Here are some basic tasks and information to help you learn how to use SharePoint Online for Office 365 for enterprises.
In this article
Introduction to SharePoint Online
SharePoint Online provides a single, integrated location where employees can efficiently collaborate with team members, share knowledge, and find organizational resources and information.
When you begin, the SharePoint Online site consists of at least a top-level site that your site collection administrator created, and it may contain one or more subsites below that. Your sites can be based on one of many site templates and, with the appropriate permissions, you can create various subsites.
For example, your top-level site could be a Team Site that organizations, teams, or groups can use to connect with each other and collaborate on documents and other files. You and coworkers could use the Team Site to store documents and share them with other users, post official announcements, schedule meetings, track tasks and issues, store information in lists, and so on. Below the team site, you could have a team blog for employees to share information, or a social meeting workspace to organize team events, company meetings, and so on.
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Parts of a site
A site is a group of related Web pages where your team can work on projects, store data and documents, and share information. For example, your team might have its own site where it stores schedules, files, and procedural information. All SharePoint sites have common elements that you should know about to get started: lists, libraries, Web Parts, and views.
Lists A list is a Web site component where your organization can store, share, and manage information. For example, you can create a task list to track work assignments or track team events on a calendar. You can also conduct a survey or host discussions on a discussion board.
Libraries A library is a special type of list that stores files as well as information about files. You can control how documents are viewed, tracked, managed, and created in libraries.
Views You can use views to see the items in a list or library that are most important to you or that best fit a purpose. For example, you can create a view of all the items in a list that apply to a specific department, or to highlight particular documents in a library. You can create multiple views of a list or library that people can select from. You can also use a Web Part to display a view of a list or library on a separate page of your site.
Web Parts A Web Part is a modular unit of content that forms a basic building block of most pages on a site. If you have permission to edit pages on your site, you can use Web Parts to customize your site to display pictures and charts, portions of other Web pages, lists of documents, customized views of business data, and more.
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Site specifics that affect your experience
The specifics of your installation and configuration of SharePoint affect what you see and what options are available to you on your site.
Permissions If you are assigned to the Full Control permission level, you have the full range of options to manage the site. If you are assigned to the Contribute or Read permission level, your options and access to site content are more limited. Many of the options discussed in this article are not available to users with the Reader permission level, which allows users to read content but not make changes to it. Because permissions are designed to be flexible and customizable, your organization may have its own unique settings.
Customization Your organization may have customized the permissions and branding of your site, or even customized site navigation and moved controls such as the Site Actions menu to a different location on the page. Similarly, your organization may have decided not to use the ribbon functionality introduced in SharePoint 2010.
Version of SharePoint This article discusses how to get started in SharePoint Online for Office 365 for enterprises. If your organization has subscribed to a different Office 365 plan, or if you are using a previous version of SharePoint, see the Help for that plan or version.
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Permissions and access
To access the site, you need to have the appropriate permissions. By default, most users on your site are given permission to contribute to the site. A few people are likely to have permission to design the site. Site collection administrators can manage permissions for people on all sites. Site owners can manage permissions for people only on the sites they own.
The basic permission levels in SharePoint are Full Control, Design, Contribute, and Read. Permission levels are combinations of permissions that are bundled together typically based on the nature of work. For example, you can assign the Contribute permission level to a user who will add content to the Team Site, or the Design permission level to a user who will design the site. For more information on roles and permission levels, see Roadmap: Grant permissions for a site.
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Adding content to a site
In either the Team Site or the Website, you can add items to lists and files to libraries by using a Web browser. The buttons you use to perform the most common actions are on the ribbon, which is near the top of the page on most pages of a site.
Buttons on the ribbon may be grayed out for any of the following reasons:
- The action is not applicable or it depends on some other action. For example, you must select the check box for a document before you can check it out.
- You do not have permission to complete the task.
- The feature is not enabled for the site. For example, workflows may not be enabled on the site.
You can also save files to a library from some client programs that are compatible with SharePoint Online. For example, you can save a Microsoft Word document to a library on a SharePoint site while you work in Word.
To add an item to a list or a file to a library, you must have permission to contribute to the list or library. For more information about how your organization uses permissions and permission levels, ask your site owner or administrator.
When you add the item or file, other people who have permission to read the list can view the item or file, unless it requires approval. If the item or file requires approval, then it is stored in a pending state in the list or library, until someone with the appropriate permissions approves it. If you are already viewing the list or library when an item or file is added, you may need to refresh your browser to see the new item or file.
In addition to adding content to existing lists and libraries, you may have permission to create new lists and libraries. The list and library templates give you a head start. Depending on your permission level, you can also create and customize new pages and sites.
Lists (including calendars and contacts)
Although there are different types of lists, including calendars and contacts lists, the procedure for adding items to them is similar, so you don't need to learn several new techniques to work with different types of lists. A list item contains text in a series of columns, but some lists may allow attachments to be added to the item.
Add an item to a list
- In the list where you want to add the item, click the Items tab on the ribbon. (It's the Events tab for a calendar.)
