SharePoint Training or SharePoint Designer Training?

There is still plenty confusion out there on what type of training business users should go on.  I get constant requests from business users to go on SharePoint Designer (SPD) training – this is not the appropriate training for people with no SharePoint experience.

You configure SharePoint in SharePoint and only use SPD for the nice to haves, custom workflow, fancy web parts or branding.  You need to understand what SharePoint can offer you out of box before you take on SPD. This is true for end users, site owners, site collection administrators, business analysts, trainers, etc.

SharePoint Designer is not a tool for business users.  If you think you need to go on SPD training, ask yourself these questions first

  1. Do you know the difference between a table and a div?
  2. Do you know how to create a three column div layout?
  3. Do you understand Style Sheets?
  4. Can you set overlaying divs with CSS?
  5. Are you able to resize images?
  6. Explain what this style will do:


height: 420px;

width: 970px;

background-image: url(Images/people-jump.png);

background-position: right;

background-repeat: no-repeat;

position: relative;

z-index: -100;

margin-left: auto;

margin-right: auto;


If you can answer them, you are ready for SPD training.  If not, attend good end user training and learn about the out of box functionality first.  You need a decent HTML and CSS course under the belt before attempting SPD to get the most value from it.


  1. Sure Josh – but I’m not talking about What SPD can be useful for. I’m talking about When it must be trained. You don’t teach people with no SharePoint experience SharePoint Designer. That’s the only point I”m trying to make.


  2. Lou and Veronique:

    Well, as we always say, it depends. ;+) I’ve seen credentialed SharePoint professionals bollux up a SharePoint site compeltely and I’ve seen “rank amateurs” build amazing things with SharePoint Designer. Every circumstance is different.

    Especially with SharePoint 2010 (I would have said the same with 2007, but I’ll give up on that), SharePoint Designer is truly a part of the configuration toolset.



  3. Hi Marc, yes I couldn’t agree more. This was aimed at very basic end users though, they are not guided properly when it comes to training so end up going on Designer training and hating SharePoint. As for DVWP, I have no clue how they work myself and have yet to see an article that makes sense to me that explains why I should be using it at all.

    My user base is rank amateurs don’t forget, people with zero SharePoint experience. SPD is not the tool for those users, regardless of what it can offer down the line. When they have the experience, sure. But not in the first 6 – 8 months at least.


  4. Marc, I do agree with you completely but I was coming from the Look and Feel side of it – people want to be able to do sites like Ferrarri without learning how to use SP2010. My concern is that people think it is a WYSWYG – Drag and Drop – in 2007 it was alot easier because of the table base. SharePoint Designer is a brilliant tool, but where I was coming from is that people want to learn the full-on design side, before learning the base tools – if you go through V’s training and understand SharePoint 2010, web parts, DVWP’s and CEWP’s then you can more to the more intense stuff of the Designer. Business Users should have a good grasp of SP2010 before taking the step to Designer (Design NOT Designer) – and then Design it always another kettle of fish 🙂

    If you can add to the list, PLEASE do, because I also need one for people who ask me to train them up to “make their sites look awesom” – before they even know how to use SP2010. And the more comprihensive list V has – the better 🙂

    Love Lou (SharePoint Designer 2010 Fan Girl) 🙂


  5. Veronique:

    You can do quite a lot in SharePoint Designer 2007 *or* 2010) that doesn’t require any knowledge of CSS at all. At its heart, SPD is a code generator, and there is a lot of valuable stuff you can do with things like DVWPs by just using the Common Dialogs.

    I don’t disagree with your premise that you need good reasons to go to SPD training, but there’s a heck of a lot more to SPD than you list.

    A card carrying member of the SharePoint Designer fan club



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