Tag Archives: Cloud Design Box

Using SharePoint Groups

What is a SharePoint group?

A SharePoint group is a group of users which can be used to permission a site. Groups can be re-used around the site collection and can be used to permission, sites, lists, libraries, folders and items. Using SharePoint groups allows the administrator to control access without having to edit individual permissions, only the SharePoint group membership requires editing rather than each permission level.

Creating a SharePoint Group

Select “Site settings” from the SharePoint menu.

SharePoint Group Permissions

Select “People and Groups” from the “Users and Permissions” menu.

SharePoint Group Permissions

Select “Groups” on the left side menu, this will show a list of all the groups on the site collection.

SharePoint Group Permissions

Create a new group by selecting “New Group” from the “New” drop down menu.

SharePoint Group Permissions

Enter a name and description for the new group.

SharePoint Group Permissions

The Group owner has overall control of the group settings and members. This is usually either an administrator or someone you have delegated the running of the group to.

SharePoint Group Permissions

You can decide to keep the membership of the group private to the users in the group or let everyone see the group membership. There is also an option to allow group members to edit the membership of a group. This is great for collaborative sites where members may wish to share with others without having to go to the group owner. It helps remove some of the burden from the group owner and can open up sharing and collaboration without admin intervention.

SharePoint Group Permissions

Membership requests allow users who are not members of the group, the ability to request membership. This can be set to auto-accept which is useful for open groups or the requests can be sent to an email address for approval by the group owner (or members if this option was enabled earlier).

SharePoint Group Permissions

Permission levels can be set when creating the group. Please note that setting permissions here will only apply to the site which you are currently on. It is advised that you create the group without any permissions and then go back into the sites to add relevant permissions to avoid any confusion.

Click “Create” to finish setting up the group.

Adding members to the group

Once the group has been created, you may notice that the only member is the group owner. Additional users can be added by going to the “Add Users” option under the “New” menu.

SharePoint Group Permissions

Enter the name(s) of the members(s) you wish you add to the group. Under advanced options, you will see that the default setting is to send an email to any users added to the group. This is optional and can be deselected. In addition to this, you can customise the personal message in the email invitation for these users.

Note: Active Directory security groups can also be added here if using DirSync (in Office 365)

SharePoint Group Permissions

Click Share to add the users to the group.

Permissioning a site with a SharePoint Group

Once the group has been created, it can be used to permission subsites, lists, libraries, folders and even items. To give the group’s members permissions on a SharePoint site, first navigate to the SharePoint site itself.

Select “Site Settings” from the menu.

SharePoint Group Permissions

Select “Site permissions” from the “Users and Permissions” menu.

SharePoint Group Permissions

Select “Grant Permissions” from the “Permissions” tab.

SharePoint Group Permissions

As you start to type in the name of the group, SharePoint will pick up the group name.

SharePoint Group Permissions

Click “SHOW OPTIONS” to view the permission levels.

Select a permission level from the drop down and decide whether you would like to send an email to the group.

SharePoint Group Permissions

Avoid adding the group to another SharePoint group (this is usually the default option and can over complicate your permissions). Use one of the permission levels available:

  • Read – Can view the site but cannot edit any items or pages
  • Contribute – Can add, edit and delete list items. User cannot create new apps or sites.
  • Design – Users have contribute but in addition, they can also create and delete apps and subsites. Apply themes and designs.
  • Full Control – Users can do anything on the site including change permissions (usually admins only)

There are other permission levels, you can also specify your own. For a full reference of permission levels please see the Microsoft site:

Microsoft Office 365 Support – Permissions

Troubleshooting “this site has not been shared with you”

I’m often asked to solve permission errors in SharePoint. It’s not hard to do with the tools available in SharePoint, you don’t even have to know much about AD especially if you use SharePoint groups.

Ways to permission a SharePoint site:

  • Permission directly against the user – not recommended as a lot of maintenance required when someone joins or leaves the organisation.
  • Use SharePoint Groups – SharePoint groups allow you to manage users within the SharePoint interface, they can be reused all over the site collection
  • Active Directory Security Groups – AD groups might already exist on your domain, these can be used but be aware that SharePoint 2013 caches the membership of these groups for around 2 hours and when using Office 365, DirSync will need to run to replicate these groups in the cloud.

