Top 15 Best SharePoint Features You Need to Know

Top 15 Best SharePoint Features You Need to Know

In an era where collaboration and productivity tools are more vital than ever, understanding the best SharePoint features is key to unlocking the full potential of your workplace’s digital ecosystem. SharePoint, a cornerstone of Microsoft 365 SharePoint, serves as a dynamic platform for organizing, sharing, and managing content, making knowing its capabilities crucial for teams aiming to enhance their workflows and project management strategies. With its plethora of features from file management to Power Automate, SharePoint stands as a robust tool that addresses a myriad of operational needs, paving the way for streamlined processes and enhanced efficiency.

The following sections will shed light on the most compelling SharePoint features, including but not limited to advanced file and document management, customizable lists, intuitive content creation tools, and comprehensive mobile support. Moreover, readers will gain insights into the platform’s powerful full-text search capabilities, intricate permission management, and seamless integrations with other Microsoft products and third-party tools. By the end of this exploration, the article aims to provide a clearer understanding of what SharePoint is used for and how its top features can significantly contribute to transforming your team’s collaborative experience.

File and Document Management

SharePoint excels in managing the lifecycle of documents within an organization, from creation to disposal, ensuring that documents are handled according to both corporate and legal standards. This robust platform allows for the creation, review, publication, and eventual archival or deletion of documents, which is fundamental for maintaining organizational efficiency and compliance.

Change History

SharePoint’s change history features enhance transparency and allow administrators to track and monitor modifications across the organization’s SharePoint configuration. Users can generate up to ten reports detailing changes, specifying what was altered, when, and by whom. These reports are accessible from the “Change history” page and can be exported as CSV files for detailed analysis, ensuring that all changes are recorded and easily reviewable for auditing and compliance purposes.

Permission Levels

Managing access to documents and sites is streamlined through SharePoint’s comprehensive permission levels. Default permission levels range from read-only access to full control, which can be assigned based on the users’ roles within the organization. This structured permission system ensures that sensitive information remains secure while still allowing sufficient accessibility for authorized personnel to perform their tasks efficiently.


Metadata management in SharePoint provides a powerful way to organize and retrieve documents efficiently. By using metadata fields, such as document type, author, or sensitivity level, documents can be classified and searched easily. SharePoint supports a variety of metadata types, including text, choice, number, date, and managed metadata, which allows for the creation of a centralized taxonomy that can be applied across SharePoint and Microsoft Teams. This capability not only enhances the findability of documents but also supports compliance and governance by ensuring that documents are correctly tagged and managed.

Overall, SharePoint’s file and document management capabilities are designed to support complex information management needs, providing tools that help maintain the integrity and accessibility of important corporate information.


SharePoint offers robust capabilities for managing lists, which are essential for organizing data and collaborating within teams. This section explores three key aspects of SharePoint lists: Master Files, the Quick Edit feature, and importing Excel tables.

Master Files

Sharepoint lists are versatile tools that can be tailored to a wide range of business needs, from simple task tracking to complex project management. Users can create lists using templates like calendars, tasks, issue tracking, and surveys, or start from scratch for more customized solutions. Lists support various column types such as text, choice, date, and more, ensuring flexibility in handling different data types. Additionally, lists can be enriched with attachments for detailed documentation and configured with unique permissions for enhanced security.

Quick Edit Feature

The Quick Edit feature in SharePoint simplifies the process of editing and managing lists by providing an Excel-like interface, making data entry and updates quicker and less prone to errors. Users can enable Quick Edit by navigating to List Settings, selecting Advanced settings, and enabling the Quick Edit option. This feature is particularly useful for bulk updates and can be accessed by ensuring that the list view is set to default and that “Group by” settings are disabled. Quick Edit automatically saves changes, increasing efficiency by reducing the need for repetitive clicking.

Importing Excel Tables

For those looking to integrate Excel data into SharePoint, the platform offers several methods to import spreadsheets effectively. Users can import an Excel file directly into a new list, which converts Excel table headings into list columns, simplifying the setup process. This method is ideal for creating lists without the default Title column, providing a clean slate for data organization. Additionally, SharePoint supports importing data through Power Automate flows, which automate the data transfer, ensuring data is mapped correctly to the corresponding SharePoint columns. This method not only saves time but also reduces the chances of human error during data entry.

