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 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.

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.

Using the drag down feature to quickly copy information in SharePoint Online

Some of you may have seen this feature in Excel, where you have the ability to quickly fill rows with same information. I am finding on my personal SharePoint task list that waiting for SharePoint to complete the “Assigned to” field is somewhat cumbersomeSharePoint: Data sheet drag down - cross hairs, since I’m the only one who is ever assigned tasks on my own SharePoint task list. Luckily, SharePoint Online has that same feature in DATASHEET view. You see this datasheet view when you choose Quick Edit if it’s available for your list.

Do you see that little blue square at the bottom of this cell?

SharePoint: Data sheet drag down - filledWhen you place your mouse over it, it turns into a cross hair, and you can drag it down as many cells as you need.

It will then copy and paste the information from the first cell into the cells below, as shown.

Changing the subject line in an Outlook message

Have you ever had anyone send you an email without a subject line? Or a subject line with only the word “Help” or “Question” in it?

Did you know you can change the subject line for incoming email messages?

  • Open (double-click) the email message you want to change the subject on
  • On the Message ribbon – select <Actions> –> <Edit Message> (located in the <Move> Group)
  • The “Subject” will not change appearance – just put your mouse there and make the desired change
  • Close the message. You’ll be asked if you want to <save Changes> OR you can click on <File> –> <Save> before closing the message

MS Word shortcuts for increasing and decreasing font size

Using shortcut key combinations can often allow us to get our work done much more quickly. Key combinations don’t always follow one another between applications, and so this is sometimes where happy accidents come from. We love happy accidents.

Ctrl + }

increases your font size

Ctrl + {

decreases your font size

Some of you may be thinking “what, you didn’t know this one?” but this one was new to me. What is your favorite key combination and which application uses it? Please post it in the comments below.

Copying and pasting from Excel into SharePoint’s datasheet view

SharePoint’s Quick Edit, or Data Sheet view can be a lifesaver when you need to copy and paste lots of information at once. Oftentimes data is originally created in Excel. Either you created it there because it can be easier to work in Excel sometimes, or some emailed you a spreadsheet with information that you want to import into SharePoint.

Just a note: copying and pasting from Excel to SharePoint ONLY WORKS IN INTERNET EXPLORER, so if you find yourself trying this trick and it doesn’t work, check the browser you’re using.

You need to make sure that the column order in Excel matches that in SharePoint, and that the column types match too. In order words, don’t try to copy text into a date field, or a date into a people & groups field. They need to match.

In your list view, there should be a field with a little check mark, which is your selector field. Within the datasheet view, that little check mark contains a tiny empty box to the left of your data. If you click on it, it will select the entire row. It’s best to paste when you have the row selected as shown here.

Datasheet - Paste

Sometimes if you have the cursor into the first field of the row, SharePoint will try paste all you information into that cell. By selecting the whole row, it will make sure the information will be pasted into each field.