How to get Started with SharePoint & Document Management

Get Started with SharePoint – Beginner Tutorial

SharePoint helps organizations to store, retrieve, search, manage, track, archive, and report on various electronic documents and records. Because of the flexibility it offers, it makes an ideal content management system. A lot of companies use SharePoint to create their Intranets. In Microsoft 365, you can create a site from the SharePoint start page. You also get a SharePoint team site whenever you create a Microsoft 365 group in Outlook Online or Microsoft 365. You can use the sites as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from any device. All you need is a web browser and Internet connectivity. You can also use the native SharePoint mobile app to stay connected from your mobile devices in a mobile-friendly way.

Here are 7 basic steps to get you started with SharePoint Online:

1. Create a Team or Communication site in SharePoint

Long-story-short: Team site is used for collaboration with your teammates when working on a project and share information from anywhere on any device.

Communication sites are used to share news, reports, status and other important information about the company with broader audience.

In order to create one of these sites, login to Microsoft 365. In the top left corner of the page, select the ap launcher icon  and then select the SharePoint tile, click the Sites tile or All apps.


SharePoint App Launcher


At the top of the SharePoint page, click + Create site and chose either Team site or Communication site.


SharePoint Create Site


SharePoint Select Site


A site creation wizard will appear on the right-hand side of the screen where you input the necessary information to create a Team or Communication site: site title, description, default language, owner, members etc. Once your site is created, it will appear among the sites you’re following. Your site will not inherit the permission settings or navigation of other sites.


Note: If you don’t see the + Create site link, self-service site creation may be disabled in SharePoint by your IT administrator. You might need to reach out to them and request a site if that’s the process within your organization. On the other hand, if you’re in the SharePoint administrator role, see Manage site creation in SharePoint Online to enable self-service site creation for your organization or Manage sites in the new SharePoint admin center to create a site from the SharePoint in Microsoft 365 admin center. Site creation is not currently available in the SharePoint mobile app.


2. Upload a file to a SharePoint document library

You can drag-and-drop files from your computer into any SharePoint Online document library. Go to SharePoint and click Upload on the command bar.

Note:  If your browser is Microsoft Edge, you can upload whole folders in addition to files.


SharePoint upload


3. Open a document in a browser

You need to work on a document on any device? You can open and edit it quickly with just a brorwser. Let’s say you’ve got a Word document and the Microsoft 365 Apps installed on your device and you want to use their full capabilities instead. Click Edit Document > Edit in Word. That should get your document open in the full-blown Word desktop application. You can follow the same steps for Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations.


Edit in Word


4. Share document(s) / Co-authoring

Select the document you want to share, click the ellipses (…) to open the menu, and then click Share


Share word SharePoint


You can share a document with your colleagues or even people outside of your organization if external sharing is enabled by your organization’s IT department. Always check with your security officer or IT department if sharing externally is compliant. If it’s disabled, it might be due to some of your company’s security and compliance policies.

Co-authoring enables you to collaborate with your colleagues on a document in real-time! In a document library, click to open the document you want to work on. It will open in Office for web. The number of people currently editing the document appears at the top right of the document and you can chat with them.


SharePoint co-authoring


5. Restore a previous version of a document

Ever messed up an important presentation just before you’re about to present? Yep, people make mistakes and versioning in SharePoint provides the much needed safety net. Versioning is enabled by default and it does not take much of the storage space you get to use with your SharePoint subscription, as the mechanism just keeps the difference between versions (the delta).

SharePoint lists and libraries can store, track, and restore the previous state of the item or document.

Versioning creates a historical record of all changes, with the date/time and indication of the user who made the change, on a per-file/list item basis. The end user can view, delete, and restore a version if they have sufficient permissions in the library or list.

By default, every document library and list in SharePoint Online has versioning enabled. For document libraries the default number of versions is set to 500 for each file and for lists the number of versions for an item is set to 50. You can modify those numbers to meet your needs.


Sharepoint Versioning


6. Sharing data with your entire organization or your external partners

Over the years, Microsoft made significant improvement about the sharing options in SharePoint Online. You can share entire site, document library, folder, list or a single file with your colleagues or even people outside of your organization.

The files you store on a SharePoint site are usually available to everyone with permissions to the site, but you may want to share specific files or folders with people who don’t otherwise have access to the site. When you share files and folders, you can decide whether to let people edit or just view them. You can see who a SharePoint file is shared with, and stop sharing SharePoint files or folders, or change permissions, at any time.

Link settings offer a variety of options: Anyone with the link, People in your organization, people with existing access, specific people, allow editing, set expiration date, set password and block download. All these options could be used in different scenarios you might have.


