The SharePoint Online Learning Portal





SharePoint Online is big.  Very big.

So big, that learning even its basic elements can be intimidating for end-users. So, to help organize my thoughts and provide a compendium of useful information, here is a good old fashioned link farm, devoted to SPO.

Here are the topics…(click the headings to see the instructional videos from Microsoft and other SharePoint experts)


  • Introduction to lists
  • How to create a List
  • Edit or delete items in a list
  • Load Excel Data Into a SharePoint Online List
  • Introduction to Libraries
  • Renaming, deleting and adding files within a library
  • Adding documents to a library
  • Understanding permissions in SharePoint
  • Managing Large Lists in SharePoint Online (greater than 5000 items)
  • Understanding the SharePoint Online Recycle Bin


Introduction to lists


“Learn what a SharePoint list is and see some examples of different types of lists, such as calendars, contacts, tasks, and custom lists.”


How to create a List

“This video-based training course teaches you how to create SharePoint lists using built-in apps, create and edit views of the lists, share lists with others, and set alerts so you can be notified automatically when lists change. ”


Edit or delete items in a list

“Learn how to edit or delete items in a list quickly in Quick Edit mode or edit the full details by opening an individual item. The video uses a Contacts list as an example, but the process is similar for most lists.”


Load Excel Data Into a SharePoint Online List

The easy way to turn your spreadsheet into a SharePoint Online list


Introduction to Libraries

“This video introduces you to SharePoint libraries and how they can help you organize documents and other files.”


Renaming, deleting and adding files within a library

“Working with files in a SharePoint library is easy. This short video shows you how to quickly rename, delete, and add files within a library.”


Adding documents to a library

“There are several ways that you can add documents to a SharePoint library. You can create a new document right inside the library, or you can upload an existing document from another location. You can also drag and drop multiple documents into a library.”


Understanding permissions in SharePoint

“Are you confused about how permissions work in SharePoint? Controlling access to sites, libraries and items in those libraries is an important part of using SharePoint in your organization. This conceptual video explains the basic guidelines to follow when working with SharePoint permissions. You’ll get an overview of these guidelines, including how to creating unique permissions for sites, sub-sites, and libraries by breaking permissions inheritance.”


Managing Large Lists in SharePoint Online (greater than 5000 items)

“No matter how big or small, lists and libraries are vital to you in many ways. But when a list or library is growing in size and might exceed 5000 items, it’s time to carefully plan and organize how the data is accessed. Why is 5,000 such a magic number? Because this is the List View Threshold, which blocks most list and library operations when this limit is exceeded. This blocking operation can be frustrating, but prevents adversely affecting the service performance of other users. Here’s some guidance for ensuring that you are not blocked, can fix the problem if you are blocked, and can stay on track. ”


Understanding the SharePoint Online Recycle Bin

“Unlike PC’s Recycle Bin, SharePoint Recycle Bin can store not just files and folders. It is a catch-all place for any user-created content that was deleted. That includes documents, folders, whole document libraries, SharePoint lists and even complete sites! So in other words, whether you delete a document from a document library, an event from a calendar, task from a task list, contact from a contacts list or even the whole SharePoint Site – they will all end up in SharePoint Recycle Bin.”

SharePoint Online: Copying Files to the Cloud with SPFileZilla



Cloud technologies offer many advantages but also pose quite a few logistical challenges.

For example, how do you move local data you’ve accumulated from your computer or on-premise network to a OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online site collection?

(And yes, we’re all familiar with the OneDrive for Business sync client but, on the Windows side,  that can get a bit wonky if you need to upload hundreds of megabytes in the beginning and the OS X client is often practically useless…although new clients are reportedly on the way.)

There are quite a few answers to that question; here’s Microsoft’s guidance.

That’s all good but I’ve had great success with an open source tool named SPFileZilla.

