QuickStart Solutions with SharePoint Online – 2 days

Book: SharePoint Online Exercises: Step by Step on How to Create Common Business Solutions by Kalmström, Peter

Build a SharePoint O365 intranet for a small business. You will learn how to create useful apps and solutions for your organization. 

Course Overview

The goal of this instructor-led training course is to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to take advantage of SharePoint Online for the purpose of building business solutions. We will use both the Modern Views and Classic Views. The learning experience will be a combination of instructor presentations (25%) and hands-on lab exercises (75%). It is helpful that users have a basic understanding of SharePoint list and libraries, but no prior experience is required.

Audience

This SharePoint Online training course teaches the out-of-the-box functionality and is not intended for those who are primarily interested in using Visual Studio and .NET development to create solutions in SharePoint. The course is intended for:

  • Information Workers who want to learn how to use SharePoint to automate common business processes
  • Power Users
  • Enterprise Planners and Teams
  • Application Designers
  • Help-desk and end-user support professionals
  • Trainers
  • IT Pros and Developers who are primarily interested in out-of-the-box functionality and features (note: this course does not teach workflow development using Visual Studio and .NET)

Course Outline and Exercises:

Classic SharePoint Intranet

The SharePoint sites are the core of the SharePoint tenant. All content is added, and all work is done, within the context of a site. Therefore, each site has a huge number of settings that control how the site works and looks. The classic team site is intended for work group collaboration, and it is the most used type of SharePoint site. By default, the team site has a classic home page, but modern apps and pages can also be used in the team site. In the instructor presentation in this lesson, we will look at the various features of the classic team site. We will look at both the site collection and subsites.

  • Understanding Navigation
  • Using the Ribbon
  • Adding Apps
  • Create Pages
  • Create Subsites
  • Changing the look with Themes

Exercise: Create a classic SharePoint intranet for a small company, in the form of a site collection with three subsites. The sites will have a common navigation bar, but each site will have its own theme and its own apps where team members are able to share documents, photos, events and tasks. Each subsite will also have three site pages. We will use wiki links to create these pages. To make the work efficient, we will only build one of the subsites from scratch. Then we will create a site template from that subsite and create the other two from the template. Finally, we will add a video to one of the home pages.

Modern Sites Intranet

The modern experience is designed to be flexible, mobile, and easier to use. It is available in SharePoint in Office 365. We will compare the classic vs. modern experience and look at the following that are modern by default:

  • SharePoint home page in Office 365
  • Most lists and libraries
  • New team site and communication site home pages
  • New pages
  • Site contents
  • Site usage
  • Recycle Bin

Exercise: Create a modern SharePoint Online intranet for a small company. We will make the navigation between the sites work, even though there is no hierarchy as it is in a site collection. We will create a new Communication site, HQ. The company has three departments: Sales, Production and Support. Each of these departments will have their own modern team site. We will then add links so that it will be possible to navigate between the HQ site and the departments sites.

Working with Lists

SharePoint apps always exist within a site. Each app has its own URL. The apps can be of three different types:

  • Lists. A list is very much like a database or Excel table. It contains items such as appointments in a calendar list, contacts in a contact list or tasks in a tasks list. You can also create your own custom lists, such as a Cost Center list. Each list has many settings, for example which columns, views and permissions should be used on that list.
  • Libraries. A library can do almost everything that a list can do, and it has most of the same settings and features. The main difference is what they contain. Lists contain list items, while libraries contain files. There are several types of SharePoint libraries, but the most commonly used type is the document library.

Lists and libraries use columns to characterize the content with metadata and keywords. The columns can be filtered in various ways, and the apps themselves have views that display the content in different ways. Most apps can be viewed in both the classic and the modern interface. We will look at and compare the differences between the modern and classic interface.

  • Compare the classic and the modern interfaces
  • Create a New List
  • List Columns
  • Views of the items in the list

Exercise:

We will create a custom list with the modern interface. It will be used by a reception to handle messages about incoming phone calls, when the person who was called was not available. We will start with creating a new list and add columns to it, and after that we will create suitable views for the list. The view that only shows unreturned calls will be added to the site homepage, so that it can be seen easily.

Document Library and Templates

SharePoint libraries are a kind of lists, so most of what is mentioned in the SharePoint Apps chapter above applies to libraries also. However, SharePoint libraries have some unique qualities. We will look at document libraries and compare the differences between the modern and classic interface. We will also look at document templates.

  • Compare the classic and the modern interfaces
  • Create a New Document Library
  • Office Templates
  • Site Columns
  • Library Templates

Exercise: Create a document library and review the library settings of publishing, versioning, and approvals of draft documents.

