How To: Build a Report Distribution Solution

This tutorial shows how to build a site to host company reports (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF). I will also show how you can make it easier for end users to sign up for alerts, so they can automatically be notified when a new report is added into the site. Any beginning SharePoint site owner can build this solution, and it will take roughly 20 minutes to do so.

The business benefits for this solution include:

  • Improves the flow of information throughout the company. End users can be automatically notified when a report they are interested in is uploaded into the system.
  • Simplifies access to information. End users can control access to reports.
  • Lowers email storage costs. Since reports are stored in SharePoint, and alerts are utilized to let end users know when a report is ready, no email attachments are ever utilized.
  • Central location to access reports. One place to go to view reports makes everyone’s life easier, including when new employees come on board. They no longer have to ask people for certain reports that only reside on personal drives or within emails.


Step 1: Create a SharePoint Site

Select Site Actions > Create Site

Call the site whatever you want. Select the following options, and click Create.

I prefer to use a Publishing site since I like to make use of pages to improve the end users experience with the solution. You can also choose a team site and create a web part pages library.

Step 2: Create a Document Library

Select View All Site Content > Create > Document Library.

I am creating a library to store Sales reports for this demo.

Step 3: Create the Necessary Columns

There are a couple of pieces of information we want to collect when people upload their report into the system. What is the date of the report and what quarter does the report correspond to.

Select Settings > Create Column

Create the Quarter column

Lastly, we create a calculated column that we will use for grouping functionality in our views.

Step 4: Upload Reports

I will upload some dummy reports into the site and input values into the columns (Report Date and Quarter) we created for each file.

Our library will look like this:

Step 5: Create the Views

Views play a critical role in this solution, as they give us different ways to present all of the reports to our end users.

View #1: Current Report

This view will always show the most recent report in the library.

The end result will look like this.

We will now modify the All Documents View.

The end result will look like this…

Step 6: Create Your Sales Reports Page

Select Site Actions > Create Page

Add the Sales Library Web Part. From the web part dialogue window, click the Advanced Web Part gallery and options link.

Select Libraries from the Filter Drop Down Menu

Add the Sales library to the top zone.

Select Modify Shared Web Part from the Edit drop down of the Sales Library web part.

Select the Current Report View, the No Toolbar option from the Toolbar Type drop down, and enter Latest Report for the Web Part Title, then click OK.

Your page will look like this…

Go ahead and click the Check In to Share Draft button. We will now upload images into the site so we can add graphics to our page.

After you upload images to any image library, we can build out our home page. Put the home page into edit mode by selecting the Edit Page button.

With you page in edit mode, add an image within the Page Image content place holder and enter your introductory text within the Page Content place holder.

My page looks like this…

Here’s the completed page after adding a couple of other web parts…

All of the other web parts I added to the page are Summary Links Web Parts. We will go through adding a Summary Link web part next.

The Sales Reports Archive Summary Link Web Part takes advantage of our Quarter column we created. We need to grab the appropriate URL we want to link to before we add our link within the Summary Link Web Part.

Go to the All Documents view of our Sales Reports Library. Click your mouse on the Quarter column header and select Q4 from the drop down filter menu. This will only show Q4 reports in the All Documents view.

Look at the new URL in the browser.

After the AllItems.aspx, you see a “?View=”. The numbers in the brackets is the guid of the list view. After that we see our first filter, “&FilterField1=Quarter”. Quarter is the name of the column we are filtering. Then we see the value for the filter, “&FilterValue1=Q4”, since we chose Q4. You can remove the View=guid from the url. It should look like this…

Copy that url. This is what we will link to in the Summary Link web part.

Put your Sales Reports page back in edit mode. Add a Summary Link web part below the Latest Report web part.

Click the New Link button.

Past your URL into the Link URL field. Fill out everything else as follows and click the OK button…

The page will refresh and it will look like this…

Repeat this for Q3, Q2, Q1 and All Reports. The All Reports link you simply link to the All Documents view with no filters applied. Once you have all of the links completed, you can modify the web part and change the title to Sales Reports Archive.

The Upload File and Alert Me images are Summary Link Web Parts as well.

Add a Summary Link Web Part to your page, click the New Link button and do the following…

The Image URL is wherever you stored your upload image.

The Link URL is the url of the upload page for the Sales Reports Library. This is how we get that.

  • Go to your Sales Reports Library
  • Click Upload > Upload Document


The url for this page will be similar to this…


You can delete everything from &RootFolder on, so the final url will be…


Copy this url and paste that into the Link URL field of the summary link web part.

Modify the Summary Link Web Part by selecting Edit > Modify Shared Web Part…

Within the Appearance Settings, select None for the Chrome Type, and choose a size Width that you like. Click Ok. Publish the Page.

Follow the same process for the Alert Me Summary Link Web Part, except when you navigate into your Sales Reports Library, choose Actions > Alert Me. You page will look similar to the image below, except for the Custom Searches section, which I will cover in another post.

Now you have a Report Distribution Solution, where users have one click access to a report archive, to upload a new report, to create an alert, and to see the latest report in the site.


One thought on “How To: Build a Report Distribution Solution

  1. Pingback: Building a Report Distribution Solution – 2010 Dallas SharePoint Saturday « Ben McMann's Weblog

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