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If there is one single piece of SharePoint that most people are going to use most of the time, it will be this part of SharePoint called a document library. You'll find a document library on just about every single SharePoint site that exists, and in many cases more than one document library. These are not things to be careful about. They are things to use liberally. They are things to use easily, like you might use folders on your desktop. On a typical team site, you'll find a document library called Shared Documents.
I've uploaded the couple of things to this, just so we have something to work with. A document library is part of a site. You'll find them in a team site, you'll find them in a Document Workspace, you'll find them in a Meeting Workspace. They are containers for documents but they are not folders. You can actually have folders inside document libraries. These are kind of like having a folder on steroids. There's a whole lot more you can do by putting your documents in a document library than you could do if it was just in a folder on your desktop.
Like working with any list in SharePoint, we do a lot of things driven from the Ribbon. If I'm not in Browse mode and looking at the breadcrumb, I have a Library Tools section here that's split between Library, allowing me to change things about the entire library, the entire container itself. And I have a Document section, allowing me to do things like edit a particular document or delete a particular document. If I already have items in the Library itself, I can choose to select one of them and click the Edit document button, though I can also choose from the drop-down menu, where I have in this case Edit in Microsoft Word, which will do the same thing.
It opens this up in Microsoft Word. I can make a simple change in here, just work with Word the way I usually would. Close this down and I'm done. In a default document library, there is a New Document button, and unless it's been configured otherwise, that's just going to open up a blank Word document as the template here. I can change that document any way I see fit, and either just save it or close Word down and it will prompt me to save it. It will know to save it back into that document library, as you might expect, and we have that new document existing now.
Other very useful options on the Ribbon are to upload documents, if you do have documents that are on your desktop. You can either upload a single one or choose to upload multiple documents. The Upload Multiple Documents option gives you a drag and drop ability. So if I go to my Documents folder, I can then grab a couple of documents, in this case one Word, one PowerPoint, drag them over, click OK, and get them both uploaded. If I needed to go the other way, that is dragging things out of the Library, I do have an option on the Library called Open with Explorer, which would allow me to do that.
I'm not a huge fan of trying to treat document libraries like they are folders, but they can be useful in some circumstances, particularly getting a mass amount of documents out or into a document library. Several of the options that you'll see on the Documents section of the Ribbon can also be found in the drop-down menu, such as editing in PowerPoint or Word or Excel is the same as selecting the Document and selecting the Edit Document on the Ribbon. It's whatever you feel most comfortable with.
You'll find that many of the options on the Ribbon will be grayed out unless a document is selected. After all, it doesn't make sense to edit a document if SharePoint doesn't know which document you're talking about. Conversely, if you select multiple documents, you often will see a lot of these grayed out. You'll see some available ones, like Delete Document. We could do a mass deletion or a mass check out, but it won't allow you to click the Edit Document button till you only have one document selected. If your farm administrator has installed it, you may also find the option to open these documents in a web browser using something called Office Web Apps.
Office Web Apps is not officially part of SharePoint, but it's often used together. And if you click the drop-down button and see the option to View in Browser, for example, it's going to open the Word web application, which is, as you might imagine, a web-based version of Word, like using Google Docs or Zoho. This is Microsoft's equivalent. This works in Internet Explorer, works in Firefox, works in Safari. You don't even need Office to be installed on the machine you're using it on. So if you do swap between multiple machines, you may find it very useful.
I am going to close that down. If you have something that is quite a simple document, you can edit that in thebrowser. It's not the full version of Word. As you can see, the Ribbon doesn't have an awful lot of entries to it. We have just got the Home Ribbon, the Insert, and the View. So it's a light cut-down version, but it will work just fine for simple changes. And you also have the button to open this in Word if you do need to do more complex changes. I can either close this down or use the breadcrumb to go back to my Shared Documents document library.
When I'm in the Browse section of the Ribbon, I can see that I do have a view of this document library that I'm looking at. The All Documents view of the Shared Documents library and the team site. Now, by default, a document library only has one view called All Documents, but you can create or modify this view, if you either have a lot of different documents and you want to group them together by whoever created or modified them or you need to show some new metadata. As we go further into more advanced pieces of SharePoint, we are going to come back to this Library Ribbon, particularly the Library Settings option of the Ribbon.
This will allow us to do a lot of the more complex and more interesting things with the document library, such as working with versioning and information management policies. At this particular point, if you are new to document libraries, you might be forgiven for thinking, "well, this just feels like a folder, I put my documents here, I open them up, I save them, what's the difference?" Well, aside from having this stored on the server and accessible from potentially any computer in your organization, the real power of document libraries does come when we start to use the advanced features like versioning, check in, check out, and workflow.
And that's where we get to take that collaboration piece to the next level.
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