By leveraging these features, SharePoint users can enhance their productivity and streamline data management processes within their organizations.

Content Creation

SharePoint offers a variety of tools and features that empower users to create and manage content effectively, whether for internal collaboration or external communication. This section explores the capabilities of SharePoint in creating intranet and extranet sites, corporate blogs, and multimedia content, highlighting how these features can be utilized to meet business objectives and enhance communication strategies.

Intranet/Extranet Sites

SharePoint excels in facilitating the creation of both intranet and extranet sites, tailored to meet the specific needs of an organization. Intranet sites in SharePoint are designed to serve as a central hub for employees, providing a structured way to access corporate news, HR resources, and internal communications. With features like managed navigation and the ability to publish authoritative content, these sites help in maintaining an informed workforce.

For external communications, SharePoint’s extranet sites offer a secure platform to share specific content with remote employees, partners, and customers. These sites are ideal for distributing information like service packs, support issues, or product knowledge bases, which are categorized using metadata to enhance discoverability and usability.

Corporate Blog

Setting up a corporate blog is streamlined with SharePoint’s communication site and news posts. Organizations can leverage this feature to share insights, updates, and news across the company. SharePoint allows for the customization of blog posts with categories, filtering options, and even a bespoke template to start from. By using news posts as blog pages displayed in a news web part, the latest updates can prominently feature at the top of the site, ensuring high visibility and engagement.

Additionally, the process of creating and maintaining a blog is made efficient with templates. Users can create a blog post template with preferred layouts and elements, which can be reused for future posts, thus maintaining consistency and saving time.

Multimedia Content

SharePoint supports a robust management of multimedia content, making it a suitable platform for hosting and displaying images, audio, and video files. Users can add multimedia content directly to SharePoint pages using web parts like the Media Web Part or the Content Query Web Part, which allow for dynamic displays and configurations based on user preferences.

For videos, SharePoint facilitates various methods of integration. Whether embedding a video directly from a third-party site or using SharePoint’s File and Media web part to feature videos stored within the platform, users can create engaging pages that include inline video playback. This feature is particularly useful in creating compelling visual content that can capture the attention of viewers and enhance the overall user experience on the site.

By leveraging these content creation tools, SharePoint users can effectively manage a wide range of content types, ensuring that their digital workplace is both dynamic and functional, aligning with the organization’s communication and business strategies.

Mobile Support

SharePoint’s mobile support significantly enhances user experience and accessibility, ensuring that individuals can remain productive and connected even when they’re on the move. With comprehensive mobile applications for both iOS and Android, SharePoint allows users to access a wide range of features tailored to mobile use, making it easier than ever to stay updated and interact with team content from anywhere.

The SharePoint Mobile App

The SharePoint Mobile app is designed to keep you connected with your team’s resources at all times. It offers various tabs such as the Find, News, and Me tabs, each providing unique functionalities:

  • The Find tab serves as a quick access point to recent content, frequently visited sites, and important organizational links. It also allows users to view their recent files and the people they work with.
  • In the News tab, users can browse the latest news posts from their teams, read full articles, see engagement metrics like views and likes, and participate in discussions by adding comments. Additionally, users can bookmark news posts or pages for later reference.
  • The Me tab is where users can manage their profiles and review content they’ve saved, including news posts and files. It also provides easy navigation to recent items, enhancing the user’s ability to stay organized.

Optimized Mobile Browsing

SharePoint Server 2013 introduces an optimized mobile browsing experience, which includes:

  • Contemporary View: This view is optimized for modern mobile browsers and renders in HTML5. It is accessible on newer versions of mobile browsers like Mobile Internet Explorer, Safari for iPhone, and Android browsers.
  • Classic View: For devices with older mobile browsers, the classic view ensures backward compatibility, providing a consistent user experience similar to that of SharePoint Server 2010.
  • Full-screen UI: Users can opt for a full desktop view on their mobile devices, offering a comprehensive browsing experience similar to that on a PC.

