Using Web Parts to Customize Personal Sites

Personal sites can be customized by adding, removing, or modifying the Web Parts on the home page of a personal site. Individual users with personal sites can customize the Web Parts on their own sites. Portal site administrators can customize the Web Parts for any individual personal site, as well as modify Web Parts in a shared view that affects all users with personal sites.

Modifying Web Parts on the Personal Site

You can customize your personal site by changing the layout or by adding, modifying, or removing Web Parts.

To modify a page on your personal site, click Modify My Page at the top of the page, or click Modify My Web Part on any Web Part.

By default, changes to Web Parts on your personal site are made only to your personal view. Portal site administrators can decide to modify the shared view of a Web Part Page so that changes to the view are seen by everyone who can view the page.

  • To modify the personal view of a Web Part Page, click Modify My Page at the top of the page, and then click Personal View. Then follow the instructions, later in this section, for the modification that you want to make. Modifications to the personal view affect only that person’s view of the portal site. Each user can modify his or her personal view of the personal site, and portal site administrators can modify the personal view for any user.
  • To modify the shared view of a Web Part Page, click Modify My Page at the top of the page, and then click Shared View. Then follow the instructions, later in this section, for the modification that you want to make. Modifications to the shared view affect the private view of the personal site for all users.

 Note   As a portal site administrator, you should be sure to check whether you are modifying the shared view or the personal view before you make changes to Web Parts.

Change the Page Layout

You can also customize your personal site by changing the layout of the Web Parts that are found on the site.

  1. At the top of the page, click Modify My Page, and then click Design this Page.
    You are now in Web Part Page design mode. You can return to the normal view of this page by clicking Design this Page again.
  2. Drag Web Parts to arrange them on the page.

Add a Web Part to a Page

You can customize the look and functionality of your personal site by adding Web Parts from one of the Web Part galleries that are available in SharePoint Portal Server 2003.

  1. At the top of the page, click Modify My Page, point to Add Web Parts, and then click Browse.
  2. In the Add Web Parts pane, click the gallery that you want to browse.
  3. Under Web Part List, find the Web Part that you want. Or click Next to view more Web Parts.
  4. To find the Web Part that you want without browsing through all of the Web Part galleries, click Modify My Page, point to Add Web Parts, and then click Search.
  5. In the Search box that appears in the Add Web Parts pane, type a word describing the Web Part for which you are looking, and then click Go.
    A list of Web Parts matching the search appears in the Add Web Parts pane.
  6. If the Web Part that you want is not found in an existing gallery, you can import a Web Part by clicking Modify My Page, pointing to Add Web Parts, and then clicking Import.
  7. In the text box that appears, type, or browse to the location of, the .dwp file that you want to import as a new Web Part, and then click Upload.

The Web Part is added to the currently selected Web Part gallery.

  1. To switch between the Browse, Search, and Import views of the Add Web Parts pane, click the current view under the title of the pane, and then click the view that you want.
  2. From the available Web Parts, click the one that you want to add.
  3. Click the zone to which you want to add the Web Part, and then click Add. You can also drag the Web Part to the desired location on the page.
  4. To close the Add Web Parts pane, click the X in the upper-right corner of the pane.

 Note   Several specific Web Parts that you may want to add and configure on the personal site are described in "Using Specific Web Parts," later in this section.

Modify a Web Part

Each Web Part that you add to your personal site has properties that can be customized to change the information that appears on the site.

  1. On the home page of your personal site, click the arrow for the Web Part that you want to modify, and then click Modify My Web Part. You can also click Modify My Page at the top of the page, select Modify My Web Parts, and then click the Web Part that you want to modify.
    The page opens in design mode with the selected Web Part outlined with a dotted yellow line. The properties for the Web Part are displayed in a pane that opens on the right side of the page.
  2. Edit the properties that you want to change.
  3. Click Apply to make changes without closing the pane.
  4. When you are finished making changes, click OK.

 Note   The properties of certain Web Parts are discussed in "Using Specific Web Parts," later in this section.

Minimize and Restore a Web Part

To save space and reduce clutter on a page, you can minimize some of the Web Parts so that only their titles appear. When you want to use a Web Part, you can restore it to full size.

  • To minimize a Web Part, click the arrow for the Web Part that you want to minimize, and then click Minimize.
  • To restore a Web Part that is minimized, click the arrow for the Web Part that you want to restore, and then click Restore.

Remove a Web Part from a Page

You can remove a Web Part from a page at any time. Removing a Web Part from a page does not delete the Web Part. It is still available for use on other pages from the Web Part gallery.

  • Click the arrow for the Web Part that you want to remove, and then click Close.

