SharePoint Online is an incredibly flexible tool – if you know how to use it that is. This blog will walk you through the step-by-step process of customizing a personal site page in the latest version of SharePoint and Office 365.
If you have never worked with SharePoint before, I would recommend looking through some of our previous blogs on How to Create a Teamsite Homepage. Although this post is about an older version of SharePoint, it provides a good overview of the general structure of SharePoint Online.
I have a personal SharePoint page for my job at CyberStreams, Inc.. At first I used the page for essentially a glorified task list – I modified an existing web part to function as a very extended to-do and due date organizer. Over time, however, I started to realize that SharePoint has a lot more to offer, and you can easily customize personal and team pages with design elements and web parts to meet your specific needs.
This post will walk through the modifications and additions I made to my personal site page.
What do you want out of your SharePoint page?
Before you start editing your page, it is best to sit down and think about the function you want your SharePoint page to perform. This will inform how you organize the page, as well as the apps and web parts you add to your page.
I decided that I wanted my site page to act like a home base – that is, I wanted it to be a place that I could glance over and get a quick idea of what was going on with my projects. I decided that this could be split into two categories of web parts and text: a section for news, updates and to dos, and a section for quick access to documents and other information.
This is by no means the only way to lay out a site page! Get creative and think about what type of things would be most helpful to you on your SharePoint site page.
For the purpose of this blog, I deleted all of the existing web parts I had on my personal site page so as to have a clean slate. In practice, you will probably have already existing elements on the pages you work with.
Select the Edit button in the top right corner. This opens your editing ribbon. Please remember: It is very important to save your changes regularly from here on out, otherwise your edits will all be lost!
The first thing you should do is choose a text layout. You can view layout options in the Format Text ribbon under the button Text Layout. I chose one column and a sidebar, given how I have two categories of web parts I want on my site page. You can always return later and choose a new text layout option as needed.
You can type anywhere in your new text layout boxes and edit that text using the Format Text ribbon just like you would in Word. I gave my text column and sidebar descriptive headings related to their function by just typing in the textbox.
Insert ribbon, you will see all of the other things besides text that you can put on your page. This includes tables, pictures, links, videos, files, and web parts. Most of these resemble other Office functions you are familiar with, so I will move strait to web parts.
There is a wide variety of web parts that you can choose to add to any page. For a full listing go to the Insert ribbon, and select the Web Parts Button. The ribbon will expand with web parts divided by category. Scroll through these, and decide which parts to include in your page. Once you have decided, make sure you click where you want the web part to go in your text boxes, and then select the Add button in the bottom right corner of the ribbon.
I chose to add a Search Box and a Document library to my text column, and a Note board and Due Date calendar to my sidebar. Some of these web parts are already set up in a way that works for me, but you may find that some require some additional customizing!
To give an example of this process, I decided to change the automated name of my documents web part from “Documents” to “Projects.” To do this first click on the web part, and then go to the Web Part ribbon at the top of the page. Select the Web Part Properties option. This will open a box with options for editing this web part. Under Appearance, I changed the title of this web app to “projects”. Select Apply at the bottom of the box, and remember to hit save! For a more in-depth example of modifying web parts, go to our blog on How to Create a SharePoint Task List.
For now I am happy with what I have on my SharePoint site page, and hopefully you have been able to make yours customized a little more to your needs as well. You can always return to this page in the future and make edits!
Remember, SharePoint is flexible enough that you customize it to your specific needs fairly easily. If you do run into issues that are beyond the scope of your knowledge, however, Office 365 specialists and SharePoint Design and Development services like those offered by Office 365 Advisors can help you find a solution.
For more information about Office 365 and SharePoint development and solutions, contact an Office 365 representative today.