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13 October 2015

SharePoint Templates Manager For Easy Publishing And Use

SharePoint has in itself no easy way to distribute templates to all document libraries in the farm, but with our new kalmstrom.com Solution you only need to click on a button to publish all changes in the templates library to the whole organization. The responsible developer, Arpeet Gujarathi, will tell you more about Templates Manager for SharePoint.

Arpeet Gujarathi photoLast time when Peter visited the Indore team he told us that he had seen the need for a templates management solution in various organizations he had been working with. We discussed how to best create such a product, so I was well prepared when Peter gave us a prototype for Templates Manager and asked us to create a kalmstrom.com Solution from it. Peter and our Lead Developer Jayant Rimza appointed me as responsible for the development, and I was happy to take on the challenge.

Office templates
Every organization wants their documents to have a consistent look and content, and the best way to achieve this is of course to use templates for different kinds of documents. We wanted to support all the three most used document types, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, already in the first version, so that Templates Manager from start would be able to give users templates for the documents they normally work with. Icons on each template show which type it belongs to.
Word 2013 icon          PowerPoint 2013 icon          Excel2013 icon
Publishers and users
Often a few managers create and distribute the templates, which then are used by a much larger group of people. The development process had to take these two user roles in account, so that Templates Manager would be easy to use for both managers and users.

We decided to separate the two functions by creating two SharePoint features, Templates Manager Publisher and Templates Manager User. Only managers need the Publisher feature, and it is this feature that makes it so easy to publish templates to the whole farm.
Template Manager for SharePoint Search

Find the right template
The admin who activates Templates Manager User on a site also selects what library the templates should be fetched from. This way users never actually see Templates Manager as a separate solution – they only see that they have a set of categorized and searchable templates when creating a new document in a SharePoint library. As Templates Manager provides both instant search and popup descriptions, users can quickly find the correct template for each document.

TMTemplates library
Templates Manager ribbon group in SharePointWhen Templates Manager Publisher is activated on a site, a new document library is created there: TMTemplates. It works as any SharePoint library, but it has two buttons in the ribbon. One of the buttons opens a dialog for management of template categories, and the other one publishes all changes in the TMTemplates library.

Publishing
When you click on the Publish button to save changes in a TMTemplates library, templates will be updated on all sites where Templates Manager User has been activated and this TMTemplates library has been selected to fetch templates from.  If all users should have the same templates, Templates Manager Publisher only needs to be activated on one site to serve the whole SharePoint farm.



Gold Solution
Templates Manager is a kalmstrom.com Gold Solution, and this means that you may have more useful SharePoint Solutions included in the subscription for a fee that is only marginally higher than the minimum fee. I hope you will take advantage of this offer! But first you should of course try Templates Manager. We allow 30 days free evaluation with support.

Experience and re-usable code
Study Manager icon I was very involved in the development of two other kalmstrom.com SharePoint Solutions, the learning platform Study Manager and the resource booking tool Calendar Browser.

Calendar Browser for SharePoint icon This experience, and the fact that we always try to make our code re-usable, helped me a lot when I tried to find the best development solutions for Templates Manager.

It was a great experience to lead the development of Templates Manager! Please contact me if you have questions about our new SharePoint Solution. It will be a pleasure for me to answer them!

Arpeet Gujarathi
Software Developer
kalmstrom.com Business Solutions