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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

What Is a View?

Using views is a useful way for a list manager to create different ways to show the information in a list or library. Different views may show different columns and have different sorting and filtering, grouping, and styles.

In SharePoint, views can be either public or private:

  • Public—The list's or library's managers create public views, and these views are available to anyone to use.
  • Private—Users create private views. Only the user who created a private view can use that view. You may, for example, create a private view and customize it to show the information that you usually need to find the items or files that you usually work with.

Chapter 8, "Creating List Views," covers creating views in more details. Chapter 3 covers how to switch between views.

There are several types of views in SharePoint. Most of the views that you will see are the standard tabular views that resemble printed worksheets—with column headers and values in rows but no ability to edit the data directly. However, some special view styles show the information in the list in different ways. For example, the Datasheet view allows directly editing the data, and a Calendar view shows items as part of a calendar.

A Calendar view shows the items in a list based on dates that are set on the items. Other views include the Gantt view and the Datasheet view. The Gantt view is similar to the Calendar view: It shows information based on dates in the list items' properties. The Datasheet view is a Microsoft Excel–like view that allows copying and pasting of data into the list or library. These types of views are covered in detail in Chapter 8.

Let's look at an example of a possible difference between two views. One view for an announcement list may show the title of the announcement and the date that the announcement was changed (see Figure 1.13). A different view of the same list may show the body of the announcement and the date on which it will expire (see Figure 1.14).

Figure 1.13

Figure 1.13 An announcement list in a view that shows the Title and Modified columns.

Figure 1.14

Figure 1.14 An announcement list in a view that shows the Title, Body, and Expires columns.

If you have multiple announcements, you can have different views sort the announcements differently. For example, one might sort by the title of the announcement and the other might sort by the modification date. Figure 1.14 shows a view sorting the announcements by their creation date (with the one created first on top). Figure 1.15 shows a view that sorts on the title of the announcement.

Figure 1.15

Figure 1.15 The announcement list in a view that sorts by the title.

Some views change the style in which the items are displayed. For example, Figure 1.16 shows the announcement list with a different style, called boxed style.

Figure 1.16

Figure 1.16 The announcement list shown with the boxed style.

An announcements list may have a filter applied to it to show only items that have not expired (refer to Figure 1.14). Other views can be configured not to have that filter. If you are viewing a list and the item you are looking for is not showing, consider the possibility that the current view is configured to filter that item.

Finally, some views may display the data grouped by one column, as shown in Figure 1.17. In such cases, you can view the groups and expand a group to see the items within the group. For example, in a contacts list, a view may be set up to group the contacts by their company names. This way, you can expand the view for a specific company.

Figure 1.17

Figure 1.17 A contacts list, grouped by company.

To see the items in a group, click the + sign next to the group name or on the group field's name that shows up as a link (in this example, the Company: link). The group expands, showing you the items that belong to that group (see Figure 1.18).

Figure 1.18

Figure 1.18 A contacts list grouped by company, with Extelligent Design expanded.

SharePoint supports up to two grouping levels (for example, by country and then by company, as in Figure 1.19).

Figure 1.19

Figure 1.19 A contacts list, grouped by country and then by company, with Australia and Extelligent Design expanded.

As mentioned earlier, picture libraries have their own special views that show the pictures that are in the library as either thumbnails or filmstrips of the pictures.

Some views support paging. Paging is a common method in websites used to show large amounts of data without overloading the page. Using paging, the data in a list or library is split into pages, with each page showing only a certain number of the items. The user can navigate back and forth between the pages, using the paging buttons at the bottom of the page or the paging button in the Library ribbon or List ribbon. (See Figures 1.20 and 1.21.)

Figure 1.20

Figure 1.20 The first page of a view of a document library with 31 documents, showing the first 15 documents.

Figure 1.21

Figure 1.21 The second page of the view shows the next 15 documents.

For example, suppose you have a document library that contains 1,000 documents. Showing all the documents to the user at once might cause the page loading time to be quite slow, and a user might have difficulty finding a particular document. A more sensible approach would be to display the files in batches of 15 (for example), which makes it easier for the reader to see what information is available on the page. This is true even if you don't have thousands of documents! As your document library or list grows to have more and more files or rows, you will want to separate them into pages, as shown in Figures 1.20 and 1.21.

Finally, advanced users can create custom views by using Microsoft SharePoint Designer. Custom views can look totally different from anything that is available for regular views. This book does not cover the use of SharePoint Designer. The book SharePoint Designer 2010 Unleashed by Kathy Hughes (Sams Publishing) is a good resource that explains the many uses of SharePoint designer to achieve more complex tasks than the ones described in this book, including creating custom views.

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