5 tips for working with SharePoint 2010

Useful and time-saving advanced techniques to make the most of the tool.

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Note that for this to work, you need to either be within your corporation's campus network, have DirectAccess enabled or be connected to your company VPN, or be accessing an external version of your SharePoint site. So if you're at home with no VPN and you try to access http://sharepoint (an internal URL your company may have), this Explorer view will not work. Also, some corporate administrators turn this feature off for security and information protection reasons, so check it out first before you depend on it, just to make sure it works in your organization.

Exporting data from Excel
There's a way to turn Excel 2010 data into a SharePoint list. Click to view larger image.

4. Edit lists with Microsoft Excel in a familiar datasheet-style view. Chances are you have a spreadsheet or two with a list of things; maybe it is contact information, or a list of dates or a summary of various projects and their statuses. No matter what it is, if you are using Microsoft Excel 2010, there is a really simple way to export that data out of Excel and into a SharePoint list, where you can then edit it natively within the SharePoint Web experience, either in standard view or in datasheet view.

From within SharePoint, select More Options from the Site Actions menu, and then from the List section, click Import Spreadsheet, and then click the Create button.

Adding info about Excel data
You can type in a new name for the Excel data you're bringing into SharePoint, along with a description. Click to view larger image.

Type in a new name for this list and a plain-English description of this spreadsheet if you wish, and then browse to where the spreadsheet is located in your file system by clicking the Browse button and selecting the file. Once you are finished, click the Import button.

In the background, Excel will open the file and the Import to Windows SharePoint Services list will appear. You can select the range of cells for your list, and then click the Import button in that dialog box.

Finding your Excel list in SharePoint
Once your list is exported, here's what it looks like in SharePoint. Click to view larger image.

You'll be returned to the SharePoint window and you'll find your list, directly imported into the SharePoint database. You can then adjust the view and change the order of the columns, their names and more from the List tab in the List Tools group; just click List Settings to the far right of the window.

5. Overlay multiple calendars in SharePoint to create a master calendar. Your team can now have a master calendar that includes calendar rollup information from calendars that are nestled deeper into the SharePoint site hierarchy. You can overlay up to 10 calendars over one another to create this master calendar, and each calendar is displayed in a different color code. (It's kind of like what happens when you link a SharePoint calendar to Outlook and then overlay the two calendars within the Outlook client.)

Creating a master calendar in SharePoint
You can have one 'master' calendar for your entire team. Click to view larger image.

At the main SharePoint site where you want the master calendar to live, either create a new calendar list from the Site Actions menu, or use an existing calendar that already is configured at the level you want. On the Calendar tab in the Ribbon, click Calendars Overlay, and then click the New Calendar link to add a new calendar to the overlay view.

This next part is a bit trickier: You have to give SharePoint some information about the calendar that you are adding, such as a name and its plain-English description, and you need to have the URL of the site that houses the calendar. This is the link to the site itself, not a link directly to the calendar. After you enter in the web URL and click the Resolve button, SharePoint will use that URL to crawl the site and find the calendar lists and views.

Master calendar look and feel
You select up to 10 calendars to roll up into one. Click to view larger image.

If the site you provided has many calendar lists or views, SharePoint will ask you to choose the ones you want to overlay; just select the box next to Always Show, and when you're done, click OK. Lather, rinse, repeat for each separate website (again, up to 10 individual calendars) that contains calendars you want to overlay, and then click OK. Now you'll see all of those calendars rolled up into one master calendar.

Next: SharePoint 2010 cheat sheet.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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