Exercise: Create 3 site content types and add an Office template to each of them: Excel, PowerPoint and Word. Then we will add these content types to a library and remove the default content type. When we are satisfied with the library, we will save it as a library template. Now the new template will show up among the other templates when you create a new app, so that we can use it to create other libraries throughout the whole site collection.

Using Content Types

The best way to make sure a SharePoint site will contain the desired content and is managed in a consistent way, is to use content types – a reusable collection of metadata columns and settings that describe the shared attributes and behaviors for a specific kind of content, for example an item in a list. By default, SharePoint includes many pre-defined content types, such as Document or Announcement. You can (and probably should) also create your own custom content types. In this section, we will look at Content Types and how they can be used.

  • Custom Content Types
  • Document Properties in MS Word
  • Content Search Web Part

Exercise: The best way to understand content types is probably to work with them, and we are going to do that in this section. We will use a library content type as an example, but the principle is the same for any item type, including list items and media files. We will create a content type for a site collection, and it will be used for documents in Project libraries in three subsites, Sales, Production and Support.

Using the SharePoint Calendar App

SharePoint calendar apps can be used for simple resource booking. In such a solution each resource has its own calendar, and users book a resource by creating an event for the suitable date and time in the resource’s calendar. When you connect the resource calendars to a list app and add a column for that app in the calendar form, it will also be possible to book extras with each reservation. We will look at how to use the features of the SharePoint calendar and how to look up data from another list and use it with the calendar.

  • Calendar Features
  • Calendar Overlays
  • List Column Lookups
  • Connecting to Outlook

Exercise: Create such resource calendar apps connected to a services list. We will add all calendars to an overlay view by opening one of the calendars and adding the other calendars to the save view. The first calendar can then be renamed to “Resource booking”, and that way users only have one link to click on to see all calendars. When users connect resource calendars to Outlook, they can book from Outlook without visiting the SharePoint site.

Connect Web Parts

Web parts and app parts are used in all kinds of site pages. Web and app parts are used to add different kinds of content to a page. When you create a list or library in a SharePoint site, it will automatically also be available as an app part that can be inserted in a wiki or web part page. Two such app parts can be connected on the same page. We will look at the various web parts available and will also show how to filter content in one web part based on selections in another web part. We will also show how to export data from an excel spreadsheet to a SharePoint list.

  • Wiki vs Web Part Pages
  • Creating a List from Excel Data
  • Web Parts
  • Filtering Data in a Web Part

Exercise: We will export two Excel tables, Countries and Customers, to SharePoint. That creates two lists with the same names. The lists have the classic experience interface, and the default view is a datasheet. We have to change the view into standard, and then we will create a wiki page with two columns and add the app parts Customer and Country to it. Finally, we will connect the two app parts on the page, so that the Customers list is filtered by the selected country. When that is done, you can click on the icon to the left of a country and see only the customers from that country to the right.

Workflows

SharePoint workflows can be used in all kinds of SharePoint lists and libraries to automate time consuming processes. They are often used for notification sending, but they can also calculate time, archive list items and perform many other tasks that would have been tedious and time consuming – or not performed at all – without a workflow. The principle of workflows is that you select conditions to be met and actions to be taken when these conditions are met. A predefined trigger decides when the workflow should be run. We will look at an overview on how workflows are created in general and then show a few examples.

  • The general principle behind workflows
  • The difference between a flow and a workflow
  • The difference between a list workflow and a reusable workflow
  • Differences between SharePoint 2010 and 2013 workflows
  • How to check a workflow

Exercise: We will create a simple workflow that does e-mail notifications which can be sent automatically. We will use the SharePoint task list. Workflows are limited to sites and stored there, and they are created in SharePoint Designer.

Create a Dashboard (charts and graphs) with Excel Web Access

The Excel Web Access web part, which allows you to show live Excel charts in SharePoint, is only available for the Office 365 E3 and E5 subscriptions. When you have inserted the Excel chart in the web part on a SharePoint page, you can continue updating the Excel file in Excel Online or in the client version of Excel. We will review the options to use the Excel Web Access features.

  • Excel Web Access Features
  • Connecting Excel to a web part
  • Updating Charts in SharePoint

Exercise: Add a live Excel chart in an Excel Web Access web part to the home page of the Sales department site.

Working with Document Sets

When you work with projects within an organization, you often create a similar set of documents for each project, and templates are used to make the documents consistent. With a document set content type, you can have such documents created and named automatically when you create a new project item. By default, the auto-created documents are named with the name of the project item + the name of the template. When you create a new project item in a library that uses a document set content type, you will have the specified set of documents created automatically. The content writer can just open each document and start writing, instead of creating and naming several new documents. We will learn how to group documents together as a document set and how to manage the document set as a single entity.

  • Document Sets
  • Managed Term Sets

Exercise: Create a document set content type that contains two files and has two custom columns.

Putting it all Together Exercise – summary exercise to apply key elements of the training class.