Library Apps in SharePoint Online

By Rosemarie Withee, Ken Withee, Jennifer Reed

When you need a way to organize files so that they’re accessible via a SharePoint site, you find a selection prebuilt for the most common types of library apps in SharePoint Online. Take a gander at these standard library apps and the brief descriptions of what they do:

  • Asset Library: Here’s where you store information assets other than documents — ready-to-use information in the form of images, audio files, video files — to make them available and regulate their usage.
  • Data Connection Library: This library app type is where you can put and share files that specify and describe external data connections. For example, you might want your users to be able to pull data from a data warehouse. Setting up a connection to the data warehouse and getting all the server names, usernames, and connection information just right can be tedious. Using a Data Connection Library app, an administrator could set up the connections and store them in the library. The users would then just use the connection to the data warehouse whenever they want to pull data and analyze it.
  • Document Library: You run across — and create — a lot of these in SharePoint. Such library apps are for storing documents, organizing them in folders, controlling their versions, and regulating their usage with a check-in/check-out system.
  • Form Library: Here’s where you store and manage electronic versions of blank business forms for everyday documentation, such as purchase orders and status reports. To create and maintain library apps of this type, you need a compatible XML editor. Keep in mind, however, that the form library app is just a place to store the data that has been entered into the form. To build the actual form, you need the XML compliant form editor.
  • Picture Library: This library app type is for storing and sharing digital images. The difference between the Assets Library and the Picture Library can be subtle because they both store images. The key distinction lies in the name. The Picture Library is designed specifically to store pictures, and the asset library is used to store images. If you think of a picture as a photo and an image as something like a logo or graphic, the differences start to emerge. For example, the pictures in a Picture Library app show a thumbnail image when they show up in searches, but the images in an image library do not.
  • Record Library: You store business records in this library app. When you create a Record Library app, you’re adding some functionality that allows SharePoint to create record management and retention schedules. This type of functionality is important when you want to make sure that you are doing your due diligence in keeping track of your business records by letting SharePoint do the heavy lifting.
  • Report Document Library: This library app type is used to store and manage report documents. This library app is similar to the Report Library; however, there are some differences. Explore the Report Document Library and the Report Library apps to see which one you like better and which one best fits your reporting needs.
  • Report Library: This library app type is dedicated to web pages and documents that keep track of performance (and other such metrics), progress toward business goals, and other information used in business intelligence.
  • Site Mailbox: This library app type is useful to keep email and your documents closely connected because this app connects your site to an Exchange mailbox. Once connected, you can view your email in SharePoint and view your documents in Outlook.
  • Wiki Page Library: Library apps of this type have interconnected web pages containing content, such as text or images and functionality in the form of Web Parts that multiple users can edit easily.