Book Image

Microsoft 365 and SharePoint Online Cookbook

By : Gaurav Mahajan, Sudeep Ghatak
Book Image

Microsoft 365 and SharePoint Online Cookbook

By: Gaurav Mahajan, Sudeep Ghatak

Overview of this book

Microsoft Office 365 provides tools for managing organizational tasks like content management, communication, report creation, and business automation processes. With this book, you'll get to grips with popular apps from Microsoft, enabling workspace collaboration and productivity using Microsoft SharePoint Online, Teams, and the Power Platform. In addition to guiding you through the implementation of Microsoft 365 apps, this practical guide helps you to learn from a Microsoft consultant's extensive experience of working with the Microsoft business suite. This cookbook covers recipes for implementing SharePoint Online for various content management tasks. You'll learn how to create sites for your organization and enhance collaboration across the business and then see how you can boost productivity with apps such as Microsoft Teams, Power Platform, Planner, Delve, and M365 Groups. You'll find out how to use the Power Platform to make the most of Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, and Power Virtual Agents. Finally, the book focuses on the SharePoint framework, which helps you to build custom Teams and SharePoint solutions. By the end of the book, you will be ready to use Microsoft 365 and SharePoint Online to enhance business productivity using a broad set of tools.
Table of Contents (22 chapters)

Creating a modern site

SharePoint provides various templates or site types so that you can create sites. These templates use similar building blocks but target different scenarios. They differ from each other in various ways, such as how they store information, how they present it, and even the nature of the functionality that they have to offer.

This recipe shows you how to create a site using the Team site template, which is the most commonly used site template for team collaboration.

Getting ready

Your organization should do the following before you can create sites from the SharePoint start page:

  • Grant you access to SharePoint as part of the Microsoft 365 suite
  • Enable the creation of sites from the SharePoint start page
  • Enable the creation of modern sites in your Microsoft 365 environment

How to do it...

To create a new site from the SharePoint start page, follow these steps:

  1. Browse to the SharePoint start page, as described in the previous recipe.
  2. Click on the Create site option and then Team site, as shown in the following screenshot:
What we're creating through this page is something called a Site collection. Please refer to the There's more... section, later in this recipe, to find out the difference between a site and a site collection. If you can't see theCreate site option, your organization has likely disabled the creation of site collections for you. Please refer to Chapter 3, Working with Modern Sites in SharePoint Online, for steps on creating a (sub) site if that's the case.
  1. Enter a title and description for your site, and confirm or change the pre-selected Group email address, Privacy settings, and language (more about these settings later in this recipe). Then, click the Next button, as shown in the following screenshot:
The group email address that you can see in the previous screenshot is used for the corresponding Microsoft 365 group that gets created along with the Team site. You can read more about groups in Chapter 10, Microsoft 365 Groups.

Furthermore, you should carefully choose Privacy settingson this screen. Choosing Private for this setting means only selected members that you have allowed on the next screen will have access to view and modify content within the site. Selecting Public for this setting would mean that everyone in your organization, by default, will be able to view and modify content within this site. You can always change the site's permissions after it has been created.
  1. At this point, SharePoint will start creating the site in the background.
  2. Even as it does that, SharePoint will prompt you to optionally invite other users to your site. These users are typically people from your organization who you'd like to grant owner or member access to this site. This can be seen in the following screenshot:
Owners and members who are added through this screen are granted two different levels of permissions in SharePoint.
Users who are granted owner access to the site will be able to alter site permissions, add and customize pages, and change other key elements of the site. This access should only be granted to a select few users from your team.

People with member access are granted the ability to contribute to the content on your site. They can carry out tasks such as adding, editing, and deleting documents and/or list items. They can also view all the content within your site.

There is a third permission setting that isn't shown here, and that is visitor access. Visitors to your site can view the content within your site. This content can be presented through informational lists, documents, or pages within your site.

Who you grant member and visitor permissions to should be carefully considered, but know that these permissions can be changed after the site has been created.
  1. Clicking Finish will then redirect you to the home page of this newly created site.

Congratulations! You just created a new site in SharePoint Online.

How it works...

