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IT Knowledgebase: SharePoint General Questions

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You can access the main SharePoint directory from the Intranet under the Information Technology Page (internal use only).

 What is SharePoint?
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is a web-based platform that is part of the 2007 Microsoft Office system. Your organization can use Office SharePoint Server 2007 to facilitate collaboration, implement business processes and share information among organizations. SharePoint provides document management capabilities, such as version history, check-out, check-in, workflow and alerts. SharePoint sites can be created to support content management, records management, specific content publishing and business intelligence across organizations.

 I’m a student. How do I get a SharePoint site for my thesis?
ITACS will create a SharePoint thesis site for you at the beginning of your second-to-last quarter using information from Python. If you would like a thesis SharePoint site sooner than that, fill in your thesis title and thesis advisor information in Python (Instructions here) and then send a request for the site to be created to the TAC Instructions here.

 I’m a thesis advisor. How do I collaborate with my student?
If you become an advisor to a particular student after that student’s site has been set up, please contact the TAC, x1046, and they will see that you are given access.

 What can I do within my SharePoint site?
You have “Contributor” privileges to your site, which means that you can create, add and delete items in lists and document libraries. SharePoint facilitates team participation in discussions, shared document collaboration, and surveys. In addition, you can personalize site content and layout, and use Web Parts to present targeted information to specific users on precise topics.

 How do I put a document into SharePoint?
*** Animated Explanation also Available *** - Click Here to View (Flash is required)
To put a document in your SharePoint site, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your SharePoint site by clicking on the link in the email that announced your site.
  2. Click Shared Documents
  3. Click Upload Document
  4. Click Browse
  5. Find your document (on your H drive, C drive, thumb drive, etc.)
  6. Select it; click Save and Close.

 What is a Web Part Page?
A Web Part Page is a special type of Web page that consolidates data such as lists and charts, and Web content such as text and images, into a dynamic information portal built around a common task or special interest. Each Web Part Page contains one or more Web Part zones, which in turn contain one or more Web Parts. Web Parts are the basic building blocks of a Web Part Page.

 How do I work within SharePoint?
Windows SharePoint Services supplies Web sites with document storage and retrieval with check-in and check-out functionality, version history, custom metadata, and customizable views. All of a site’s collaborative content (documents, lists, events, task assignments, etc.) can be read and edited within Microsoft Office Products. Microsoft Outlook allows SharePoint event calendars to be viewed side-by-side with personal calendars.

 What software tools are available within the SharePoint site?
Tools include e-mail and instant messaging. You can receive alerts when documents and information have been changed or added. Most Microsoft Office applications and other desktop programs work within SharePoint.

 How do I work with a document, once it’s in SharePoint?
*** Animated Explanation also Available *** - Click Here to View (Flash is required)
The whole point of using SharePoint with documents is to make it easier to work with others on a document. You and anyone else working on a document need to always check out the document from SharePoint whenever you or they make any changes to it. To check out and work on a document:

  1. Click Shared Documents at the left of your personal SharePoint site.
  2. Move your cursor over the filename of the document.
  3. Click the down arrow.
  4. Select Check Out.
  5. Checking out the document doesn’t open it. To open it, move the cursor over the file name, click the down arrow, and select Edit in Microsoft Office Word. When it opens, it opens with a Task Pane on the right with a Check In button. While you have it checked out, no one else will be able to open it, except Read Only.
  6. Make any changes you want to make in the document.
  7. When you’re done working on it for now, exit out of the document.
  8. Select “Save Changes and check in” in the box that appears.
  9. You’ll be shown a Comments block. Place here a brief general comment, of use to you and anyone else working on the document, such as “Checked and corrected sources per Prof. Smith’s request” or “Made several formatting changes.”
  10. To see the comment for each version, move your cursor over the thesis filename, click the down arrow, and select Version History. Note that SharePoint does not prevent you from opening a document by just double clicking on it. It opens in read-only mode. You could then make changes, and save it with a slightly different filename. Doing so would unnecessarily complicate the process of working with the document, making it harder for all concerned to tell which one is the authoritative copy of the document.

 How do I "fall back" to a previous version of my document, to undo current changes?
Move your cursor over the document filename, click the down arrow, and select “Version History”. Based on the comments, decide which version you want to fall back to.

 Why, sometimes, do I get an error when I try to restore a document to a previous version?
If someone else has the document checked out, you will not be able to do a restore.

 Sometimes when I open a document, and then exit out of it, my whole SharePoint site closes. Why?
If you open your document from within Versions, you are opening it in your browser, not in Word, and when you exit, you are exiting the browser that you used to go to your SharePoint site. It’s better to go in as described above, clicking “Edit in Microsoft Office Word”.

 Does SharePoint require the Internet Explorer web browser?
To ensure that you have complete access to all the functionality, we recommend that you use the following browsers for administrative tasks:

  • Windows Internet Explorer 7.X
  • Windows Internet Explorer 8.X

The following browsers may cause some SharePoint functionality to be downgraded or limited. In some cases functionality might not be available for administrative tasks.

  • Firefox 3.X
  • Netscape Navigator 8.1
  • Safari 2.0

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