SharePoint Style Counsel

StyleWhen you select your clothes for today, you can decide to wear something that is clean, whole and covers what needs to be covered. You can also refine your selection by choosing something that matches your mood and flatters your personality, figure and colouring. Then you can add accessories like jewelry, a scarf and a good handbag to make the end result even better.

Hello! This is a SharePoint blog!
Yes, be patient, I am getting there :-).
Most people think that SharePoint does not look nice. So they customize the standard look and feel. They bring in a bunch of designers for every site that facilitates an important corporate initiative. They add pictures, icons and headers to sites with lesser visibility, all to make it look a little better.
Yet these are just the accessories that only work well when the content is good, and is displayed in the best possible way.

How do I display my content in the best way?
Using the default view for a web part or a list/library is dressing your content in something that does what it must do. Functional, but not always optimal. Why not put in some effort to make sure it is really both the best possible content and it looks good?
First of all, check if the columns, sort order, filters and grouping that you display are just right for your purpose and your audience.
Then you can select a View Style that enhances your content style, makes it easy for your audience to use it, and displays it in its full glory.

Where do I find the View Styles?
They are on the page where you create or modify a View, between “Totals” and “Folders”. If you expand it, you will see a number of different styles. Most styles mentioned below are available for Lists as well as Document and Picture libraries.

Basic Table and Default.
This is the default look. In my Office 365/SharePoint 2010 environment they are the same. In Picture Libraries, the default style is the Picture Library Details style.

Default View
Default View

Boxed, no labels and Boxed.
Both styles display your line item in a coloured box, showing two items next to each other in the zone. This is ideal to display content such as contact details. The “Boxed” displays the column names, the “Boxed no labels” does not and is somewhat crisper, but only when the content speaks for itself. (e.g. you will recognize that the content is address and telephone number, or as in the example below, it is an announcement).
This style is comparable to the “Document Details” view in Document and Picture Libraries.

Boxed No Label
Boxed No Label
Document Details
Document Details

Newsletter and Newsletter, no lines.
If your list has a “multiple lines of text” column the Newsletter Style will make the most of your text content. Your text field will be spread over the full width of the zone, which reads much easier and makes much better use of the column width.
Make sure the text box is the last column to be displayed in the view, and use the minimum of other columns (e.g. Title, Created and Created By) to make your text stand out!
I have used this style for the memo’s in Facebook in a Team Site, and for an in-company blog (based on an Announcement list) before we had proper blog functionality.

Newsletter Style
Newsletter Style

Shaded.
Does your long list look plain and boring? Is it difficult to see which line item is which? Are you tired of that solid block of white background? You may want to try the Shaded Style. This adds a soft background colour to alternate line items. It is ideal to break up long lists or lists where the column content is spread over two or more lines. Using the Shaded view makes it easy to see which content belongs to which line item. This is the style I use most often.

Shaded View
Shaded View – the exact shade is depending on theme; here it is not very pronounced.

Preview Pane.
Do you want to show many columns in your list, but you do not have enough room in your zone to display nicely? Or do you have a long list wtih many columns? The Preview Pane shows all item titles on the left hand side, and the other selected columns of the item when you hover over the title. This way you can show your content on-demand, in a compact way. Your titles should be very precise, of course, because you have no other indication of the content.

Preview Pane Landing
Preview Pane landing page
Preview Pane upon selecting title
Preview Pane upon selecting a title

Please note that styles may change functionality; please read Veronique’s post.

Do you have any nice examples of using different styles to display your content? And what is your favourite style?

Image courtesy of debspoons at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Title based on the band The Style Council. I wonder where they got their name from? 🙂

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