SharePoint Permissions: Joining or Leaving Groups

Within your own SharePoint sites there may be places where you can self-select which groups of which you want to be a member. In those cases, there is probably a Join button or link on a page or in a menu.

Joining a Group

To join, click on Actions, then Join Group
Permissions: join a group

You will then see a confirmation letting you know you have joined the group. Click OK

Leaving a Group

If you later wish to leave the group, click on the Join or leave this group link, then go to Actions, and choose Leave Group.

Permissions: leave a group

You will then be removed from the group.

SharePoint Tasks Basics for site owners

Create a new Task List

Create a new task list web part by going to site content and clicking on “New App”. Choose Task List, give it a name (a short, one-word one first, and then you can change it later under Settings). Once you click OK, your task list will appear on the site contents page.

Like everything else in SharePoint, task lists can be customized to require and display custom metadata (columns). Your task list form will be unique to your settings.

Creating different views on a Task List

One thing I love about SharePoint is that I can view things a multitude of ways. Tasks can be shown as a straight list, as a gantt chart, as a calendar. They can be sorted by the team member or by project, all tasks, completed tasks, only my tasks, etc. I also love that you can get creative by showing a task list more than one way on the same page. For example, a marketing and communication calendar might show an actual calendar with tasks, but then can also show a list view right next to it to show you what the next upcoming tasks are. Play around and see what you can come up with, but definitely, tasks are a great tool in my tool belt.

SharePoint Tasks Basics

SharePoint is very commonly used as a tool for managing tasks. Who is doing what when, and why aren’t they finished?

In my previous job I used the SharePoint task list to manage the 300+ projects our department had going on at any given time. I found it most useful when I connected it to my Outlook.

While not all the fields from SharePoint come across, and nowadays I prefer to work on tasks in SharePoint, I was able to configure my outlook to show me the task list by individual, which made it very easy to discuss projects and tasks with each person during our collective and also our one-on-one meetings. It was especially gratifying to do a walk-through one day and find that every task had an owner, the next owner had been identified and was aware, and it was just so wonderful to know that everyone was on the same page…. Aaaah the memories… But I digress.

A number of your team sites already contain a task list. If they don’t, ask your site owner to add one.

Adding tasks to a task list

Click on “New task” in the Ribbon, or use the “Edit” button to add several new tasks at once. Simply fill in the form and click save. It’s that easy.


If the task list is so enabled, you may be able to assign predecessors to a task. Predecessors are tasks that must be completed before you start another task. If your aim is to create a Gantt chart view, predecessors will be important.
To set a task as a predecessor, create the preceding task first. Then, select that preceding task while creating the next task that succeeds it.

Just a note on predecessors. They really only make sense if you create a task list for a specific project. Sometimes teams work off one task list for all their projects and tasks, and in that case, the predecessor list gets pretty long and unusable.

If you do use a single task list for your team, you use another mechanism to sort your tasks by project, such as using a lookup project list, or a column with project names. If you create a task list for a specific project, then using predecessors make sense. Else, they pretty much can be ignored.


Predecessors are different from subtasks. Subtasks are tasks that are a part of an overall task. Cracking eggs is a subtask of baking a cake. Cracking eggs might also be a predecessor to mixing the batter. It’s your choice as to how to organize these.

Ordering Tasks

To create a subtask, select the subtask by clicking the check to the left of the task, and choosing “Indent” under the task tab. Click on Move Up and Move Down to position the task beneath the main task. Click on the Stop editing this list button when you are finished.
You can then hide or display these subtasks by clicking the triangle to the left of the main task.

I’m personally not a big fan of subtasks – partially because I cannot copy a task with subtasks to another set further down the list. It doesn’t appear to correctly format. Perhaps you will have better luck though, and can teach me a thing or two about using subtasks.

SharePoint Calendars: for site owners

Create a new calendar

Open your SharePoint site or the sub-site on which you would like to create the calendar and click on “Site Contents” in the quick launch menu usually on the left hand side.

  • Choose “add an App”
  • Click on “Calendar” and name it (preferably something short and one word) – use settings to change the name later. Once you have clicked OK, you’ll be taken back to the apps screen. The new app will be labeled new.
  • Click on the ellipses (…) and “settings” above the new app to edit the calendar.
  • From settings, you can manage your calendar and events with a few options.

