Those that have worked with SharePoint for even a short period will know that much of its power comes from its use of lists and list data. Ever since the earliest incarnations of the platform SharePoint has allowed users to create and use lists of data.
These could be contact lists, to do lists, or document libraries (which are just lists of various files). The type of data that can be stored in a list is really only limited by the user's imagination. SharePoint allows a mix and match of different field types - like rich text boxes, choices fields, links, dates, numbers, and so on. Add in the ability to specify validation rules and make certain fields mandatory, and lists quickly become very powerful and useful indeed.
But this isn't a blog post on lists themselves, rather a feature of them called 'Views.' A View is a particular version of list. A view can be created to show a list sorted in a certain order (e.g. alphabetically), to show only certain properties (e.g. a summary view of each item), or filtered to show only certain data (e.g. All items created in the last six weeks). Views can combine all of these properties and can be saved and re-used as needed.
One powerful but underused feature of Views is the ability to use them to show personalised data. This can be achieved using the special keyword [me]. When added as a filter to any person column - any SharePoint column that takes a person or group as an input - the view only shows data corresponding to the currently logged in user.
This simple concept actually extends the power of views enormously. Here is a practical example:
A project team use SharePoint document management to store project documents in a standard document library. The library has a number of columns including 'Title,' 'Modified date,' 'Modified by,' 'Document type.' The 'Document type' allows any upload file to be labelled as 'Project report,' 'Specification,' and 'Defect report.' 'Modified date' is updated automatically with a date whenever a file is changed, and 'Modified by' is updated automatically with the name of the user making the change.
The project team have created a number of views to provide easy at a glance Views of these documents on the site landing page. These views are:
- Recently updated documents: This is a view filtered on the 'Modified by' column, showing only documents changed in the last wee
- Project management documents: This is a view filtered on 'Document type' showing only files matching the label 'Project report'.
- My documents: This view uses our special [me] keyword, and is setup to display only documents that were last modified by the currently logged in user.
The last of these views can be classed as personalisation, changing what is seen depending on the user who is logged in.
Using [me] to achieve this type of thing is an extremely quick and powerful way to make a SharePoint system and its data relevant to the current user. People often think features like personalisation are complex to put into practice. At BrightStarr we have experience implementing all kinds of personalisation features, including using elegant solutions like [me]. Get in touch to see how our experts can make your SharePoint system work harder for its users.