Feedback: Become Your Company’s SharePoint Superstar

The first session of Become Your Company’s SharePoint Superstar is completed. We played to a "packed house" online, with all seats being taken plus a waiting list for the next session.

This space is for the participants to give their feedback on the workshop so that you can see if it will be worth your while to attend. These are unedited comments, so let’s see what they have to say.

I’d like to hear comments on the following:

  • How hard will it be to implement the solutions we provided
  • What was your favorite solution
  • Would you recommend this session to your SharePoint friends
  • Are you going to attend the second session

Diarrhea of a worm

I was walking my six year old to school this morning when he started shouting at me about this incredible book he was reading at school, "Diarrhea of a Worm". As he continued to describe in glowing terms the story line, I realized he meant "Diary of a Worm". I guess a little malapropism never hurt anyone, except maybe the worm.

It reminded me of why people are having a problem with using SharePoint when they first get started. The only context they have to relate to when storing information is the folder. In their mind, a Library is just another type of folder storage mechanism.

"So what’s the big deal?", they say to themselves, "just another place to store files. I’ll create some more folders in here." And off they go, replicating the same problems they have on their file server.

One of the first steps in getting End User buy-in is helping the user understand the new paradigm shift: A library is not a place to store folders, it is a way to organize your files into large chunks of information that can be sorted and filtered for quick access.

That’s the short form. John, Nicola and Lee will be adding more context to this in their articles, but as a Site Admin or Site Collection Admin, this is one of the most important concepts you can impart to your audience.

Diarrhea is not a diary, and a library is not a folder.

Free web part download: Show Icons for External Links

I found the article from Paul Grenier concerning managing external links so compelling that I packed up a web part for use on sites. Here are the requirements:
  • Upload the jQuery library to a document library on the site.
  • Upload the external link icon to your site
  • Import the web part into your SharePoint site.
  • Open the CEWP source editor and change the following to a URL where you have uploaded the jQuery library (this is using the minimal download of jQuery 1.3.1):
    <script type="text/javascript" src="[YOUR SITE]/jquery-1.3.1.min.js"></script>
  • Update the location of your image
    .after("<img src='[YOUR SITE]/Icon_External_Link.png’ alt=’External Site’ style=’margin-left: 3px;’>").attr(‘target’,’_blank’);

Save your settings and you should have external links with a new image AND they open in a new browser window.

Download these resources:

-Chris Quick

Help! I killed the edit menu on all the web parts on my SharePoint page

As Paul and I were testing the environment for tomorrow’s workshop, I dumped a web part on the page that I expected to hide the ‘View’ menu on a list or library. Well, not only did it knockout the View menu, it also took out the functionality of all of the Edit menus on every web part on the page!

Tough one, right? How can you delete the web part from the page when you can’t access the menu that allows the deletion?

There’s a simple fix for this one: add "&contents=1" to the end of your URL string. That will expose all the web parts on the page and allow quick deletion of the culprits causing the problems.

Simple solution to an all too common problem when you are playing around with web parts.

Sold Out: Become Your Company’s SharePoint Superstar!

Friday’s live online session for becoming your company’s SharePoint Superstar has sold out. I’m already getting requests to run another session. Use the form below to get on the will call list. When I get a couple dozen requests, I’ll set up a new session… possibly even next week.

Congratulations to everyone who registered in advance. Paul and I look forward to seeing you online tomorrow. — Mark

What is and why should you care?

From Mark Miller, Founder and Editor, This is the second in a series of articles celebrating the publication of 500 articles at

The SharePoint playing field is long and broad. Pick an area and make it yours. Here at, our focus is on the End User.

After a year of writing and editing SharePoint content, with over 500 articles and 5500+ Weekly Newsletter subscribers, it’s time for us to redefine exactly who our End User audience is, based upon who is reading the site, who is participating in the Stump the Panel Q&A Forum, and who our authors are.

Defining the Segments of the SharePoint End User Community

Based upon the highly analytical approach of me scanning comments, observing Stump the Panel and getting daily emails from our readers, I’ve broken the SharePoint End User Community into three, broad segments:

  • Information Worker
  • Power User
  • Site Collection Administrator

Like I said, broad playing fields. Yes, Information Workers can be broken down into subgroups. So can Power Users, but in general these three categories can handle most of the content we produce here.

