Category Archives: Site Manager/Power User

Design Manager and The Return of the Snazzy Looking 15 Minute Weather Web Part

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Editor’s note: Contributor Erik Abderhalden is a consultant with Rightpoint. Follow him @erikboderek

They say there’s only two seasons in Chicago: construction and winter. Thankfully most of the major highway and tolls are construction free now (sans I-90 west of 290), and winter is a while away. Or is it? Chicago weather is downright bizarre. How do you keep tabs on what it’s like outside? 15 minute weather web part to the rescue!

What I love about the 15 minute weather web part is how easy it is to style. Unlike other weather web parts, you can really get into this one and style it however you want. In my initial post this would just be another ol’ web part sitting pretty in a zone. What if I’m too cool for zones? OK Fonzie, chill. We can create the weather web part as a snippet and place it anywhere we want and style it however we want. Since we’re too cool for zones, we can even embedded in - wait for it - the master page.

Thanks to the HTML snippet generator in SharePoint 2013 you can place it anywhere you want in the master page. Here’s how. Make sure Publishing is enabled on your site first.

  1. Download jQuery Tools here and zWeatherFeed here and place them in your site. Download jQuery too - especially if your master page isn’t already using it.
  2. Follow the configuration steps in my original post (stop after the first code block)
  3. Save the code as a text file
  4. Upload the text file to your Style Library and publish it
  5. Follow steps 1-5 here.
  6. In the Design tab select Media and Content > Content Editor
  7. 2013-11-12-WeatherWebpart-Part02-01.png

  8. In the content link property, enter the URL of where the text file from step 4 was uploaded
  9. Expand the Appearance section and set Chrome Type to None
  10. Click the Update button right of the web part properties
  11. 2013-11-12-WeatherWebpart-Part02-02.png

  12. Click Copy to Clipboard. Don’t worry that the preview is empty.
  13. Open up your master page in SharePoint Designer
  14. Make sure you open up the HTML version of your master page and not the .master
  15. Look for SharePoint: AspMenu ID="TopNavigationMenu". A line or two after it there should be a / asp: ContentPlaceHolder> and a / SharePoint: AjaxDelta> . Create a div with the class "weather".
  16. Paste the content copied from the snippet generator inside that div. It should look something like this:
  17. 2013-11-12-WeatherWebpart-Part02-03.png

  18. Save the master page and check out your site

OK - so it looks a little wonky. Let me help you with some CSS. Throw this in a CEWP or reference it via an external stylesheet in your master page. This won’t be perfect because the position of the classes depends on other elements in your master page, but this should whet your appetite.

When done, your web part should look like this. If you have multiple locations in your text file, the web part will rotate through them as well.


I wanted to share one caveat. If you’re using design manager to package up your publishing assets to move between environments or create a boilerplate site template, leaving the 15 minute weather web part, or any other web part embedded in the master page, is a bad idea. Strange things happen when you import the package. I’ll save you the headache now instead of later.

Finally I need to share some credit where credit is due. This post wouldn’t be possible without the help of my awesome coworker Liz Sdregas.

SharePoint: Create a Snazzy Looking Weather Web Part in 15 Minutes or Less

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Editor’s note: Contributor Erik Abderhalden is a consultant with Rightpoint. Follow him @erikboderek

When people ask me what’s the weather is like outside, I think of Good Morning Vietnam when Robin Williams asks his fictional weather reporter Roosevelt E. roosevelt what the weather’s like. Roosevelt snaps back, "You got a window? Open it."

When it comes to intranet sites, one of the more frequent requests is the ability to display weather. Not everyone in corporate America has the ability to open a window, nay even sit by a window. Thus a weather widget, or in the case of SharePoint a web part, is utilized to showcase the current temperature and give workers something to look forward to when they leave work or plan their weekend.

If you Google "SharePoint weather web part" you get a slew of solutions and they all have different functionality. What if instead of downloading a web part you could use a content editor web part and some JavaScript, CSS and accomplish the same functionality for free? It’s easy to set up and takes about 15 minutes from start to finish.

In this solution, I’ll be utilizing Zazar’s zWeatherFeed JavaScript and some CSS. zWeatherFeed utilizes Yahoo weather and is easily customizable to meet your requirements.