Delete a Web Part

As a portal site administrator, you can delete a Web Part that you no longer intend to use on your site. This may be because the Web Part is no longer useful, or because it's broken in some way. Deletion of Web Parts is permanent: deleted Web Parts cannot be restored unless a copy of the .dwp file is available for import. For this reason, some Web Parts cannot be deleted.

  1. Click the arrow for the Web Part that you want to delete, and then click Delete.
  2. In the confirmation message that appears, click OK.

Export a Web Part

You may want to export Web Parts from your existing Web Part galleries for use on other sites and to preserve backups. Before exporting a Web Part, ensure that it does not contain any private information or customization that you do not want other people in your organization to see or use.

  1. Click the arrow for the Web Part that you want to export, and then click Export.
  2. In the File Download dialog box that appears, click Save, and then browse to the location where you want to save the .dwp file for this Web Part.
  3. Click Save.
  4. When the download is complete, click Close.
    The Web Part is now available for import. To import the Web Part, click the current view under the title of the Add Web Parts pane, click Import, and then browse to the location of the exported Web Part.

Reset Page Content

You may decide that the changes to a page in your personal view are no longer needed and that you want to return the page to its original content and layout. You can reset page content, but any changes or customization that you have made are lost.

  1. Click Modify My Page at the top of the page.
  2. Click Reset Page Content.
  3. In the confirmation message that appears, click OK.

Reset Web Part Content

You may decide that the changes to an individual Web Part are no longer needed and that you want to return the Web Part to its original content and layout. You can reset Web Part content, but any changes or customization that you have made are lost.

  1. Click the arrow for the Web Part that you want to reset, and then click Reset Web Part Content. If this option is not available, no changes are made to this Web Part.
  2. In the confirmation message that appears, click OK.

Using Specific Web Parts

Several Web Parts are provided in the default Web Part gallery. Any of these Web Parts can be added to personal sites to customize the look and functionality of the site.

The My Calendar and My Mail Folder Web Parts

The My Mail Folder Web Part allows users of personal sites to display information from a specific Microsoft Exchange folder in the Web Part using Microsoft Outlook Web Access. This Web Part works with both Exchange 2000 and Exchange 2003. Other Web Parts available in SharePoint Portal Server 2003 are versions of the My Mail Folder Web Part in which the Exchange folder is already provided. These Web Parts include the My Calendar Web Part, the My Inbox Web Part, and the My Tasks Web Part. These Web Parts only work with Exchange 2003.

The My Calendar Web Part is found in the private view of the personal site by default. When the My Calendar Web Part is properly configured, the current day’s meetings for the user of the personal site are displayed in the Web Part.

 Note   To use any of these Web Parts, you must know the URL of a working Outlook Web Access server and the mailbox name of the user of the personal site. You must also have permissions to access the server that contains the folder and mailbox that you want to display, and you may be asked to log on to the server when you first configure the Web Part.

  1. In the text for the Web Part, click the open the tool pane link. You can also click the arrow for the Web Part that you want to modify, and then click Modify My Web Part.
  2. In the tool pane for the Web Part, in the Mail Configuration section, type a folder name in the Exchange folder name box.

 Note   The My Calendar Web Part is pre-configured for the Calendar folder, and this step is not necessary. The My Inbox Web Part and My Tasks Web Part are also pre-configured.

  1. In the Mail server address box, type the URL of the Outlook Web Access server. If you don’t know the URL of the Outlook Web Access server, ask your administrator.
  2. In the Mailbox box, type the mailbox name for the e-mail account that you want to display in this Web Part.

These Web Parts are useful for users who want to keep track of their meetings from their personal sites in the same place that they access their other important information and content, without having to open Outlook Web Access or Outlook separately.

Meetings and e-mail messages appear in a list of links. Clicking a link opens an item in a separate Outlook Web Access window.

The Page Viewer Web Part

The Page Viewer Web Part allows you to display a Web page, folder, or file directly on your personal site. The page is displayed in an IFRAME and is treated just like any other item of that type is treated within an IFRAME. File formats that do not display inside the browser will launch in separate windows. For example, if you use the Web Part to display a Microsoft Word document, the document opens in a separate window every time you open your personal site, rather than displaying on the home page of the personal site itself. For this reason, this Web Part is hidden by default. If you use the Web Part to display another Web page, you must show the Web Part by clearing the Visible on Page check box in the Layout section of the tool pane for the Web Part. Only the part of the page that fits in the Web Part is visible, with scroll bars to view the rest of the page.

