Libraries for SharePoint Online Sites - dummies

Libraries for SharePoint Online Sites

By Ken Withee, Jennifer Reed

When you need a way to organize files so that they’re accessible via a SharePoint Online site, you find a selection prebuilt for the most common types of libraries in SharePoint Online. Take a gander at these standard libraries 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 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, 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 libraries 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 libraries of this type, you need a Microsoft-compatible XML editor.

    As it happens, Microsoft provides one — InfoPath. Keep in mind, however, that the form library is just a place to store the data that has been entered into the form. To build the actual form, you need to use InfoPath.

  • Picture Library: This library 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 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. When you create a Record Library, you are 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 Library: This library 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.

  • Slide Library: You can use this type of library to display Microsoft PowerPoint slides (or those created in compatible similar applications) to multiple viewers through the SharePoint system. You can also use this library type to find, organize, and reuse existing slides.

  • Wiki Page Library: Libraries 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.