in” mean?  SharePoint can allow documents (files) to be checked out or checked in.  This is a mechanism where it locks the file to exclusively only be updated by the person who checked it out, so no one else can change it.  Once complete, the user checks in the file to save changes and let others edit the document again.  This can be desired in certain cases, but in general this feature should be used with care. 

    4) What’s a file version?  SharePoint allows for files to be versioned, in major and minor revisions.  In SharePoint 2010, for every version SharePoint will store an entire of the document per version.  In SharePoint 2013, only the delta changes are stored per version.  Minor versions are like .1, .2, etc. where major versions are 1.0, 2.0, etc.  Versions can be viewed, compared and restored individually, and can store comments about that version.  They can also be used to control visibility (anyone can only see a major version, but must have higher rights to see the minor versions).

    Now that that’s out of the way, let’s start creating some content. 

    Steps - SharePoint 2010

    Document Library – Creating New Documents

    Use this method when you need to start with a new blank document, or if an administrator has created a custom document template for you to use, and you want to create a new document from that template.

    1. Open the Site that contains the library you want to create your document and click into the library.
    2. Create a new document by clicking the New Document ribbon button from the Documents section of the Library Tools ribbon tab.

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    3. You will get a prompt like “Some files could harm your computer …”, just click Ok to open the document (Microsoft Word by default).
    4. Add text to your document, and when you’re ready to save, when you click Save As it will save it to the library where it was opened from by default.

    Document Library – Uploading Documents

    Use this method when you need to start with an existing document from your computer hard drive.

    1. Open the Site that contains the library you want to create your document, and click into the library.
    2. Create a new document by either:
      1. Clicking the Add document link from the bottom of the view of existing documents.

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      2. Clicking the Upload Document ribbon button from the Documents section of the Library Tools ribbon tab.
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    3. You will get a prompt to upload your document.  Click Browse, and find your file.  This will load the path to the file in the dialog box.  Click Ok to upload your file.
      1. At this point, if the library is configured with required columns, you will get a prompt to fill out those metadata fields.  If they are required, they will have a red asterisk.  Once complete, click Ok or Save.

    NOTE: If the library is a Picture library, the steps are similar but a little different:

    1. From the picture library, click Upload –> Upload Picture from the menu.
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    2. From here the steps are the same as above.  Click Browse and find your file and click Ok.

    Document Library – Editing Existing Documents or Document Properties

    Use this method when you need to edit the properties of a file that has already been uploaded into a SharePoint library.

    1. Open the Site that contains the library you want to create your document, and click into the library.
    2. Find your file in the list of existing documents.
    3. If you want to edit the document itself (document content), you can do this two different ways (they do exactly the same thing and get the same end result):
      1. Click on the name of the document (from the name column), and the appropriate program should open.  Edit your file as necessary, and Save your changes. 
      2. You can also do the same thing by using the list item menu.  Do this by hovering your mouse to the right side of the name column for the document you want  to edit, and a drop down menu will appear (this is the list item menu).  Click Edit in Microsoft Word (where Microsoft Word could be Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc).  Again, your file should open in that program, make your changes, and Save your changes.
    4. If you want to edit the document properties, you can do this two different ways (they do exactly the same thing and get the same end result):
      1. Click the checkbox on the item row to highlight the item.  Doing this will automatically change the top ribbon to the Documents tab, and all you need to do is click Edit Properties.  Once you have made your changes, click Save.
      2. You can also do the same thing by using the list item menu.  Do this by hovering your mouse to the right side of the name column for the document you want  to edit, and a drop down menu will appear (this is the list item menu).  Click Edit Properties.  Once you have made your changes, click Save.

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    List – Creating Items

    Use this method when you need to create a new item.  The steps are different for a calendar, so I list those separately.

    1. Open the Site that contains the list you want to create your items and click into the list.
    2. Similar to documents, you can either click the Add new item link at the bottom of the list of existing list items, or click the Items tab of the List Tools ribbon section, and click Add new Item.
    3. Fill out the new form as appropriate, and when done click Save.

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    List – Creating Calendar Items

    Use this method when you need to create a new item on a calendar list.

