How to Work with SharePoint Documents
SharePoint document libraries are the primary way we work with SharePoint. West Liberty University primarily uses SharePoint as a campus wide file sharing service, sectioned by department. By accessing the document library, you can create and edit MS Word and Excel files in your browser.
First, we want to go ahead and access the documents page. When we goto the actual documents page we have a lot more options available to handle managing our files. Let’s go through the various buttons and break down how the page works.
(See our guide on How to Navigate SharePoint if you’re lost: https://westliberty.edu/it/how-sharepoint-operates/)
Document Pane Option Buttons
At the top of the documents pane, we have a list of options from New to Integrate. New is self-explanatory, we can create basic Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Visio documents. We can also create more menu options, as well as direct links. Most important here is the ability to make folders so we can organize our files.
Next is the Upload feature, again a self-explanatory feature, we can upload documents and whole folders from our machine to SharePoint. You can also upload files by clicking and dragging on the document in question.
Next is Edit in grid view. This will let us change how we’re looking at the documents available, and let you edit documents and metadata faster if you learn how to utilize it.
Next up is Sync. For many of you, we’ve already worked to add this Sync feature to your device via OneDrive. Sync allows you to add the documents tree from your SharePoint site to your device with OneDrive. To use Sync, make sure you’re signed into OneDrive on your machine, then click the Sync button. Sync will ask to open Microsoft OneDrive. Once you allow OneDrive to make the change, you’ll be able to see a new heading in your file explorer for SharePoint and the name of your site. This is helpful in speeding up your interactions with documents. We highly recommend utilizing Sync to help make working with SharePoint easier.
Next is Add Shortcut to OneDrive. This is very similar to Sync, except will create a shortcut or link to a specific file or folder. Shortcut is not as comprehensive as Sync. Personally, I recommend simply using Sync. A word of warning: Shortcut and Sync together will often not play nice and make cause trouble with conflicting versions or OneDrive errors.
Next is Pin to Quick Access. This will allow for a document library to be added as a destination to Quick Access in your Online OneDrive. Adding the document library as a destination will allow you to view the documents from your Online OneDrive page from any device. This is helpful if you need to access all your files in one place.
Export is a function that allows you to gather a manifest of all the documents on a site, this is only going to gather the data about the documents, not the actual documents themselves. This sheet can let you evaluate the files that you have on your site.
We’re going to skip over the next few options as they’re advanced features that revolve around using automated procedures and integrations with Microsoft Power Apps, which is beyond the scope of this tutorial.
On the far end we have a few view options that are useful for changing how we look at SharePoint. The All-Documents dropdown allows us to change whether we want to see a page in List, Compact List, or Tiles. We can also create different views to show different columns and setup different rules for how we want to look at the content. This is really powerful stuff.
Next there’s a more ad-hoc filters dropdown which lets you specify date modified or created, the type or who has modified the document. Next, there’s the Details button. The Details button lets you examine the metadata for a file, it can also let you edit properties if a file has additional ones. Finally, there’s the Fullscreen button. This doesn’t actually take you into full screen but hides the navigation bars to give more room.
If you’re the owner of a site, you have the ability to add another document library, this is fantastic for organizing your documents if you have completely separate class of documents that need to be stored nearby.
Before we wrap up, let’s look at what options we have available in SharePoint when we right click on a file.
Share allows you to open a window and send a link to someone in the university via email to that file or folder. You can edit the options of the share from this window as well. We’ll go into more detail on sharing in another tutorial.
Copy link is a similar action to the Share dropdown, except with Copy link we have a link we can manually send to someone to share.
Manage access is important for sharing and collaborating. With this we can directly add or remove people from being able to access files. Not all permission levels may have the ability to access this.
The rest of the list is self-explanatory:
Download allows you to download a copy of the file.
Add shortcut to OneDrive lets you add a shortcut as mentioned before.
Delete removes the file from Documents and throws it into the Recycle Bin.
Automate is again, the same as what we had mentioned before, utilizing Microsoft’s task automation tools with Power Apps.
Rename lets you rename a file.
Pin to top allows you to hold a file at the top of the Documents pane. This is useful if you have a deep Folder and frequently return to a file that is far down the repository.
Move to lets you manually move a file or folder from one area to another.
Copy to is the same as Move to but makes a copy.
Alert me creates a notification alert for when file or folder is changed. Clicking on Alert me will bring up a large window with many options for how you would like to setup the alerts.
Clicking on More will let you access the document’s properties, or the workflow associated with the file. Workflows are deprecated and have been replaced with Power Automate.
Finally, there is the Details button, clicking this opens the Details panel that we looked at before.