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A typical SharePoint page is not just made of blocks of text and images. it's also very, very common that on these pages that you'll edit, you'll these pieces called Web Parts. Well, what are Web Parts? We have actually one of them right now. I'm going to shift into my Edit Page Mode by clicking this Edit Page button and then come down to the section that says Shared Documents and just click on the white bar beside the word Shared Documents, and you see how this gets surrounded by a blue box here and in fact, as I did that, I have a new option up here called Web Part Tools.
Well the blue box is actually representing the fact that this is a Web Part. Now Web Part is a self- contained piece of a webpage. You can't use a Web Part by itself. It has to be inside a webpage, but it has its own rules. It has its own abilities. It has its own behavior. But what are they? These are modular pieces. They can be very simple, they can be very complex, but they often represent pieces that exist elsewhere on your website. Well, what do we mean by that? Well, to show you, let me talk about adding a new web part.
I'm going to click my cursor just so it's blinking below this existing one, and go to my Insert section of the Ribbon where I have the ability to insert Web Parts. In fact my Web Parts section here, which is kind of roped off by these two vertical lines, suggest that I have three different things I can do. I can add a Web Part, I can add an existing list, or I can add a new list. Well, just to let you know these are all Web Parts. In fact, they're just different ways of doing very common tasks. If I were to click the option to insert a Web Part it will tell me that this one will allow you to insert from the full list of available Web Parts.
Web Parts can display data from other sources such as list data search results forms or even another webpage. So that would give me the full list of available Web Parts and if I click that one, I actually get quite a lot. They are split into categories. So this section up here that allows me to say I've got Lists and Libraries and Business Data and Content Rollup and Filters and Forms and all the different things that are different Web Parts. Different pieces of data that I could put all my webpage. This looks a little bit complex to me and in fact it's a bit of overkill, so I'm going to do cancel that option and say no, I'm going to select the second option here, which allows me to insert an existing list.
What does that mean? It's still a Web Part. What that really does is just filtered down the whole list of dozens of dozens of web parts to just the web parts that represent things that exist on this site right now. Now we explored this little earlier when we clicked our View All Site Content link, that the website is made of lists and libraries. And if I want to see my lists and libraries on the homepage, well, I can add a Web Part. This says, Hey, I can give you a Web Part that represents Announcements or a Web Part that represents your Calendar or a Web Part that represents your Links.
So I'm going to select the Calendar Web Part, and say I want to add that Web Part to well, I only have one choice, the Rich Content. That's the actual page content that I've been editing. Click Add and I have down here now my Calendar Web Part. This might be what I'm after. It might not be what I'm after, but you see how this is actually representing not a new calendar, but the existing calendar that already had a Weekly Review appointment on it. You can almost think of the Web Part here as being a window to a list or a library on this website.
The Web Part itself doesn't hold the data. The Web Part is a window to the data. It's just showing me the underlying data, and that's an important distinction to understand, because very, very commonly, when I'm teaching SharePoint what I will see people do is they'll come into a page and then say "okay, I want to add a Web Part to represent my calendar," and they'll click Existing List and they won't see a Calendar Web Part. And they say "well, I don't see my calendar." And I'll ask "well, first off, do you have a calendar on your website?" "Do you have that piece?" If they don't, well, they first need to create it before creating the Web Part that shows it.
Well, one of the new options we have to make that process easier in SharePoint 2010, I'm going to cancel out of this one, is to say well, I want to add a Web Part that represents, oh, let's say a list of contacts. But then I remember, well, I don't have a list of contacts on this particular site. Well what I can do is two things at once. By clicking this button I can create a new list and it's actually showing me the available lists and libraries that SharePoint knows over on this site.
We're going to get in much more into this a little later. But I could say well here, I actually want to create a list title of Vendors and that will be my vendor contacts. So it's going to be a Contacts list, I'll click OK, and that does two things at the same time. It creates the list and it adds a Web Part that represents that list and I can even directly add a new item from this page itself. Now let's say that was what I wanted to do with this page. I want to save it before I make any other changes, so I'm going to come up to my Ribbon, find a little disk icon that represents Save & Close, and click that one.
And now we have a Shared Documents Web Part representing my documents, a Vendors Web Part representing my vendors list, and a Calendar Web Part representing my calendar. Now to prove that this Vendors Web Part just actually created a list on this website, I can of course go to my All Site Content link, click that, come down to my Lists section, and it says, yup, here's your Vendors list that was created one minute ago and has nothing in it right now.
So we do have that nice shortcut way of adding that to our page. And the ability to start to change your Web Parts and edit the Web Parts and move them around really does allow you to build very powerful pages very quickly.
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