First, download the zWeatherFeed JavaScript here. If you’re like me and reside in the United States, we don’t use Celsius like the rest of the world, so we need to change the script to use Farenheit instead of Celsius. In your favorite script editing program, open up the script you just downloaded. Do a search for "unit" and replace the value of "c" to "f". The location varies if you downloaded the .min.js or .js file. Here’s what you need to look for:

var defaults = { unit: ‘f’,

Great. Upload the JS to a safe place on your SharePoint site.

Now create a new text file. In the text file we’re going to place our code to call the JavaScript, and set up the HTML formatting for the weather.

The code is as follows. Be sure to update line 3 to reflect the JavaScript’s actual location.

In line 7 of the code are all the zip codes the web part will diplay the weather for. You can use up to 10 zip codes so update the code to be reflect all the zip codes you wish to display. When done, upload the file to your site.

Now you’ll need some styling. First things first, download this image and add it to your SharePoint site. This will be used to toggle between the different weather forecasts and displays at the bottom of the web part.

We’re not doing anything fancy here other than following the instructions about styling the .day and .night classes so the web part’s background will reflect if it’s presently day or night in the currently location. You can add the stylesheet to the page via your prefered MO: another CEWP, in the same text file as the JS, an external stylesheet etc.,

However you place the stylesheet, be sure to update line 53 to reference the image you downloaded in the previous step. If you don’t include the reference, no worries, but you won’t have the nice navigation in the web part because that’s what truly defines this web part as snazzy opposed to all those non-snazzy weather web parts.

Be sure to upload the CSS to your site. Now that the fun stuff is done, it’s just configuring the page. Add a content editor web part to the page and reference the JavaScript in the web part’s content link property. Repeat if applicable for the CSS. And voila! You’re now the proud owner of a snazzy looking weather web part!


SharePoint 2013 - User Profile Properties through JSOM

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Editor’s note: Contributor Tahir Naveed is a Microsoft SharePoint Specialist in the New York City region

Within an organization, users are created in an Active Directory and then imported to SharePoint through the User Profile Service. This service creates User Profiles in SharePoint which have properties like name, email, phone number, manager etc as well as some custom properties.

The following script will access four User Profile properties (Title, Department, Office location and Phone) through the JavaScript Object Model:


1. Create a blank ASPX page.

2. Add a Content Editor Web Part to the page.

3. Copy the above JavaScript on the page to get the following output



Use KnockoutJs in SharePoint 2013

You may also be interested in: O’Reilly - SharePoint 2010 at Work


Editor’s note: Contributor Veena Sarda is a SharePoint Consultant at Tata Consultancy Services. Follow her @writerpurple

In this article we will see how to use Knockout.js in SharePoint 2013. You will not need server side coding, Visual Studio or SharePoint Designer to build this user interface (UI). Only knowledge of knockout.js is required. Before going into details, I am pasting a screenshot of how the UI will look once this sample is built.


We will need to refer to 3 js libraries. I have uploaded them in the document library but as a best practice, create a different JavaScript library for them - jquery-2.0.3.min.js, knockout-3.0.0rc.js and ko.sp-1.0.min.Ex.js

ko.sp-1.0.min.Ex.js can be downloaded from and has binders of knockout with SharePoint. Some SharePoint data types such as images and hyperlinks need special processing, to get the correct results, which is handled by this library.

We will use a simple example of a product list. Build a SharePoint List – ProductList - with the following columns and add a few records in this list.


Create a Site Page and Insert a Script Editor Web Part from the Media and Content category on to the page.


Click on Edit Snippet and paste the code as below

Click on Insert and Stop Editing. If all goes well you will see the results as shown in first screenshot.

A couple of things to note:

  1. $.getJSON(_spPageContextInfo.webAbsoluteUrl + "/_vti_bin/listdata.svc/ProductList"
    is the main data returning element. Change to your list name and you can add filters at the JSON request to get specific records.
  2. Pagination is controlled in
    self.currentPage = ko.computed(function () {
                                                        var startPageIndex = self.pageNumber();
                                                         var endPageIndex = self.pageNumber() + self.nbPerPage;
                                                             return self.Products().slice(startPageIndex ,endPageIndex );
  3. For image data binding use spSrc (kosp library handles this)

This program can be extended for many other visual effects and checking boundary conditions. This is one of the powerful ways to write a UI without requiring server side coding and without Visual Studio and SharePoint Designer.

