EndUserSharePoint.com: How can I manage columns widths in list views?

The question of the day comes from Jenny:

What can I do to manage and/or set my column widths in a list? Whether I import an Excel spreadsheet for a list or create a list from scratch, there comes a time when the column widths go wacky. Sometimes the content does determine the width while at other times it doesn’t, like breaking up a phone number in the middle or having short comment lengths with plenty of space left over.

I tried to manage this, both in the Excel before importihttps://nothingbutsharepoint.com/wp-content/themes/o4o206sb2smakbz7yz377r74961/files/2008/ng and also another time with the datasheet view. the columns saved nicely in the datasheet view but didn’t translate to the "standard" view. Is there a trick or tip I’m missing?

Jenny - Yes this is a typical frustration with the layout scheme in lists and libraries. Using the out of the box functionality of SharePoint, there’s not much you can do about this. You’d have to go into SharePoint Designer to create a view you’d be satisfied with. I guess that’s the trade off: is it worth the time and effort or can you live with what you’ve got?

 I’m interested in what other people are doing. I’ve heard the question so many times, I’d like to find a simple solutions.


EndUserSharePoint.com: Security certificates and blocked SharePoint content

The question of the day comes from Shane:

My company upgraded to IE 7 and I have a couple site with the OWA accessing inboxes, cal, etc. With IE 7, when I go to the site the web part with Outlook, access is blocked and the following error is shown: "To help protect your security, IE has blocked this website from displaying content with security certificate errors. Click here for options.."

I can click the option to diplay blocked content but would rather find away to setup so this does’t come back. Have you heard of this and know what I can do to get around it?

Chris Quick Reply from Chris Quick

Sounds like the certificate was either generated internally from an enterprise root certificate authority and is not in the list of trusted certificates that IE7 uses or the certificate is set up with an incorrect url (ie, the certificate was generated for www.mysite.com and is being used with email.mysite.com).

You might try placing both the OWA site and the SharePoint site into the trusted zone of IE7, but I don’t know if that will get around the error. The best solution would be to have a certificate generated by VeriSign or some other official agency so all browsers will trust the certificate.
As a side note: to see a list of trusted root certificates, go to Tools > Internet Options. Then choose the Content tab. Click on Publishers under Certificates and then choose the tab for Trusted Root Certification Authorities. You can also look to see if any certificates have been added to trusted publishers tabs. This is usually done in enterprises by server administrators, so you need to check with your IT group to make sure the certificate is added, or can be added to your list of trusted certificates.

Additionally, you can import https://nothingbutsharepoint.com/wp-content/themes/o4o206sb2smakbz7yz377r74961/files/2008/a certificate to trust on non-enterprise systems, but your it group will have to provide the file with the certificate information — you may have to sell your firstborn to have them even consider it.


EndUserSharePoint: Request for Case Studies

Case Studies - ThumbnailThe question of the day comes from Dawn:

Do you have any case studies on companies who have implemented SharePoint as their central communication hub?

Dawn - I do have a white paper in draft form that I can make available to you. It documents the process of setting up SharePoint to manage AIDS Vaccine Research data, communication and collaboration for five research labs.

If anyone one else has a case study you can point to online or one you’d like to make available through EndUserSharePoint.com, leave a comment below with the link.

Please consider posting or pointing to a resource. I think this will be extremely useful for those who need to see the "why" of using SharePoint. If you have a white paper you’d like people to read but it is not available on another site, send me a note and I will contact you personally to get a copy of the paper.

EndUserSharePoint.com: Closing web parts vs REALLY closing web parts

Closed Web Part - ThumnailAnyone up for a SharePoint contest? Go to your entrance page and find out how many closed web parts you currently have. No cheating. Go ahead… I’ll wait.

In this contest, everyone is a winner because I bet you are going to be pretty surprised when you check things out.

It happened again today. I was looking at a client’s site, working on implementing a search mechanism through a search web part.

Whenever I’m working on a page for the first time, I always check to see if there are any closed web parts on the page. Usually when someone first starts working with SharePoint, they assume the ‘x’ in the web part means to close/delete the web part from the page. In the case of SharePoint, the ‘x’ really means "Hide this web part, but still pull in the data"… one of the typical "gotchas" when starting out.

Sure enough, there were 26 closed web parts on the page. No wonder is was taking a while to load. This happens more often than you might think. I’ll go in and clean up the page and make sure the site manager understands how to properly remove web parts from a page.

What was your score? Leave a comment and we’ll see who gets the prize for the week. I’m betting 26 isn’t even close to a winner.

How do you see your closed web parts?

  • Site actions -> Edit page
  • Click "Add a web part" over any web zone
  • On the screen that pops up, bottom right corner, click the link "Advanced Web Part gallery and options
  • Look in the right hand panel  to find the number of closed web parts

The real question is now that you’ve found them closed, what can you do about it.

  • Click the "Closed Web Parts" link in the tool panel
  • Wait….
  • Drag each one of the closed web parts on to the page and delete it: edit -> Delete

Happy hunting and deleting.

