Finding Familiar Features in SharePoint 2010: Navigation

If you're like me, one of the most frustrating things about learning a new product is finding out where all your favorite and most-used menus and features from the previous version went. You KNOW they're still there, you just need to retrain those mouse muscles to click a new spot.

If you found the move from Office 2003 to Office 2007 with its new ribbon a little more painful than the usual upgrade, you're probably going to have some déjà vu when you see the new SharePoint 2010 user interface. SharePoint 2010 now has a ribbon that follows you throughout the site, and the tabs and options on the ribbon will change depending on where you're at and what you're doing. And, of course, everything has moved.

There's more out there every day about all the great NEW features in SharePoint 2010, but I thought I'd spend just a few keystrokes drawing a map to some of the old familiar favorites. First up will be some basic SharePoint 2010 navigating. This post is dedicated to all you creatures of habit out there – happy hunting!

List and Item Tasks

SharePoint 2007 collected the tasks you could perform on lists and list items into various buttons, menus, and drop-downs at the top of the list, like NewActions, Settings, and View. In SharePoint 2010, all of these are collected in the Tools section of the SharePoint ribbon. The exact name of the Tools section will vary depending on the list type and sometimes even the view, but it will be something like Library Tools, List Tools, or Calendar Tools (you get the idea).

This change initially renewed all my old feelings of Office ribbon angst, but then I figured out the pattern and now I'm not so grumpy. The Tools section is divided into two tabs: One tab contains tasks you can perform on items in the list (like the old Actions menu), and the other contains tasks you can perform on the list itself (the old Settings menu). The item tasks tab name will match the item type (Documents, Items, Events…). The list tasks tab name will match the type of list (Library, List, Calendar…). Just remember "Item-level stuff in the left tab, List-level stuff in the right tab," and you'll be fine.

List and Item Tasks

Common tasks are usually in more than one place (just like in SharePoint 2007), so don't forget to check item drop-down menus for handy shortcuts.

Home

In SharePoint 2007, you might be accustomed to seeing a link to the top-level site in the upper left corner of the page, no matter how far away from it you've wandered. In SharePoint 2010, there are all kinds of great navigation links – you just need to know where to look.

For a tree-view trail back to the top-level site's Home, click the little folder icon () next to the Browse tab. I'm sure I'll be using the tree-view navigation icon quite a bit, because I get lost a lot. I actually like it better than the old top-level site Home link, because it draws me a map instead of taking me all the way back to the starting gate.

Tree-View Navigation

For a link to the current site's home, click the Browse tab in the ribbon and use the navigation trail or click the Home button.

Navigate Current Site

Views

In SharePoint 2007, you switched between views using a drop-down menu to the upper right of the list or library. In SharePoint 2010, you can change the view in two places:

In the Browse Tab: The focus of the SharePoint ribbon is the Browse tab by default, where you'll see your location in the site. The item at the very end of the navigation trail is your view in the current list or library, and it's actually a drop-down list. Click on it to switch between the different views, or as a shortcut to Create View and Modify this View.

Change View

In the Tools Section: The familiar drop-down has moved to the Tools section of the ribbon, to the tab that has the list-related tasks. For example: List Tools > List. The Current View drop-down is a little to the left of center in the ribbon. Modify View and Create View are here too.

Change View

My Links

I'm still wrapping my head around all the social networking features of SharePoint 2010, so I looked for the familiar My Links, which offered a way to add bookmarks in SharePoint 2007. I liked this feature, because it gave me access to my favorite sites no matter what computer I was on. I have to admit that I was at a loss until I read a very informative article, SharePoint 2010 – Where'd "My Links" Go?, by Laura Rogers, a SharePoint 911 blogger. I don't like that it's an extra couple of clicks to get to it, but at least it's not completely gone. Maybe when I learn more about Tags, I Like It, and the new My Site features, I'll find I don't even need the My Links crutch anymore.

Site Actions

If you have even a few keys to the SharePoint kingdom, you use the Site Actions menu all the time…to create new lists and libraries, change permissions for your site, add Web Parts, etc. In SharePoint 2010, look for this in the upper LEFT instead of the upper right. I think it's great that you don't have to scroll to reach it anymore when you have a wide list.

Site Actions

 

Hopefully now it's just a little bit easier to get around SharePoint 2010. Want to know where to find other familiar features? Future articles in this series will include where to find some common design tasks, and locating elusive administrative options. If you have suggestions or tips for getting around in SharePoint 2010, I welcome your comments below.

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