How to hide a group of fields in a SharePoint list using InfoPath 2010

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Editor’s note: Follow contributor Abhisarika Singh @Abhisarika.

I’ve found a really easy way to make collapsible/hidden group of fields in a SharePoint list form using InfoPath 2010. The important thing is we can apply this in an existing list and can modify the form. Below are the steps we can use to make a hidden group of fields:

  1. Open the list in InfoPath 2010 and select Section from the menu bar:
  2.  2013-10-08-HideGroupFields-01.png

  3. Select the section and insert a new table in that section.
  4. 2013-10-08-HideGroupFields-02.png

  5. Then insert the fields in the table. As I mentioned, my list is already present and I like to hide the fields based on the conditions. So I just drag the fields from the field column to table rows and show them in a table. This table must be inside the section.
  6. 2013-10-08-HideGroupFields-03.png


  7. Once we complete the table with the fields we would like to hide, based on our condition, we go to “section”. This is the important thing we need to do for hiding or showing our fields based on our condition.
  8. Select the “section” and go to “Manage Rule”. Insert a new rule having the condition as per our requirement. In this example I’ve put a condition that if field “Request type= Deletion” then this employee’s details table will be hidden through the “formatting” rule or not displayed.


    Then set the condition I mentioned above:


    Go to formatting rule and select “hide this control”:


That’s it. Now you can see your form as per the condition you set.


Using the updated SharePoint 2013 REST API versus the SharePoint 2010 model

You may also be interested in: Simple SharePoint Migration Tool - Content Matrix by Metalogix


Editor’s note: Contributor Craig Pilkenton is a Senior Microsoft Consultant for Slalom Consulting.

Overview Summary

Since SharePoint 2010, the platform has had REST URI services (Representational State Transfer) that are comparable to the existing SharePoint client object models. This meant that we could interact remotely with SharePoint data by using any technology that supports REST web requests (usually JavaScript) to perform Create, Read, Update, and Delete (CRUD) operations from our apps, allowing us to create applications that consume SharePoint data without pushing managed code into our Farms.

In previous articles I’ve shown how to use SharePoint 2010’s REST interface for querying List data, as well as for creating a ‘Save My Searches‘ feature for your users. This article will cover the changes between how we used REST in 2010 and what we need to ‘update’ for using the streamlined interface in SharePoint 2013.


If you have gotten this far in the article then you’re probably actually curious as to what is different. The really big change that this article is going to cover is the new verbiage for making the GET request from your site; the new “/_api/” portion of the URL.

In SharePoint 2010, we would take the URL for our site and append "…/_vti_bin/listdata.svc". This initial call would then spit out ATOM XML data that showed all the Lists for that site.
**For bonus points, "vti" stood for Vermeer Technology Incorporated (the original creators of Front Page).

1) SharePoint 2010 REST overview

Now in 2013, we use a nomenclature that makes more sense, appending "…/_api/web/lists/" to our URL’s instead. This call still outputs the ATOM XML data of all the Lists, but instead of just List names we now receive many of the properties of the List just in case we need them, including the actual item count inside!

2) SharePoint 2013 REST overview

Once the target List name was found in the 2010 XML nodes we would copy the ‘compressed’ name (no spaces, or else!) and paste it to the end of the URL like so "…/_vti_bin/listdata.svc/Links", giving us an output of all the Items in that List, if any.

3) SharePoint 2010 List Items

Now in SharePoint 2013 we still copy the List name (no longer compressed) but instead of just appending it to the URL we need to paste it into the ‘getbytitle()’ function and add the "/items" flag to the end: "…/_api/web/lists/getbytitle(‘Calendar’)/items". This then outputs all the items in a List just as was available before.

4) SharePoint 2013 List Items

Switching back to 2010’s nomenclature, when one Item was found to focus on we’d copy the Id XML node and again add it to the end of the URL wrapped in parentheses "…/_vti_bin/listdata.svc/Links(2)". This would filter the results down to just one.

