Site customisation and views
In Part 1, we created 3 new content types, applied metadata and templates and started creating some new content. With this, our users can now very easily create a new welcome letter for example, fill in a few fields and once saved, can see the metadata in the portal. ( I have added some test documents so we can see the results).
So, the very next thing we want to be able to do is query, search and sort the documents, allowing us to quickly find the things we need.
There are a few trains of thought on this.
- Use folders to sort the documents like this:
- Company Name
- Welcome Letter
- Company Name
- Have a flat document structure and use the file names to describe the document
- Use SharePoint’s Metadata and views to manipulate what we see.
Option 1 is the traditional method and has many caveats, whilst it seems to be the simplest method, it is often difficult to manage, can get unwieldy, and many people use many naming conventions.
Option 2 has been known to happen, and in some cases, we have seen filenames 100 characters long plus!
In our case, we want to use Option 3. SharePoint has some excellent controls to help us find what we want without relying on long folder trees, filenames or complex rules.
The metadata we created in Part 1 is going to help us here. We can use it to find the things that are important to us, we can even create multiple views that help us find different things.
In our case, we want to be able to sort by customer, and then by content type.
We also want to be able to find all the invoices, quotations and Letters created in their own filtered categories.
This can be done simply in views.
In the document library, we have a button top right for modifying views.
We can save a copy of the current view, in this case, I am going to create a by customer view
In this view we are also going to group by customer
This will group up the results so we can easily see items by customer without the use of folders
Then create the other views as needed.
View and Column formatting
Once done, we also want a visual indicator of type.
SharePoint has some very cool column formatting and row formatting options so we can change the colour of a document based on its content type.
To start with, we need to see the content type in the view options
Then we can use JSON to colour code the items to see their type more easily
[row formatting 1]
Same for the other views, although we can add a sent and approved field and make this a little fancier!
We have expanded the features of our Document library so that our users can better get to their stuff. The best part is we can use and add columns for any information we want. Eventually, we may add the Quote / Invoice total prices, or even a tick box to confirm order of quotes or payment of invoices.
SharePoint’s interface opens us up to a world of being able to manage these documents better, taking the properties out of external actors like Excel and putting them back in the document.
In Part 3 we will simplify the interface using PowerApps and add a customer List to bring it all together!