SharePoint Audiences

Written By: Knox Cameron -- 5/10/2011 -- join -- contribute -- (4718) comments -- printer friendly version

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

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Defining audiences

First, you need some way of dividing up your users so that you can identify who will see the information or links and who won't. You can do this with groups or global audiences.

Groups as audiences

With SharePoint 2007 and above, you can use SharePoint or Active Directory groups or Active Directory distribution lists as a way of identifying the users you want to see the information. You can list multiple groups, so that all users who are a member of one or more of the groups will see it. You can also make Active Directory groups members of a SharePoint group, and use that as an Audience.

Note that you can use distribution lists for audiences, even though they cannot be used in SharePoint for security purposes. This can be useful because these are generally less centrally administered than security groups, and there may be lists that suit your needs for audiences.

There are two main advantages to using groups as audiences:

  • You will often have groups or distribution lists already defined for other purposes that you can re-use as audiences
  • You can control membership of SharePoint groups directly in SharePoint, so you can manage who will see the content

However, there are significant limitations to using groups as audiences:

  • If the groups or lists do not already exist, it will be difficult or even impossible to maintain groups with large numbers of users manually
  • You cannot target users who are not a member of a group, so to display one set of content to some users and another set of content to all other users, you would need to manage two groups. Again, this may not be feasible in practice.

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