5) SharePoint 2010 Specific List Item

SharePoint 2013 keeps the same methodology for obtaining one item, again just pasting the Id XML node to the end of the URL, but after the ‘/items’ flag "…/_api/web/lists/getbytitle(‘Calendar’)/items(33)". The big difference in the ATOM output is we now receive more Item metadata including the full GUID of the Item along with if it has any attached items. This is extremely useful if you need to show a link to the attachment.

6) SharePoint 2013 Specific List Item

When only specific columns were needed or to filter large sets of results in SharePoint 2010, we’d utilize the QueryString Parameters allowed by the OData Query Options documentation "…/_vti_bin/listdata.svc/Contacts?$select=Id,FullName&$orderby=FullName" (see link below). This allows for only pulling back what is needed from the back-end where the cost is less to process.

7) SharePoint 2010 Selecting Item properties

With 2013, all of these awesome query operations are still available, the only change is the new URL syntax that precedes the OData Query Operations: "…/_api/web/lists/getbytitle(‘Calendar’)/items?$select=Id,Title, Description &$orderby=Title". The question mark starts the parameters section, the dollar sign prefixes the Query Options, and the ampersand splits different query options up.

8) SharePoint 2013 Selecting Item properties

One gotcha to note, the "$orderby=" will throw a ‘400 - Bad Request" error if used in a REST URL where you have specified a specific item to pull back "/_api/web/lists/getbytitle(‘Calendar’)/items(3)?$select=Id,Title,&$orderby=Title". A ‘$select’ will just politely be ignored.

9) SharePoint REST URI error

Final Summary

While the same core capabilities are there, and even expanded upon, the new convention is designed to make REST URI construction easier and to shorten the base path. Using _api abstract’s away the need to explicitly reference the client.svc web service, but SharePoint 2013 still recognizes and accepts URIs that reference the client.svc web service. This allows us to build our request links with a bit more characters since we still have the 255 character limit.

Reference Links

SharePoint 2010 Status Indicators

You may also be interested in: O’Reilly - SharePoint 2010 at Work


Editor’s note: Follow contributor Justin Singer @dynamics_101

What are SharePoint 2010 Status Indicators?

Set a goal to increase sales in North America by 10 % in 6 months but don’t know how to monitor the up-to-date business performance? Want to increase employee retention rate but don’t know what to measure in order to improve it? Have all the data collected from your calling center but can’t visualize employee work performance? Status Indicator in SharePoint 2010 can help you solve these problems easily. Status Indicator can use any kind of numeric information to measure performance or progress against a set of targets and therefore allows you to visualize the real-time status of a process. This post explains Status indicator in details and shows you step by step how to create a Status Indicator in SharePoint 2010.

How can SharePoint Status Indicators improve performance?

Having said that status indicators are used to keep track of progress against its target, well-selected status indicators can actually help improve business performance. For example, utilization rate of a consultant is a key success factor to a consulting firm. If this value is measured, updated and shown on a Web page, the managers can monitor employee performance easily and the employees are encouraged to improve work performance. In order to utilize Status Indicator to improve performance, the manager needs to identify the most important factors of business success. Taking into the consideration of the source of the data, the calculation, the goal settings and data security, the manager needs to carefully design the indicator so that it addresses the key issues of an organization.

Data Source:

Indicator values can be selected from different sources of data. Depending on the source, there are four types of status indicator that can be created in SharePoint 2010:

  • Data from SharePoint lists: If you have numeric data stored in a SharePoint list, you can select, count, or aggregate the values in the SharePoint list to be used as an indicator value.
  • From Microsoft Excel workbooks: If you have a Microsoft Excel workbook stored in a SharePoint library, you can select the value in a cell from the Excel workbook directly as the indicator value. When the workbook data changes, the indicator value will be updated automatically.
  • From Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services: If the indicator value is retrieved through a data connection with SharePoint server, this option should be selected. E.g. You can import a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) from a SQL Server Analysis Service cube
  • Manually Entered information: If you want to manually enter information to be used an indicator value, choose this indicator type. It is recommended for measuring process of one-time projects.

