Join Simon Allardice for an in-depth discussion in this video Customizing Web Parts, part of SharePoint Designer 2007: Branding SharePoint Sites.
So we've gone through a lot of conceptual stuff. Let's actually start making some start making some visual changes on a SharePoint site. In this section of the course, you're going to explore the things you can do using the browser before you even get into using SharePoint design. And I understand if you want to leap ahead into using SharePoint design and all the cool things you can do with a Web design tool. But you want to make sure that there isn't actually simpler ways of doing what you want to do because there's a lot you can do through the browser. We're going to take one of the simplest SharePoint sites, the Team Site, and change it around.
Well, we've seen a couple of things beforehand, like the idea of the View All Site Content link, which is telling us the existing Lists and Libraries. So we can see there that I've got things like an Announcements List, a Calendar, a Links list, a Tasks list. If I go back to the Homepage of my Team Site, I can see that I've got this Announcements area, this Calendar area, this Links area. These all are Web parts, little modular pieces that are really exposing the data that's in those underlying lists or libraries.
And it's important to not make the mistake of thinking that these Web parts, what you're looking at on this page, actually are the data. They're not the data. They're windows to the data. What does that actually mean? Well, you can see over here that I've got this Links area, what's called a Links Web part. It says there's no links right now because this is a default Team Site out of the box. I'm going to Add a new link over here to, let's say http://www.lynda.com. Type the description, which can be whatever you want, and any Notes, which are optional. Click OK.
Now this says okay, in my Links now, I have lynda.com. I also have this little dropdown list over here, where I've got a Minimize option, a Close option, and Modify Shared Web Part, which really means modify the settings of this Web part, and whatever you change, everybody else will see. That's why it's talking about to being a shared Web part. Any changes you make aren't just to you. They're everybody. Well, what is a Web part? Well, it's a modular, movable piece of code that's exposing some data.
In fact, if I go to my Site Actions menu and shift into this Edit Page mode, what you'll see is the page breaks apart into what are called different Web part zones. We have two zones here. The Left zone is taking up about 70% of our working area of the page, and the Right zone about 25-30%. What I can actually do is grab these title bars. You'll see how my cursor changes to the crosshair as I move across the word Site Image and Links and Calendar.
And I can actually take these and move them around. I can start to manipulate what this page looks like, drag Announcements over here to the Right, have the links on the Left, grab my Site Image to the Left. It's completely up to you. But bear in mind, you're editing the shared version of the page. If you don't remember that, it's telling it to you in the status bar up here. That means any changes that you make are what everybody is going to see when you finish editing this page. And how do I finish editing this page? Well, over on the right, I have Exit Edit mode.
That is now is us. We've moved around the Web Parts of this page. Okay, so what. Not a drastic amount of things that we've done so far. But it can be. What your Web parts are often exposing is the data in your Lists and Libraries, the things that you see when you view All Site Content. There's a big difference, however, between the Web parts and the data. If I go back to the Homepage, I shift back into my Site Actions Edit Page mode, and if I delete this Links Web Part with the lynda.com link, Exit Edit mode, so I don't see it anymore, it's quite a common misconception to think that I have just actually deleted that data.
And I really haven't. The Links list is still there. And the only authoritative way of getting this is to go to my View All Site Content, which will tell me, yup! You still have a Links list. And if I go into it, it says there's your link to lynda.com. But what if I wanted that Web Part back, or what if I wanted to have a Web Part that had never been on that page in the first place. Well, once again, I go into my Site Actions > Edit Page mode. But instead of moving things around, I'm going to click the link that says Add a Web Part.
I have that link on both of that Web Part zones here. Let's click the Right one, Add a Web part. The first section of this page is telling me what Lists and Libraries you have. And it's saying, well, on this site, you have the Announcements list. You have the Calendar list. You have Links, Shared Documents, Tasks. There are a couple of internally used ones, in this case, Form Templates, which you may or may not see. But what this is basically saying is show me, or Add a Web Part, that represents this underlying list or library.
So I can select the Links on and click Add. Very simple. It's added it over here on the Right. One of the common things I hear from people very new to SharePoint is they have seen this Web Part window before, they click Add a Web Part, and they're looking for something like a project task list. And they say, now, I know I've seen it before somewhere, but I don't see where to add the Web Part. Or I know, I've seen the Links Web Part somewhere, but I don't see it here. Again, remember what this is trying to show you. It's trying to expose the Lists and Libraries that already exist.
If you want to show a Web Part on your homepage for the Links, you better make sure you have a Links list on that Web site. Otherwise, it's not going to show up. Now after the existing Lists and Libraries, you'll also see a section called All Web Parts. Now this may look very different depending on whether you have WSS or MOSS, and depending on which version of MOSS you have, and which features have been turned on. I'm actually seeing a whole bunch of Web Parts that are only available in the MOSS Enterprise feature. We've got Business Web Parts, Site Aggregator Web Parts, RSS Viewers, Business Data Catalogs, a whole bunch of stuff that we can play around with, some of which are very complex, and some of which are quite simple, such as the Image Web Part to display pictures and photos, and the Content Editor Web Part, which is really a Web Part that doesn't expose an underlying List or Library but simply allows you to type some data, and in fact, I've just checked both of those.
So I can click Add. And it tells me that for the Content Editor Web Part, it says To add content, open the tool pane and click Rich Text Editor. And what's the tool pane? Well, we click the link and find out. When you're editing the settings of an individual Web Part, you have the section over here on the right-hand side that allows you to change things like the appearance of it and whether you see the title bar, and what the title bar says, and very specific settings for that individual Web Part, in this case, the Rich Text Editor that I can click.
And I can literally just type Some simple content goes here. If I just want a few paragraphs or a few words of text, I can type that in, click OK, exit my Edit mode, and I have a Web Part. Not the most exciting thing in the world, obviously, but it's actually showing some content. Same thing with the Image Web Part. I can open the tool pane, and the Link to an existing image. Now we're going to get much more into doing some custom content on the pages as we go through this course.
But understand that what we're trying to do is create a framework where the power user, and that may not be you, has the ability to add and move around Web Parts on the page and you need to be enabling that. You need to be working with designs that actually allow that. Web Parts are one of the most common ways of manipulating pages in SharePoint. Yes, you're still somewhat at the mercy of whatever content might be shown in that Web Part, whether that's today, or weeks, or months down the line. For example, I don't know if my Links Web Part here might have one link in it, or ten, or a dozen, or none at all.
And I have to create a design that's flexible around that. But now you know they're controllable. And that there's a lot of Web Parts that are available to you in SharePoint. And there might be more or less available depending on if you have the WSS or MOSS. And some only appear when certain features are activated. So yours may look a little different. But you can create very, very flexible Web sites by manipulating these, and moving them around.
- Setting site permissions
- Customizing existing CSS files
- Implementing the WCM (Web Content Management) features in SharePoint
- Using master pages
- Designing accessible pages
- Creating a Page Layout template
- Editing and copying themes
- Building out the Publishing Portal
- Customizing navigation