What can be permissioned in SharePoint?

  • Sites – entire subsites
  • Lists – individual lists and libraries such as a document library
  • Folders – folders within a library
  • Items – items within a list or library

SharePoint permissions flow down the site from the root of the site collection unless otherwise changed. If permissions are changed at any level, any items below it will inherit the changed permissions.

SharePoint has a very easy way to check permissions of an individual user, check out my video below on how to use it.



How to create a basic content type

I’ve just created a video guide on creating a simple content type and attaching it to a document library.

You can add custom metadata to a SharePoint list by:

  • Adding columns directly onto the list
  • Using Site Columns (can be reused with other lists)
  • Content Types (can be reused and keeps a set of custom columns together in a content type)

If you decide to use a content type, you will also get the benefits of being able to apply a workflow to the content type (rather than to each list individually). If you are thinking of developing search, content types can be a great way to filter and search for specific types of data in a list. You can also use multiple content types in a list (each with different columns), for example an invoice and a receipt.



Selecting an Office 365 Business plan for the first time

Microsoft provide a nice comparison list of all the available 365 plans for business.

Click here to view the comparison table

However when planning to move to Office 365, you may not have considered the implications of initially choosing a particular plan. You may also have a number of different licences for different users in the organisation (you don’t have to stick to one plan). For example some users may need to download office on their machine (accountants using the full desktop version of Excel) and some may just need a mailbox. I briefly go over the different plans in the video below.



Remember that business licences are for users who don’t need centralised deployment and control. Small businesses may opt for the business licences while larger ones may need some compliance and centralised administration.

Just a quick note on upgrading licences for older tenancies using the Office 365 small business plan. I recently worked with a client using the old Small Business licences, they wanted to upgrade to enterprise but due to it being on the old 365 platform, it wasn’t possible to upgrade from within the admin centre. The only option to upgrade was to create a new tenancy, manually migrate PST files (exchange) and re-sync document libraries (SharePoint) up to the new tenancy using OneDrive for business sync tool. Very annoying and a lot of work! However all users on the new platform with Business licences can upgrade their licences in-place by going to the subscriptions page. I have also been informed by Microsoft that these older plans cannot be renewed after October 2015 and Microsoft will offer some migration options before the licences run out.

SharePoint Consultancy and Services

Cloud Design Box

A few months ago, I started a new SharePoint consultancy business. I will continue to add blog posts here but you can contact me directly for any of the following Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 services by clicking here:

  • Responsive design and branding
  • Site architecture planning and implementation
  • Workflow and consultancy services
  • SharePoint upgrades
  • Office 365 configuration
  • SharePoint Support
  • Scripting and client object model solutions

We provide these services for education and for business. Please visit the website for more information www.clouddesignbox.co.uk

How to add the content query web part to a page layout in SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online

Content queries in page layouts can be quite useful when wanting to generate your own navigation based on page content type. There isn’t a straight forward way to adding these into your current page layouts so I thought it would be useful to share this method.

Open Design Manager from the menu.

SharePoint menu

Select “Edit Page Layouts” and create a new temporary page layout (as shown below).

SharePoint Design Manager

Select “Conversion successful” to go to the preview page. In the top right select “Snippets” to open up the snippet code generator.

Code Snippet

Select “Other Web Parts” drop down menu and click “Content Query”.

Content Query

Configure the web part including the appearance, title and queries. Select the update button to generate the custom code.

Web Part Properties

Copy the custom code generated, this code needs to be pasted into the HTML version of the temporary page layout via SharePoint Designer 2013. Once this code has been copied into the page layout HTML, in this case testttt.html, save the file.

SharePoint will then automatically convert this code to aspx in the file testttt.aspx. Open this file to grab the content query code which can be used in any page layout.

Page layout with content query

Of course you can use the design manager to create your actual page layout (rather than just using it to convert code) but many people find this restrictive and already have good page layouts ready to deploy.

If you require any help or training, check out my consultancy company Cloud Design Box which provides this and other services for SharePoint on-premises and Office 365.