There’s a ton of things I really like about SharePoint, as well as a couple of things I don’t like so much – but I want to share with you the things I’ve noticed that I use over and over, so here are the 4 coolest features in SharePoint Online that I would go so far as to say I really love. Insert googly love heart eyes emoji here.
1. Automatic Version Control
SharePoint document libraries have version control turned on automatically. So, every iteration of a document, every edit made is managed with versioning. What I really love about this is the automagic element, because version control is often something you don’t need until things go wrong and then you really need it. So, the fact that it’s happening in the background without me having to care about it until I need to care, is super useful.
And when I do need to restore back or view an earlier version of a file, it’s so easy to do – just click on the three ellipses next to the document name (or tick to select it and use the ribbon menu) and select Version Control. Too easy.
2. Promoted Links App
This navigation tool is so awesome. It allows you to set up attractive tiles that link to your content and if you add an image, you can use this as a visual cue to help users navigate with one click straight to the content they need to do their jobs. When I’m developing for clients, I always set up a link to templates, policies, leave forms and incident forms, as these are key content that users often need to get to quickly.
3. One true version of a Document
Once you migrate your files from your server’s shared folder structure, you instantly reap the benefits of SharePoint’s shared doc libraries, and your day-to-day working with docs is revolutionised. Gone are the old server issues of multiple versions of a document, not knowing which the latest copy is, or being locked out while someone else makes edits.
I recently experienced the glory of the shared document (and the one true version) when I uploaded a user guide to my client’s SharePoint doc library. I shared the guide by sending a link to it via email. Then I went and did the extremely common and very human thing of realising (the minute I hit ‘send’) that I hadn’t updated the contents page in the user guide, therefore all the page references would be wrong. Gulp. My stomach lurched up into my throat for few seconds until I remembered that the user guide was saved to SharePoint.
Even though one of my super keen clients had already opened the guide (I could see she was in the doc reading it due to the fab co-authoring feature), I quickly made the edits to the contents page and my changes were automatically reflected in the document. There was no need to resend the email or even let the client know about the changes, as everyone was instantly viewing the same one true (correct!) version of the guide. So cool. I even did a little ‘thank you SharePoint’ dance after I finished my edits.
If I had instead sent the guide as an attachment by email, I’d have had to send out the ole “oops, sorry, forgot to edit the page numbering” email, rushed to make my edits and resend a new attachment of the updated doc. What a palaver that would’ve been.
Of course the problem with that wouldn’t just have been me having to admit my mistake and bothering my clients with several emails, I bet you in 5 or 6 months’ time I’d have referred the client to a page in the user guide, and there’d be all sorts of confusion as some folk would be using the original guide with the incorrect page numbering and out of date contents. We’d have lost productive time trying to work out why we weren’t seeing the same thing, or worse, I’d have sent them in the wrong direction of learning and action all because of a simple page numbering error and the disadvantages of using email attachments.
4. Save As directly from Word (or Excel or PowerPoint)
This new feature is so wonderfully smooth. In fact, it’s such a smooth operator you’ll likely question why it wasn’t possible in previous versions of SharePoint, but let’s stick with the positive – it’s here and it’s fabulous! You can now easily save your file into SharePoint (or OneDrive for Business) directly from Word (or Excel or PowerPoint). You just need to perform a one-off set up, and voila you now have the option to start your document directly in Word and then go to File > Save As and click Sites to save into your document library. Once it’s set up in Word, it’ll also be set up in Excel and PowerPoint too. To set up go to File > Save As > Add a Place > Office 365 SharePoint. You just need to login and follow the prompts to locate the relevant sites in SharePoint.
Susan is a dedicated and energetic IT professional with over 25 years experience working with world-class IT systems, methodologies and organisations and over 20 years of experience in training and development.
She has the knack of relating to users, easily translating techie-speak and complex system processes into real-life terms to ensure learners ‘get it’. She specialises in identifying your business issues and any barriers that stop users from getting what they need from their technology.
Over the years, Susan has worked with renowned companies such as DHL, British Airways, Sky City, Vector, Auckland Council and Beca – designing and delivering quality learning solutions, increasing user productivity and helping them to reach their business goals.Susan is a certified Microsoft® Office Specialist specialising in OneNote, Office 365, Lync (Skype for Business) and SharePoint. She offers training, design and development services for all versions of SharePoint server, as well as cloud SharePoint – the online offering in Office 365.
If you enjoyed this you may also enjoy...
This tip is useful for users of Internet Explorer or Edge. When you’re working in SharePoint (particularly as the Administrator or Developer) you often need to move between several sites and lists, which can be frustrating having to back your way out of a page to only a few minutes later realising that you need
I often get asked this question, although it’s usually framed more like this: “when should I set up a site instead of a subsite?” or “Isn’t everything a site, anyway?” or “why should I care whether my site is a subsite or not?” The first thing to note is there is only one top level
The old adage ‘content is king’ originated from an essay written by Bill Gates in 1996 and is specific to the content found on websites and company intranet pages. Users rely on visual clues to confirm that they’re in the right place and viewing content that’s relevant to them. If your intranet (or public website)
I do a lot of demos of SharePoint and I often notice that it takes a wee while for people to understand the benefit of a team calendar. Once they understand that calendars in SharePoint are for groups and teams, rather than the individual calendar you use in Outlook or your mail client, there’s an
It’s quite likely that at some stage you’ll come across a yellow message bar in SharePoint that attempts to notify you when individual or unique permissions have been made at a file or item level. This Microsoft article explains what the messages mean.
If I’m already using OneDrive, why use SharePoint? The simplest answer to this is that you’ve probably already paid for it, and why pay for something that you don’t use? Most of the Office 365 business subscriptions include SharePoint, but I often see clients struggling to manage their organisation files in OneDrive for Business as