What are the types of content each segment of the End User community can expect from us? Who will be providing the content? I’ve been hashing this out for the past two weeks, trying to find the best way to provide the most useful content to the broadest spectrum of the SharePoint community.

So what’s the plan?

Here is the model I plan to use for the next year.

Take each End User segment, define what that segment is, determine the type of content relevent to that segment, estimate what total percentage of the reading community resides within that segment, and then allocate authors and topics.

What we are going to do here is take a subject and really drill down for you. As an example, you only have to look as far as Dessie Lunsford’s Taming the Elusive Calculated Column series, or Paul Grenier’s jQuery for Everyone series to see how this can work.

How it will work

I’ve asked each of our regular authors to choose a topic and create a series of articles on that topic. In addition to Paul and Dessie, we have commitments for the creation of:

  • Data Web Forms and Databases - Greg Maass
  • Common Business Scenarios - John Ross and Nicola Young
  • Getting End User Buy In - Lee Reed
  • Case Studies and SharePoint War Stories - Michael Hinckley
  • Seamless Team Work, Weekly Workshop - Michael Sampson
  • SPD Workflow - Paul Galvin, SharePoint MVP
  • Mind Mapping for SharePoint - Ruven Gotz
  • Fantastic 40 Templates - Toni Frankola
  • CQWP and XSLT - Waldek Mastykarz, SharePoint MVP
  • SharePoint Designer - Woody Windischman

What’s next?

That should get you pretty excited. I know I can’t sit still when I read that list. These people have real world experience they are willing to document and hand over to the SharePoint community and is where they’ve chosen to put it.

I consider it an honor to publish these authors and I know they will appreciate your continuing support through your comments and feedback as they provide the best SharePoint End User content available anywhere.

In tomorrow’s segment, I will start defining the three levels of the SharePoint End User community. Stay tuned…

Final Call: Become Your Company’s SharePoint Superstar!

Paul Grenier and I spent some time today going over our presentation for this Friday’s live, online workshop: Become Your Company’s SharePoint Superstar! We’ve come up with some things you’ll be able to drag-and-drop on your SharePoint pages that will make your Grandma gasp:

  • MouseOver preview panes in lists, libraries and calendars
  • The Gantt View Improver (for lack of a better name)
  • Expand and collapse all groups in a list
  • Display an accordian view of the Quick Launch
  • Print Any Web Part
  • Random quote generator, managed from a SharePoint list
  • MouseOver Preview Pane for multiple web parts on a single page

All this functionality comes in a nicely wrapped package called a zip file. Rip open the package, drag the web parts onto your pages and, voila!, you will be your company’s instant Superstar!

Your Grandma will be proud…

Managing Links with the “I need to…” Web Part

2011-10-24-INeedTo-04.jpgLinks are like Tribbles… they end up everywhere

It’s time to decide the best way to display your links on a page. If you are using MOSS, you have what I consider five options:  Links List, Content Editor Web Part, Content Query Web Part, Summary Links Web Part, and I Need to.. Web Part.  It really comes down to how many links are you trying to display.

Maybe you only have 2-5 links and one of the first four options will be fine.  But if you have any more than that all of sudden your page is just covered with links.

While I think the first four options listed all have value, the biggest problem I have with them is screen real estate which is why I choose the fifth option frequently, the I Need to… web part.  For this article I am going to assume you know how to use the first four and we are going to walk through how to turn the I Need to… web part into a drop down links list. 

The "I need to…" web part can help

The I Need to… web part was originally intended to connect to the Site list in the Sites Directory as an easy way for your users to navigate.  However it works well as a links drop down for any type of links whether they are internal or external.

In order to do this, you need to create a custom links list.  This is because the built in links list does not have a title column which is what is displayed in the dropdown nor does it have a choice column which the web part uses for filtering.

The first three steps listed below will walk you through setting up the list.

  1. Create a Custom List with the following Columns.

  2. Title


    Title (should be created by default)

    Single line of text




    Choice column; yes, no should be the choices

  3. Add a couple of items filling in all three columns. The web part is going to ask you to filter the choice column, so if you would like all of the items to show up make sure you are selecting Yes for the Yes/No column.
  4. 2011-10-24-INeedTo-01.png

  5. Go to the homepage of your site, in the right hand column add the I Need to.. web part. When you have the web part in edit mode configure it as follows: (Note: the list name should be the custom list you created in the first step)
  6. 2011-10-24-INeedTo-02.png

If you would like to change the width of the web part, you can do it with the width option seen above. This would allow you to accommodate links with a lot of characters.