- Click New Item (New Event for a calendar).
Tip Another quick way to add an event to a calendar is to point to the date on the calendar, and then click Add.
- Complete the required fields and any others that you want to complete.
- Click Save.
Edit or delete an item in a list
- Point to an item and then select the check box that appears next to the item.
Tip You can perform actions on multiple items by selecting multiple check boxes.
- On the Items tab on the ribbon, click either Edit Item or Delete Item, as appropriate.
On many types of sites, some lists are created for you. These default lists range from a discussion board to a calendar list. If you have permission, you can also create lists from several types of list templates, which provide structure and settings to give you a head start.
Create a list
- To create a list, click the Site Actions menu , and then click More create options.
Note If you do not see the Site Actions menu or if the option to create does not appear, you might not have permission to create a list.
- On the Create page, click the type of list you want to create. For example, Links.
- Type a Name for the list, complete any other fields you want to complete, and then click Create.
A library is a location on a site where you can create, collect, update, and manage files with team members. Each library displays a list of files and key information about the files, which helps people to use the files to work together.
You can add a file to a library by uploading it from your Web browser. After you add the file to the library, other people with the appropriate permission can see the file. If you are already viewing the library when a file is added, you may need to refresh your browser to see the new file.
If you are using a program that is compatible with SharePoint Online, you can create a new file based on a template while you are working in the library. You can also save a file to the library from another program such as SharePoint Workspace or Microsoft Word.
Add a file to a library
- In the library where you want to add the file, click the Documents tab on the ribbon.
- Click Upload Document.
- Browse to the document and then click OK.
Tip If you are using a program that is compatible with SharePoint Online, such as Microsoft Word 2010, you can drag and drop documents from Windows Explorer into the Upload Document dialog box.
Edit or delete a file in a library
- Point to a file and then select the check box that appears next to the file.
- On the Documents tab on the ribbon, click either Edit Document or Delete Document, as appropriate.
A default library, called Shared Documents, is created for you when you create many types of sites. Shared Documents is a document library that you can use for storing several types of files. You can create more libraries, such as a picture library for storing images, if you have permission to manage lists.
Create a document library
- To create a document library, click the Site Actions menu , and then click New Document Library.
Note If you do not see the Site Actions menu or if the option to create does not appear, you may not have permission to create a library.
- Type a Name for the library, complete any other fields you want to complete, and then click Create.
Note To see the other types of libraries you can create, click Site Actions, and then click More create options. Point to a library option to see a description of it.
Sites and pages
A site can serve a general purpose, such as storing schedules, guidelines, files, and other information that your team refers to frequently. Or a site may serve a more specific purpose, such as keeping track of a meeting, or hosting a blog, where a member of your organization frequently posts news and ideas.
Your organization can divide site content into distinct, separately manageable sites. For example, each department in your organization may have its own team site.
You can add content to sites by adding lists and libraries. If you have permission, you can also add pages to your site. You may consider adding Web Part Pages (Web Part Page: A special type of Web page that contains one or more Web Parts. A Web Part Page consolidates data, such as lists and charts, and Web content, such as text and images, into a dynamic information portal built around a common task.), which enable you to use Web Parts to add dynamic content quickly.
If you need to create new sites, you can choose from several types of site templates to give you a head start on creating a new site. Whether you can create sites and subsites depends on how your organization has set up its sites and its permissions to create them.
Create a site
- To create a site, click the Site Actions menu , and then click New site.
Note If you do not see the Site Actions menu or if the option to create does not appear, you may not have permission to create a site.
- Select a site template from Featured Items or after clicking Browse All to see all the options.
- Type a Title and URL name for the site.
- If you are selecting a template from the Browse All gallery, choose any other options you want, and then click Create.
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Managing and working with site content
To help your team be more productive, there are several ways that you can manage and extend content in lists, libraries, and sites. Some features help your team to find and work more efficiently with information. Other features help you manage the access to the information.
Navigating to content
Navigation elements help people to browse through the content that they need. Two navigation items that you can customize are the top link bar and the Quick Launch.
By using the settings pages for each list or library, you can choose which lists and libraries appear on the Quick Launch. You can also change the order of links, add or delete links, and add or delete the sections into which the links are organized. For example, if you have too many lists in the List section, you can add a new section for Tasks Lists where you can include links to your tasks lists. You can make all of these changes to the Quick Launch from within a Web browser. You can even add links to pages outside the site.
The top link bar provides a way for users of your site to get to other sites in the site collection by displaying a row of tabs at the top of every page in the site. When you create a new site, you can choose whether to include the site on the top link bar of the parent site and whether to use the top link bar from the parent site.
If your site is using a unique top link bar, you can customize the links that appear on the top link bar for the site. Any sites that are created within the parent site can also be displayed on the top link bar, provided that the sites are configured to inherit the top link bar of the parent site. You can also include links to other sites outside of your site collection.
Managing access to content
A site owner or administrator can grant permission levels to users and to SharePoint groups, which contain users. The permissions can be applied to a site, the lists and libraries on a site, and the items in the lists and libraries.