Data Security:

Data security is a key element to the success of using Status Indicator. Whether the status indicator contains sensitive information or not, to guarantee accuracy of the indicator, only authorized personnel should view or change the data. To protect data, there are several ways to set permissions in SharePoint 2010, such as setting permissions on a source list and etc.

Create a status indicator:

In order to create a status indicator, you first need to create a Status List or a Web Part with Status List. Here I’ll show you step by step how to create a Status List on a SharePoint site:

Step 1: Click Site Actions, then click View All Site Content


Step2: On the All Site Content page, click Create


Step3: From the Custom Lists column, click Status List


Step4: Enter the Name and Descriptions of the Status list and choose Yes to display the list on the Quick Launch bar, and then click Create


Now you can view the list from the Quick Launch bar and create new status indicator here:


Step 5: Click New and choose the status indicator type based on data source


Step 6: Enter the Name and Description of the status indicator. Notice the settings of status indicator vary depending on the type you selected. Here we will show you examples of Fixed Value based and Excel workbook based indicator.

  • Fixed Value based Status Indicator:

Manually enter Indicator Value:


  • From Microsoft Excel workbooks

    If you choose to create status indicator from Microsoft Excel workbooks, you will see the following box. To set the indicator value, first type the URL of the workbook. Note that the Excel workbook must be saved in a SharePoint library in the same site. Click the icon on the right side of the box to browse the site and select the workbook.


Click the icon on the right side of the Cell Address box to select the cell:


Step 7: Set the Status Icon rules. From the Better values are dropdown list, choose higher if the higher values are better and choose lower if the lower values are better. Enter manually the goal value and the warning value

Step 8: (Optional), In the Details Page box, enter the URL of the page that has detailed information about the indicator.


Note: you can also choose to set Update Rules if the indicator value is NOT entered manually


Step 9: Click OK


An indicator is created and listed in the Status List (named Employee Monthly Sales Details):


To view the details of the indicator, click on the name of the indicator:


Well done! You’ve just created a Status list and a Status Indicator on a SharePoint site.





7 Power User Solutions for SharePoint: A New Book

I’m very proud to announce that EUSP’s first, self-published, hard copy book, Black Magic Solutions for White Hat SharePoint, is now available on Amazon for $19.95! The Kindle version has been available for over a month, but we had so many requests for a printed version, we couldn’t hold out any longer.

Black Magic Solutions is for SharePoint power users who want to enhance the functionality of the SharePoint interface. We’ve kept the price down to half of what you’d expect to pay from a major publisher.

Topics include:

  • "If a Brit stumples in a jQuery forest, does anyone hear his cries?" by Dave Coleman
  • "Build Solid Script Libraries for your Enterprise" by Marc Anderson
  • "Build a Content Slider Web Part: Dynamic Display of Pictures and Text" by Wendy Neal
  • "Build an HTML5 Video Galleary" by Ben Tedder
  • "Modify Your SharePoint 2013 Navigation Menu with a jQuery Plugin" by Eric Overfield
  • "Create a Mobile Friendly SharePoint Blog with jQuery Mobile" by Josh McCarty
  • "Create a Team Site Solution for Running Agile Projects" by Paul Taveres

EUSP Authors

Most of the solutions are applicable for SharePoint 2007/2010/2013 and Office365. These are not updated articles from the EUSP archives. Each solution was written exclusively for this book. I speak for all the authors when I say, "Thank you for your support of our project." We look forward to seeing your reviews on Amazon.


Black Magic Solutions for White Hat SharePoint

Black Magic Solutions for White Hat SharePoint


5 Features for your SharePoint 2013 Intranet Homepage

You may also be interested in: Simple SharePoint Migration Tool - Content Matrix by Metalogix


Editor’s note: Contributor Chris Clark is the Marketing Manager for Creative Sharepoint. Follow him @chrisclark005


A well designed homepage can be the make or break of an intranet. It forms first impressions of the system and acts as a starting point for a range of tasks and journeys.

Despite this importance, many organisations fail to get this keystone of their intranet right. All too often the homepage becomes a static page, crowded with generic content produced by a handful of designated authors.

Inevitably this has a knock-on impact on the rest of the intranet. Users avoid the homepage (in some cases, the intranet all together) and bookmark various other sites and pages instead.

