Requesting Your SharePoint “UI Hacks”

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I am putting together a presentation talking about UI hacks that we all need to do in order to accomplish everyday UI customizations that our customers – internal  or external – require. For this one I want to limit it to SharePoint 2013 and/or SharePoint Online (Office365). Another way to think of it is how and why we brand SharePoint today on premises and in the cloud; not just things that people want cosmetically, necessarily, but stuff that is hard to do and must be done.

I’d like to collect ideas from all of you out there, which I will collate into some slides (with credit given, of course!). I posted a quick tweet about this and already got a few replies, so I figured a blog post would be a good way to gather information as well.

In thinking about this, I’ve come up with some broad buckets:

  • Inconsistencies
  • Documentation Gaps
  • Document Object Model (DOM) Changes
  • Missing Functionality (Oft Requested)

I’ve already got a few items of my own in each of those categories, but I’d like the presentation to be representative of what we all have to deal with, not just me. If you think I’m missing a bucket, let me know your ideas on that, too.

Let’s use this post’s comments to capture as much as possible. If you’d rather email me directly, you can use the Contact form. When I have a decent amount of content collected, I’ll come up with a way to share it on some level. (The actual purpose of this is classified.)

Thanks for your help on this.



  1. Hi Marc. I’ve had a couple of occasions recently where list views were unusable because a text column had way too much text in it to display nicely. The users asked for truncated versions of the text columns with a “more” button to expand the field.
    I answered the problem with some quick and dirty jQuery, but if it was going to become an ongoing thing, I’d look as working on the XSLT.
    Cheers, Adrian

  2. My most often used hack is to adjust the OOB SharePoint forms to embrace the fact that just about every one has a wide screen monitor. What does that mean: make the form 100% wide so that the available screen real estate is used. That includes the EditForm, ViewForm and NewForm, where I make all input elements, including RTE fields, 100% wide. (In versions <SP2013, also support RTE for non-IE browsers)

    A few others:

    1. Insert list item ID into the view and edit forms (allot of times users have a hard time referencing a list item and want to see the ID)

    2. Triggering the list/library Ribbon tab to have focus, so that available actions are visible to users (so many are unaware of what's available to them from a list view)

    3. (This one should be familiar to you) Cascading Lookup fields

    4. This goes along with #1 above: provide UI that allows user to open item by ID. I normally include this in the Ribbon as an option or a webpart on the list view.

    Hope these help your project. I'm sure there are many more that I can come up with. It's funny: we do them so often that we don't even realize they are hacks anymore.

  3. Custom field (< 2013) or CSR for hyperlink field that supports more than 255 characters. For example storing links to search result pages that are pre-formatted to include sorting/filtering, or report server pages that include query string parameters.

    Conditionally show/hide/enable/disable field based on user permissions or state of list item (i.e. task is complete, don't allow user to change status or show field based on user group membership).

    Unchecking the "overwrite" checkbox on the default Upload dialog.

  4. The last interesting thing I did UI wise for SharePoint was modify a NewItem / EditItem form to modify one of the input fields. I attached a jQuery color picker to the field so the client could change the background & foreground color to a carousel by using the color picker instead of just typing the hex (but also allowed for hex entry).

  5. I have a couple of systems where people want to add a child record (such as a related document) at the same time as the parent record. I hack this by allocating a temporary ID to the parent and child and then reconnecting them in a workflow post save. Another method I have used is SPServices.SPRedirectWithID.
    In an ideal world, SP would be able to expose the ID that will be allocated to the new record during the new item creation process.

  6. We’ve changed the target of subweb logo link so it points to the site collection web – kind of like public websites always points to the start page.

    We’ve also often hidden the left-navigation division, so make more room for content.

    A few times we have hidden the searchbox when a customers doesn’t enable search.

  7. Had a huge deal with creating a mega menu that was security trimmed for a school.
    Ended up solving it by inserting javascript into the master page that “read” the page and then replaced the content with a related div from an external html page containing the menu’s itself. Nasty and totally unnecessary!
    Structured menu’s make a great way to security trim based on groups, but hard to publish through the sub-sites. All other solutions that I found on customised menu’s then couldn’t be easily added to other sites within the web app. Frustrating.

    I would like to attach an image for your powerpoint, but find I am unable to in the commenting section?


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