The Page Viewer Web Part can be used several ways:

  • A page on the portal site that you view frequently can be added to this Web Part and displayed on your personal site. This allows you to see new information on that page every time you visit your personal site.
  • You can view a page from a SharePoint site that you manage.
  • You can view a page from another site in your organization or from the Internet.
  • You can view a list that you use frequently.
  • You can view a folder on your computer that you use frequently.
  • You can include a document for an important project that you’re working on in the Web Part. That document will open every time you visit your personal site.
  1. At the top of the page, click Modify My Page, point to Add Web Parts, and then click Browse.
  2. In the Add Web Parts pane, click the gallery that you want to browse.
  3. Under Web Part List, click Next until the Page Viewer Web Part is displayed in the list.
  4. Click the Page Viewer Web Part, click the zone to which you want to add the Web Part, and then click Add.
    You can also drag the Web Part to the desired location on the page.
  5. On the home page of your personal site, click the arrow for the Page Viewer Web Part, and then click Modify My Web Part.
  6. In the tool pane for the Web Part, select whether you want to display a Web page, folder, or file in the Web Part.
  7. In the Link section, enter the URL of the page, folder, or file that you want to display in the Web Part. You can click Test Link to verify that the page, folder, or file works properly.
  8. Click Layout, and then select the Visible on Page check box if you want to display the page on the personal site.
  9. Click OK.

The Content Editor Web Part

Use the Content Editor Web Part when you want to add rich text or HTML content to your personal site but don’t want to include an entire existing Web site. You can link to content that was created with an HTML authoring tool, or you can simply use the buttons provided to create rich text or simple HTML documents.

The Content Editor Web Part is often used to create a small area of supplementary text or HTML to highlight other content on the page. For example, you might use the Content Editor Web Part to include a paragraph explaining a table on your personal site. You can also use this Web Part to create simple content, such as a custom page of links.

The Content Editor Web Part does not come with rich authoring capabilities or provide a way to browse for appropriate HTML files. If you link to a file for this Web Part, you must use your own existing authoring tools to create the file. The file must use the HTTP or HTTPS protocols, and you must know the URL of the file that you’re using.

You cannot use this Web Part to add forms to your personal site. To do that, you must instead use the Page Viewer Web Part or the Form Web Part.

  1. At the top of the page, click Modify My Page, point to Add Web Parts, and then click Browse.
  2. In the Add Web Parts pane, click the gallery that you want to browse.
  3. Under Web Part List, click Next until the Content Editor Web Part is displayed in the list.
  4. Click the Content Editor Web Part, click the zone to which you want to add the Web Part, and then click Add.
    You can also drag the Web Part to the desired location on the page.
  5. On the home page of your personal site, click the arrow for the Content Editor Web Part, and then click Modify My Web Part.
  6. Do one of the following in the tool pane for the Web Part:
    • Click Rich Text Editor to provide rich text to display within the Web Part.
    • Click Source Editor to open a simple editor in which you can type HTML source code to display within the Web Part.
    • In the Content Link box, type the URL for an existing HTML page to display in this Web Part. You can click Test Link to verify that the HTML displays properly.
  7. Click Layout, and then select the Visible on Page check box if you want to display the page on the personal site.
  8. Click OK.

For more information about using this Web Part, see "About the Content Editor Web Part" in the Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Help.

The Form and XML Web Parts

The Form Web Part can be used to connect to and filter data in another Web Part on the portal site server. A common use of this Web Part involves adding option buttons or check boxes linked to items in a SharePoint list in another Web Part so that you can dynamically change which items are displayed. The XML Web Part allows you to apply XML to your personal site.

Using these Web Parts requires some knowledge of Web development. For those users who understand basic Web development, these Web Parts provide an increased level of customization.

For more information about these Web Parts, see "About the Form Web Part" and "About the XML Web Part" in the Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Help.

Other Web Parts

Several other Web Parts are available from the Web Part gallery. Other Web Parts that you can add in addition to those used on the personal site by default or those already described include:

  • Image     This Web Part is used to add an image to the personal site. This can help personalize the appearance of your site.
  • My Workspace Sites     This Web Part shows all of your sites and workspaces. This is similar to the Shared Workspace Sites Web Part in the public view of your personal site. The only difference is that the public version of this Web Part limits which sites are shown depending upon the security settings of the user viewing the personal site.
  • Your Recent Documents     This Web Part displays the most recent documents that you have worked on in the portal site and your lists and pages. This is similar to the Recent Documents Web Part in the public view of your personal site. The only difference is that the public version of this Web Part limits which documents are shown depending upon the security settings of the user viewing the personal site.

The following Web Parts display views of content on the portal site:

  • Area Content
  • Area Details
  • Grouped Listings
  • News
  • News Areas
  • Topic Assistant Suggestions

In addition to these Web Parts, you can create your own Web Parts. The development of Web Parts is outside the scope of this paper. For more information about developing custom Web Parts, see Creating a Basic Web Part.

This topic is part of a six part series.

 
 
Applies to:
Deployment Center 2003, SharePoint Portal Server 2003, SPS Admin 2003