SharePoint Basics

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SharePoint Navigation

​There are two main ways to navigating SharePoint as described below:

  • Left-hand Navigation - From the homepage and all libraries the left-hand navigation links to other top-level pages, making this the best way to get around the website. From any page which isn't top-level the left-hand navigation generally links to relevant pages to that specific page.

  • Search - Search is by far the easiest way to find specific documents or pages providing you know either the name of the document or relevant metadata for the document.



The search can be accessed several different ways, the main way to access the search function is the Search bar located in the upper-right hand corner of most SharePoint pages, The Search can also be accessed directly at Site-Address/​Search. You can type any search criteria into the field and then click the spyglass. This search works like a normal web browser, so if you type Calmac new website, you’ll get lots of hits containing those three words. But if you search on “Calmac new website” in quotes, your search returns just a handful of hits on references to the Calmac new website.​There are four search options, called Everything, People, Conversations, and Videos.

  • Everything presents an unrestricted view of everything on SharePoint that your account has permission to view.

  • People restricts your search to looking for your fellow users.​ 

  • Conversations restricts your search to conversations, discussions and threads on SharePoint. a Majority of which are located on subsites.

  • Videos restricts the search to displaying only video results


​SharePoint Permissions

When you sign on to SharePoint, your User Name and Password grant you a certain set of Permissions. Permissions control what you can and cannot do in SharePoint.

Limited Permissions show themselves in two ways:

  • Others can see parts of the SharePoint structure which are hidden from you. If someone sends you a screenshot or email referring to something in SharePoint you can’t see – they probably have different permissions to you.

  • The message “This Control is Currently Disabled” will appear more often to someone with limited Permission. (For example, you can Create a Document as a Draft with Low Level permissions, but you need High Level permissions to Approve the document). 

Creating and Modifying Views

Rather than creating Folders, which can and generally will cause several issues in SharePoint, to organize your documents, it’s far more useful to create Views. A View is simply a filtered and ordered listing of a Library. When you create a view you can store it either for general use, or for your own personal use (it’s tied to your username).


Create a View

To Create a New View, enter the Library where you want the view to operate (Views are library specific), then select the Library tab (​located at the top-left). You’ll see there’s a Create View icon on the ribbon. Click this and you open a menu-driven wizard for creating Views. 

There are too many options to fully document, so for this FAQ we’ll document just one – the Standard View.


1. Click the Standard View option, which will then take you to a page with many options to create a view.
2. Give the view a relevant name in the field below where it says View Name.
3. Select either Personal View or General View (Most created views should be Personal, otherwise anyone using SharePoint will see the view).
4. All the options are grouped under headings such as Columns, Sort, and Filter, for the sake of ease it is best to contract each of the groups so that only the group headers are displayed. 
5. Expand each header one at a time choosing the options that best suit the view you're aiming to create, a brief description of each set of options is below.​

    • ​​Columns - Columns will be the viewable data in your view, as a default several options are already ticked however any columns can be chosen.

    • Sort - Sort will sort all files displayed in your view by specific criteria, for example you could sort to display newest documents first.

    • Filter - Filter allows you to filter the files that are displayed in your view, as an example you could filter to only display files that have QA set as the Sitekit Role.

    • Tabular View - Unless you have a specific reason to do otherwise this doesn't need to be changed.

    • Group By - Group By groups all displayed files under specific headings. For example if files are grouped by Role then all files relevant to QA will be displayed under one group, and all files relevant to Development will be displayed in a different group.

    • Totals - Totals displays a count of all files displayed in the view and all files within a group if Group By is used.

    • Style - Allows a view to be styled in several different manners.

    • Folders - ​For best results Folders or Flat should be set to Show all items without folders, and Show this view should be set to In all folders. If either of these are set to different values then a view will not display results correctly.

    • Item Limit​ - Item limit gives the option to limit the number of results per page or limit the total results display, for best results Number of items to display: should be set to 500​ with other options left at default.​

​​6. Click OK to save the view.


You can then access this View by entering the Library tab (Located at the top-left), and selecting the name of the View in the drop-down below where it says Current View.It’s actually easier to create a View than it is to describe the process. Once you’ve created a few, you’ll see why Views are more useful than Folders. With Folders, you’ll always be having to copy or move files from one place to another. With Views you don’t. Essentially you can organize your files any way you want them, without having to bother with folders.​


Modify Views

Next to the Create View Icon there’s a Modify View icon. This allows you to select an existing View and change it in some way. It uses the same Wizard as Create View.​​​​


​​​​Profiles (About Me)

​​​​Your own personal About Me page can be found by clicking your name at the top-right of the page which will open a drop-down menu and then clicking ​About Me.Your 'About Me' page is what fellow SharePoint Members to see what your job entails, what you're currently working on and almost anything else you wish to share, It can be customized in several different ways including -

  • ​Adding personalised links to the left-hand navigation.

  • Adding information including contact details, projects past and present and several other descriptive pieces.

  • Newsfeed Settings.

  • Language and Regional Settings - Including changing the default language of SharePoint.​

By default your personal profile will also come with several widget pages, including - 

  • ​Newsfeed​ which will show updates of what people, pages, discussions etc. you are following have done recently.

  • About Me - About me is the public section of your profile, this is where your details and what you've been doing recently will show up.

  • Documents - ​This is a library of shared documents, you can upload into this section any documents you would like to display on your profile, or again you can remove the link and use it as a private document storage.

  • Blog - The Blog allows you to share posts and within reason whatever you please with the world, this is accessible by anybody on SharePoint unless you hide it by removing the link.

  • Apps - Apps allows you to add extended functionality to your profile.

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