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Dance into Design Mode

Think of your SharePoint home page as a dance floor for a movie you're directing. You have "zones" chalked on this floor for blocking, and each dancer—a web part—has to stay inside its respective zone unless you move it to a different zone.

You'll be able to see these zones just as soon as you're in design mode, so launch your SharePoint site, and this little two-step will get you there:

  1. Click the page modification indicator (called either Modify My Page or Modify Shared Page) in the upper-right corner of your site, as shown in Figure 2.
    Figure 2

    Figure 2 Page modification indicator with drop-down menu.

  2. On the drop-down menu, click Personal View; then, on the same menu, click Design This Page.

The Design This Page option is a toggle that you click on or click off to zip into and out of design mode. When the option is checked, the page changes to web design view, which shows boxes around the web parts page zones with useful headers like Left or Right, as shown in Figure 3. On the default team site used in my examples, there are two of these "boxes," but the number could vary depending on the site template.

Figure 3

Figure 3 SharePoint site in design mode, showing zones outlined and labeled.

The rule is that you can move or change any web part inside these zones by using the browser. If you want to control things outside these boxes, you'll have to use some other tool—a web editor like Microsoft FrontPage, for example.

Notice that each of the web parts within a zone box contains a title bar with down arrows and Close buttons. The drop-down menus for each web part allow you to minimize, close, or modify any part currently in your view. Any time you close a web part, it will disappear instantly from the zone and move itself into the gallery (which we'll discuss in the next section), where it will wait patiently in case you ever want to put it back.

By the way, your page modification indicator in the upper-right corner should now read Modify My Page, allowing you to rest assured that your fiddling about here with the web parts will change only your personal view of the team site—not the shared view that everyone on the team can ogle. Not that you want to post any of your riskier pearls of wit, of course.

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