Author: Bill Bullock
Emailing updated versions of the document just doesn't seem feasible in these situations. Luckily, you are running a SharePoint server, and know how to use document libraries.
What? You aren't using document libraries? Don't know what they are?
Well don't worry, in this article I'm going to explain: what a document library is, how to set one up, and how to set permissions for who in your organization can access and edit the files contained inside. Let's get started!
Document libraries allow you to use your SharePoint Server like an online filing cabinet. You can create multiple documents, store them in an online format (rather than in your local file directories), and even work on them collaboratively.
The best part of it is that SharePoint integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft Office applications, so you can edit your documents in the same version of Word or Excel that you always have. Here's a quick tutorial on how to set one up and set the options.
How to Set Up a Document Library in SharePoint
Document libraries can be created from the client-side SharePoint application, by navigating to your organization's Sharepoint page (in our example, the page is for a fictitious publishing company). Once you're there, click Site Actions and then click Create, as shown below:
In the resulting page, under the Libraries category, click Document Library.
Now you are presented with a page where you can create a name and description for this document library, and set a few options including quick-launch navigation and versioning.
Enabling the versioning option will allow you to create a version of the document each time it is updated in case, for some reason, you need to roll back to a previous version. This kind of backup is usually recommended for important information.
The last option you can set allows you to set the template for the documents you will create in this library. This is what allows for the integration with the Office products I mentioned earlier. Whichever template you select will determine what file-type the document is stored as and which program will open to edit it on your machine.
When you are finished setting these options click the Create button, and you are done. Now all you have left to do is set up your permissions and get to creating documents.
How to Set Up Permissions for Your Document Library
To set up the permissions for your new document library, you have to go through a similarly simple process. On the page for the document library, click Settings and the select Document Library Settings.
In the resulting page, click the link for Permissions for this document library.
Now you will be taken to a page that has a list of all of the users in your organization who can see this document library. You can select a user (or multiple users) and click Actions, then select Edit User Permissions to bring up the permission options for that user.
The resulting page presents you with the different types of access the user(s) you selected can have. All you have to do is select the checkboxes for the permissions you want the user(s) to have, and then click OK.
You will be returned to the previous page, and you will see that the access settings you have just changed will be reflected in the list of users.
Now you are ready to start creating, editing and collaborating! Go for it!
If you're looking for more tips on managing documents in SharePoint check out my previous article on How to Manage Your Documents the Easy Way with Workflows.
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