How to Use SharePoint Offline

If you are a SharePoint site administrator or permitted user who occasionally likes to work from a designated work place, you may find it hard to maintain the site because you cannot access SharePoint offline. There are many instances that you will want to make changes or updates to your SharePoint website when in a designated work place such as your home or a place that is disconnected from your organization SharePoint. You can use the offline features to make changes to your website and update lists and libraries of your SharePoint data.

Depending on the SharePoint version that you have in your computer, you can use SharePoint Workspace tools to access your website in an offline mode and later sync all the changes you have made. The SharePoint workspace application helps to access SharePoint offline just like you would normally do in your server. If you would like to work offline using the SharePoint workspace, all you need to do is copy your website, library or lists to your laptop or a portable hard disk . Once you have copied the entire site and it’s data, you can make changes and work on the site at your comfort or preferred location.

The SharePoint Workspace application helps you to synchronize changes made to a site when offline and also uploads the updates to the website server. When using the application to make changes on your site, all updates are stored to the current computer and later synchronized in a very efficient and fast way. For you to work offline you must have SharePoint 2010 or 2013 installed in your laptop or computer and your machine must be running Microsoft Office-suite 2010 or 2013. The SharePoint workspace is an application that is similar to any other Microsoft office application and it’s ribbon driven.

Before you can work on your SharePoint offline data, you must create links between the SharePoint lists and the Access tables. After you have created the links, you can analyze or update them later by using Access and Workspace application. Sometimes, when working offline, conflicts may arise when two SharePoint users make same changes to the same link, file, library and data. If this type of conflict happens, use the synchronization options to solve the error and end the conflict.

How to set up a SharePoint Workspace 2010 on your computer

1. Locate SharePoint on your computer. On your SharePoint options click on “Sync-To-Workspace” . The “Sync-To-Workspace” option helps you to copy a library or a list of your SharePoint data.

2. If you are unable to use this option, you can copy the entire site by navigating through “Sit-Actions” >> “Site-Settings” >> Sync >> “SharePoint-Workspace”.

3. After you have copied the site, use workspace 2010 to view it.

When you are not in your office or near to your site server, work on any copied files in your SharePoint workspace. All the functionality that are normally found in SharePoint will be available. However, when using workspace application, there are some limitations to what you cannot do. SharePoint workspace 2010 allows you to only store up to 10000 files and you cannot create new sites, libraries, lists, calenders and wiki pages using the application.

Synchronization in SharePoint 

When using SharePoint workspace updates and changes are continually reconciled to both computers, which makes the content to remain the same. Only changes made to a list or file are synchronized and not the entire list or file.

Working Offline on SharePoint List Data

By using Workspace 2010 you can work on your SharePoint lists in both external and native state. Most types of metadata, columns and content found on SharePoint 2010 are also supported in the workspace 2010 application. In rare occasions when two or more people edit the same file, you can use the “Conflict-Resolution-Dialog-box” to solve the conflict.

When using workspace 2010, you will find it easier to edit and add list item data on your computer than in a browser of your SharePoint website. The applications also allows you to edit the data in a form-option and view the results in a grid like view. If your external lists were created using (BCS) in the SharePoint designer, you can also edit lists on your workspace application

How to Synchronize SharePoint Workspace With a Specific List or Library

In order to save space on your computer, you should be selective on what you select for editing. Storing to many files to your computer can fill up it’s memory and make the computer to slow down or slug.

1. Use your browser to navigate to the Website that contains the library or list that you want to sync

2. Click on “Site-Actions” navigate to the “View-All-Site-content” and on the appropriate library or list section, click on the name of the library or list.

If you are a SharePoint user who have been granted administrative privileges to edit and update the site. Contact the site admin to help you locate options such as site data, commands and links.

3. On the library or list tab locate the ribbon and in the Export & connect group, click on the “Sync-To-SharePoint-Workspace” 

How to Synchronize SharePoint Workspace-2010 with a SharePoint website

a. By using your browser, locate and navigate to the site that you would like to synchronize

b.  In the “Site-Action” menu click on “Sync-To-SharePoint-Workspace”

c. To control the lists and libraries that are downloaded

1. . Click on “configure”

2. For library or list, select it and in the download box ,check the “Headers-Only” or “No-Content” box. If you opt to check the “No-Content” box, you can download full content later when it’s necessary.

3. Depending on the size of your SharePoint site, it may take some few several minutes to download all data and files to your laptop. Everything happens on an invisible background and this helps you to do other tasks on your computer or laptop.
If you run a SharePoint site, you don’t need to have access to the site server in order to make updates and desired changes.

By using the workspace application, you can make changes and modify files of your site without necessarily accessing the sever. The Workspace applications helps you to access SharePoint offline and perform all the tasks that you would normally do in your SharePoint server.

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Marissa Hart is the Lead Author & Editor ShareMe. ShareMe is a blog focused on SharePoint Online. SharePoint Online delivers the powerful features of SharePoint without the associated overhead of managing the infrastructure.