SharePoint is a Microsoft information management and collaboration application. It comes as a cloud version with Office 365 subscription and also as an on-premise solution. The application has been around for a couple of decades and has gone through significant changes and enhancement over the time. The first version of SharePoint was released in 2000 , while the current on-premise version is SharePoint 2019 and the SharePoint Online.
Main Features of SharePoint
Provides a platform to build an Intranet solution for the organization
Provides a platform to Store, collaborate and share document
Platform for organizational content publishing, including news, events and newletters
Automate business process, with the use of lists, PowerApps and Power Automate solutions
Platform for collaboration with external stakeholders, including vendors, suppliers and clients.
Data publishing, including management reports with Power BI integration
Create Libraries based on business functions. E.g. HR, Marketing, Finance, Management etc. if required libraries on the individual sites can also be created based on document categories e.g. contracts, accounts payable/receivable etc.
Create and implement organizational meta data strategy and structure through Term Store feature in SharePoint. This allows for standard across the organization in the usage of meta data terms.
Example of Organizational Term Store
Use Meta Data columns, instead of folders. Use of meta data helps in the following:
Search (it makes it easier for SharePoint search to index items with meta data rather than folders)
Sorting items (ascending or descending)
Grouping items by category
Creating views for document libraries
Example of SharePoint Library with Folder Structure
Example of SharePoint Library with Meta Data Column Structure (Country, State, City)
Do not use more than 12 meta data columns in a document library. This includes people, lookup and managed meta data column.
Create organization wide document naming convention and train users in its usage and implementation.
Versioning of document should be enabled on a need basis. The number of major and minor version should be determined for each library/document category and implemented accordingly. Blanket versioning leads to too many versions of the same documents, thereby causing greater storage needs, cost and causes sync issues.
Library sync to user’s local computer should be implemented on need basis. This prevents proliferation of information and allows for greater security around organizational data.
By default, the document library list view threshold is 5000 documents, although a document library can hold up to 30,000,000 documents. Libraries that have documents above 5000, start having performance issues in terms of loading, sorting etc. It is recommended to create groups or views for such libraries.
Documents that are old and is not required by users should be archived. An archival policy should be created based on the document type and documents should be archived based on the policy. A record center solution within SharePoint can be used for archival purposes. This will help in keeping the library clean and enhancing the performance.
A view is a custom representation of how the items in a document library is displayed when a user navigates to a library. An example of a view is display of only those documents that a user has created.
For ease of search and sorting it is recommended to group documents. This allows for similar types of documents to be displayed together as a group. An example is group by document types, invoices, contracts etc.
Example of documents have been grouped by Document Manager (Owners)
The maximum size of a document that can be uploaded to a SharePoint document library is 100GB for SharePoint 2016 and 2 GB for SharePoint 2013 version.
A maximum of 100 documents can be uploaded to a SharePoint document library via drag and drop method.
Document library security considerations:
Create organizational information access and usage documentation. This document should detail users access rights to various information on the SharePoint and the libraries within the application. These rights can be read, contribute, edit, design and full. This document should be updated as needed.
Ensure users have access to information based on their role within the organization. If a user should not be deleting a document within a library, he/she should not have delete rights to that document library.
Implement user access and role at the library level. Until and unless absolutely required do not create unique user access rights at the folder or document level.
If access to certain category of document require unique permission or access to such documents needs to be locked down, in that case the user should create a new document library for such categories of documents.
If documents are to be shared with users outside the organization, a copy of these documents should be saved in a separate document library and shared, instead of randomly sharing or sending links from the existing libraries.
All document shared should have an expiry period. Documents should not be shared for long durations with users outside the organization.
User access to libraries should be periodically audited and updated as needed.
User Permissions in SharePoint:
These are the out of box permission types in SharePoint. Besides these SharePoint also allows creation of groups with custom permissions. Of all the permission listed below the most commonly used are, Full Control, Design, Edit, Contribute, Read and View only rights.
