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SharePoint Basics for Beginners

Author by Christian Urena

When I first started learning SharePoint I didn’t think there would be much to learn, but I shortly discovered I would have to embark on a journey if I really wanted to learn the platform. To me, SharePoint was a place to store content with a little bit more "oomph" in comparison to your traditional file share. Little by little, I kept discovering the depths of what SharePoint really is, or what it can be. That's my advantage of working with many SharePoint experts at Concurrency, but if you don't have experts around you like I do, there's still hope so from a beginner’s point of view, let's take a deeper dive into some SharePoint basics.


We'll touch points on the following topics:

  • What is SharePoint?
  • SharePoint Server vs SharePoint Online
  • UI & Navigation
    • Ribbon Feature

    • Site Contents

    • Site Settings


It's your first day on the job and it's all about SharePoint. But wait, what is SharePoint?

  • SharePoint is a web-based application platform that is accessed through the browser. It provides organizations with a secure place to organize, store and share information. Over the years, SharePoint has become a lot more than a simple collaboration and document management platform for teams. For example, depending on your requirements, it can be used as an intranet, extranet or a wiki-style website.


Server vs Online

  • SharePoint Server, also referenced as SharePoint “On-Premise” or “On-Prem”, is when your very own IT department manages and maintains the servers. SharePoint Online is when Microsoft manages and maintains the SharePoint servers in their own datacenter. Both, On-Prem and Online are very similar in functionality, the only difference being is how they’re accessed.


UI & Navigation

   Ribbon Feature

  • The user interface and navigation had a major change in SharePoint 2013. The ribbon feature displays many tools and commands that allow you to perform functions and controls. The ribbon options tend to change depending on what you’re working on.


When editing a document library, the ribbon appears as follows:


When editing a list, the ribbon appears as follows:


When editing a page, the ribbon appears as follows:


Site Contents

  • Site Contents displays all of the contents and subsites that have been added to your site. It also allows you to add apps such as document libraries, lists, and many other apps. The recycle bin can also be found under site contents. Even if nothing has been added, the empty site will include blank out-of-the box content.


Site Settings

  • Site settings contains many general settings that can help you administer the site. The general settings are divided into the following categories: User and Permissions, Web Design Galleries, Site Administration, Look and Feel, Site Actions and Site Collection Administration settings. For now, all you need to know is where to find the settings that were just listed.


Hopefully this provided you with some valuable knowledge in your quest to learn SharePoint.

Happy SharePointing!