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I have never worked with SharePoint before and my company is looking to move all the customer information from their password protected Excel sheet :shutters: to a SharePoint site where we can manage access a little better. I have a question pertaining to my particular project and in general.

  • How do you set up the site so that it uses Active Directory for when users log-on?
  • What would be a good way of moving the data from an Excel spreadsheet to a SharePoint site?
  • What are some interesting things you have managed to do with SharePoint?
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uninstall is good! – Steven A. Lowe Jun 5 '09 at 2:11
from the FAQ: "Be nice. Treat others with the same respect you'd want them to treat you." It may be best to just not click on questions for products that you don't like. – Kara Marfia Jun 5 '09 at 12:42

The best thing by far with SharePoint are the basic out-of-the-box simple sites. Creating a team collaboration workspace where all project members can upload relevant documents, have a project contact list, a bundown chart published from Excel, a list of upcoming milestones, a documentation wiki etc. is really easy and set up with a few clicks.

You can do lots more with heavy customization, custom web-parts etc., but then you will often find yourself cursing the system and question the sanity of the MS team that constructed this monstrosity.

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It's difficult to get into specifics without knowing where you are wanting to go...but:

cool things we've done:

  • RSS feeds from external sites to their "My Sites"
  • weather updates on our intranet home page
  • Using Excel Web Services (like you were asking about data from excel) to post graphs and data from excel as well as KPI's (key performance green, yellow, red)
  • workflows for expense reports and timesheets

There is lots you can do in Sharepoint of the biggest things though for us was moving almost all of the user's home drive data to their My Site and setting up departmental sub-sites to allow them to collaborate together. Thus making it a much more interactive "file server"

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Any good links to resources for learning sharepoint? – Matt Simmons Jun 5 '09 at 2:54
Well, we learned it in house during our intranet development. The Technet virtual labs might help: For Excel web services stuff (graphs/KPI/etc): – TheCleaner Jun 5 '09 at 13:19

There are a lot of interesting applications in the fantastic 40 (available in Templates). Also note that the SharePoint site is actually running on SharePoint Server, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server , and it does a good job of showing off some of the capabilites of SPS 2007.

As far as the authentication question goes, to keep users from being prompted for login when going to a SharePoint site, you need to add the site to either your Local Intranet or Trusted Sites zones in your Internet Explorer security settings. If you are using Internet Explorer 7 and add the site to the Trusted zone, then you also need to modify the authentication type for the zone itself. I'd recommend adding it to local intranet myself, but there are times that you'd want it in trusted.

By default Internet Explorer 7 is set to pass through authentication only for the Local intranet zone. So, to make the prompt go away in trusted zones you must modify the security settings for Trusted zones. Go to your Internet Options, on the security tab select the Trusted zone and then click the Custom level button. Scroll all the way to the bottom and change the setting for Logon to Automatic logon with current username and password.

Uploading Excel to a list is simple in Excel 2007:

  1. data--list--create list (follow the prompts)
  2. data--list--publish (follow the prompts)
  3. the URL is the URL of the site without default.aspx
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Regarding your data, there are at least two approaches you will want to look into.

If you have just pure data it may be desirable to migrate the data into custom SharePoint Lists. This will allow you to put security on the individual rows and easily search and find individual records.

If you want to keep the data as a spreadsheet it is very simple to just upload the files to SharePoint and begin working with them there. The upside to this is that it is very easy to do and the users have very little behavior to change.

On the other hand, if you were looking to create some custom web parts for displaying the data in interesting ways, having this data be contained in a SharePoint List may be more powerful for you and your users.

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With SharePoint Services (WSS, the free version), we managed to do the following:

  • Intranet dedicated sites for small department, mostly to store or share documents (versioning, approval, central repository).
  • All sites are integrated with AD (users & group) out of the box.
  • A timesheet module where users encode hours per day and per project/task and an Excel sheet to view the consolidated results (with graphs).
  • An audit site with audit info being encoded and consolidated results and reports available. Some of these reports are customs based on the WSS dashboard templates.
  • Document lists with metadata associated to them (contracts with who is concerned, date of beginning, date of renewal, who signed ...)

Note that Excel Services is only available with MOSS, not with WSS. Excel Services allow you to embad and display Excel pivot tables and graphs directly into Web parts.

There are various cool webparts or add-ons for SharePoint. I cna only suggest you the CodePlex SmartTools suite (the What's New web part is simply brilliant)

We also use the full MOSS for a BI project and there we have some very good reports showing who sent in some document and who did not. Very useful and appreciated for document collecting processes.

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Ah, SharePoint intergration with Active Directory, now that brings back some bad memories and nightmares. I'm sure it's better now, but I remember calling Microsoft asking them how to configure permissions using Windows groups and was told we can't do that. I stumbled across it 3 days later. But the whole permissions thing is a complete and total nightmare. It might use Active Directory, but it had none of the flexibility of a filesystem for things like inheriting, mixing up permissions, etc.

Try out something else, maybe a password protected Excel sheet?

Just play with SharePoint a lot before rolling it to production and think ahead for what you might want to do with it. Our biggest limitation was we could easily copy sites to different locations and things like that.

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