Help!!! My web part has disappeared!

At least once a month someone emails or calls me in a panic.
A web part has suddenly disappeared from the page and they have no clue what has happened or how to add it back to the page.
I usually tell them this first:

Webpartdisappearedrelax

And then we start investigating by going to “Edit Page”.

The following things could have happened:

1. Closed.
This is the most common scenario. Someone started to edit the web part and hit Close instead of Modify/Edit Web part.
It appears as if Close is no longer an option in Office365, at least not in my site. A mixed blessing, because I am afraid that it will lead to more “Delete”.
The good news is that the Closed web part is still around, with the same configuration it had when you closed it. Just go to the Closed Web Part Gallery and add it back to the page. It has been nicely recorded here:

Tip: Keep the Closed Web Parts Gallery clean. If you have many web parts it can be quite hard to find the correct one, especially if they are all called Content Editor Web Part 🙂

2. Deleted.
Someone must have hit “Delete” and not seen the warning message. The only solution is to re-add and re-configure the web part. Fortunately, this does not happen too often.

3. Hidden.
This will not happen by accident, but if you have multiple site owners, it can occur.
If you edit your page, you will see all hidden web parts with the text (Hidden) in front of the title, regardless whether you used the title bar or not.
Go to “Layouts” in the web part menu and uncheck the checkbox.

If this box is checked, your web part will be hidden.
If this box is checked, your web part will be hidden.

4. Targeted to an audience that does not include you.
Now this is a foul trick to play on a site owner. The site owner should always see everything in their site, and be aware if web parts are targeted. (Remember when we removed the site owner from a library?)
On the Edit page look for a web part that is not visible on your page and does not have “hidden” in front of the title. Open the web part menu and under “Advanced” look if there is a person or a group mentioned under “Target Audiences” at the very bottom. Change the target audience or add yourself to it.

Where to add the target audience in a web part
This is where you can Target a web part to a certain audience. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the web part under “Advanced”

Tip: Add a * behind the title of any web part that you target, to make sure you remember. (It may also help your co-site owners)

5. Content Query or Content Editor Web Part with no content and no Chrome.
This can happen if you have been linking to content that no longer exists, and you removed the Chrome (title bar).
Check your data sources and determine what has to be done.

6. Minimized web part with no Chrome.
This is possible if you are just displaying the web part content and you (or someone else) hit “minimize” by accident.
In Edit Page mode, restore your web part content and think about your Chrome.

Please note that libraries or lists will always return a message if there is no content in the library/list or filter, even if you have no Chrome and no toolbar.

All this in a flowchart!
I have recently discovered the joy of creating flowcharts. 🙂
And as always, if you have discovered another scenario that leads to a “disappearing web part”, please let me know so I can add it to the list and the flowchart!

Flowchart to determine cause and solution of invisible web parts.
Flowchart to determine cause and solution of invisible web parts.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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4 thoughts on “Help!!! My web part has disappeared!

  1. bobbyschang February 25, 2015 / 4:22 pm

    Great post, Ellen! This one does hit home quite frequently.So much so that I make it a personal habit to take away privileges to minimize, close, or hide web part under Advanced in Edit mode.

    I’ll def. be referencing this post to folks for future references. Thanks again!

    • Ellen van Aken February 26, 2015 / 8:26 pm

      Thank you, Bobby! I am glad you find it useful. Great idea to take away those privileges. In my case it can not be done for every site (it would mean too much support and I like my users to be independent) but in some cases I will definitely do that.

  2. Rik April 6, 2016 / 5:03 pm

    If the webpart has audiences misconfigured, and it’s in a conetnt area, it doesn’t show up in edit page.

  3. Dave December 19, 2016 / 10:01 pm

    Agree with the previous comment about target audiences. Still struggling to find out how they are misconfigured though. Anyone have any ideas?

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