For anyone just getting started with SharePoint, one of the big shifts in thinking is transitioning from file shares to document libraries in SharePoint.
File shares are based on the concept of office folders and file cabinets for storing paper documents. We even get an icon that looks like a folder when we choose to create a “new folder” in Word. After naming the folder, we can then place appropriate electronic documents in it.
File shares have several weaknesses, though. For example:
- Each document can only exist in one folder at a time, even though the document may be appropriate for multiple folders. Of course you can make multiple copies of the document and store them in various folders, but what if you later need to make a change in it? You have to track down and update each folder – and hope you don’t miss one.
- In a file share, there’s no way to see a small subset of information based on certain criteria.
- When editing documents, there isn’t an easy way to revert to a prevision version of it.
- Multiple people could be working on the same document at the same time, and overwrite each other’s changes.
All the same things that are stored in file shares can be stored in document libraries (which are lists of documents, spreadsheets, etc.) – it’s just that in SharePoint, columns organize like folders. Folders still have a place in SharePoint because they can be used for security purposes, but they are not the best choice for organizing.
Whether one is getting started with SharePoint or looking to become more proficient with SharePoint and unlock some of its amazing capabilities, getting SharePoint 2010 training or SharePoint 2013 training is a good way to get up to speed quickly. These course include real-world lab exercises, so that you can get a feel for what SharePoint can do your organizations, while giving you the practical skills needed to get to the next level in SharePoint.