When you’ve been in the game as long as we have, you can forget that there are millions of new users on the Office 365 / SharePoint platforms all the time. We are in numerous groups on social media and keep seeing people want to do custom development / workflow for things that have been available in out of box SharePoint for many years. Here are some basics :
1. Get General Alerts
You can be alerted to things that have been added, edited, deleted or all three, with a click of button. You can get your emailed alert instantly, or on a daily or weekly summary.
2. Get Targeted Alerts
You can get an email when information in a specific column changes. For example, if you have a sales pipeline and you want to know when a sale is more than R1million, create a view with a filter to say show only items greater than or equal to R1million. Then put an alert on that view for any items that are added to it.
3. Restrict Access
You can stop people from uploading documents into a library, by changing the permissions to read only rights for that library. Go to library settings and stop inheriting the permissions. (Don’t forget to update your library / list descriptions when you do this).
4. Approve a Document
Yes there is SharePoint Designer and Flow for complex workflows, but there is also stock standard SharePoint workflows on list / library level. Make sure these 2 features are activated in the Site Collection Features, so you can leverage the workflows that become available with them.
5. Share a Document
No more sending attachments in emails, upload the docs to SharePoint, then share them if you don’t have an alert on for the team.
6. Collaborate Externally
If you work with clients, partners or vendors on an ongoing basis, you can create a separate site collection and give them access to work on it there. No more emailing information and reports to each other. External sharing is set up on site collection level only, so make sure you planning is correct. Each site collection can have different permissions. You will need to get your Microsoft 365 admin teams involved to ensure external sharing is allowed and configured correctly.
7. Colour Code a Calendar
Only views are needed to make a colour coded calendar.
8. Manage Tasks
The standard task list is great for light project management, lots of default views available and a cool timeline app that you can colour code. And there’s setting that will send an email to the the person assigned to the task. Change the columns to suit your scenario.
9. Convert Data from Excel and Do Fancy Formulas
You can import spreadsheets into SharePoint, or create online versions of them from scratch using Custom Lists. You can have pretty intense formulas in them to really manipulate your data on demand.
10. Use Wiki Pages
Wiki pages are a brilliant way to share static information that does not change that often, like instructions, user manuals, policies, guidelines and procedures. You can convert many Word documents into pages and insert text images, videos and links.
It’s really important to understand what SharePoint and other Microsoft 365 tools can provide you out of box, so that you don’t reinvent the wheel for no reason.