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Managing Site Settings in Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010

Site Settings (Subsite)

Let’s begin with the site settings menu items of a Subsite. Why? Because this is probably the first set of items that you’ll be administering for your team.

Site settings define all of the different behaviors within a SharePoint site. The effects of most site settings changes are scoped to the site itself. Items such as theme changes, permissions, creation/deletion of content, and more are all controlled from a single menu.

Let’s begin by opening the site in your browser. Notice the Site Actions menu in the upper-left corner of the screen (Figure 13-1); this menu exists for any authenticated user of the site, regardless of that user’s permissions on the site.

Figure 13-1

Figure 13-1 The Site Actions menu.

The content of the Site Actions menu itself changes based on the user’s permissions. For instance, if you only have Viewer permissions on the site (you’d be a member of the Visitors group), your Site Actions menu will show only the Sync To SharePoint Workspace and View All Site Content links, as shown in Figure 13-2.

Figure 13-2

Figure 13-2 The Site Actions menu at Viewer permission level.

The next permissions level on a site is Full Control; members of the owners site group have this permissions level. Owners can control every aspect of a SharePoint site; thus, they see the following additional items on the Site Actions menu:

  • New Document Library

  • New Site

  • More Options

  • Edit In SharePoint Designer

  • Site Permissions

  • Site Settings

This chapter concentrates heavily on the last menu item, Site Settings (see Figure 13-3).

Figure 13-3

Figure 13-3 The Site Settings menu item in Site Actions.

Assuming that you have been assigned Site Owner permissions, clicking the Site Settings link shows that there are six menus on the Site Settings administrative page (see Figure 13-4) of a SharePoint Foundation 2010 site:

  • Users And Permissions

  • Galleries

  • Site Administration

  • Look And Feel

  • Site Actions

  • Site Collection Administration

Figure 13-4

Figure 13-4 The Site Settings administrative page.

You will learn about each of these menus later in the chapter, with a special emphasis on the items each of these menus control within your SharePoint site. Note that Figure 13-4 depicts the Site Settings page for a Subsite; compare this with the Site Settings page for a top-level site illustrated in Figure 13-13, later in the chapter.

Users and Permissions

This section provides two major components of security administration within your SharePoint site: People And Groups and Site Permissions, which you can see in Figure 13-5.

Figure 13-5

Figure 13-5 The Users And Permissions menu.

People And Groups

From this menu, you can:

  • Add and remove users from a group

  • Communicate with selected users via email or phone (Voice over IP [VoIP])

  • Control group settings (such as the group name or membership permissions)

  • View group permissions (provides a summary of items this group can access and at what level)

  • Define a default group (chooses the default group to which users are added)

When a new Team Site is created, there are three default groups created: Visitors, Members, and Owners. Each group is assigned a permission level within the site.

Users in the Visitors group have the lowest possible privilege level within the site (Read), and are usually only able to view content within the site. Members (Contribute) have a higher privilege level than Visitors and are able to read, write, create, and delete content within the existing lists and libraries. The Owners group is just that—these users can fully administer all content and users within the site, and they have the ability to administer all content and the site itself (including deleting it).

This can be a bit confusing at first, but here’s the easy way to remember how security is applied within a SharePoint Site:

Users → Groups → Permissions

Permissions levels are created first; groups are then assigned permissions; and users are assigned to groups.

Can you assign a user a permission level without assigning that person to a group? Yes, you can. Is it a good idea? No, not really. You see, if you assign permissions on a per-user basis, you might have a difficult time determining which users have which permission; worse yet, there is no easy way to change permissions levels for the user, once assigned.

But what if none of these existing permission levels are suitable for your particular site? Perhaps you have a requirement to assign users the ability to read, write, create, but not delete files—what then? That’s where the Site Permissions Level menu can help you.

Site Permissions

SharePoint provides the ability to create new permissions levels via the Site Permissions menu. This menu makes use of the ribbon. When you use it, the Permissions Tools tab appears.

