How to be Your SharePoint Site’s Cutman

The Prefight Warmup
Boxers train and train and train. Their fights are won not in the ring, they are won months before in the gym and on the road, or so said Ali.

But what do you do when you are it the middle of a fight? You’ve been studying your opponent and you see the weakness. Next round when he drops that left as he steps in he’s yours. But then boom, you get a silly cut by an elbow when you’re tied up. It’s gonna swell and bleed. You have him, just need to get through to the next round.

Problems back in your corner. They’ll call the fight on the count of the injury. What can be done? In this case it’s time for your cutman to come in; stop the bleeding, keep the swelling down, leaving you with time to finish things up when the bell rings for the next round.

The Main Event
A similar situation can come up in SharePoint as well. What happens if you didn’t do your Information Architecture work? Didn’t set up groups, content types, or columns?
You may not have had the experience or the tools (planning spreadsheet). You didn’t even know that content came in types.

Well you do now and you recognize your SP site’s weaknesses. You know what you would do if you were to start over. Problem is your users love your site, but you’re bleeding by the constant updating of that swelling library.

It’s time for you to be your site’s cutman.

Call in the Cutman
First thing to do is get back to your corner and think things out. A cutman has certain tools to fix lacerations, swelling, etc and so do you.

In the case of swelling libraries, you’ll need to centralize all your content so you can see it. Go to the Library/Actions/Export to spreadsheet. There you will be able to see if and what columns and content types you need to add.

Once you have those established you can go back the Library Settings, add new columns, hide any unnecessary ones, and rank them in order.

With that done you are ready to get those cuts by Editing the Datasheet.

Here you can fill in any of the metadata that will help drive the filtering you have in mind. When I had to go back and do this, I had files that I wanted to keep centralized in the library but not visible to the end user.

To do this, I added a Show column and hid it by putting in a filter when I Modified the Library View. If you want to do this make your SHOW column a CHOICE (menu to choose from).


I made the choices Yes and No. Avoid the initial Yes/No option when creating the column. Those values that you will be using to filter do not communicate actual Yes/No (True/False) they act as a check box.

I made the default (choice) value Yes. I had fewer files I didn’t want to show than ones I did. That left me only having to add metadata to a few files as No as apposed to marking almost the entire library Yes.

Once you have the values set up, you can modify the Filter to show only what you want. I wanted mine to show everything that I did not choose as No.


The Decision
There you go. Bleeding has stopped and swelling is down. I hope this quick fix between rounds can get you back into the ring and allow you to have your hand raised at the end.


About mhinckley

Michael Hinckley MCSA, MCITP, MCTS, has over 10+ years specializing in solution architecture for organizations that span from small businesses and global corporations. He is currently the Sr. Program Manager at Tangram. Michael is a recognized speaker and evangelist for Microsoft SharePoint and Business Intelligence stacks. He organizes tech community events (SharePoint Saturdays) throughout Florida and runs the Tampa SharePoint/Office User Group. He is a contributing author for the book Microsoft SharePoint for Business Executives: Q&A Handbook.
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