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SharePoint Online

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Introduction

Sharepoint is a web-based collaborative platform launched in 2001. It is integrated with Microsoft Office and is used as a document management and storage system. SharePoint Online is a cloud based platform created to support content management and collaborations. It helps users to manage their own as well as colleagues’ documents, data, activities and information. It also allows the users to create password protected sharing environment where one can create, store and edit documents. It offers seamless accessibility of documents from anywhere such as home, office, mobile etc.

SharePoint Online planning guide

A global or SharePoint admin can create as well as manage the site collections, can manage user profiles and their permissions, modify OneDrive settings also enable online features in SharePoint and global settings. To manage all the mentioned roles the admin should draw a proper plan. The following are the important points to be followed while planning to build a SharePoint Online environment.

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In order to set up the SharePoint online environment, below developer tools needs to be installed.

  • Latest Version of NodeJS - For windows users MSI installers is the easiest way to install NodeJS. Mac Users can install from Homebrow
  • Code Editor (Atom, Visual Studio, and Wenstorm)
  • Compiler Tools
  • Yeoman and Gulp - Use the below command in Command Prompt to install these files.

npm  install -g yo gulp

Plan sites and manage users

The easiest way to have a successful site and satisfied user is to have a stable plan and good user management strategies. The sites collections should be managed in a traditional approach that has same owner who share administrative settings and permissions. It is always good to have limited trusted owners.

Organize site content and plan content features

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There are many ways to have an organized site content such as by customer, by project, by content category, by team or department and by level of permissions. A plan should be formulated to decide the type of content to be displayed, type of apps and whether to create content types or not.

Customize sites with solutions & apps

Customizations in SharePoint Online range from simple browser based to remote provisioning. Elements such as header/footer, workflow, content blocks, General branding and navigation can be customized in SharePoint Online. There are many third party apps available in the SharePoint Store that can be used with license or the admin can also develop custom apps based on the requirements in the organisation and make it available in the App Catalogue.

SharePoint admin role in Office 365 

SharePoint admin is the one who handles file storage of the organization in OneDrive and SharePoint Online. The admins are assigned by global administrators who have access to all the administrative features. The administrators can create site collection administrators (people who manage sites) and term store administrators (people who can change or add terms in term store which has common terms that can be used). 

The following are the main roles of SharePoint administrator:

Create site collection - A site in SharePoint can have one or more web pages that includes the SharePoint parts such as calendar, tasks, Document Library. Site collections is the collection of SharePoint sites formed as hierarchy. Each site collection will have a top level site as homepage and subsites below. To create a site collection, the following steps should be followed :

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “SharePoint” under Admin Centres in left pane.
  • Choose “Try it Now” from the classic SharePoint admin dialogue box for opening a new SharePoint admin centre.
  • Select “Active Sites” from the new SharePoint Admin Centre in the left pane.
  • Choose “Create”.
  • Based on the requirement select Communication Site, Team Site or other choices.
  • Provide the information such as name of the site, language, owner and others.
  • After completing, click on “Finish”.

To create classic template site

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Select “Sites” under “Resources” from left pane.
  • Choose “Add a Site” from “Sites
  • Fill all the properties required for new classic template site collection. New site can be found in URL list.

Delete site collection

Deleting a site will delete everything such as site security settings, any sub site which has been created, lists, libraries, files and history. The deleted site will be retained in the recycle bin of site collection for 93 days. The following steps should be followed for deleting a site:

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin 
  • Choose “SharePoint” under “admin centres” in left pane
  • Choose “Try it now” from the classic SharePoint admin dialogue box for opening a new SharePoint admin centre.
  • Select “Active sites” from the new SharePoint admin centre in the left pane.
  • Choose a site from the left column.
  • Select “Delete”.

To delete the site permanently:

  • Choose “Deleted sites” from the new SharePoint admin centre in the left pane.
  • Choose a site from the left column.
  • Select “Delete”.

To delete a classic site:

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “SharePoint” under admin centres in left pane
  • Choose “Site Collection" from the check-box which you want to delete.
  • Select “Delete” from the site collection tab.
  • Verify the information shown on the dialog box and click on delete.

Manage site collection and global settings

Following can be done to site collection in SharePoint Online:

  • Create site collection.
  • Delete and restore.
  • Restrict specific types of files that can’t be added to the library.
  • Lock or unlock files in site collection.
  • View list of site collections.
  • Connect web application to document in SharePoint as well as delete and modify the same.
  • Edit site collections admin roles.
  • Create, edit and delete the template quota for site collections.