Enhanced Mobile Features

SharePoint Server 2013 enhances its mobile functionality with several features designed to improve usability and productivity:

  • Navigation and Command Menu: Users can navigate using a simplified menu located in the title area, which includes options like site contents, sign out, and switching to PC view.
  • Tap-to-Open Links: Links are replaced with tap-to-open features, making it easier to navigate on touch devices.
  • Pagination and Editing: Lists with more than 20 items are automatically paginated, and users can add or edit list items directly from their mobile devices.

Mobile Views and Notifications

SharePoint Server 2013 supports mobile views that are optimized for readability and ease of use on mobile devices. It also introduces a geolocation field type for location-aware applications and supports push notifications for mobile devices, alerting users about updates within SharePoint sites.

By integrating these mobile support features, SharePoint not only facilitates a seamless mobile experience but also ensures that users can effectively collaborate and access important information regardless of their location. This mobile integration underscores SharePoint’s commitment to providing a versatile and user-friendly platform that adapts to the needs of modern enterprises.

Full-text Search

Azure Cognitive Search can significantly enhance SharePoint Online by creating a custom search solution tailored specifically to an organization’s needs. This integration not only improves the relevance of search results through advanced filtering and faceting options but also boosts overall search performance. Additionally, the incorporation of Azure Cognitive Services introduces AI-powered capabilities, such as Natural Language Processing (NLP). NLP improves the understanding of user queries, enabling features like sentiment analysis, entity recognition, and language understanding, which collectively enhance search relevance and accuracy.

Understanding the mechanics of SharePoint Search is crucial for troubleshooting and optimizing content visibility. SharePoint Search operates like a library’s indexing system, where it doesn’t require visiting every single row to find information. Instead, it uses a process called “Crawling” to store information in an Index. This index then uses “Crawled Properties,” but only “Managed Properties” are displayed in search results. SharePoint Search Web Parts interact with this index, using a Query Builder that allows users to specify Managed Properties to locate the desired content.

However, SharePoint’s default search schema primarily searches metadata and does not include the contents within documents, images, or reports. This limitation can be problematic when dealing with unstructured data that lacks metadata. To address this, configuring SharePoint to enable full-text search is essential, though it may not highlight all results within a document. A more comprehensive solution involves employing cognitive technology, which provides a robust indexing engine capable of delivering a unified, 360-degree view of an enterprise’s knowledge base. A cognitive search engine enriches content by extracting entities and classifying key elements from unstructured data, making it more meaningful and SEO-friendly. This enhancement not only improves searchability but also ensures that content is auto-categorized effectively.

Permission Management

SharePoint’s permission management system is designed to be robust and flexible, catering to a variety of organizational needs. By utilizing a hierarchical system of permissions, SharePoint ensures that both broad and granular control can be maintained over the access to site collections, sites, and individual items.

Hierarchical System

In SharePoint, all sites, lists, and libraries within a site collection inherit permissions from their parent in the site hierarchy. This default behavior, known as permission inheritance, streamlines the management process by automatically extending parent permissions to child objects unless explicitly altered. For instance, a document inherits permissions from the library it resides in, which in turn inherits permissions from the site. Administrators can save time with this model, especially in large or complex site collections. However, there are scenarios where different access levels are necessary. In such cases, permission inheritance can be broken, and unique permissions assigned to specific sites, lists, or documents to restrict or expand access appropriately.

Security Groups

Effective permission management often involves the use of security groups, which are integral to organizing users and controlling access levels across SharePoint sites. By creating a Windows Active Directory security group, administrators can streamline access management. For example, adding a security group to a SharePoint group allows all members of that security group to access a list or library. This method is particularly efficient for team management, as new members added to the security group automatically receive the appropriate permissions without individual adjustments. SharePoint also supports guest sharing permissions, enabling collaboration with external parties by allowing specific site data to be accessible to them under controlled conditions.

Customizing Permissions

SharePoint provides the flexibility to customize permissions through the creation of custom groups and permission levels. This customization allows administrators to tailor the permissions to the specific needs of their organization. SharePoint comes with default permission levels ranging from limited access, which allows a user to view specific list items or documents without accessing the entire site, to full control, which grants the ability to manage all settings and contents of a site. Custom permission levels can be created by selecting individual permissions that are necessary for a particular role or task, thus ensuring users have just enough access to perform their jobs effectively without compromising the system’s security.