Gives user full control over the site/library/list
A user can view, add, update, delete, approve, and customize.
A user can add, edit and delete lists; can view, add, update and delete list items and documents.
A user can view, add, update, and delete list items and documents.
A user can view pages and list items and download documents.
Create new subsites
A user can create new subsites
A user can view pages, list items, and documents. Document types with server-side file handlers can be viewed in the browser but not downloaded.
A user can edit and approve pages, list items, and documents.
A user can create sites and edit pages, list items, and documents.
A user can view pages and documents but cannot view historical versions or user permissions.
Restricted Interfaces for Translation
A user can open lists and folders, and use remote interfaces.
Document level considerations:
SharePoint online allows file upload of all types and formats. The following code extension files, however requires custom script settings to be enabled.
ASP.NET Active server page
ASP.NET web services source file
ASP.NET wep user control file
ASP.NET master web page
Windows phone installation
Office InfoPath form definition file
HTML Component file
The following characters types are not allowed in OneDrive or SharePoint online. These characters will create issues with file upload and sync features. ” * : < > ? / \ |
Following file and folder names are not supported in OneDrive or SharePoint: .lock, CON, PRN, AUX, NUL, COM1 – COM9, LPT1 – LPT9, _vti_, desktop.ini
Any file name starting with ~$ is also not supported.
“_vti_” cannot appear anywhere in a file name
“forms” isn’t supported when the folder is at the root level for a library.
You can’t create a folder name in SharePoint Online that begins with a tilde (~).
File Name and Path Limitations: Any document name or the file path length (URL) should not exceed 400 characters.
What is the difference between OneDrive and SharePoint
Both OneDrive and SharePoint are part of the suite of solutions that come with Microsoft office 365 subscription services. Behind the scene OneDrive is basically a SharePoint library. Both of them provide similar services i.e. storage, sharing and collaboration on documents. SharePoint, however is much more than just a platform for document storage. It is a comprehensive intranet soution.
When to use OneDrive vs. SharePoint
Replacement for personal C Drive: In most organization OneDrive is replacing C drive. Organizations are not comfortable having employees saving company documents on their personal desktops/laptops. As a result employees are being prompted to use OneDrive. During Office 365 onboarding most organizations are using OneDrive for migrating/storing documents that are stored in the users C and other local drives.
Sharing and Collaboration on Documents in small settings: OneDrive is ideal space for creating, sharing and collaborating on documents in a one on one settings esp. in scenarios where an employee needs to share a document with an external consultant or vendor for collaboration or feedback.
Documents in Progress or Draft version: OneDrive is also useful for creating and storing documents that are still in draft phase, before it is published for other employees to see. Once a document is ready to be published is can easily be moved to a SharePoint document library for the users to consume. See the screen shot below for features.
Intranet Solution: SharePoint is a more comprhensive solution than just creation, collaboration and sharing of documents. It serves as an intranet solution for an organization. It provides following and much more functionality.
Publsihing platform for organization information
Document Management and Collaboration
Business Process Automation
Hosting Organizational Information and Documents: No matter where a document is generated, OneDrive, C drive or MS Teams the final resting place for the approved/published document should be SharePoint so all users can easily find them no matter how far back they have to go.
Stakeholder Collaboration and Information Sharing: SharePoint also provides a platform for Vendors, Supplier and Client to access their documents and other relevant information.
One Drive Interface
The top OneDrive naviagtion provides menus include, New, Share, Copy Link, Request files, Download, Delete, Rename, Automate, Move to and Copy to. On the left column navigation one can see the list of SharePoint site one has acces to. Once a user has created a document in OneDrive and is ready to publish it they can use the Move to menu to transfer the file from their personal OneDrive to the organization SharePoint site.
Once a user selects a document in OneDrive and clicks Move to menu a list of all the SharePoint site a user has access to will show on the right as a list. The user can then choose the site they want to move the document to and click Move here, the document will automatically get moved to the selected SharePoint site. See the screen shots below.