Global Settings: To access global workflow management settings which is in SharePoint Central Administration, follow the below steps:

  • Click on Start > Administrative tools > SharePoint Central Administration.
  • Select the “workflow management” from the Application Management tab.
  • Click on “Workflow settings” to get the global workflow management settings.

Turn external sharing on or off for SharePoint Online

When there is a situation where you have to work with third party vendors, you can't allow them to use all your features. At that time a global or SharePoint administrator can give access only to specific sites or files. The following steps can be followed to turn external sharing on or off:

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “SharePoint” under “admin centres” in left pane
  • Choose “Try it now” from the classic SharePoint admin dialogue box for opening a new SharePoint admin centre.
  • Choose sharing option, under Policies, from new SharePoint admin centre in left pane.
  • Depending on the required sharing level choose one from the available options (Anyone, New and existing guests, Only existing guests, Only people in your organization).

Add and remove site collection administrators

A global or SharePoint admin can add or remove other administrators any time. To do so one should follow the below steps:

To add or remove admins in SharePoint admin centres:

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “SharePoint” under “admin centres” in left pane
  • Choose “Try it now” from the classic SharePoint admin dialogue box for opening a new SharePoint admin centre.
  • Select “Active sites” from the new SharePoint admin centre in the left pane.
  • Choose a site from the left column.
  • Select “Owners”.

To add or remove admins from classic SharePoint admin centre:

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “SharePoint” under admin centres in left pane
  • Choose the “Site Collection” which needs to be changed and click on the check box.
  • Choose “Manage Administrators” from “Owners”.
  • In the dialog box of Manage Administrators add or remove Site Collection administrators or Primary Site Collection Administrators.
  • Verify the validity of user names then select “OK”.

Manage site collection storage limits

In SharePoint Online the storage limits are set by default and available in the central pool. If you want to change the storage limits then you should choose manual instead of automatic. The steps to change manual from automatic is as follows:

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “SharePoint” under “admin centres” in left pane. Select Classic SharePoint Admin Centre if suppose new SharePoint admin centre is opened.
  • Choose “Settings” from the left pane.
  • Click on “Site Storage Limits”.
  • Choose Manual or Automatic and Save.

Manage storage limits for individual sites:

After setting the storage option to manual, the following steps should be carried out to set storage limits -

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “SharePoint” under “Admin centres” in left pane
  • Choose “Try it now” from the classic SharePoint admin dialogue box for opening a new SharePoint admin centre.
  • Select “Active sites” from the new SharePoint admin centre in the left pane. Choose a site and then click on “Storage”.
  • Provide maximum storage you need in GB.
  • Ensure that notifications are turned on so that once you reach the maximum storage limit a mail would be sent to the admin.
  • Click “Save”.

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Manage SharePoint Online user profiles

As a SharePoint admin there would be situations where a user might have trouble in editing their profiles and you may need to edit them. Or you may have to edit the profile to find the relationship among users and improve the social collaborations. Steps to manage the Online User profiles are explained in detail, later.

Let users connect classic team sites to new Office 365 groups

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “SharePoint” under “Admin centres” in left pane. Select Classic SharePoint admin centre if suppose new SharePoint admin centre is opened.
  • Choose “Settings” from the left pane
  • Beside “Allow site owners to create Office 365 groups and attach them to existing sites”, choose allow or do not allow according to the requirement.

Let users create modern site pages

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “SharePoint” under “Admin centres” in left pane. Select Classic SharePoint admin centre assuming that new SharePoint admin centre is opened.
  • Choose “Settings” from the left pane.
  • Choose either Allow or prevent next to Site Pages.

Change the default list and library experience

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “SharePoint” under “Admin Centres” in left pane
  • Choose “Try it now” from the classic SharePoint admin dialogue box for opening a new SharePoint admin centre.
  • List and libraries > turn on “Use the new Experience”.

Hide the OneDrive and SharePoint app tiles

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “SharePoint” under “Admin centres” in left pane
  • Choose “Settings” from the left pane.
  • Select the title needs to hidden from the Show or Hide options.

Enable or Disable preview features in SharePoint

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “SharePoint” under “Admin centres” in left pane
  • Choose “Settings” from the left pane.
  • Preview Features > Enable or Disable Preview Features.

