Reusing Web Part Pages
In a previous post, I wrote about how to Create your own Web Part Page Layout Template. This week I am going to describe how to reuse a page that has some web parts added to it. You can imagine a situation where you create a new web part page and add some web parts to it. Great, going forward you will be able to reuse this work in new sites, if you use the original site as a template. But what if you want to have the same page in existing sites? If you have lots of sites, going to each site and creating a new web part page, adding and configuring a few web parts could take ages. In reality, this can all be solved with our good friend ‘copy and paste’.
Again, I will use SharePoint Designer 2010 to do this. You can download it for free from here. If you are not yet on SharePoint 2010, the basic principle of what I will show is pretty much the same in SharePoint 2007. Next time, I will write about how to enable the Quick Launch in standard SharePoint web part page layouts.
Create Copy of Page Layout
The first thing we are going to is to create a copy of the 4Cell layout we created previously. The reason we are going to create a copy is that we still want the 4Cell layout with no web parts.
- Navigate to the site the page is in and click Site Actions | Edit in SharePoint Designer.
- Click All Files and then BrightWork Pages.
Note: See here for more information if the All Files option is not available.
- Right-click on the web-part page and click New From Existing Page.
- Click Ctrl-S on your keyboard, click into the BrightWork Pages library and save the page with an appropriate name.
Note how we gave the page a URL-friendly name. You can update the page title in SharePoint Designer.
Let’s just imagine that you have gone and set up the new page like the image below. As you can see, there are seven web parts on it (one BrightWork tabs web part and six BrightWork reporting web parts). If you had a manager who saw this page, liked it and wanted it in all existing project sites, you could be in for a while of some boring repetitive work. Fortunately, we have a way of seriously reducing the workload.
Yep, it really is that simple. You can copy a page with web parts on it between sites. The trick is to only copy one web part page at a time. For some reason, if you copy more than one page at a time, the web parts are not included.
- Right-click on the web part page in SharePoint Designer and click Copy.
- Navigate to the BrightWork Pages library of the destination site (in SharePoint Designer) and paste in the page.
When you navigate to the page, it should automatically pick up the project data.
Note: If you used BrightWork tabs (like in the above example) you will have to manually update the Tabs list in the destination site.
Update Tabs List
If you are adding the web part page to a number of sites I suggest you leave this task to last (i.e. after you have added the page to the sites).
- Click All Site Content on the Quick Launch of the original site.
- Click Report Tabs.
- Click List | Datasheet View.
- Copy cells 2-5 that point at your web part page – just like in the image.
- Navigate to the Datasheet View for the tabs list in the destination site (i.e. the site you copied the web part page to) and paste the content in as a new row.
- Repeat for the other sites.