    1. Open the Site that contains the calendar you want to create your items and click into the list.
    2. You can create a new calendar entry by three different methods (they do exactly the same thing and get the same end result):
      1. Hovering on the day in the calendar view where you want to schedule an event, and clicking Add.  Fill out the form, and click Save.
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      2. Perform the same steps as creating list items.  Click the Events tab of the Calendar Tools ribbon section, and click New event.  Fill out the form, and click Save.
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      3. From Outlook.  If you can sync the calendar to your Outlook, you can create items on the calendar from Outlook.  To sync it to Outlook, click the Calendar tab of the Calendar Tools ribbon section, and click Connect to Outlook.  Click Allow on the next popup (twice if necessary), then in Outlook click Yes on the “Connect to SharePoint?” prompt. 
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    Steps - SharePoint 2013

    Let’s see how the same tasks change with SharePoint 2013. 

    Document Library – Creating New Documents

    Use this method when you need to start with a new blank document, or if an administrator has created a custom document template for you to use, and you want to create a new document from that template.

    1. Open the Site that contains the library you want to create your document, and click into the library.
    2. DO NOT use the New Document link on the view, that is used for uploading documents.  This is the same as 2010, where you click the Files tab on the ribbon, and click New Document.
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    3. You will get a prompt like “Some files could harm your computer …”, just click Ok to open the document (Microsoft Word by default).
    4. Add text to your document, and when you’re ready to save, when you click Save As it will save it to the library where it was opened from by default.

    Document Library – Uploading Documents

    Use this method when you need to start with an existing document from your computer hard drive.

    1. Open the Site that contains the library you want to create your document, and click into the library.
    2. This is where things change.  You can upload documents much easier than before.  There are 3 main ways to upload documents:
      1. Click the new document button above the view.  From here you get the same screen similar to 2010, click Browse, and find your file.  This will load the path to the file in the dialog box.  Click Ok to upload your file. 
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      2. Drag and drop files from your local computer to the library. 
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      3. The old boring way of clicking the Files tab on the ribbon, and clicking Upload Document.
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    Document Library – Editing Existing Documents or Document Properties

    Use this method when you need to edit the properties of a file that has already been uploaded into a SharePoint library.

    1. Open the Site that contains the library you want to create your document, and click into the library.
    2. Find your file in the list of existing documents.
    3. If you want to edit the document itself (document content), you can do this two different ways (they do exactly the same thing and get the same end result):
      1. Click on the name of the document (from the name column), and the appropriate program should open.  Edit your file as necessary, and Save your changes. 
      2. You can also do the same thing by using the list item menu.  Do this by hovering your mouse to the right side of the name column for the document you want  to edit, and click the 3 dots.  An action popup will appear, and click Edit.  Again, your file should open in that program, make your changes, and Save your changes.

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    4. If you want to edit the document properties, you can do this two different ways (they do exactly the same thing and get the same end result):
      1. Click the checkbox on the item row to highlight the item.  Doing this will automatically change the top ribbon to the Documents tab, and all you need to do is click Edit Properties.  Once you have made your changes, click Save.
      2. You can also do the same thing by using the list item menu.  Do this by hovering your mouse to the right side of the name column for the document you want  to edit, and a drop down menu will appear (this is the list item menu).  Click Edit Properties.  Once you have made your changes, click Save.

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    List – Creating Items

    Use this method when you need to create a new item.  The steps are different for a calendar, so I list those separately.

    1. Open the Site that contains the list you want to create your items and click into the list.
    2. You can either click the new item link above the list views (if the list has multiple content types, the default is used), or click the Items tab of the ribbon section, and click New Item.
    3. Fill out the new form as appropriate, and when done click Save.

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    List – Creating Calendar Items

    Use this method when you need to create a new item on a calendar list.  The steps for adding items to a calendar are the same in 2010 and 2013. 

    1. Open the Site that contains the calendar you want to create your items and click into the list.
    2. You can create a new calendar entry by three different methods (they do exactly the same thing and get the same end result):
      1. Hovering on the day in the calendar view where you want to schedule an event, and clicking Add.  Fill out the form, and click Save.
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      2. Perform the same steps as creating list items.  Click the Events tab of the Calendar Tools ribbon section, and click New event.  Fill out the form, and click Save.
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      3. From Outlook.  If you can sync the calendar to your Outlook, you can create items on the calendar from Outlook.  To sync it to Outlook, click the Calendar tab of the ribbon, and click Connect to Outlook.  Click Allow on the next popup (twice if necessary), then in Outlook click Yes on the “Connect to SharePoint?” prompt. 
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    Well if you’ve made it this far, congratulations!  I hope you have found these steps helpful for working with content in SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013.