How to use Sharepoint? Understanding SharePoint Sites? Organizations use SharePoint to create websites. In Microsoft 365, you can create a site from the SharePoint start page. You also get a SharePoint team site whenever you create a Microsoft 365 group in Outlook Online or Microsoft 365. If you’re in SharePoint Server, you can create a team or a number of other types of sites. You can use the sites as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from any device. All you need is a web browser, such as Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox. Get the SharePoint mobile app to stay connected from your mobile devices.
How to use Sharepoint?
Before we delve into its nitty-gritty features, let’s take a high-level look at how SharePoint operates.
In short, it’s an online collaboration system that helps business teams work together. It allows organizations to create intranets, where they can store, organize and share business information on a centralized, protected platform through a web browser.
In addition, to file sharing and file storing, it also gives companies stronger control over information access and helps them automate workflow between business units.
If you’re running SharePoint Online, you’re working within the Microsoft Cloud platform. This software integrates seamlessly with other cloud-based applications and can pair with other Microsoft offerings, such as OneDrive for Business, via an Office 365 or Microsoft 365 license.
It’s important to look at SharePoint as a platform rather than a single tool, as it enables many different business activities.
Understanding SharePoint Sites
Any discussion of SharePoint best practices will include a mention of “sites.”
These are places on the SharePoint intranet where teams can collaborate, search and save important information. Employees can invite others to work on a site alongside them, granting approval based on department, geography, common tasks, and more.
The benefit of this centralization? Before, data points were scattered across your organization, residing on disparate employee inboxes, hard drives or laptops. Now, they’re all together and all actionable.
If you have authorized access to a site, you can see and access information as it’s saved to the common platform. You’ll also know where the latest document versions reside and who accessed them last.
What is Microsoft SharePoint Online?
Microsoft SharePoint is a collaboration and communication platform that can be used to build an organization’s intranet. It also powers file collaboration across the entire Microsoft 365 ecosystem.
It’s very important to understand that SharePoint is not a tool, like Word or Excel. It’s not something you install, and everybody gets the same thing.
When I ask people this question, the most common answer I get is: Well…I don’t really know.
SharePoint Online contains a built-in cloud document management system with your Microsoft 365 subscription. With it, members of your organization can access files anywhere, safely, and collaborate with others in real-time.
For example, every time you create a team in Microsoft Teams, a SharePoint site is also automatically created—a team site to collaborate on shared files. This is one way SharePoint can be used as a collaborative content management system instead of just being an intranet.
The modern SharePoint Online experience is all about adaptability. Compared to Classic SharePoint, the structure is much more flexible, meaning that it can easily be molded to fit the needs of your organization today, and as those needs change over time.
The SharePoint Online environment
Because SharePoint Online plays such a big role in the Microsoft 365 universe, I just wanted to quickly recap the basic structure to make sure everyone is on the same page.
It’s important to understand the difference between:
- SharePoint sites: boxes that are used to organize and store information
- SharePoint pages: space used to display content within a SharePoint site
- SharePoint web parts: web applications designed to store specific types of content
Looking for the difference between Onedrive & SharePoint? Check out this infographic on Onedrive for Business vs. SharePoint
What is a SharePoint team site?
Ideally, each team should get its own site collection, this makes document sharing and collaboration easy. This happens automatically when you create a new group in Microsoft 365 Groups, or a team in Microsoft Teams.
This means you’ll likely have lots of different team sites dedicated to projects or work teams within your organization. Don’t panic–this is a good thing. The more specific the purpose of each site collection, the easier it is to apply the appropriate governance policies.
What is a SharePoint communication site?
Whether that’s content, a major announcement, or your weekend plans, communication sites enable you to broadcast your message to a wider audience. Typically, only a small amount of members have the privilege to post in communication sites, and most users have read-only permissions.
Permissions for communication sites are derived from SharePoint groups, whereas permissions for team sites are based on settings in Microsoft 365 Groups.
For more guidance on when to create a team site vs when to create a communication site, refer to the official Microsoft documentation.
What are SharePoint pages?
SharePoint pages are key collaboration tools and are primarily used to present content to end users. Generally, you’ll use two different types of pages:
Act as a jumping off point for end users to navigate your site. For example, the home page of your intranet is a type of navigation page that presents different categories and potentially some high-level information.
Think carefully about this page, as it will affect how your users are able to move through the rest of your intranet and sites and find the information they’re looking for.
Need some inspiration? Check out Microsoft’s lookbook for more ideas of how you can set up your homepage for maximum impact.
Contain the bulk of the content users are looking for, and are usually built around a specific topic. For example, you create a team in Microsoft Teams for Employee Success. A dedicated SharePoint site is automatically created to store content related to this team. Your home page might include links pointing to multiple destination pages, this is a good place for your typical file sharing, or easily accessed documents.
A successfully SharePoint information structure is made up of a carefully planned combination of both navigation pages and destination pages that takes into consideration the end user experience.
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