You can assign different permission levels for different objects, such as a specific site, list, library, folder within a list or library, list item, or document.
Organizing lists and libraries
How you organize your lists and libraries depends on the needs of your group and on how you prefer to store and search for your information. Some planning can help you to set up the structure that works best for your organization.
Information in lists and libraries is stored in columns, such as Title, Last Name, or Company. You can use columns to sort and filter items as you would in a spreadsheet by clicking the column headings in a list or library. You can also use views to see the items in a list or library that are most important to you.
Change the view of a list or library
- In the list or library where you want to change the view, click the List or Library tab on the ribbon.
- In the Manage Views group, under Current View, click the arrow next to the views list, and then select a view.
If you need to store additional information about list items or files in a library, you can add columns to help you sort, group, and create multiple views of your list. For example, you can sort a list by due date or group the items by department name.
You have several options for the type of column that you create, including a single line of text, a drop-down list of options, a number that is calculated from other columns, or even the name and picture of a person on your site.
Create a column
- In the list or library where you want to create the column, click the List or Library tab on the ribbon.
- Click Create Column.
- Type a name for the column and select a column type.
- Select any additional settings and then click OK.
You can also use the columns in a list or library to create views to help specific departments find the information that they are most interested in, such as tasks with the highest priority or all the items assigned to each person. For information about creating and modifying views, see Create, modify, or delete a view.
Some features of lists can help your team to create and manage items efficiently across several lists or libraries. For example, you can create a column that provides information about list items and then share it across other lists. Or, if you want to make a file available in multiple libraries, you can easily copy it to other libraries on your site. You can be prompted for updates if the file has changed.
For information about managing large lists and libraries, see Manage lists and libraries with many items.
Using accessibility features
Sites are designed so that lists, libraries, and other features can be fully accessed by using only keystrokes. A More Accessible Mode enables users of accessible technologies to more easily interact with menus and various controls. Skip to Main Content links enable keyboard users to skip over repetitive navigation links to the more meaningful content on a page.
The markup of headings is designed to better define the structure and improve navigation for people who use screen readers. Images that are uploaded to the site allow for custom alternative text to be defined. For example, you can assign custom alternative text to the image that appears on the home page in the Site Image Web Part or to a picture that you add to a picture library. For viewing sites, the high contrast options in Windows work well for users with low vision.
For more information about browsing sites and using More Accessible Mode, see Accessibility features.
Your list or library may be set up to track versions, so that you can restore a previous version if you make a mistake and view a version history of the changes. When versions are tracked, revisions to the items or files and their properties are stored. This enables you to better manage content as it is revised and even to restore a previous version if you make a mistake in the current version. Versioning is especially helpful when several people work together on projects or when information goes through several stages of development and review.
The current published major version is highlighted, and the version number is a whole number.
A version is created when properties or metadata changes.
The first version of a file is always minor version number 0.1.
Versioning is available for list items in all default list types — including calendars, issue-tracking lists, and custom lists — and for all file types that can be stored in libraries, including Web Part pages.
Two or more users can edit a Word document or PowerPoint presentation at the same time. This new feature enables you to read and write portions of a file stored in SharePoint. For example, you can work on one paragraph in a Word document while a colleague works on another paragraph in the same document and at the same time.
Staying updated on changes
RSS provides a convenient way for you to distribute and receive information in a standardized format, including updates to lists and libraries. A standardized XML file format allows the information to be viewed by many different programs. You can also subscribe to lists and libraries by setting alerts, so that you know when content has changed.
A team can use their feeds as a way to customize their content for team members who subscribe to their feeds and to offer links back to their sites. RSS Feeds are an easy way to keep track of team progress and project updates. Instead of browsing multiple team sites, you receive the latest news or updates from those sites automatically.
Workflows help people to collaborate on documents and manage project tasks by implementing specific business processes on documents and items in a site. Workflows help organizations to adhere to consistent business processes. Workflows can also improve organizational efficiency and productivity by managing the tasks and steps that are involved in specific business processes. This enables the people who perform these tasks to concentrate on performing the work rather than managing the workflow.
Workflows can streamline the cost and time required to coordinate common business processes, such as project approval or document review, by managing and tracking the human tasks involved with these processes. For example, an organization can create and deploy a basic custom workflow to manage the approval process for drafts of documents in a document library.
Working with content types
Your list or library may support multiple content types. Content types enable organizations to organize, manage, and handle large amounts of content more effectively. If your list or library is set up to allow multiple content types, you can add content types from a list of available options that your organization uses frequently, such as Marketing Presentations or Contracts.
After you add a content type to a list or library, you make it possible for that list or library to contain items of that type. Users can then use the New Item button in that list or library to create new items of that type.
One of the key advantages of content types for lists and libraries is that they make it possible for a single list or library to contain multiple item types or document types, each of which may have unique metadata, policies, or behaviors. For more information about working with content types, see Use content types to manage content on a SharePoint site.
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