Here’s a quote from the project’s page:

Inspired by FileZilla, the fantastic free FTP client, SPFileZilla allows you to navigate and manage SharePoint as if it were an FTP Server. Browse site lists, document libraries, folders, and files. Download and upload files and folders, including support for nested folders hierarchies. Create new folders, rename existing files and folders, and delete files and folders. Also, you can copy paths to files and folders to your clipboard. Drag and drop folders/files into the application to upload to SharePoint.


Full at the SPFileZilla homepage.

The key to this project’s success is its FileZilla, FTP-esque style of presentation which makes file transfer and management very simple.

Take a look at the main screen to see what I mean (and by the way, you should be a site collection owner or admin to effectively use this tool):


At the top of the interface, you enter the URL of your SharePoint Online site collection –  for example, https://your-domain-sharepoint .com/sites/your-site-here.

Your username and password are, of course, the same that you use to authenticate to the Office 365 portal and other cloud-linked services (such as Outlook).  To make sure the application ‘knows’ you’re trying to connect to an online site and not one within your on premise domain, check the “Is SharePoint Online?” button.


By clicking the “Quickconnect” button, you’re logged into your site collection:


Notice the right-hand side of the interface which shows the folder structure of your site collection.  By selecting files and/or folders on the left-hand side of the window, and clicking the rightward facing arrow button (after browsing to your target folder within SharePoint) you can copy files from your local drive to SharePoint Online.

That’s it; remarkably simple.

And simplicity equals elegance.

SharePoint Online: PowerShell as Headache Reducer

Busby Berkley

Collaboration is beautiful.

When we collaborate, we accomplish miraculous things such as building pyramidssending robots to distant planets, staging intricately choreographed musical numbers or simply working together a little more efficiently.

Perhaps this is why SharePoint Online – a key part of the Office 365 suite – is popular.

By now, we all should be familiar with the sorts of things you can do with SharePoint such as:

  • Create sites for team collaboration
  • Build workflows to automate business processes
  • Create business intelligence portals

and much more…

There are two ways to manage SharePoint Online (SPO hereafter)which is SharePoint 2013:

  • Using the Office 365 Portal Administration Interface
  • Using PowerShell

If you’ve spent even a little time at this site, you’ve probably guessed that my preference is for PowerShell.

The reason is simple: fewer moving parts.

Consider the web portal:



Voila, a typical SPO admin portal (uh oh, looks like I may need to add more storage to my test environment but that’s a story for another time).

From here you can create new site collections, edit sites, assign administrative roles, modify the look and behavior of sites and many other things.

It’s a good interface; relatively straightforward – although not entirely intuitive (although to be fair, I’m not sure how intuitive it can be considering the application’s complex feature-set).

This is certainly a good management tool for making and controlling SPO sites.

The trouble is, sometimes the interface – or rather – the idiosyncrasies of the browser you use to control it – can create headaches that take you away from your actual goal of performing SharePoint administrative tasks.

To remove the browser from the process, I use PowerShell.


How to Login to SharePoint Online via Remote PowerShell

The cmdlet index for SharePoint Online isn’t as extensive as what’s available for Exchange or Skype for Business. Even so, it’s possible to perform all the basic functions of creating, modifying and deleting site collections, making it a very useful tool.

To run the SharePoint Online cmdlets, you’ll first need to download the SharePoint Online Management Shell which, as of this writing, is available at this link.

Once you’ve installed the management shell you can login to SharePoint online from your PowerShell session (launched as administrator) by running:

Connect-SPOService -Url -credential

Note that your login account must possess global administrator privileges or at least SharePoint admin privs to use these commands.

Also note that the URL for your SPO admin site isn’t (a common mistake) but

You’ll be prompted to provide your tenant credentials:


Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be able to issue cmdlets such as Get-SPOSite (which lists all currently running site collections):


You can see a full list of SharePoint Online cmdlets by going here.

Of course, your opinion may vary; that’s why we live in such an exciting world full of clashing swords (both real and rhetorical).

In my experience, managing SharePoint Online with PowerShell simplifies the SPO administrative part of my life considerably.