Now your web part should look similar to this


After I demonstrate the above functionality of a links drop down clients frequently ask how do I customize the fact that the web part says “Choose a task”. The following are the steps you will need to take to accomplish this.

  1. The next step is to change the text in the web part from “Choose task” to “Choose Link”, to do this on the drop down of the web part select export. Save the web part to your desktop.
  2. Click Open and Use SharePoint Designer or Notepad to open the file. To change the word task to link in the default text of the web part, Locate this line of code approximately line 75
  3. <option selected="true" value="0">Choose task</option>
    Change “Task” to “Link”

  4. To change the tooltip, Locate this line of code approximately line 74
  5. <select id="{$TasksAndToolsDDID}" class="ms-selwidth" style="width:{$tasksAndTools_Width}" size="1" title="Choose a task that you need to perform" >
    Change “task” to “link”; you may want to delete “that you need to perform” or reword the tooltip altogether.

  6. Save the File
  7. Go back to the homepage of your site. Put the page in edit mode and click add a web part. In the bottom right hand corner of the web part gallery click Advanced Web Part Gallery and Options.
  8. Select the drop down arrow in the top right hand corner of the web part task pane. On the drop down select import.
  9. Browse to the file you just saved and click upload.
  10. Click Import.
  11. Be sure to delete the first I need to… web part off of the page.

So that is it, with a few simple changes to the code you can customize the web part and create a very functional efficient drop down list of links with custom messages and tooltips. The same simple steps you used here to customize the web part can be used with other web parts you can export. This may help you to start thinking about other problems you can fix with this type of solution. Hopefully you will at least find this useful when you get the request for everyone’s link on the homepage as I frequently do when I am designing a new homepage layout.

Finally, as always we are happy to receive any feedback from you regarding topics you would like us to address. Just leave it in the comments below.

2011-10-24-NicolaYoung.jpgNicola Young works exclusively with the SharePoint technologies. She specializes in information organization and usability. Nicola is currently both a SharePoint trainer and consultant with SharePoint911, and focuses on the business applications of the product. She is the coauthor of SAB301: Building Enterprise Solutions with SharePoint Server 2007 and SPG301: SharePoint Planning and Governance with the Ted Pattison Group and lead author of SBU201: Business Users Guide to SharePoint Server 2007. Nicola is also a coauthor on the SharePoint book MOSS Explained: An Information Worker’s Deep Dive into Microsoft Office SharePoint Server.

Add a Google Map to SharePoint

Adding a map to your SharePoint site provides value to those that look to your site for information.  Use a map on your SharePoint site to:

  • Show people where to meet for a project meeting.
  • Identify the location of a client so everyone can get to where they should be.
  • Identify and educate people about reference points near a building or property.
  • Visually communicate the distance of one location to another.

The idea is to publish information a single time while benefiting from it multiple times.  THAT is efficiency!  This makes the information you enter on your site actionable and meaningful and, in the example of the use of a map and project documents, helps to provide the user with a context of the project.  The use of an interactive map also addresses something else you should be thinking about when building your SharePoint sites….it helps to make the site visually interesting.


Add a Google Map to SharePoint


Download the new, improved, superdouper Quote of the Day Web Part

Here’s a little blurb from the Weekly Newsletter that went out this morning:

Waldek Mastykarz has graciously provided the Quote of the Day Web Part with a much needed make over. Instead of managing the quotes from within the web part itself, the quotes can now be managed from a list!

Read the two part article series to understand what he has done or, if you’re like me, download the web part from the Subscriber Only Archive, import it to a page, flail around a bit and THEN read the articles to see how to make it work. Either way, powerful stuff.

Get Quote of the Day Web Part - Reprised in the Subscribers Only Archive.

If this sounds interesting to you, subscribe to the Weekly Newsletter. You will have immediate access to download the web part. Included is a ‘ReadMe’ file that will point you to the two articles that show you how to import this into a SharePoint page and point it to your list.

As always, Waldek and I would appreciate your feedback.