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The first thing to get comfortable with in this new SharePoint 2010 user interface is the Ribbon, and that's because you really can become much faster in SharePoint, and it's easier to find what you need once you're familiar with it. SharePoint 2010 reserves this entire chunk of screen real estate for the Ribbon on just about every page on every site. Initially, it doesn't look all that exciting, but the idea is that this reserved area brings SharePoint much more in line with Office 2007 or Office 2010 programs.
But if you're in a program like Excel or PowerPoint or Word, but you have this area called the Ribbon that itself has a bunch of different tabs that you can select from, that change what the Ribbon looks like and allow you to perform different operations on say the document that you're working with. Well, in SharePoint, this area is the same thing. It's the Ribbon. It can change depending on what you're looking at, what kind of documents you're working with, and even on the permissions that you have on the site.
If I go into a document library, I'll see that the available options for my Ribbon include a section now called Library Tools that wasn't there a second ago, and it has two tabs, one that says Documents and one that says Library. The idea like any Ribbon in Office 2010 or Office 2007 is that these are context-sensitive. They care about what you're looking at and what you're trying to do. In fact, on the Documents tab, this allows me to work with one or more documents at a time, whereas the Library tab allows me to do things on the entire library itself, like change the library settings rather than the settings of the document in the library.
So, what can I do with it? Well, many of these options are the same things you'd have on different screens and different menus in SharePoint 2007. They're just meant to be now right in front of your face and much more accessible. You'll see that a lot of these options are grayed out. They don't seem to be clickable, and that's because it really cares about what you have selected in this library. It doesn't make any sense to click the option that says Edit Document if I actually don't have a document in mind, and if you mouse over some of these options, you'll see these rather large pop-ups that will tell you, in this case, this control is currently disabled. You may not have the right permission or the control might not work in this context.
That's because I need to select a document. And here is one of the differences with SharePoint 2010. You can actually select one or more documents in this library to perform operations on it. Now I have that option selected, I can say Edit Document or Check Out or View Properties. In fact, I can select more than one. I can see here that I actually have three documents currently checked out. I could select them all and do a mass check-in of those documents. It pops up a screen asking if I want to do any comments.
I don't have to. Click OK. Those three documents get checked in all at once. Now, in SharePoint 2007, you did have a drop-down menu option on many of your documents, and you still have this in the SharePoint 2010 option. In fact, you'll see that some of these options are actually duplicated between the drop-down menu and the Ribbon, but the Ribbon is often a much quicker way to get to them. If I were to switch to the Library tab, then we'll see a whole bunch of different options for actually working with the library itself.
What view are we looking at of the library? Do I want to connect this library to Outlook? Do I want to change the settings or the permissions of the library? All of these options are available from the Library tab. If I jump to the Calendar list, I'm going to see different options up here on my Ribbon. I have an Events option here that allows me to create a new event or edit an individual event, and I have a Calendar section that allows me to change the settings, not surprisingly, of the entire calendar itself. What view are we looking at? Do I want to affect the permissions of this calendar or export it to Excel or open up with Access? The Ribbon is often sensitive to what you're actually doing on the individual pages too.
If I select one of the options in my calendar, then the Ribbon knows to actually change to the Event tab of that, or I can select to edit that event and change the time of it, to do whatever I want with that. You can even use the Ribbon for working on editing actual individual pages. If I select the Browse tab, that takes us back to the fairly regular navigation option where it's showing the breadcrumb idea that I'm in the Calendar and I'm in the Two Tree Sales Team.
Now, if I select this option, I'm actually on my homepage. So, I get a different set of options, such as a Page tab here, that allows me to say I can check this out, or I can edit it. If I select to edit, this page will actually shift into the Edit Page mode where I can directly edit the contents here. I can, for example, just select in this heading and say Welcome to the Two Tree Sales team site! I can select different parts of the text. Use this site to share documents. I can choose that.
Then I have up on the Ribbon, a bunch of selections like Styles.I can mouse over and click Highlight. It does a live preview, which means as I mouse over the different options I can see what this will look like without actually selecting. I think I'm going to choose Highlight and select that one. We do have a whole bunch of other options over here on the Insert tab like adding Web Parts or pictures or tables, but I'm just going to go back to the Format Text option and say Save & Close.
Now, one thing to be aware of when working with the Ribbon is very few of the options that you'll see on the Ribbon are actually new. Nearly all of them are there from SharePoint 2007, but you used to get to them from different menus and drop-down options and subpages and now they're just a lot more obvious where you get them from. If you were a real power user of SharePoint 2007 that you used a lot of different options from the drop- down Site Actions menu or from the drop-down Documents menu, you might be a little puzzled about where to find the equivalents.
There is a way you can get a reference to this. If you open up a browser and go to the office2010.microsoft.com site, then select the Templates option. If you search for SharePoint Ribbon reference, there is a SharePoint Server Ribbon reference. It's an Excel workbook. If you download this workbook, it will give you a mapping guide that has different sheets to it, where you can select, for example, from the Site Actions menu and it will give you the two different sections between SharePoint 2007 and what the options were and what they are now in SharePoint 2010.
So, if you want to take a look and start mapping these across, you might find this useful. Like working with the Ribbon in the Office 2007 or Office 2010 products, the different options are not things that you should go out and explicitly learn. You'll actually become very familiar with it, as you start to do tasks within SharePoint. But the Ribbon will allow you a much faster way of working with these options than we had before.
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