most frequently asked questions by new SharePoint users

Over the last 2 years, I have spoken and worked with many fresh, new SharePoint users. During training sessions and workshops I have answered quite a few questions. And these are not always new, surprising questions. On the contrary, a large part of the questions keeps coming back! Much has been improved regarding the user-friendliness of SharePoint over the last few years, but NO, not everything is completely intuitive. In the meantime, some answers to questions I keep receiving are provided below.where do I create my documents folder?
Nowhere! That is, if SharePoint has been configured correctly for you. Because if that is the case, you would probably work with labels and tags. Ever heard of metadata, tagging, document properties, taxonomy? It comes down to the same thing, and it is fairly simple (once the penny has dropped).

We all visit the supermarket, don’t we? I very much dislike having to go to another supermarket, especially if I need only 1 or 2 products. Because this means I have to search or ask for them. In “my” supermarket I know exactly which aisle and shelf I need. The same applies to “my” own folder structure, I know the way! But if you are looking for something in another department’s data, you have to search or ask.
How cool would it be if I could call for all fair-trade, chocolate and spreads and the product would fall into my basket immediately? Not entirely realistic, but in the digital world it is possible! You only have to supply the label (metadata) of the product/document, and everything can be found for everyone in any way!

when I want to save directly from Office (Word, PowerPoint,…) I don’t see SharePoint!
Oh oh, that’s true, but there is a very simple way to resolve this problem. Once, you have to set up in SharePoint which libraries you like to use. Navigate to the library you need (in the browser) and click the tab ‘library’ on top of the page. A ribbon with many options will appear, choose ‘Connect to Office’ and click!
Try again now…?

everything digital, right? What is the best way to replace my note pad?
OneNote, I am a fan! I have created more than 10 notebooks, for about everything. They are grouped together in a nice structured way, and I have them with me all the time. On my laptop, tablet or phone. Most of them are shared with colleagues, which saves a lot of note-taking and transfer time!

but now everyone can see my document, while it is not ready yet?
That’s right, personally I like that. Colleagues can correct me any moment (and may perhaps correct spelling errors!). But of course I understand that it can be quite a barrier, showing your concept version, while you are not very sure about it yourself yet. This makes work agreements especially important. For instance, use an agreement about version management: ‘If the document has a secondary version (0.1, 0.2. 2.1): do not use or send it; primary versions (1.0, 2.0) are ready!’

what if somebody ‘messes up’ MY document?
Don’t panic, version management within SharePoint is superb. Has someone else last changed your document? And, basically, you don’t agree? Consult version management and you can see exactly what has been changed. And you can put your own version on top of the version list again.

why do I have to complete all these fields to save something?
You do not complete the fields to save, but to find (see question 1). You complete the fields to be able to hold fair-trade, chocolate, spreads against this SharePoint environment.
With filtering, grouping and sorting (the holy trinity in training sessions) you can find back all your information (and information of others).
But all right, should you have to complete unnecessary fields (or fields you assume SharePoint should know the contents of itself): nobody deserves this! Perhaps (have someone) do a quick investigation of the set-up…?

more than document management
Mmm, I noticed that most questions are still about SharePoint as a document management system. What a waste! Have you already tried to transform that holiday schedule you share with your colleagues into a SharePoint list? Great advantages and time savings!


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