Lesser Used Web Parts of SharePoint

This week I’m beginning my summer break from BI and returning to SharePoint to look at some of what I like to call the lesser used web parts. Some of these web parts I will discuss over the next several weeks did not exist in the original SharePoint 2007 (Original for me because that is when I started using SharePoint). Some of the web parts might not have even existed in SharePoint 2010, but only appeared in SharePoint 2013. So depending on which version of SharePoint your site is current on, you may or may not see some of the web parts I will describe. However, I will try to tell you whether the web part existing at least in SharePoint 2010 and/or SharePoint 2013. Some might even appear within different categories of web parts because Microsoft chose to regroup some web parts between 2010 and 2013. I will try to let you know that too. With that in mind, let’s begin with a web part that did exist in both SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013:

Relevant Documents Web Part

Often the number of documents in a site becomes overwhelmingly large and finding the documents I worked on can be quite a challenge. This is especially true of collaboration sites. The Relevant Documents web part, which exists in both SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013, helps me find what I want. Furthermore, my site does not need a custom view or custom page to display the documents relevant to each person who has edit rights to the site. This web part automatically detects the currently logged in user and filters the documents returned by that user. I don’t even need to know in which library to search in because this web part searches across all libraries in the current site (but not subsites). That means that it returns not only documents from the document libraries in the site regardless of the library names, but also items from image libraries and page libraries. Let’s see an example.

The Relevant Documents web part, like all web parts, must be hosted within a page. Therefore, I must first either create the page I want to use or navigate to an existing page.

Next I edit the page. Depending on the version of SharePoint, the Edit this page option may either appear in the Site Actions dropdown menu (2010), the Actions icon (2013), or the Edit button (2013).

I then find a place on the page where I want to add the web part and from the Insert tab, click on Web Part in the Parts group as shown in the following image.

SharePoint then displays three boxes across the top of the page beginning with Categories on the left. Select Content Rollup from the Categories list.

I now see the Relevant Documents web part in the Parts box. Select this web part by clicking on it.

Additional information about the selected web part then appears in the About the part box. To add the web part to my page, I simply click the Add button in the bottom right side of this area.

The following figure shows how this dialog looks in SharePoint 2013. However, the changes in SharePoint 2010 are minimal.

After I add the web part to the page, it automatically displays any documents in the current site that I last modified by default. The theory of this default is that documents I recently modified would be the most likely files I would want to return to edit further.

This web part does have some properties that I may want to tweak. To open the web part properties, hover over the web part title until the dropdown arrow appears on the right side of the header.

Select: Edit Web Part from the dropdown menu. I then need to scroll to the right and possibly up to see the properties panel. This dialog consists of several property groups. The first group: Appearance, is open by default. Here I can change the Title property to change the web part’s displayed title.

The other properties I may want to change can be found the Data group as shown below:

Note that there are separate options to let me see all documents that I created, even after someone else modifies it and documents which I may have checked out that others created and modified. The checkbox to include a link to the folder or list allows me to open the library rather than just opening the document. Finally, I can adjust the number of items shown in the list. However, my recommendation is that for most users, a number from 1 to 100 makes the most sense.

In conclusion, I could create a page on my site with the name My Relevant Documents. Then by using this web part, every contributor to my site can go to that one page to see only the documents that they have added or have been working on.

That’s all for this week. Hope you are having a good summer and next week I will continue with a related web part: Site Aggregator.



Map It For Me, Please

Last week I introduced Power View by creating a simple table and then a chart from that table. This week, I’ll do a quick overview of another visualization within Power View, the ability to display your data on a map.

To begin, I open Excel and build a data model with the data I want to visualize in a map. I need to specify location information using some of the fields in the data model. In theory, I can use anything that identifies where the measure I’m displaying takes place. Ideally, I would like to have latitude and longitude for each fact instance in the fact table, but that is not always possible or even necessary. For example, let’s begin by looking at the relative sales by city from the Contoso dataset.

After opening my Excel spreadsheet and building an appropriate data model, I return to the Excel window and from the Insert tab click the Power View button in the reports section.

This opens a new worksheet as shown below with a blank design area on the left and my field list from my data model on the right.

I then drag the fields I want to use in my data visualization to the Fields box at the bottom of the right panel. For this example, I will drag the CityName field from the Geography dimension and the SalesAmount field from the FactSales table. This gives me the two column table shown below with sorted by the city by default.

To change the visualization, I need to open the Design tab which appears when I click anywhere within the table in my design area. If I had multiple tables, I would have to be sure to click in the table for which I want to change the visualization first. Then from the Switch Visualization group, I select Map.

The default visualization, shown below, displays a bubble for each city that I have data. Each bubble’s size represents the relative sales amount derived from that city.

Because I did not specify a field to use as a group level for color, all of the bubbles initially appear the same color. However, I can easily specify a different color for each country by copying the field RegionCountryName to the Color parameter. This assigns a unique color to the bubbles within a country that is different compared with other countries. At first glance, everything may appear to be okay, but then I noticed a bubble in the southeast portion of the United States that had a different color. Hovering over that bubble, I see information about the bubble including the city name, the country, and the sales amount. In this case, the city is Saint Petersburg. However the country is Russia, not the United States (Saint Petersburg, Florida is perhaps what the map was thinking.) This occurred because the location criteria was only based only on city, not city within the country. In fact, if I zoom into the map further, I find other bubbles that placed the city in the wrong country.

One way to fix this issue is to use a field that has both the city name and country in it. However, you cannot create a new calculated column from within Power View. This type of change must occur in the data model. Therefore, I could return to the data model and open the DimGeography table to create a new concatenated field. This field combines the city and country names into a single new field: City_Country using the following formula:

= [CityName] & “, ” & [RegionCountryName]

The resulting new column appears in the following figure.

If I replace the [CityName] field with the [City_Country] field in the locations box as shown below, it appears at first glance that the problems with incorrectly positioned cities have been solved.

But again if I expand the map, I can find a few cities such as the one shown in the figure below that are not correctly positioned.

Honestly, I have not been able to figure out why a few cities are still displayed incorrectly. However, I have another way I can ‘fix’ the problem. First I turn on the Filters Area which has been turned off to maximize the size of the map.

I then drag the RegionCountryName field from the DimGeograph table over to the Filter panel. This shows me a list of unique values for this field. I can then use the check box to select one or more countries to display on the map at one time. For example, let’s just display the United States.

When I add the filter, the bubble for Cheshire, United Kingdom disappears. As you can see in the following figure. Changing the map background to Road Map Background, I get a more colorful map that might be more suited for a report that appears in color.

However, this is not the only way to filter data. I can also create a slicer in the design area by dragging the field by which I want to select data and dropping it in an empty part of the design area. The figure below shows me dragging the field RegionCountryName to the design area to the right of the map legend. This initially creates a single column table with the values from this field.

Next, without leaving the field, I can go to the Design tab to the right of the Power View tab and select the Slicer button from the Slicer group. This action converts the table into a slicer object that controls all the other objects in the current page.

Now I can filter the map to any country I want to focus on. Typically, selecting a country also zooms into the map to display that country as shown in the following image in which I selected Japan.

Any time that I want to return to the map displaying all the countries again I can click on the small blue ‘eraser’ button in the upper right corner of the slicer table. Note that this button only appears while the mouse is hovering within the slicer.

That’s it for this week. Next time I will look at some other features of Power View. C’ya.