As a small business owner using Office 365, how do you get off to a productive start in the fastest possible way? This article will focus on how to quickly set up a SharePoint Team Site in Office 365, add documents and a Task List and then let your people know where to go to access them.
After you’ve logged in from the web, you’ll see the get started screen. Click on ‘Sites’.
You’ll be taken to the SharePoint/file sharing area. There will be a default Team Site and Public Site already there. The Team Site is a top level site. The Public Site is your public-facing website (if you have one). We want a new site, so click on the + new site button. Let’s say we have a folder of documents along with a task list to share with our administrative team.
You’ll then be able to choose a name for your site and you’ll see the URL it’ll be located at. Note the https – it is secure and if you type in the url in your browser (while signed out), you’ll be prompted to sign in. So if anyone finds a url for somewhere in your site, be assured that your information is inaccessible – unless they have a password into your Office 365 account AND have received a sharing invitation.
I created a site for practice called, ‘Site to share with Tracey’. I noticed the url to the site has spaces in it, i.e. just like I typed it – with spaces in it. The site you see below has been ‘themed’ with the rose colored hues you see. All I did to do this was click on the gear icon (located on the top right corner on every page while in O365), then select ‘change the look’. You’ll see a palette of different colors. I suggest using these themes for each site you create. In addition to adding color, it makes it easy to locate and find the site you’re looking for quickly.
The row of icons are a bit like apps and they will help get your site beefed up. In my case, I wanted to add a task list – that’s the ‘Working on a deadline?’ box. I used that to add a task list. After I added it, there were boxes that prompted me to add or edit my list. Then I chose to display my task list in a timeline view as you see below.
The next app, or part to add would be the Document Library. Get to that by clicking the ‘Add lists, libraries and other apps’. You’ll see a pop up of more choices, choose the ‘Document Library’. You’ll see some instructions on how to add documents. You can add them either by uploading from your computer, or opening Windows Explorer and dragging them over. Yes, you can choose multiple documents to bring in.
Share Your New SharePoint Site
When you have the components in your site that you want, now you’re ready to let people know it’s there and how they can access it. If you have a business with multiple people in your O365 account, it’s very easy to share and set permissions. To get started, click the gear icon and roll down to ‘Site Settings’. That will bring up a screen with many options. First, click on the ‘People and groups’. This is where you’ll invite people and set permission levels for your site. As you start typing names in the box that will pop up, you’ll see that O365 will find email addresses and auto-fill them for you.
Clicking on the ‘Site permissions’ link brings you to the screen below where you can set up the permissions. Note that each group will have the same permissions. For example, if I’ve set the Members to have edit permissions that means all members have edit permission. If I set the Visitors group to have read permission, then all Visitors have the same level.
SharePoint Tree View
You’ll notice I put a line next to this link in the image earlier in the article. Although not necessary, I think having your files in a Tree View is beneficial because it lets you see all the content in your site. Clicking the link and clicking the ‘enable’ box will give you a look like below. Nice.
SharePoint Site Mailbox App
This is an app that can be added to any site. The email address takes on the name of the site + your domain name. The mailbox will reside in your site (see example 2 images above). If you have an Exchange Account, you’ll also see the mailbox right in your Microsoft Outlook account. The mailbox is designed to be center of collaboration for a team. When team members communicate with each other about their project, they copy the team email account. When the team members are visiting the site, then the mailbox becomes an information resource. Another benefit of the mailbox is that all documents stored on the site will also be available from the mailbox. So for those team members with Exchange email, they won’t actually have to log into the SharePoint site to access documents – big timesaver! Read more here about it.
The SharePoint features in Office 365 are quite robust and for small companies who currently use non-exchange email and perhaps have an aging server on premises, a small cost of $6/month per license seems an ideal solution.