SharePoint Audiences

Written By: Knox Cameron -- 5/10/2011 -- join -- contribute -- (4719) comments -- printer friendly version

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Categories: Configurations, Design, Features, MOSS 2007, Permission Management, SharePoint 2010

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If you run a "portal" site for an organization, you need to ensure that the information on the home page is meaningful and relevant for your users, so they keep coming back. But this becomes difficult when you have a large and diverse user base. For example, the Sales department will find information about new lines in promotional goods riveting, but it will have no interest for engineering. Conversely, engineering will be excited by news about a breakthrough in material bonding, but it will be gobbledegook to the accounting department.

One option would be to include all the information on the page that anyone would be interested in. This will produce a large and "busy" page, which users will find unattractive and hard to use.

Another option is to have separate pages for each department or group, but this significantly increases administration, and requires co-ordination to ensure that important corporate information is repeated on each page. It also isolates users within their silos rather than fostering the spirit of a single organization.


Enter SharePoint's "Audience" and targeting features. These let you tag web parts and information for display to particular types of users. Effectively, you can re-configure the page so people see the information and links that are relevant and important to them.

In this tip, we will talk about how and where you define an Audience, and how you can use it to show web parts on a page, items of information and navigation links. This is known as "targeting" information to users.

These features are available in both SharePoint Server 2007 and 2010, but note that they are not in WSS or SharePoint Foundation. Therefore, the discussion and examples below all relate to sites with publishing features enabled.

We will also review some of the important limitations of this feature.

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