Are you a newbie when it comes to SharePoint? Are you lost in the lingo, or trying to make heads or tails of how to incorporate the tool into your day-to-day operations? If so, this blog is for you! Check out these beginner basics that will allow you to achieve the gold star you desire, as a result of your first interactions with the application.

Pass the vocabulary test. If you’ve spent any time with a “SharePoint-er”, you understand that learning his/her language is half the battle in learning how to use the tool. Some of the most common elements a new user would encounter include:

  • Site: A group of pages, lists, libraries and settings that perform a common set of functions
  • List and Library: Repositories that store content (More details below)
  • View: Controls how you see and work with the content in the list or library using filtering, sorting and grouping
  • Web Part: A reusable building block of functionality on a page allowing interactivity, data access, personalization, configuration, communication

Take a trip to the library. Gone are the days of the card catalog to find just what you’re looking for in the fiction section, row 7, shelf D. SharePoint libraries are created and easily organized to store files like Word, Excel, Visio or PDF documents. There are many different types of libraries available, to include: Asset, Data Connections, Forms, Pictures, Reports and Wiki Pages. However, the most commonly used is a Document library. Document libraries are used when a collection of documents or other files need to be shared. Document libraries support features such as folders (yes, just like that old school file share on the network you’re used to visiting), versioning (oops I made a mistake and need to see what the last version looked like – yup it’s got that), and check out for editing (so that others cannot edit the document at the same time you are).

Make a list, check it twice. The only list most children ever worry about is making sure they aren’t on the naughty one at Christmas time. However, for many adults, lists rule every waking moment, and they cannot be productive without them. SharePoint is a list maker’s dream allowing various types of data to be stored in a manner similar to how Excel or Access stores rows of data. Some of the native list types available in SharePoint include: Announcements, Calendars, Contacts, Discussion Boards, Issue Tracking, Links, Surveys and Tasks. If those don’t fit the bill, users can create (or ask their friendly “SharePoint-er” to create) a custom list or use the import feature to generate a list that contains the same column/row data as an existing spreadsheet.

Playground Games.

  • Tag you’re it! Tag in elementary school meant chasing others until your legs were ready to fall off… this is quite the contrary in SharePoint. The intent of Tags is to allow users to easily remember links and classify the pages visited most frequently.
  • Follow the leader! Much like the way children line up to move from point A to point B in the building or to the playground, SharePoint 2013 serves up the most recent activity in a user’s feed for the People, Documents, Sites and #Tags that they choose to follow. Following a person allows a user to view the most recent things that person has said or done. If a user is following a document, he/she is alerted when that document is modified or shared with others. When a user follows a site, all of the conversations happening on that site are brought into the newsfeed. Unless it’s a site that’s near and dear to your heart, this may be overkill. #Tag following will only bring conversations into the users feed that actually contain a #Tag.
The best way to become most familiar with the terms and concepts outlined above is to just start making SharePoint a part of day-to-day processes. Once a user is comfortable with the basics, tweaking a list view, or using a workflow will not seem nearly as daunting a task! If you are a novice or mid-level user and are interested in joining the ranks of your power user friends, please feel free to check in with C5 Insight about available SharePoint training options.