Change the Links list on the SharePoint home page

Add a Link:

  • Under “Featured Links”, Click on “Edit” at the top.
  • Choose “Add” to add a link.
  • In the “New Link” box fill in the Text to Display field and Address field.
  • Select “Try link” to check whether the link is working or not.
  • Click “Save”.
  • Click “Done” once the editing is completed.

Edit a Link:

  • Under “Featured Links”, Click on “Edit” at the top.
  • Select the link that needs to be changed.
  • In the “New Link box” fill in the Text to Display field and Address field.
  • Select “Try link” to check whether the link is working or not.
  • Click “Save”.
  • Click “Done” once the editing is completed.

Change the Order of Links:

  • Under “Featured Links”, Click on “Edit” at the top.
  • Drag the link for which you want to change order and drop it in the place you want it to be.
  • Click “Done” once the editing is completed.

Delete Link:

  • Under “Featured Links”, Click on “Edit” at the top.
  • Click “X”.
  • In the confirmation box click “Delete”.
  • Click “Done” once the editing is completed.

Guide to the Modern experience in SharePoint

SharePoint Modern experience gives a flexible and faster environment for creating awesome, dynamic websites and WebPages. It is designed to be faster and flexible. The modern experience in SharePoint provides the users with readiness, solution planning, assessment, development and testing and deployment. Some of the modern experience points are as follows:

  • Information architecture and hub sites: In our rapidly changing environment, it is very important to have robust information architecture. Building information architecture is a continuous process as people, organization and project change time to time. To have a well maintained and performing portal it is important to have well constructed information architecture. SharePoint Modern offers an information architecture along with hub sites – connected to navigation, branding and other elements – which makes it more flexible and easy to use.
  • Navigation: The SharePoint modern gives the users a seamless navigation. It helps the users in finding their requirements, interact with other users find out what is going on, make decisions, solve problems and many others. The hub site in the modern achieves cross-site navigation also which is not present in the classic navigation.
  • Publishing: It is important to create dynamic and attractive pages in order to publish them to large community of people. The modern SharePoint experience makes the websites dynamic, interactive and mobile ready.
  • Branding: There are many customizable default themes and designs available in classic SharePoint experience, but the issue with them is that they are inconsistent and not much responsive. SharePoint Online provides more customized themes and designs which the users can use to create their company logos and change colors based on their needs. It offers specific design layouts and functionalities for the site.
  • Search: For any site we want the users to find what they are looking for quickly and accurately. SharePoint offers a personal search experience i.e. users have access those results which they have privilege of accessing. Others who don’t have access privilege to the files can’t find the private documents of other users.
  • Sharing and permissions: SharePoint offers SharePoint groups as well as security groups. The groups have their own mail id where the information can be shared among group members. They also have access to notebook, calendar, planner and Team site. The users are also made as group member or group owner. Based on the designation the sharing and permissions varies.

SharePoint Admin Center

SharePoint admin center is designed to keep a track of all the usage reports and activities. It is a simple and powerful design which helps the administrators to use both classic and modern sites from the same view. It keeps track of all the upgrades that have been rolled out.

Following actions can be performed in the SharePoint admin center.

View Reports

To view reports for site collection

  • For a user to view the reports he/she should be a member of owners group.
  • Click on “Site settings” from “Settings” menu in the site collection
  • Click on Site Collection Administration > Site Settings > Popularity and Search Reports.
  • Click “Usage” from “Usage Reports” in “View Usage Reports”.
  • In the dialog box to save the report click on “Save” or “Save as”, to open it in excel click “Open”.
  • For viewing different usage events select the tabs.

To view reports for site

  • For a user to view the reports he/she should be a member of owners group.
  • Click on “Site settings” from “Settings menu” in the site collection.
  • Click on Site Administration > Site Setting > Popularity Trends.
  • Click “Usage” from “Usage Reports” in “View Usage Reports”.
  • In the dialog box to save the report click on “Save” or “Save as”, to open it in excel click “Open”.
  • For viewing different usage events select the tabs.

View message centre posts

Message centre has all the updates and new features available. Any announcements about upcoming features, changes in the existing features and new additions would be posted there. To open message centre click on health and from that select message centre.