A site can inherit its permission levels and groups from its parent site (see Figure 13-6); this makes administration of a series of Team Sites easier because they all retain the same permissions structure. If a site is inheriting its permissions structure, the Permission Tools tab will have five main actions, controlling Inheritance, Grant, and Check functions:

  • Manage Parent (Inheritance)

  • Stop Inheriting Permissions (Inheritance)

  • Grant Permissions (Grant)

  • Create Group (Grant)

  • Check Permissions (Check)

Figure 13-6

Figure 13-6 The Permission Tools tab (shown here with the site inheriting permissions from its parent site).

A site can also be configured to not inherit its permission levels and groups from its parent site (see Figure 13-7). When set up this way, a site can maintain its own security and can even prevent access to some users from a higher level (more general audience) site. If a site is not inheriting its permissions structure, the Permissions Tools tab will have the following seven main actions that control inheritance, grant, modify, check, and manage functions:

  • Inheriting Permissions (Inheritance)

  • Grant Permissions (Grant)

  • Create Group (Grant)

  • Edit User Permissions (Modify)

  • Remove User Permissions (Modify)

  • Check Permissions (Check)

  • Permissions Level (Manage)

Figure 13-7

Figure 13-7 The Permission Tools tab when the site does not inherit permissions from its parent site.

Galleries

With galleries, you can reuse different content and functionality throughout a Site Collection. There are three main galleries offered in SharePoint Foundation 2010 (also shown in Figure 13-8):

  • Site Columns

  • Site Content Types

  • Master Pages

Figure 13-8

Figure 13-8 The Galleries menu.

Site Columns

In any document library or list, you will find the underlying principle of metadata at work. We use metadata constantly in our day-to-day lives:

  • How cold/warm is the weather (Number)?

  • What should I have for lunch today (Choice)?

  • Should I buy an item or not (Boolean)?

Basically, any item stored in a library can have metadata stored that describes it—by default, this is the type of document, its name, when it was modified, and who modified it. These are referred to as site columns.

SharePoint Foundation ships with literally hundreds of out-of-the-box site columns. You can choose to use these columns in your library to allow you to classify your documents or perhaps store them in a view (for example, Red Jelly Beans, Blue Jelly Beans, or All Jelly Beans). Site column design is covered in Chapter 5, “Designing Lists and Libraries.”

Content Types

Suppose now that you want to choose multiple site columns at once to create a document describing an item, such as a car:

  • How many doors does it have (Choice)?

  • What color is it? (Choice)?

  • How expensive is it (Currency)?

  • When did you buy it (Date)?

With SharePoint, you can wrap all of this metadata up at once, assigning it a content type (such as a brochure or purchase contract). This content type can be used over and over again (as can the site columns) in different sites.

Additionally, document management functionality, such as what type of document template is used for the content type, can be specified, adding more and more features to your document libraries.

As time goes on, and your use of SharePoint becomes more advanced, you will find that you can “roll up” information from child sites to the parent, accumulating information by content type. Content type design is covered in Chapter 5.

Master Pages

A master page is a type of web document that specifies the look and feel of a webpage and how it behaves. Often associated with “branding” a site, this functionality (the master page library) is stored in a SharePoint Foundation 2010 site for use by advanced web designers.

This functionality can be made more accessible by site owners; when you purchase and install SharePoint Server 2010, you can select the master page from the web interface, which is something that is not possible (without programming code) in SharePoint Foundation 2010. Master page design is covered in Chapter 14, “Creating, Managing, and Designing Sites by using SharePoint Designer 2010.”

Site Administration

The Site Administration menu (shown in Figure 13-9) brings configuration settings (such as regional settings) and informational settings (such as site libraries and lists) together into one easy-to-use group. This menu includes the following items:

  • Regional Settings

  • Site Libraries And Lists

  • User Alerts

  • RSS

  • Search And Offline Availability

  • Sites And Workspaces

  • Workflow Settings

Figure 13-9

Figure 13-9 The Site Administration menu.

