Promoted Links is a new list type in SharePoint 2013. In some ways it is very much like the link lists available in previous versions of SharePoint. However, it adds a couple of special new features such as the ability to include a background image with a link and the ability to control the link target to open the linked content in a separate window.
To begin using a Promoted Links list, I navigate to the site where I want to use the list and open the Site Contents page from the Settings icon in the upper right of the page (the new Site Actions button). Next I click the ‘Add an App‘ button at the top of the Lists, Libraries and other Apps section of the page.
On the Your Apps page, look in the Apps you can add section for the app titled Promoted Links and click on it. SharePoint then prompts me to name the list or I can click the Advanced Options link to continue, but this only adds the additional metadata field of a description for the list. In this example, I am going to create a Promoted Links list of all the schools from a school test project. Therefore, I will name my list: Test_Schools. (Note, while spaces are allowed, I prefer to use underscores in their place.)
Once I create the list, it appears in my Lists, Libraries, and other Apps list. Initially it displays the ‘New‘ icon immediately beneath the object name. This feature makes it easier to find the newly created object. While it may not seem that important when I only have a few objects in my site, as my site grows and I create dozens of libraries and lists, this feature is worth its weight by quickly highlighting the new objects I created and am most likely to use.
When I click on the new list, SharePoint shows me the default message telling me that the list is empty, but that I can add tiles from the All Promoted Links view. At first, this statement may seem a bit confusing especially if I was expecting it to say something about adding a new item to the list. This statement however is just referring to the fact that there are two ways to display links in this list. I will come back to illustrate these options after adding a few links to the list. For now, I click the link All Promoted Links and then click New Item to display a form to enter the link information into the form shown below.
Note that only three of the properties of the promoted link are required (have an ‘*’ at their end). Let’s look at those first.
The link property Title is the text that appears to the user when displaying the link on a page. It is required and can consist of any text you like up to 255 characters in length. Of course I can change the default maximum length by editing the list settings. For this example, I will use Edom Middle School.
The second required property is the Link Location. This property is the URL or address that I want to navigate to when the user clicks the link. Note that this field is divided into two components. The first component is the actual link which in my example is: http://schoolcollaboration.fl.net/SitePages/Home.aspx. The second component is a description for the link which I will call Edom Middle School Site.
The third required property is the Launch Behavior. This property tells SharePoint how to open the link. For example, the default is to open the linked page in the same window/tab that I am currently in. I can also open the link in a dialog window, a separate window that allows the user to simply close the window to return to my site without losing their place. The third option opens the link in a new tab in the current browser instance. I generally recommend In-page navigation for links to pages within my site and dialog or new tab to launch linked pages in other sites. The theory behind this rule is that I want to minimize the number of open windows while still giving the user the option of quickly returning to the page containing the link.
If I were to click the Save button at this point to save my link and then display the Promoted List on a page, it would look like the following figure:
This view is essentially the standard list view that I am familiar with from past versions of SharePoint. However, if I edit the page and then edit the web part, I can change the Selected View in the web part dialog to the Tiles view as shown in the figure to the right. The standard list view is the All Promoted Links view. Of course, just like any other list, I can create my own customized list view based on either the Tiles or All Promoted Links views.
So what does the Tiles view look like? It reminds me of the Modern (Metro) interface style of Windows 8 as shown to the left. Note however that the top area is blank (or in this case a green square) while the title appears at the bottom in a darker green square. Furthermore, when I hover over the tile with my mouse, the title moves up to the top of the tile and the dark green color covers the entire tile.
The reason the top square is blank is that I did not include all of the available list options. Specifically, I did not include a background image to use with the link. To do this, I first have to capture the image I want to appear on the tile and save it to my SharePoint site. For this example, I’ve taken the school logo and loaded it into my Site Assets library.
After loading the image into my Site Assets library, I can return to the Test_Schools promoted list and edit the entry for Edom Middle School adding the Background Image Location value as shown in the following figure.
I can also add a description for this image. However, like the description for the Link Location, this information does not appear on the final tile view.
Now when I return to my page to view the pilot schools, the link looks like the following figure.
In a similar fashion, I can add the other tiles for the other pilot schools in the project using a logo when available for each school. After saving my work and displaying the page, I might see something like the following:
The first thing to note is that the Promoted Link list only appears as a single line of icons across the top of the page (or content area). It does not have the ability to wrap to multiple lines to create a grid of icons like I see in the All Site Content page. However, I do get a pair of navigation buttons in the upper right corner when necessary that allow me to scroll through the icons to find the one I want to click on.
Another issue is that the default order of the icons appears to display the most recently added links starting from the left to the right. If I want to change the order of the icons, I must use the Order property of the list to define the order that I want the links to appear.
That’s about all you need to know about the Promoted List other than that you may want to resize your background images to 150×150 pixels before uploading them to improve performance.
C’ya next time.