At its core, a SharePoint Site is a website that lets us store information and then present it in different ways. Information can be stored as data in lists and in the form of documents and/or files in libraries within the site. SharePoint uses pages and, optionally, web parts in these pages to show this information in a variety of formats. When you create a new site in SharePoint, it automatically creates one or more of these artifacts for you within that site. Finally, every site that gets created comes with search capabilities built into it. Search in SharePoint is a quick way to find information relevant to you, not only from within your site but also other sites and workloads that your organization may have enabled in Microsoft 365. We will learn more about Search as part of the Searching content recipe in this chapter and then go through it in more detail as part of Chapter 8, Search in Microsoft 365.

Types of modern site collections

At the time of writing this book, Microsoft has made a variety of templates available for modern site collections. Let's go over them now.

Team site

This type of site collection is primarily used for collaboration within a team or a department actively working on shared content. As mentioned earlier, this is by far the most common type of site template used for creating SharePoint Sites. SharePoint Team Sites are also connected to Microsoft 365 groups, which, in turn, are connected to other components such as Planner and Outlook. Examples of team sites include sites created for individual project teams to collaborate on, extranet sites created to work with external partners or vendors, and sites created for internal departments (such as the Human Resource department or Finance department) for their team collaboration. This means your organization would typically have a lot of team sites.

While this recipe described creating a group-associated Team Site, you can also have your designated SharePoint admin(s) create modern Team Sites for you without an underlying group. They can create such Team Sites through the SharePoint admin center.

Communication site

This type of site collection is used to broadcast a message or simply tell a story to your organization. Communication sites can be used to share news, reports, strategies, and other information in a visually compelling way. The content in a typical communications site will be shared with a large audience (potentially the entire organization). Examples of communication sites include your intranet landing site, a training site, a site where members in your organization would view key business metrics, and a site that's created to gather information for an organizational merger. This means your organization would typically have very few communication sites.

Hub site

SharePoint hub sites are a way to bring together (roll up) information such as news and activity from a family of related site collections. As the owner (administrator) of your site collection, you can either register your site as a hub site or associate it with an existing hub site collection. If you choose to associate your site with an existing hub, your site will inherit the look and feel (theme) of the hub site.

Your site will also inherit other properties of the hub site, such as the navigation bar, additional navigation links, applications, or custom lists with specific columns.

Additionally, the users who have been granted access to the hub site will start seeing content, news, and activity being rolled up from your site, along with any other sites that are associated withthat hub site. This makes it easier for users to discover related content from across all these sites. An example of a hub site could be an enterprise Sales portal providing shared resources for the organization-wide sales teams and connecting multiple regional sales team sites and communication sites.

Hub sites need special permissions to be created and cannot be created by end users through the SharePoint start page. They can only be created by special users designated as SharePoint admins by your organization. You can read more about the SharePoint admin role here:

Home site

A home site is your organization's designated intranet landing site. Behind the scenes, the home site is just another communication site, but with the following differences:

  • It aggregates content from your entire organization through news, events, videos, conversations, and other resources.
  • The search experience in the home site defaults to the entire organization. This means that if you perform a search from the home site, it will bring back results from the entire organization.
  • You can only designate one site from your entire organization as the organization's home site.

It is highly recommended that you create a home site as a place to aggregate content that is of utmost importance to your organization.

You can read more about the home site and the best practices surrounding its setup here:

There's more...

In this section, we will briefly review the concept of site collections. We will then look at the difference between the deprecated classic user interface versus the more modern experience.

Site versus site collection

As noted earlier, what we created through this recipe was a site collection. Simply put, and as the name suggests, a site collection is a collection of one or more sites that are grouped under the same URL. More often than not, all sites within a site collection will share identical navigation, branding, audience type, and sometimes even similar security.

When you first create a site collection, SharePoint will create a top-level site, or what is known as the root site, for you. You can then create as many subsites as you'd like to create under this root site. You could also create as many subsites as you wish under these sites. All these sites and subsites may or may not be based on the same template as the root site.

Modern versus classic experience

SharePoint supports two different user interface (UI) experiences:

  • The more modern, fluid, and mobile-friendly experience
  • The classic experience, which is now being deprecated

The modern experience makes it easy for you to create dynamic sites and pages that automatically adjust to the resolution of the device that they are being viewed on and are, hence, mobile-friendly. The modern site experience also includes a newer, modern way of working with lists and libraries. Since the classic experience is being deprecated and no longer recommended for creating new content, we will only be discussing the modern experience in this book. For those of you with the inquisitive mind, here is a great article on the SharePoint community blog explaining the modern experience and why you should use it for creating new content:

See also

  • Chapter 3, Workingwith Modern Sites in SharePoint Online