So what can organisations do to create a relevant and engaging intranet homepage? Crucially, there must be a recognition that users’ expectations of the intranet have changed. Rather than just formal top-down communication, employees expect the homepage (and the intranet in general) to be a hub for bottom-up and peer-to-peer communication.

That communication is no longer limited to just change management initiatives or the CEO’s blog either. Employees want to see information relevant to their day-to-day activity, such as personal or organisational performance data.

The functionality in SharePoint 2013 has reflected these changes in user expectations. In this blog, we will explore 5 trending intranet homepage features and explore what SharePoint 2013 functionality is available to deliver these.

1. Creating an intranet newsfeed with SharePoint 2013

2. Surfacing intranet blogs with SharePoint 2013

3. Creating an intranet survey with SharePoint 2013

4. Surfacing intranet KPIs with SharePoint 2013

5. Creating an intranet discussion list with SharePoint 2013

1. Creating an intranet newsfeed with SharePoint 2013

An intranet newsfeed gives users the ability to rapidly and publicly communicate with one another, enabling them to ask questions, post updates, share ideas and more.

For management, it offers an opportunity to engage with employees openly, directly and personally.

Suggested SharePoint 2013 functionality: Newsfeed App

The SharePoint newsfeed provides a microblogging experience familiar from social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Users can post comments (including rich media), direct it at specific users with @targetting and tag it with a specific topic using #tags. Comments (as well as users and #tags) can be followed and liked.

The author’s profile picture, as well as presence (e.g. online, offline, in a meeting), is displayed on an interactive tile to the left of the comment itself. Newsfeeds can be added to multiple sites on the SharePoint intranet and all conversations are aggregated (and can be filtered) in the users’ MySite Newsfeeds.

Out-the-box example

In this example a member of the Marketing department has used the SharePoint homepage newsfeed to gather feedback on a recent company video. The video itself has been embedded inline from a YouTube link and another user has liked the original post and replied.


Custom example

In this example we’ve simply styled the SharePoint homepage newsfeed app to have a custom header reflecting the organisation’s brand and SharePoint intranet theme.


2. Surfacing intranet blogs with SharePoint 2013

Intranet blogs open discussions around relevant topics in the way that news articles cannot. They provide authors with the ability to not only communicate a message, but also to spark conversation and collect feedback. For readers, they offer the opportunity to have their opinions be heard and addressed.

Suggested SharePoint 2013 functionality: Blog Site and Content Search Web Part

The SharePoint blog site offers authors the authoring and publishing tools they would expect from a consumer Content Management system like WordPress – including rich text editing, the ability to embed video from sources like YouTube and the ability to publish content directly from Microsoft Word. Readers can “Like” or Rate (1-5 stars) blog posts, leave comments and follow / share via RSS or email.

The SharePoint Content Search Web Part can aggregate all blogs from multiple site collections and surface links to them (in chronological order) via a web part on the SharePoint intranet homepage.

Out-the-box example

In this example we’ve used the SharePoint Content Search Web Part to display all blog posts from all SharePoint site collections. This means we are seeing an aggregated view of personal blogs (from MySites), departmental blogs (from team sites) and organisation-wide blogs.


Custom example

In this example we’ve displayed SharePoint blogs as part of a tabbed web part that also aggregates formal company announcements as well as company events in a calendar format. The web part has also been styled to include a profile of the blog author as well as a synopsis and to suit the organisation’s brand and SharePoint intranet theme.


3. Creating an intranet survey with SharePoint 2013

Intranet surveys enable creators to rapidly crowd source valuable information from a large pool of employees. As participants in the survey, employees are likely to become more engaged as a result of having a convenient channel for bottom-up feedback. Due to the potential passing traffic, the intranet homepage makes the ideal location for a SharePoint survey.

Suggested SharePoint 2013 functionality: Survey App and Promoted Links App

The SharePoint survey app provides a template to quickly and easily construct surveys with various question types (multiple choice, rating scales, text fields). Once the surveys are completed it also provides graphical representations of the results (which can also be exported to Excel for further analysis).

