mistakes to avoid with SharePoint for project management

Multiple Item Edit Form

August 23, 2011 by

Recently I started a project using our new Project Standard template. This template offers an enhanced setup and syncing experience compared to the out of the box Project Tasks list. I built up my plan in Microsoft Project, assigned some work items and entered good descriptions of the tasks in the MS Project Notes field.

Unfortunately I discovered that the Project Tasks list and the MS Project Notes field do not get on as well as you might expect: the Notes column in MS Project only wants to come in as a single line of text.

In other words, any of the formatting you do in the Notes panel (e.g. bullet points, paragraph breaks) will not be pulled into SharePoint and only the first 255 characters of anything in the Notes column will be pulled in.

You can’t really assign people tasks without providing a good description of what the task is. However, opening each list item one by one would be quite tedious, and the Datasheet doesn’t support rich-text entry, so what is the solution? Fortunately, I remembered a surprisingly little known or promoted feature known as the multiple item form.

Essentially, what this does is exactly what it says on the tin: it allows you to update multiple items on the one form interface. This would mean I could update the descriptions in all the tasks in my project with much greater ease.

You will need to have a web part page ready to use for this, preferably a BrightWork one.

To create a multiple item edit form:

  1. Open the web part page in SharePoint.
  2. Click into a web part zone and click Insert | Data View | Empty Data View.image
  3. Click Click here to select a source.image
  4. Select the list you want to use and click OK– in this case I’m selecting the Project Tasks list.image
  5. Select the columns you want to use in the form from the Data Source Details panel – in this case I just selected Title and Description.Note: Do not add too many columns as you will end up with horizontal scrolling if you do.
  6. Select Multiple Item Form from the Insert Selected Fields as… menu.image
  7. Click Project Tasks underneath Current Data Source.
  8. Click Sort.
  9. Double-click on Outline Number and click OK.
  10. Select RecursiveAll from the folder scope menu and click OK.

    Note: Selecting RecursiveAll means that all items in folders and subfolders will be displayed – necessary if you are creating a Multiple Items Form for a list like the Project Tasks.
    The form should load for you in SharePoint Designer; however, for some reason only 10 items are displayed.
  11. Search the code for DefaultValue=”10″/> and update to a number greater than the number of rows in your project file.
  12. Click Save.
  13. Click F12 to open the page in your browser. You should be able to edit the items and click Save when you are finished to apply the changes.image




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