This year at the SharePoint Conference, Laura Rogers and myself had the opportunity to present two express sessions. Our sessions were relatively short sessions, designed to quickly highlight key features with SharePoint 2013. One of the sessions was designed to cover five simple improvements in SharePoint 2013 that will make everyday tasks easier to complete. In this article we will be reviewing the five features that made it into my top five list!

1. Sharing Content

The first feature to make the list was Share. Within 2013 there are now easy ways for users to see who has access to the content they are reviewing, as well as a way for them to easily share the content with users. The Share features depend on the User Access Request settings being configured and they follow a process so that if a user doesn't have the permissions required to grant access that the request is first filtered through the site admin. This allows for users to quickly and easily share content with other users, but doesn't allow permissions to be granted on a whim.

With this new scenario a user really only needs to understand that they want to share data, click the link and enter the user's name. The admin will then get the request and then grant access or deny the request. 90% of the time in previous versions of the product it seemed like permissions where being managed correctly, but when that last 10% hit it could often result in a large mess that needed to be corrected.

Because of the risk, it was often required that only a small subset of users could manage permissions. This could cause issues because it became a large bottleneck of requests. With this new approach you get the best of both worlds because users can Share content on their own directly from the document or site and then the admin can intersect the request and ensure that permissions have been configured correctly. This is a great example of empowering the users to complete common tasks without assuming a great deal of risk.

2. New Task List Features

Second on the list was the features included in the new tasks list, specifically the timeline features. Gone are the days of a non-customizable Gantt list view that was difficult to read and process. Instead, with this release the SharePoint team and the Project Team worked together to provide us a way to view tasks in a configurable manner. An example is shown below in the image:


Any task in the list can easily be added to the Timeline view and then each task can be configured to have its own display style. All of the customization is done in the Ribbon menu that is only selected when you click on the timeline.