The SharePoint promoted links app part creates metro-style tiles with a hover-over state to provide additional text information. The benefit of the tiles is that they are more visually engaging than a standard list and follow the theme of the SharePoint site.

Out-the-box example

In this example we’ve used the SharePoint promoted links app part to display 2 Calls to Action – “Take the survey” and “View the results”. When a user clicks on the “Take the survey” link, the SharePoint survey app is opened in a modal on the same page.


Custom example

In this example we’ve embedded the SharePoint survey question directly onto the SharePoint intranet homepage to make it even more convenient for users, increasing the number of responses. When the response is submitted the web part dynamically changes to display a graphical view of the results. The web part has also been styled to suit the organisation’s brand and SharePoint intranet theme.


4. Surfacing intranet KPIs with SharePoint 2013

By having convenient and regular access to KPIs, employees are able to align their activities more closely with the changing demands of the business. Increasing visibility of organisational level performance metrics also unites employees in a wider cause.

Suggested SharePoint 2013 functionality: Excel Web Access Web Part

The Excel Web Access Web Part enables us to display data from an Excel spreadsheet directly on a SharePoint page. The author has granular control over what data from the spreadsheet is displayed and what data can be accessed (e.g. displayed only a single chart, restrict the ability to open or download the spreadsheet).

Once surfaced on the SharePoint page, the Excel data can also be made interactive for users. Filters and refiners for Pivot Charts and Tables as well as animated charts (using PowerView) can be surfaced so that users are able to explore data in more detail.

Out-the-box example

In this example we’ve used the Excel Web Access Web Part to surface FY2013 sales figures against targets. Users can filter the chart to see data by a specific quarter or month.


Custom example

In these examples we’ve displayed a variety of KPIs on the SharePoint intranet homepage combining a text description with a RAG status, indicating immediately to the user which areas of the business relevant to them are performing or under performing. In addition the web parts have been styled to suit the organisations’ brands and SharePoint intranet themes.


5. Creating an intranet discussion list with SharePoint 2013

Intranet discussion lists, as the name suggests, allow users to discuss particular topics with their peers and subject matter experts. An intranet discussion list could be used for a wide-range of purposes, from a Questions and Answers area to a forum for Product Ideas. The benefit of discussion lists is that employees can tap into a wide organisational network of knowledge and resources.

Suggested SharePoint 2013 functionality: Community Site Features and Discussion List App

The SharePoint Community Site Features allow us to create forum-style collaboration areas. Users can ask questions or start discussions using a discussion list. The content can be ordered by category. Contributors are rewarded with scores for their replies (and designated “Best Answers”) and discussion lists can be moderated by appointed users if required.

Out-the-box example

In this example we have added a noticeboard to the homepage for users to post work-related “Buy and Sell” discussions / adverts. This sort of fast-changing and unpredictable content often helps drive traffic to the homepage.


Custom example

In this example we have embedded the “Ask a Question” field directly into the page for convenience. Additionally, the responses to any questions or discussions added are displayed in-line on the same page, so users do not need to navigate to a new page to view them. The web part has also been styled to suit the organisation’s brand and SharePoint intranet theme.


SharePoint 2013 comes equipped with all the functionality required to create a dynamic and engaging intranet homepage for users. For those that recognize the changing requirements of intranets and harness this new functionality, the rewards can be great. A good intranet homepage sets precedent for a wider intranet experience and can contribute to employee engagement and productivity.

Whilst SharePoint’s out-the-box functionality has vastly improved since 2010, the requirement for customisation remains in order to provide a fully branded and cutting-edge user experience.

Chart Web Part in SharePoint 2010

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Editor’s note: Follow contributor Justin Singer @dynamics_101

What is a Chart Web Part?

SharePoint is web-based collaboration platform. On a SharePoint web page, you can add Web Parts which are customizable web page elements. A Chart Web Part, as the name suggests, is a Web Part that contains a chart. It enables users to visualize numerical data and get business insights such as trends at a glance. And the good news is, adding a Chart Web Part on a SharePoint 2010 site is as easy as a few clicks.

Why should you use a Chart Web Part?

We’ve often heard people say “A picture is worth a thousand words”. With myriads of data collected from business activities, it’s hard to figure out what is really going on by looking at the endless tables and lists. Charts, well designed and configured, can tremendously help you better understand your business and make smarter business decisions.