Service Health

Service health has the status of all the issues user is experiencing in various features such as yammer, Microsoft 365 and others. The users can view the problems in the service health and find ways to solve it by trouble shooting or can call the customer support. Following steps are to be followed to check a service health:

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Click on either service health from health or Service Health card from the dashboard.
  • The state of all the cloud service can be viewed as a table format along with their states

Check Out Sharepoint Interview Questions

SharePoint hub sites

SharePoint hub sites help users in classifying the organization sites based on their department, project, region and their division. By classifying, it helps users to find related contents soon, manage site structure, branding etc. It also makes the searching seamless. The following actions can be performed in the SharePoint hub site:

Create hub site: The following steps are followed to create a hub site:

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “SharePoint” under “Admin centres” in left pane
  • Choose “Try it now” from the classic SharePoint admin dialogue box for opening a new SharePoint admin centre.
  • Select “Active sites” from the new SharePoint admin centre in the left pane.
  • Site > Hub site > Register as hub site.
  • Provide the name for the hub site and mention the users or groups you want to grant access.
  • Click “Save”.

Remove hub site: The following steps are followed to remove a hub site:

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “SharePoint” under “Admin centres” in left pane
  • Choose “Try it now” from the classic SharePoint admin dialogue box for opening a new SharePoint admin centre.
  • Select “Active sites” from the new SharePoint admin centre in the left pane.
  • Site > Hub site > Unregister as hub site.
  • Click “OK”.

Setup site design: The following steps are followed to setup site design:

  • Create a JSON > add it > create a site design
  • After creation it can be viewed by everyone. You can provide access to specific users.
  • Hub site design can be set in two ways, using the powershell command or an option available in the new User Interface.

Sharing and Permissions

To improve the performance and manageability of the site, it is necessary to have efficient sharing and permission strategies. Many sites are created in hurry to solve a specific problem but the structure is default throughout. It makes the job difficult to incorporate future changes in the site. The following points must be considered while creating sharing and permission plans.

Work with security groups:

  • Once the access has been given they must be added to security groups like visitors, members or owners.
  • Add most of them as visitors or members.
  • Member groups can only add or remove files or documents.
  • Members in visitors group can have read-only access.
  • Have limited members in owner group (trusted members).

Work with Permissions Inheritance:

  • Make clear and easy hierarchy using inheritance.
  • Have an organized content to make use of permission inheritance.
  • Have separate site for security documents instead of having them in common libraries.
  • It is easy to manage the permissions when they are in hierarchy and organized.

Advanced permissions customization

Usually, SharePoint group is a collection of users who have same set of permissions to the contents and sites. Instead of assigning permissions to users individually, it would be easier to assign permissions to a group. Advanced permissions customization allows administrators to assign a new permission level to group.

Assign a new permission level to the group:

  • On website > Settings > Site Settings > Site Information > View all site settings
  • Site settings > Users and Permissions > Site Permissions
  • Choose the check box of the group or user you want to assign new permission.
  • Permissions >Edit User Permissions.
  • Edit permissions > Select the box beside the name of the newly given permission level.
  • Click “OK”.

Search

In SharePoint, the contents are crawled and indexed so that it becomes easier when the users search for a particular information. SharePoint makes the search easy and effective. It allows both classic and modern search experience. The following sections explain in detail the difference between modern and classic search experiences.

Modern Search Experience:

Modern search suggests you terms even before you start typing based on the past works. While typing the search box is updated with new terms. Easily one can get back to the work. Once the search term is entered, it provides all the results that are relevant to you. The files in which you are working with other people are ranked higher than others so that these documents are displayed first in the search results.

Classic and modern search differences:

Modern searches are more personal they are updated as one types and highly ranked based on the files you work with. The customizing features are more stable and flexible in modern search than classic. As modern search results are not built as part of web parts one can't customize the modern search results page or add any additional pages. 

Customizations, Solutions, and Apps for SharePoint Online:

SharePoint Online constantly receives updates with new features and such updates can affect particular type of customization. However, there are many recommended customizations and techniques for branding available for streamlining the updates. The following sections explain the simple to complex customizations that can be done, third party applications that can be used for customizations and custom applications

Customizations Simple to Complex

Browser based customization - It is the simple and requires very less expertise. One can change logo, title, theme, contents of the page and libraries in their site.

Using tools and applications - There are many tools available to do advanced customizations such as Excel, Access, and Visio which help in creating high ended dynamic sites.

Remote provisioning - One can use custom made CSOM code present in applications of SharePoint Online to add branding elements to sites and their sub sites.

Add-ins - One can use already existing third party applications or build their own as add-ins. They can add to sites in order to customize specific information or functionality.

Third Party and Custom Applications:

SharePoint store has many third party apps that are accessible from SharePoint Online sites. One can choose the required apps and also can buy licenses for the same for across organization usage. The organization can also develop their own apps based on the requirements and it can be made available via App Catalogue site.

