Collaboration tools are a dime a dozen these days, with seemingly every company launching its own version of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, or Outlook. If those programs sound familiar, it is because they all fall under the Microsoft Office umbrella. Another one of those programs, SharePoint, allows enterprises to create websites that they can use to connect with their customers, employees, and business partners.

For those who are not familiar with the finer points of SharePoint, its benefits include a powerful collaboration platform, ability to house servers in –house or as infrastructure as a service in the cloud, and scalability.

While some of that might seem overwhelming to you now, here are five tips that will help transform you from a SharePoint beginner to an expert in no time:

  1. Clearing formatting on your webpage due to text pasted with a different format: Aesthetic symmetry is important for your website, whether it is a commercial platform used to interact with customers, or an internal tool for employees. If part of your page is displaying different text than the rest of your page, you can highlight the section that you want to change and click the “clear format” button. This should leave your page with just plaintext.
  2. Speaking/collaborating with the people who will be using your SharePoint environment: Your enterprise’s experience with SharePoint will only be a success if those who are using it are provided the right tools to be efficient. Templates are a great way to keep information submitted by different departments separate, while also improving user productivity within the program. Metadata navigation allows other users to search for content in lists or libraries.
  3. Using SharePoint lists in place of Excel tables: If you’re an expert at Excel, you’ll be happy to know that the two programs are compatible. As such, moving into SharePoint is easy. Once it is there, you’ll have far greater control over multi-user access, views, approvals, and more. The best part is you won’t have to open up Excel every time you want to see it.
  4. Developing views within SharePoint: Views are an important part of the SharePoint universe, as they help users filter, sort, and group the large number of documents and other items that SharePoint can store. Views allow users to see columns of information without having to open each item, as well as letting them change the way that items are displayed.
  5. Research the functionality of the version you’re implementing: Yes, the final tip is a bit of a cheat, as it requires you to invest more time into learning the ins and outs of the specific SharePoint version you’ll be using. The reason for this is because many SharePoint administrators end up creating unnecessary custom web parts for things that SharePoint can already do directly out-of-the-box. Updates for SharePoint are released often, and it’s important that you or your IT department stay on top of the latest developments and new features as they become public.