Where can the Chart Web Part draw data from?

In SharePoint 2010, there are four data sources that can be used with the Chart Web Part:

  1. Another Web Part. Chart Web Part can be connected to another Web Part and display the data stored in there as long as the other Web Part is able to send data.
  2. A SharePoint List. Chart Web Part can be connected to a SharePoint List if it is in the same site collection. (The instructions below show the steps of adding a web part using a SharePoint List.)
  3. A Business Connectivity component. Chart Web Part can display external business data by connecting to a Business Connectivity Services (BCS) component.
  4. An Excel Services file. If the data you need to display is stored in an Excel workbook, you can first publish the file to the SharePoint site using Excel Services, and then connect it to the Chart Web Part.

What are the available chart types?

SharePoint 2010 Chart Web Part offers a variety of types of charts according to your business needs. Here’s a list of 10 of the many chart types that you can choose when adding a Chart Web Part:

  1. Bar Chart— Shows comparisons among categories:
  2. 2013-09-06-ChartWebPart-01.png

  3. Area Chart—Shows cumulated totals and very often the trends over time:
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  5. Line Chart—Shows a series of data points connected by straight line segments, usually over time:
  6. 2013-09-06-ChartWebPart-03.jpg

  7. Point/ Bubble chart—Shows data in 3 dimensions with dots plotted on 2 axis and dot size being the third dimension:
  8. Financial chart— Shows financial information such as stock price and trading volumes:
  9. 2013-09-06-ChartWebPart-05.jpg

  10. Pie chart— Shows the percentage of each section, compared to the entire pie as a whole:
  11. 2013-09-06-ChartWebPart-06.jpg

  12. Radar chart — Shows comparison of data in multiple dimensions all at once:
  13. 2013-09-06-ChartWebPart-07.jpg

  14. Gantt chart – Commonly used to show project phases and activities:
  15. 2013-09-06-ChartWebPart-08.jpg

  16. BoxPlot Chart—shows data through their five-number summaries (minimum value, lower quartile, median, upper quartile and maximum value):
  17. 2013-09-06-ChartWebPart-09.png

  18. Funnel Chart—Shows values that progressively decrease in proportions:
  19. 2013-09-06-ChartWebPart-10.png

How to create Chart Web Part in SharePoint 2010?

In our demo, we will show you step by step how to create a Chart Web Part and how to connect it to a SharePoint list so the date from the list is displayed:

Step 1: Click on the site where you want to add a Chart Web Part (in our demo it’s the site called SharePoint). Click on Site Actions:


Step 2: From the list of Site Pages, click on the one in which you want to Add the Chart Web Part:


Step 3: Click on Page, from the Ribbon, click Edit to edit the page:


Step 4: In the Editing Tools, click Insert, click Web Part. In the categories menu, click Business Data, in the Web Parts list, click Chart Web Part, and then click on Add


Step 5: The following graph shows that the Chart Web Part is added, you can click Data & Appearance to configure the Chart Web Part:


Step 6: You’ll see the following 2 options, Customize Your Chart & Connect Chart to Data, click on Connect Chart to Data:


Step 7: This step shows you the four options of data sources: Another Web Part, a List, Business Data Catalog or Excel Services. In our demo, we will choose connect to a List:


Step 8: From the drop down list, choose the site where the list is located:


Step 9: From the drop down list, choose the list you want to connect to, in our case, we will choose (Root) as the site and Revenue by State as the List and then click Next:


Step 10: Select the values from the list that you want to use in the Chart Web Part:



Step 11: This is the last of the four steps in the Data Connection Wizard. In our demo, we will only configure the X and Y field. Click Finish:


Step 12: Now on our SharePoint homepage, the Chart Web Part is connected to the list Revenue by State


Step 13 (Optional): We can go to the specific List that the Chart Web Part is connected to and edit the data or add new data sets; we’ve edited the value of Ohio and add the revenue value of Arizona:


Notice that any changes we make to the List are reflected on the Chart Web Part when we refresh it:


Great job! You’ve just created a Chart Web Part and successfully connected it to a List as the data source!