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The SharePoint Summary Link Web Part

Written By: Dave Jackson -- 12/1/2010 -- join -- contribute -- (14) comments -- printer friendly version

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Categories: Design, MOSS 2007, Web Parts, WSS3

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Problem

The SharePoint Summary Link Web Part has some interesting features, but what are the trade-offs versus using a standard "Links List"?

Solution

This tip is intended to introduce the Summary Link Web Part.  This web part is a more robust way to present a collection of links or URL's on your SharePoint sites by grouping them and giving them style.  It is foundationally quite different and more flexible than the simple method of adding a standard "Links List" collection as a web part on a site.  It is important to understand how the Summary Link Web Part works in order to effectively leverage this web part.  There are a couple of things you sacrifice when switching to a Summary Link Web Part.

Before we begin, let's review some of the features and limitations of using standard "Links List" on a site:

  • Features and Limitations of Adding "Links List" to a Site
    • Only users with "Full Control" rights can add the web part to a site by editing the page.
    • Users with "Contributor" rights can add and delete links to a "Links List" collection.
    • Each link in a collection is stored as a separate row in the content database.
    • Deleted links can easily be retrieved from the recycle bin.
    • Limited style options available when modifying the "Current View" of the web part.
    • Grouping of links not easily done unless different "Links Lists" are created.
    • Mass updates to a collection of links can be tedious and time-consuming.

Now let's contrast that with some of the features and limitations of using a Summary Link Web Part:

  • Features and Limitations of Adding a Summary Link Web Part to a Site
    • Only users with "Full Control" rights can add the web part to a site by editing the page.
    • Only users with "Full Control" rights can add and delete links to a Summary Link Web Part by editing the page.
    • All links in a Summary Link Web Part are stored as one row in the content database (as part of the ASPX page).
    • Deleted links and Summary Link Web Parts can NOT be retrieved from the recycle bin.
    • Numerous style options are available inside of a Summary Link Web Part.
    • Grouping and organizing of links is easily done inside of a Summary Link Web Part.
    • Mass updates to an entire page of links can easily be done using SharePoint Designer.

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