Finding Familiar Features in SharePoint 2010: List & Library Tasks

Learning about the cool new features in SharePoint 2010 is fun, but sometimes your To Do list is overflowing with not-so-new things that just have to be done by Friday afternoon so you can skate out a few minutes early to beat that holiday traffic. You don't have time to wander around the new SharePoint 2010 interface looking for those common tasks that you're used to doing even on unacceptably low levels of caffeine. Go calibrate your SharePoint 2010 GPS with my previous post about some general navigation tips, and then enter a new destination: list and library features.

Adding a New Item

In SharePoint 2007, there was a nifty New button at the top of every list and library, and that's what you used to create new items. This basic feature has moved around a little, and where it is depends on what type of list or library you're in. I know, sounds a little frustrating, but it's pretty obvious in most places. Let's take a look at a few common list and library types that cover most of the possibilities:

  • Document Libraries – Get used to that ribbon! The New and Upload buttons are in the Documents tab of the Library Tools section. Since Browse is the default focus on the ribbon, it actually took me a couple of seconds to find the New button the first time. And before you think I'm a total space cadet, the really obvious Add document link at the bottom of the Document Library is actually a shortcut to Upload.

    New Document

  • Picture Libraries – Picture Libraries look just like SharePoint 2007, oddly enough. New, Upload, Actions, and Settings are all still there at the top of the library, and there's actually no Tools section added to the ribbon. Bug or feature? You decide.

    New Picture

  • Discussions – For Discussions, the Add new discussion link at the bottom of the list matches the New Item button in the List Tools > Items tab of the ribbon.

    New Discussion

  • Calendar Lists – You can go to the ribbon to add new Events, or you can just be patient and hover half a second over the calendar. Hovering pops up an Add link that takes you to the same place as the New Event button in the ribbon.

    New Event

So let me see if I can summarize: You can add a new item using the link at the bottom of the library, except when it's not there (Pictures) or when it's a link to Upload (Documents). You can always go to the ribbon to add new items (except for Pictures). Some lists have special ways to add new items (Calendars). Kind of makes you wonder if Microsoft was intentionally avoiding standardization, but I guess it makes sense if you think of the unique way each list type is used.

Adding and Modifying List Columns

I always seem to be adding and changing columns for my lists and libraries. I was just getting used to having a Create Column shortcut in the Settings menu for my lists, and now it turns out I need to switch to visual mode. Create Column is a little tiny icon (Create Column) in the Tools section of the ribbon. Remember that the Tools section has two tabs: the tab on the left is for tasks relating to list items, and the tab on the right is for tasks relating to the list itself. Create Column is something that affects the whole list, so look for it in the list tasks tab (List Tools > List, for example).

You still have to go to List Settings (or Library Settings) to modify existing columns, just like in SharePoint 2007. List Settings is in the List Tools > List tab of the ribbon (or Library Tools > Library), all the way to the right.

List Column Settings

Editing in Datasheet

Mass list updating is so much easier in datasheet view, don't you agree? In SharePoint 2007, you switched to Datasheet View from the Actions menu. In SharePoint 2010, it's…wait for it…in the ribbon. It's the second button from the left in List Tools > List (or Library Tools > Library), to be exact.

Datasheet View

Starting Workflows

Some of you may notice that I also write about Bamboo's Workflow Conductor product, so of course this post wouldn't be complete without mentioning workflows. A SharePoint 2010 version of Workflow Conductor will be available later this year (shameless plug). In the meantime, you can start native SharePoint workflows just like you could before: by choosing Workflows from the item drop-down menu. You can also start a workflow by clicking on the Workflows button in the Items/Documents tab in the Tools section of the ribbon. Don't confuse this with the Workflow Settings button in the List/Library tab, which is for configuring workflows.


Lots of other common list tasks, like viewing or editing items, deleting items, checking out documents, etc., are still in the usual item drop-down menu, so I didn't specifically cover them here. All of these options are also available in the ribbon, which should be getting pretty familiar.

Hopefully you've beaten that To Do list into submission in time to enjoy the long weekend. Stay tuned to Bamboo Nation for more SharePoint 2010 coverage!

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