How SharePoint Operates
Welcome to the West Liberty IT Services guide on Microsoft SharePoint. This guide is intended to help overview SharePoint, how we at West Liberty use SharePoint, and how to navigate one of our standard West Liberty SharePoint sites.
Let us start with the question: “What is SharePoint?” Microsoft SharePoint is a workplace collaboration and document sharing tool. Built upon the cloud storage technology of Microsoft OneDrive, SharePoint primarily appears as a series of secure webpages. These webpages can often be sorted into departments or specific office areas that need their own space. On each of these webpages there can be several different widgets or webpage-parts that make SharePoint powerful.
These various widgets can include Lists and Document Libraries, which are ways to access the numerous files a specific Subsite may hold. They can also include sub-pages, event calendars, news posts and much more.
Every site also has a sidebar menu that will lead you to other parts of that SharePoint Site. Clicking this will open a list of links, from Home to Recycle Bin.
- Home will take you back to the landing page that is at the start of every SharePoint Site.
- Notebook will open Microsoft OneNote and take you to that site’s Notebook. Every site has one.
- Documents is where you will likely spend most of your time. Documents is a file storage location that every site has access to.
- Pages shows you the various pages that can make up a SharePoint website.
- Site Contents goes into more detail and shows you the assets and subsites that makes up a SharePoint Site.
- Recycle Bin is where documents that are deleted are sent for 90 days before permanent deletion. Documents in the Recycle Bin can be recovered if needed.
Of these various links, the ones that are relevant to those at West Liberty are Home and Documents. Some sites can also contain links to subsites from the side menu as well, allowing you to navigate down the tree of pages on SharePoint.
That’s a basic overview of how SharePoint looks and operates at a baseline. Next, we’ll go over how to use SharePoint at West Liberty.
How We at West Liberty Use SharePoint
Next let’s talk about how we at West Liberty use SharePoint.
SharePoint on campus is primarily used as a document storage method for departments and offices on campus. There will be a separate guide on specifically the Documents area on the IT site soon/available now. As part of document storage, SharePoint allows you to sync down a site’s data to your machine, not unlike a OneDrive folder on your computer. This is how many users interact with SharePoint files, allowing you to instantly access files with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
In addition to document storage and syncing, the other main way that SharePoint is used is cross-departmental sharing. On every file and site, there is a share button that will allow you to share a document with another user who may otherwise not have access to the site or Folder you are sharing from.
These are the primary ways of using SharePoint: document storage, syncing, and sharing.
How to Access SharePoint
There are two primary ways of navigating to the West Liberty SharePoint site.
The primary way to get to the WLU SharePoint is to goto our single sign on portal, located at the top of the Go WLU page. Helpful link to go WLU: https://westliberty.edu/go-wlu/
Once in the single sign on portal, there is a link that reads “Microsoft SharePoint Online.” Clicking this link will take you to our West Liberty SharePoint Main Site.
The second way to get into SharePoint is to navigate to Office.com. Once on Office.com using your Microsoft Office/SingleSignOn credentials, click on the app library button on the top left of the page. From there click on SharePoint. This next page is the SharePoint Home, a site that gets populated with recent links the more you use SharePoint. On the bottom of the left side of this page, is a link to “Team Site.” Clicking on this link will take you to the West Liberty SharePoint Main Site.
You can also bookmark the direct link to the West Liberty Site:
How to Navigate a West Liberty University SharePoint Site
The way our SharePoint site we use at the university is setup for navigation is fairly straightforward. When we get to the main West Liberty SharePoint site, this is a navigation bar across the top of the page. Each link on this bar defines an overall department area of the university that can be accessed. This list of links is as follows: Alumni Relations, Athletics, External Affairs, Finance, Foundation, Human Resources, IR&E, IT Services, Legal, Physical Plant, President, Provost, and Student Services.
Following one of these links will take us to a sub-site of our main site, an identical looking page that is owned by whatever department that is hosting it. For example, we can click on the navigation bar link for Provost. Once on this page we can see that it has the same basic features, Share buttons, the Home page, the Documents tab. As mentioned, all sites and sub-sites have the same basic layout.
At the top of the Provost site, there is a second navigation bar. This bar will appear on sites that have applicable sites beneath them. Underneath the Provost Office are the various Colleges at the university, this bar will populate with the Colleges that you have access to. On other sites that have similar sub-sites, this bar will also appear to help you navigate the site and its children effectively.
This is the end of our basic guide on what SharePoint is, its use, and how to navigate SharePoint. Read our other guide on managing and syncing Documents with SharePoint.