Regional Settings

Because SharePoint sites can be deployed in many different locations and languages, it becomes important to have Team Sites that can represent information in a format specific to a country, culture, or locale:

  • Locale Specifies the way numeric and date-related items are displayed within a site. For instance, some countries display dates by using a DD/MM/YYYY format, whereas others might display it by using MM/DD/YYYY.

  • Sort Order Controls the order in which items are sorted in lists and document libraries.

  • Time Zone Specifies the default time zone used by the particular site. Default time zones for a SharePoint web application can be specified by SharePoint administrators, but the time zone setting for a site overrides the default.

  • Set Your Calendar With this setting, a site owner can specify the default type of calendar used in the SharePoint site. This also offers the option to show week numbers in the Date Navigator.

  • Enable An Alternate Calendar This is useful to display alternate calendar information, such as displaying Hebrew calendar information alongside that of a Gregorian calendar.

  • Define Your Work Week This setting is similar to that found in Microsoft Outlook—you can choose what days are displayed as active in the calendar, along with specifying the first day of the week, first week of the year, and start/end times for the workday.

  • Time Format You use this to specify whether times are displayed by default in 12 or 24-hour format.

Site Libraries And Lists

This menu provides three functions:

  • Display all lists and libraries in the site

  • Provide links to the list settings menu for each list or library

  • Provide a link to create new content in a site (lists, libraries, or child sites/workspaces)

User Alerts

User Alerts can be administered in two distinct places: first, within the Files | Manage Rules And Alerts menu of Outlook, and second, within the site itself. You can display a user and delete Alerts that have been subscribed to by the user as well as those that have been assigned by others.

RSS

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a technology that allows a user to subscribe to information and have the information show in an RSS reader. SharePoint offers the ability to securely syndicate information from a list or library, allowing users to see these changes as they appear; the “securely” portion of this statement is important—as a rule, an RSS reader must be able to authenticate to SharePoint as a user in order to view syndicated material.

Using this setting, the site owner can specify whether this functionality is available in the SharePoint site; it also allows the site owner to specify the copyright, managing editor, and webmaster for a site. A Time-To-Live setting can be specified to determine how long information is current (in minutes).

Search And Offline Availability

A SharePoint site owner can choose whether the content of a site can appear in search results. For more detailed control, site pages and webpages can also be excluded from search (if desired).

A SharePoint user can use SharePoint and Outlook to take a copy of information from document libraries and lists offline. This is useful for people who travel or who might not be able to consistently connect to the corporate network; document and list information can be stored on a user’s laptop and then synchronized to the network when a network connection is made.

By simply changing the status of the Offline Client Availability setting, a site owner can choose whether or not information found in the site can be taken offline.

Sites And Workspaces

Site owners can use this menu to view all child sites, document workspaces, and meeting workspaces to which you have access. You can also see when the site was last modified (useful to find unused sites) or delete a site. Additionally, a Create menu item is provided, with which you can quickly create any one of these site types.

Workflow Settings

A site owner can use this menu to create and administer workflows for use on a site; this menu also displays the workflows currently in progress. Changes that are applied to a workflow are not applied to workflows that are already in progress.

The Look And Feel Menu

The Look And Feel menu (shown in Figure 13-10) manages how a site appears in the browser; items such as navigation and branding fall under the control of this menu. This menu includes the following items:

  • Title, Description, And Icon

  • Quick Launch

  • Top Link Bar

  • Tree View

  • Site Theme

Figure 13-10

Figure 13-10 The Look And Feel menu.

Title, Description, And Icon

Using Title, you can specify a friendly name for the site—perhaps Project Management Central would be easier for users to understand than PrjMgmtCtrl (found in the URL).