SharePoint Link Settings


Note: If a sharing option has been greyed out, your organization’s IT department may have restricted it. For example, they may choose to remove the Anyone option to prevent links being forwarded to others outside your organization. If that’s the case , you can still share with external parties if they have an account associated with an organization or just a personal Microsoft account.

7. Easily moving files between document libraries

SharePoint Online is great document management repository and Microsoft is doing a lot to improve the end user experience by allowing a simple copying and/or moving of files accross libraries and sites. To copy/move a file from one location to another you no longer need to download the file locally on your machine and upload it to the new location like in the old-school systems. The new location could be another folder/document library in the same or a completely different site. In addition to that, the permissions of the file would be preserved so you don’t need to re-share it if other users also had acess to it. You can call the file action menu and chose Move to or Copy to option:


SharePoint - Move To Copy To


What is the difference between Move to and Copy to?

When you use Move to, the history of the document is copied to the new destination. When you use Copy to with documents that have version history, only the latest version is copied. To copy earlier versions, you need to restore and copy each one.

Who’s it for?

SharePoint for small business

SharePoint is a great tool for team collaboration. It is not only a large file repository; it also was designed to bring together different teams. While large enterprises use SharePoint to facilitate communication and solve complex business scenarios, small and medium organizations often ask themselves the question if SharePoint really is the right choice?

And the short answer is YES.

SharePoint Online offers the affordability of a monthly subscription service that can be accessed from anywhere, on any device. You only need to be connected to the Internet. This could improve your businesses’ performance  to a great extent. When storing documents in SharePoint, your sales reps, for instance, don’t need to wait until the next morning to reply on the customer’s comments in that Word document offer they’ve sent during the business day. The mobile features provided by SharePoint Online allow your employees to be aware of company news and urgent matters, while being away on trainings, trade shows or conferences. They can still maintain awareness of everything important and not miss a single opportunity.

Simplicity is another benefit of using SharePoint Online. In reality, most small businesses don’t need complex custom functionalities, but just a robust document management system. SharePoint Online’s rich out-of-the-box functionality, in most cases, can meet almost all the small business requirements. SharePoint Online is user-friendly, so your team can start using it without extensive training. Licensing is quite scalable, so if your business grows, you just obtain more licenses and assign them to your users in a matter of minutes.

What about security? In the highlyd dynamic and volatile environment of today, Information Security (IS) is crucial for businesses of any size. Moving your business documents to the cloud raises serious concerns. SharePoint Online provides a multi-layer security and compliance features some of them available accross the wider Microsoft 365 suite. Data encryption, enforcement of strong user password requirements, multi-factor authentication, Sensitivity labels and Data Loss Prevention policies are just some of the features you can utilize to secure your business data.. In most cases, small businesses can’t replicate the security level provided and frequently updated by the large public cloud suites like Microsoft 365 if they build everyhitng on-premises on their own.

SharePoint for project management

SharePoint, with its tight integration with MS Project is one of the most widely used tools for project management. It is a practical and comprehensive platform that can boost your PMO team performance. It’s a great place of reference for your project stakeholders to access project summary, schedule and task breakdown.

SharePoint gets your team together to work a project from anywhere and at any time as long as they have access to the platform. Project sites are well organized and there are lots of templates available to help better manage and organize a project, giving it a neat look for the team’s convenience. This also helps informative decision making.

Microsoft is constalntly introducing new features and updating the currnet ones.. Some of the advantages that make SharePoint he preferred platform for project management teams worldwide are:

  • Time saving
  • Security and compliance features
  • Ease of use

SharePoint for Modern Workplace

Microsoft 365 is the digital heart of many organiations nowadays. The cloud-based suite of applications is designed to help everyone be more productive. It allows groups and individuals to communicate and collaborate; through conversations, calls and hosting meetings inside Teams; whilst working together co-authoring in the Microsoft 365 Apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Having access to all that from virtually anywhere is a huge benefit in the remote work rising wave.

A successful modern workplace is designed to empower your team to reach new levels of productivity. It is critical that people create meaningful networks within the organiation, as well as with customers, partners and suppliers. Those connections need to be available regardless if people are physically in the office, working from a remote location. Hybrid is the way forward for many businesses.


SharePoint Online is a great tool and we’d love to hear your story with it. Have you started using it? Did you build your company Intranet on SharePoint Online? Do you still explore the possibilities?

Reach out to us at Impactory if you need an expert by your side on your SharePoint / Intranet or Microsoft 365 journey.

Additional Resources

    1. Want to know if SharePoint is for you? Read our expert review on it.
    2. Migrating to SharePoint Online? You can find helpful tips in our detailed blog post.
    3. Concerned about GDPR? Find out how to make your SharePoint Intranet GPDR compliant.


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