By understanding and effectively utilizing SharePoint’s permission management features, organizations can ensure that the right people have the right access, enhancing security and operational efficiency.


SharePoint’s ability to integrate with various Microsoft tools and third-party applications significantly enhances its functionality and user experience. This section explores the integrations with Power Platform tools, Yammer, and Microsoft Teams, showcasing how these integrations can streamline workflows and foster better collaboration within organizations.

Power Platform Tools

Integrating SharePoint with Power Platform tools—Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI—transforms how businesses automate workflows, develop applications, and visualize data. For instance, Power Apps allows users to build custom forms and applications directly within SharePoint, enabling tailored solutions for project management and other business processes. Power Automate enhances SharePoint’s capabilities by automating tasks such as document approvals and alerts, thereby increasing efficiency. Moreover, Power BI can be embedded in SharePoint to provide rich data visualizations and real-time insights directly from SharePoint lists and libraries. This integration not only streamlines operations but also provides a cohesive environment for managing business processes.


Yammer integration with SharePoint introduces a dynamic social layer to the SharePoint ecosystem, making it easier for teams to engage and collaborate. Users can add Yammer feeds to SharePoint sites using the Yammer web part, which supports various conversation options like top conversations, latest conversations, or specific conversations chosen by the user. This integration allows employees to participate in discussions directly from SharePoint pages without needing to switch between apps. Additionally, using the Yammer SDKs and REST APIs, organizations can create customized integrations, enabling more controlled interactions with the feed and enhancing the social connectivity across the enterprise.

Microsoft Teams

The synergy between Microsoft Teams and SharePoint is foundational for collaborative work environments. Teams are directly linked to SharePoint sites, which serve as the primary repository for files and documents shared within a team. Each standard, private, and shared channel in Teams has a corresponding SharePoint site, ensuring that all content is centrally stored and easily accessible. Furthermore, when a new team or channel is created in Teams, a new SharePoint site is automatically provisioned, maintaining a seamless flow of information and collaboration across both platforms. This integration allows team members to access, share, and collaborate on files stored in SharePoint directly from within Teams, thereby enhancing productivity and ensuring a unified user experience.

By leveraging these integrations, organizations can create a more interconnected and efficient digital workplace, where information flows smoothly between different platforms, enhancing the overall collaborative experience and operational efficiency.


Throughout this exploration of SharePoint’s multitude of features, we’ve uncovered how its extensive capabilities—from advanced file and document management to seamless integrations with tools like Power Automate, Yammer, and Microsoft Teams—can significantly enhance organizational productivity and collaboration. The power of SharePoint to streamline operations, facilitate complex information management, and foster a collaborative work environment has been clearly demonstrated, offering a robust solution for businesses seeking to optimize their digital workspaces efficiently.

As we look towards the future of workplace productivity, the importance of leveraging a platform like SharePoint becomes increasingly evident. By embracing its top features, organizations can not only improve the management and accessibility of their critical information but also promote a culture of collaboration and efficiency. Furthermore, the potential for expanded functionalities through further research and custom solutions suggests an exciting trajectory for businesses willing to explore and adapt to SharePoint’s evolving capabilities. This journey through SharePoint’s landscape serves as a foundation for enterprises ready to take their collaboration and operational systems to the next level.

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What are the key functionalities of SharePoint?

SharePoint is equipped with several essential features including document management, content collaboration, site creation, and permission management. It also offers version control, robust search capabilities, workflow automation, and seamless integration with other Microsoft 365 services.

What are the recommended best practices for using SharePoint?

To optimize the use of SharePoint, it is advisable to use clear and concise headings and to organize content into logical sections. Utilizing templates can help maintain consistent site layouts and designs. SharePoint Online offers various templates such as team sites, communication sites, and hub sites to assist in this process.

What is the expected trend for SharePoint in 2024?

The trend for SharePoint in 2024 is expected to focus on the increased use of branded graphics and imagery in intranets. This represents a move away from standard stock photos towards visuals that more authentically represent an organization’s identity.

What constitutes an effective SharePoint site?

An effective SharePoint site should provide quick access to tools and resources, such as quick links, right at the start of the page. It is also crucial to avoid overcrowding the page with too many buttons and calls to action, as this can overwhelm users and cause them to miss important information.