Synchronize SharePoint content with SharePoint Workspace

Using Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010, you can work with SharePoint 2010 sites, libraries, and lists on your desktop computer or laptop, whether in or out of the office. Synchronization of changes between your computer and the SharePoint server are handled in a smooth and efficient manner. Using SharePoint Workspace 2010 can help save you time and help manage your collaboration efforts much more effectively.

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Introduction to synchronizing SharePoint 2010 content with SharePoint Workspace 2010

Using Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010, you can work with SharePoint 2010 sites, libraries, and lists on your desktop computer or laptop, whether in or out of the office. Synchronization of changes between your computer and the SharePoint server are handled in a smooth and efficient manner. Using SharePoint Workspace 2010 can help save you time and help manage your collaboration efforts much more effectively.

When you are connected, synchronization can occur automatically behind the scenes, although you can make the changes manual if you want. When you are not connected —at home, on the road, or in the air — you can continue to work on your computer. When you come back online, SharePoint Workspace 2010 synchronizes changes you and others made while you were offline.

For example, you can edit documents, presentations, files, and lists (both native and external) on your computer while offline on a business flight. You can do this by using your standard Office products and features, such as Office Word 2010, Office Excel 2010, and Office InfoPath 2010. When you come back online to your SharePoint 2010 sites, all the changes can be synchronized automatically, and any conflicts resolved smoothly.

To synchronize a SharePoint site, library, or list, you must have SharePoint Workspace 2010 installed on your client computer and you must have Contribute permission to the site, library, or list.

Find more information about using SharePoint 2010 with SharePoint Workspace 2010 in the See Also section and in the SharePoint Workspace 2010 Help system.

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What is Synchronization?

In short, synchronization means that any changes made on your computer or the SharePoint server are continually reconciled so that the content is the same on both computers. This synchronization is two-way or bi-directional. Changes made on your computer are uploaded to the server, and changes made on the server are downloaded to your computer. SharePoint Workspace 2010 synchronization is also efficient; only the changes to a file or list are synchronized, not the entire file or list.

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Working with documents in SharePoint libraries

You can work with files in SharePoint libraries on your computer by using SharePoint Workspace 2010. The library view in SharePoint Workspace 2010 is very similar to the view in SharePoint 2010. Custom columns, views, and content types are supported. This includes library views, both public and private.

Custom properties, such as title, priority, and keyword, show up in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Document Information Panels. Even the New command with any defined content types works in a similar manner.

You can also open and save Office files, such as documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, from and to your local workspaces by using the familiar Office Open and Save dialog boxes. You can even drag and drop files from Windows Explorer to your SharePoint workspace.

Checking in, checking out, and creating major and minor versions is also supported. Related commands are enabled on the SharePoint Workspace ribbon when you are online, but unavailable when you are working offline.

Note that an Office file, such as a Word document or PowerPoint presentation, is treated by SharePoint Workspace 2010 the same way that it would treat a file opened directly from the browser, and even maintains the URL, which you can view and copy in Backstage view.

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Working with list data

You can work with SharePoint lists, both native and external, on your computer by using SharePoint Workspace 2010. Most types of columns, metadata, and content types are also supported in SharePoint Workspace 2010. This includes list views, both public and private.

If an occasional conflict occurs when two or more people edit the same list item, then you can use the conflict resolution dialog box to resolve the conflict and be on your way. Even when list metadata changes on the server, the new list metadata can be synchronized on your computer. For example if a calculated column is added on SharePoint 2010, then SharePoint Workspace 2010 picks up the change the next time synchronization occurs.

External lists, created by using Business Connectivity Services (BCS) in SharePoint Designer 2010 are also supported. External lists can contain read/write access to Line-of-Business data from data sources, such as SQL Server or SAP. This means that you can work with your external list data from within SharePoint Workspace 2010, whether online or offline, and smoothly synchronize your changes directly to the external data source.

You’ll find it easier and faster to add and edit list item data and metadata on your computer in a SharePoint Workspace 2010 than in a browser on a SharePoint site. You can view the list data in a grid-like view, and edit the data in a form. The split form feature gives you a unique and practical view into your data.

If an InfoPath form designer has associated an InfoPath 2010 form with the list, you can synchronize that form and use it in your SharePoint Workspace 2010. This means you can take advantage of InfoPath’s form features such as spell checking, file attachments, rich text, field validation, and business rules.

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Searching SharePoint Workspace 2010 content

Searching SharePoint Workspace 2010 content works in a smart and robust way:

  • When you search in a workspace or from the Launchbar, you can find content across all your site workspaces.
  • When you search from the Microsoft Windows 7 Start button, you search across your desktop and all your downloaded content from SharePoint Workspace 2010. Workspaces are automatically indexed. Local search is fast and works whether you are offline or online.

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Limits, exceptions, and workarounds

There are certain limits and exceptions when working with SharePoint 2010 content with SharePoint Workspace 2010. Note that the navigation pane of the SharePoint Workspace 2010 displays links to unsupported lists and libraries, which you can conveniently click to work with in SharePoint 2010 for full support if you are online.

Be aware of the following limits and exceptions when working in SharePoint Workspace 2010:

  • The total number of files you can store across all your SharePoint workspaces is approximately 10,000.

 Note    If you have not updated to Microsoft Office 2010 Service Pack 1, you can only store approximately 500 documents in SharePoint Workspace before you see warning messages about document limits. Additionally, once you exceed 1,800 documents across your SharePoint workspaces, a warning message appears to inform you that only document properties will be downloaded to the workspace.

  • Each list can have no more than 30,000 items.
  • From within SharePoint Workspace 2010, you can create, update, and delete files in a library and new items in a list, but you cannot create new sites, libraries, and lists.
  • Sites based on an Access Web Database template are unsupported.
  • The following lists are unsupported: Calendar, Wiki page, and Survey.
  • The following views are unsupported: Project Task list in Gantt view, Style, In-line Folders (which show as groups), and Item Limit.
  • The people picker control is not supported.
  • The editing of site pages in the site pages library is not supported.
  • The editing of list attachments is not supported (Although you can open the attachment as read-only).
  • The synchronization of changes made to a OneNote notebook is not supported.
  • Lists or libraries protected by Information Rights Management (IRM) are not supported.

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Synchronize a SharePoint workspace with a SharePoint site

  1. In your browser, navigate to the SharePoint site you want to synchronize.
  2. Click the Site Actions menu, and then click Sync to SharePoint Workspace.
  3. To selectively control which libraries and lists are downloaded:
  1. Click Configure.
  2. For each list or library, select it, and then in the Download box, select Headers Only (libraries only) or No Content. You can download the full content later on if you need to.

The first time you synchronize an entire site, it may take a few minutes to download all the files on your computer, but this occurs behind the scenes, so you can continue to work on other tasks.

 Note    If the site contains subsites, these are not downloaded, but you could download those separately if you need to.

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Synchronize a SharePoint workspace with a specific library or list

You can select a specific library or list, if that's all you need to work with from a site. You might want to be selective about what you download to save space on your personal computer or because you do not have permission to synchronize the rest of the site.

  1. In your browser, navigate to the SharePoint site containing the list or library you want to synchronize.
  2. Click the name of the list or library on the Quick Launch, or click Site Actions, click View All Site Content, and then in the appropriate list or library section, click the name of the list or library.

 Note    A SharePoint site can be significantly modified in appearance and navigation. If you cannot locate an option, such as a command, button, or link, contact your administrator.

  1. In the ribbon, on the List or Library tab, in the Connect & Export group, click Sync to SharePoint Workspace.

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Applies to:
SharePoint Foundation 2010 , SharePoint Server 2010