Wrong Way to Delete a Web Part

Close a Web Part - Wrong Way

Correct Way to Delete a Web part

Close a Web Part - Correct Way

EndUserSharePoint.com: Content Types and Workflow

Content Types and WorkflowFor the past month I’ve been spending a lot of time working with Content Types, trying to get the final installment done for the SharePoint 101 Tricks and Traps ebook. I was working on something this morning that might turn out to be useful for a basic End User just starting to get their hands dirty with Content Types.

 In addition to carrying around metadata structure, a Content Type can also carry a default workflow with it. This means that when the Content Type is used, a workflow can be attached to it and applied to any documents using that Content Type.

As an example, let’s say I’m working on a project that is spread over multiple sites in a single Site Collection. Within that Site Collection that are multiple sites that have libraries needing to use the Activities Data content type that was customized for that Site Collection. The same Approval workflow process is used for each of those libraries. By attaching the workflow to the Content Type, every library has a consistent metadata structure as well as a default workflow.

 Pretty simple… pretty useful… very cool.

Content Types and Workflow - Figure 1

EndUserSharePoint.com: Iron Man vs Indiana Jones… Are you kidding me?

IronmanIs there any discussion here? I never thought there would be but it looks like the case of HR vs IT.

Check with your IT department and I don’t think you’ll find any hesitation: Iron Man with no doubt. Then call up someone in HR and casually mention that you are considering going to a movie this weekend and could they help you choose between Iron Man and Indiana Jones.

I need some help here. Let me know your choice. I never would have considered that ANYONE would choose IAJ over Iron Man, but then again, I don’t hang out with HR much. All votes count, but please don’t throw Spiderman into the mix… way too many brain cells will be wasted.


EndUserSharePoint.com: How can I get an aggregated list of all my tasks?

The question of the day comes from Diane:

Is there a web part that would pull all tasks assigned to me from sites and sub-sites into one aggregated list?

Diane - Yes, you want to use the Content Query Web Part (CQWP).
Put the CQWP on your desired page. Configure the query to "Show items from the following site and all subsites". Point to the highest level site that contains information you would like to aggregate. It will automatically drill down to all subsites. For the List Type, choose Tasks. Scroll down and set your "Additional filters" to filter for your name in the "Assigned to" column.

I would probably use [ME] as the filter. That way, anyone coming to the site will see their tasks, not yours. It just depends on what you are trying to display. Ryan at Get the Point has also provided possible uses for the [ME] filter.
This all assumes that you have the CQWP enabled in MOSS and all of the information is in one Site Collection.

Hope that helps.

EndUserSharePoint.com: Weekly Newsletter - Downloadable Poster of Default Content Types

2008-05-08 NewsletterFor the past few weeks, the EndUserSharePoint.com Weekly Newsletter has been taking a look at Site Columns and Content Types.

This week’s installment includes two downloads: an expandable/collapsible map examining inheritance and hierarchy in Content Types, and a large poster of the map completely expanded (1379 x 5043 pixels).

If you would like a copy of the map and the poster, subscribe to the Weekly Newsletter and it will be included as part of your confirmation process. The following is an excerpt from the content of this week’s article:

Drilling Down

Each child can become a parent in its own right, carrying children as a part of its structure. Expand the Document Content Type to see that it has twelve (12) direct children and numerous ‘grandchildren’.

Expanding any one of the child Content Types will show all of the columns in that Content Type. If a Content Type is a parent to more Content Types, the base columns are shown along with the new columns for each Content Type, as shown below with the Document Content Type. When a column is derived from a parent Content Type, it is shown in light gray. New columns are shown in bold, green.

Children of the Document Content Type

EndUserSharePoint.com: How do I import my calendar into SharePoint?

The question of the day comes from Tim:

You recently told me how to import https://nothingbutsharepoint.com/wp-content/themes/o4o206sb2smakbz7yz377r74961/files/2008/a csv from exchange public folder calendar’s into sharepoint 2007. you stated that i "Import the spreadsheet using the Custom Lists:Import spreadsheet functionality. Create a new view, placing the Calendar view as your default."

That was very helpful and much appreciated. However, all of my appointments imported on the same day and at the same time. It seems that I cannot get fields to match up during the import. Is there some documentation to explain this process?

Calendar ViewTim - The problem occurs when the data type for date columns comes over as "Single line of text" instead of as a date. Because of this, your start and end dates won’t appear as choices in your drop down field when setting up the calendar view in the list. Let’s walk through the process.

(Tim originally asked this question on the SharePointU.com forums. This is a followup to that discussion.)

Step 1: Export the data as a .csv file and save it in Excel.

Import the Data

Step 2: Create a table in Excel that hold the calendar schedule.

Create a Table in Excel

Step 3: Give the table a name. This will make it easy to select this as the data to import.

Give Table a Name

Step 4: Import the schedule into a SharePoint custom list

Import Spreadsheet

Step 5: Configure list settings

Configure list settings

Step 6: Select cell range

Select Cell Range

Step 7: Verify column data types (this is where the problem resides)

Verify Data Types

Step 8: Create the calendar view

Create Calendar View

Step 9: Configure the calendar view

Configure the Calendar View

Step 10: Examine the Full Schedule view

View the Full Schedule

Using this step-by-step process, you can now import your existing calendar data into SharePoint.

Hope that helps.