SharePoint 2010 cheat sheet

How to find your way around SharePoint 2010 and make the most of its collaboration features.

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If you click the drop down arrow beside the file, you get a context-sensitive menu full of commonly used options. These include:

View Properties. Selecting this option opens the document properties page, where you can adjust the name and title of the document. You can also get a smaller ribbon of options on this page, allowing you to view the version history of the document, delete it or check the document out of the library (to prevent other people from editing it at the same time). You can also set an alert to notify you when actions are performed on the item, and manage alternate copies of this document. In case other copies are located in other places on the SharePoint site, you can be notified when updates are made on every copy. Here, you can also see who created the document and when, who the last editor of the document was and when that last edit occurred.

Edit Properties. This option brings up the same page as View Properties, but actions are enabled on this page by default so you can actually edit all of the settings instead of just seeing what they are.

Edit in Microsoft Word/Excel. This opens the document in either application, depending on what type of file you are acting upon. It's handy to open the files directly from SharePoint instead of trying to navigate to the SharePoint site from within the File/Open dialog boxes in the individual Office applications.

Check Out. The Check Out option locks a file for editing by a single user. If other users attempt to save back to the file, they'll be notified that they can't make changes until the user who has the file checked out currently checks it back in and makes it available for editing.

Version History. This option opens the Version History window and shows you all the versions of the document that SharePoint knows about, including the number, the date and time of the version, who uploaded a particular version, how big the file is and any free-form comments that were included by the user at the time of the upload. (You can't edit previous comments; you can only add new comments to new document versions.) This creates a user-friendly audit trail that can help you track down inadvertent or incorrect modifications and back up to a good version if someone makes a catastrophic mistake.

Alert Me. This helps you set up alerts for this particular item. We'll talk more about Alerts in the of this cheat sheet.

Send To. On this menu, you can move a document to another library on the SharePoint site, or you can email a link to this document library to someone else. You can also download an independent copy of this document to use locally on your own PC, although choosing this option doesn't keep the copy of the document on the SharePoint site updated. You can also create a new document workspace -- a SharePoint subsite -- with this document preloaded in case more focused collaboration is necessary, for a subcommittee, for instance.

Delete. This simply deletes the file, after a confirmation prompt, from the document library. A copy is stored in the site's Recycle Bin (accessible by default, unless the administrator has turned this feature off, in the left Quick Launch bar at the very bottom of the menu) in case you delete something by mistake. (If the Recycle Bin appears, it's enabled; if you don't see it, it's not enabled; you can't use it if you can't see it.)

Customizing the document library

SharePoint 2010 lets you use the Library Tools Ribbon to manage and further interact with documents in your libraries. In some cases these are actions you can perform in other ways (as described above); this just gives you a different way in. For instance, on the Document tab, you can perform operations grouped as follows:

The New group: Here, you can create a new document, upload a single document or multiple files at the same time, or create a new folder within the library.

The Open & Check Out group: In this group, you can begin editing a document in its native application such as Word, check out a document to lock it for further editing, check it back in or discard a check-out if you made no changes and have no revisions to check back in.

The Manage group: Here, you can view and edit the properties of a document, view its version history and the permissions on the document (if your administrator has enabled such a feature), and delete a document from the library.

The Share & Track group: You can have SharePoint open a new message in your email client with a hyperlink to a selected document embedded within by clicking the Email and Link button, or you can set up an alert on a document or manage all alerts on a SharePoint site through the Alert Me button.

The Copies group: You can download a copy of a document, send a copy to either another location or to a new document workspace, manage copies in other SharePoint locations or go to the source of a copied document in this group.

The Workflows tab: Here you can manage workflows, publishing and approvals. More on this in the next major section.

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