Adding your calendar to a page on your site

Once you’ve created your calendar you can add it to any page within the same sub-site by navigating to the page on which you want to place the calendar, clicking on “Edit”. Then under the “Insert” tab, choose “web part”, and select your calendar. The default view of your calendar will appear.

Changing Event Colors

All of the events on a calendar will be the same color. There is no way to make one event one color and another event a different color, without using a calendar overlay. Calendar overlays allow different types of events to be different colors.

SharePoint Calendar Basics

I don’t know about you but I love a good calendar. SharePoint’s calendar is a pretty straight forward, no frills, kind of calendar, but I like it that way. You can add some additional features to make it more useful, such as changing the categories of the meeting types, and then creating views to filter your calendar with that information, but a basic out of the box SharePoint calendar is all that most of us need.

Many departments have multiple uses for calendars and as such, want multiple calendars on their sites. Some calendar ideas include

  • Event calendar for events you’re hosting for students or staff
  • Leave calendar to show who is out of the office
  • Conference room calendar so people can book your conference room
  • On-call calendar to show who is scheduled to work that day
  • Resource calendar for reserving such things as cars, carts, tents, etc. Although for this a resource management tool might be a better option.

In short though, there are all kinds of reasons a calendar might come in handy.

Luckily, you can create as many calendars as you want on SharePoint. Or actually… you can have your SPOCK do it, since it does require full access to a site.

Working with Events

To add a new event to an existing calendar, click on the corresponding date on the calendar, and then click on the “+ add” that appears in the bottom right hand corner of the day. You can also add events by clicking on “Events” and “New Events” under the calendar tab.

When the new event form pops up, fill in whatever data your SPOCK set up in Calendar settings. By default, only Title, Start Time, and End Time are required, but your SPOCK may have added more required fields. Notice that you can set up All Day Events and Recurring events from this screen too.

*Tip- When editing a recurring event, click on the event title for any of the dates and then choose “Edit Series” from the ribbon. “Edit Item” will only make changes to that specific date.

To edit an event, click on the event title and then choose “Edit Event” from the ribbon at the top. You can also delete the event from that menu.

Office 365: The SharePoint “App”

When you first click the SharePoint app from the waffle, you get a bunch of card-looking things. At first, it looked so much like Delve that it confused me a little bit. It is similar to Delve in that is has the cards, but these are site cards, not file cards, and they are all different colors. They have a giant star in the corner, and I do like that the logo has been minimized a bit.

SharePoint: Site Cards

I like that it gives you a clue as to why you like the site, or why it appears in your top bar. It shows you some of the files you recently opened. So, while initially unnerving, I do my best to look for something positive in the changes.

My suggestion to Microsoft would be to allow us to color code our sites. As far as I can tell, these colors are randomly assigned each time you load SharePoint.

This new SharePoint view lets you see sites that you visit, whether you follow them or not. If you note in the screenshot, three of the sites have a filled in star, and the fourth does not. It’s subtle, I know, but it does show that while DSA Communicators is a site I visit often, it’s not a site that I’m following. So, you don’t have to necessarily remember to follow a site to have it appear in your SharePoint view. You just have to visit a site frequently enough for it to show. I think that’s a pretty nice feature since it will help you find the sites you visited recently.

Use the See all link to see all the sites you’re following or all your recent sites.

Clicking See all gives me a list of all the sites that I am following (note all the stars), as well as sites that I visited recently, or that have had recent changes made to them.

SharePoint: See All

Document Library Changes

Over the summer rolled out new features and improvements for the SharePoint platform.

One of these was the document library, and I have captured screenshots of their introductory screens for your perusal.

When I heard about these features I got quite excited – especially about the link piece because I felt it was a major missing piece for the document library.

Before the change I had been struggling with us having documents in various libraries, and the only way to add a link to a document in another document library meant that we had to add a new document type. Unfortunately, doing so, then wiped out the out of the box ability to create new files. Now that Microsoft had added the link capability as an out of the box features, it is be so much easier for us to interact with our files.

The pinning feature is also a welcome feature, because we often have one or two documents that need to be highlighted, and we’ve had to do that by creating a column that promoted or sorted certain documents to be at the top of the list.

I’m already seeing some departments in our division taking advantage of this feature. Take a look at the screenshots below and explore your own sites’ document libraries to see how you can enhance your existing listings.

Document Library: New Look

Document Library: Edit Metadata

Document Library: Save Views

Document Library: Pin Files

Document Library: Create Links