Managed metadata:

Metadata is the data (information) about a data. It can be any kind of information such as date of creation, location, item number and many others. Metadata makes it easier to find what you want in a reliable and fast way. It can be organized and customized based on the requirements of the organization.

Open the Term Store management tool: Following steps must be done to open the Term Store Management Tool:

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or SharePoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “SharePoint” under “Admin cen” in left pane
  • Choose “Term Store” from the left pane.

Set up new group for term sets: To set up a new group for the term sets following steps should be followed:

  • Open “Term Store” management tool.
  • Select “Taxonomy” from the tree view, select the arrow and then choose “New Group”.
  • Press “Enter” after providing the name for the user group.
  • Provide “Description” for the group in the property pane.
  • Provide the users you want to give access to in the group manager’s box.
  • Add names of the users in the contributor’s box.
  • Click “Save”.

Create and manage terms

  • Open the “Term Store” management tool.
  • Find the “Term set” from the tree view pane for which you want to add a term.
  • For the term which has been created in the tree view provide the name which you want to use.
  • Provide the following information in the property pane.
  • If it is available for tagging check the box or uncheck if it is not.
  • Choose language.
  • Type description.
  • Provide a default label.
  • Enter other synonyms for the label.

Setup new term set

  • Open the “Term store” management tool.
  • Find the “Term set” from the tree view pane for which you want to add a term.
  • Select “Taxonomy” from the tree view, select the arrow and then choose new term set.
  • Provide a default name.
  • Follow below navigation to open general option
  • Term Store Management > Properties > General.
  • In the dialogue box that opens fill all available fields(like Term set name, description, contact, stake holder etc) with relevant data.
  • Click on the tab intended Use > User will find below check boxes:
  • Available for tagging; Use this term set; Navigation
  • Check “Use this Term Set” for managed navigation.
  • Choose “Custom Support” tab to provide additional data.
  • Click “Save”.

Assign roles and permissions to manage term sets

Roles of Term Store Administrator:

  • Create or delete term set groups.
  • Add or Remove Contributors or managers.
  • Choose different language for term store.
  • Choose task for the manager or contributor.

Roles of Group Managers:

  • Add or remove the contributors.
  • Assign tasks to contributors.

Roles of contributor:

  • Create or modify the term set(The contributor in the site is different from the contributor in managed metadata)

Manage user profiles in the SharePoint admin center

Add and edit user profile properties:

To add a user profile, follow the steps:

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or sharepoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “Sharepoint” under “Admin center” in left pane
  • From the left pane choose “User Profiles”.
  • Choose “Manage User Properties” from the “People” menu.
  • Choose “New Property”.
  • Provide an unique name in the name box for the property.
  • Provide the profile property name in the display box which will be displayed to all the users.
  • Choose the data type of the property in the Type list.
  • Provide the maximum number of length allowed for values in the length box in case of binary, HTML or string.
  • Ensure that Default User Sub Profile is selected to associate with user property file.
  • Enter instructions for the users in the description box.
  • Select the “Policy setting” and default policies from the “Policy Settings” box.
  • Mention how the information will be viewed by the user in the display settings.
  • Choose Alias if the property name is equivalent to the name of the user in the Search settings.
  • Click “OK

Edit / Delete user profile

  • Choose “User profile” from the left pane in the classic SharePoint Administrator.
  • Select “Manage User Properties”, under “People”.
  • Choose the property which needs to be changed from the Property Name and click on edit or delete.
  • Edit elements needs editing.
  • Click “OK”.

Remove users from SharePoint Online

  • Sign into your admin account as global admin or sharepoint admin (https://admin.microsoft.com)
  • Choose “Guest Users” from “Users” in the left pane.
  • Click on “Delete” a user.
  • Choose “User” and select user then click on “Delete”.

Conclusion:

SharePoint Online provides a  cloud service based modern platform to share access, interact, and collaborate. Teamwork can occur quickly at anyplace and anytime with the help of SharePoint Online. It offers facilities to seamlessly integrate with other applications such as OneDrive, Office Graphs, and more for creating and sharing ideas. It provides true digital transformation by delivering robust solutions and business value. 

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Prasanthi
About The Author

Prasanthi is an expert writer in MongoDB, and has written for various reputable online and print publications. At present, she is working for Mindmajix, and writes content not only on MongoDB, but also on Sharepoint, Uipath, AWS, and Azure.


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