The description of the site is nearly as important, for two primary reasons: the first is Search; the more information that exists about a site, the better its ranking in search. The second reason is to accommodate vision impaired users who need assistance to navigate a website.

By default, a SharePoint site has a small orange icon that is displayed on each site. This icon can be replaced with an icon of your choosing. Simply upload the icon and provide the link.

Quick Launch

There are two navigation zones used on a SharePoint Site: the Top Link bar (across the top of the page), and the Quick Launch (most often located down the leftmost side of the page).

Use the Quick Launch menu to specify navigation links, group these links under headings, and change the order in which the items appear in Quick Launch.

Top Link Bar

The second of the two navigational zones, the Top Link bar, appears across the top of a SharePoint Site. You use the Top Link bar menu to create new navigational links and change the order of links across the bar.

Site Actions

The Site Actions menu (see Figure 13-11) controls activities that have to do with altering the functionality available in the site, viewing metrics regarding its use, the templating of sites, and other functions. This menu includes the following items:

  • Manage Site Features

  • Save Site As Template

  • Site Collection Web Analytics Reports

  • Site Web Analytics Reports

  • Reset To Site Definition

  • Delete This Site

Figure 13-11

Figure 13-11 The Site Actions menu.

Manage Site Features

A SharePoint site is modular in design. You can think of this concept along the lines of a car being manufactured. The car itself provides a basic function, but packages can be added for climate control, entertainment, interior trim, and others options; in a SharePoint site, these are referred to as Features.

Features are a grouping of one or more sets of functionality that can be added to a SharePoint site. An example of this functionality is the Team Collaboration Lists Feature, which creates the document libraries and issues lists on your Team Site. These Features can be activated or deactivated from the Manage Site Features menu.

Save Site as Template

So you spent 5 hours configuring a new Team Site, getting it exactly the way you want it. You show the site to your boss, and she loves it—so much, in fact, that she asks you to build 30 more just like it.

Fortunately for you, a configured site can be saved as a template. In fact, a list or document library can be saved as a template, too, but that’s not in this chapter. This template is stored at the top of the Site Collection in a gallery of templates. We will examine this functionality further in the next section.

Site Web Analytics Reports

SharePoint Foundation 2010 provides built-in web analytics about sites. Analyzing web analytics reports helps tune the searchability, browsability, performance, and overall impression that the site offers to your user base.

Although this is not critical to Team Sites, these metrics provide insight into how users arrive at the site, what pages they visit, what browser(s) they use to visit the site, and other metrics. The official list is:

  • Number Of Page Views

  • Number Of Unique Visitors

  • Number Of Referrers

  • Top Pages

  • Top Visitors

  • Top Referrers

  • Top Browsers

The Reset To Site Definition Menu

It is possible to make customizations to the page or pages in a SharePoint site that render the site unusable; what is odd is that the actual document and list information contained in the site is unharmed, and the pages themselves can be restored back to a precustomization state.

Using the Reset To Site Definition menu, you can reset a single page or all pages in a site to the version of the page included in the original site definition. This is particularly useful if modifications you have performed damage a page in a SharePoint site and you need a quick way to get it operational again.

The Delete This Site Menu

The last menu item is perhaps the most powerful—after all, what can affect a site more than deleting it? This menu is quite straightforward: select it and you get one (and only one) chance to change your mind.

Once you select the Delete button, the site is gone forever—it is not retained in the either site or Site Collection recycle bins.

One More Thing—Site Information

OK, so it’s not a technically a site setting menu like the others, but site information provides two URLs:

  • Site URL The URL for the site itself

  • Mobile Site URL The URL for the site as it is represented on mobile devices

Site Collection Administration

So now you’ve got the hang of administering a site. It’s time to up the ante and make you a Site Collection administrator.

There is only one item in this menu: click the Go To Top Level Site Settings item, and then move on to the next set of menu items: Site Settings (Top Level Site, Figure 13-12).

Figure 13-12

Figure 13-12 The Site Collection Administration menu.