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SharePoint 2010: The “What’s New” Web Part

There is a new out of box web part in SharePoint 2010, that is quite useful!  It’s called “What’s New”, and it shows you the newest items in a pre-set list of selected lists and libraries on the site.

Here’s how to put the web part on your site, how to configure it, and what it does.

  1. You need to activate the “Group Work Lists” feature.  So click <site actions>, go to <site settings>, click <manage site features>, and click to ACTIVATE Group Work Lists.
  2. Go to the home page of your site, and click to add a new web part.  From the list of available web parts, go to the Social Collaboration section, select the What’s New web part, and click ADD.ch5[50]
  3. Go to the web part properties toolpane, and this is what you’ll see:

In the Data section, this is where you can set the number of days of data to show (up to 7 days for one week), and the maximum number of items that will be displayed in this web part.

By default, this web part will show the date/time and name of the item as a hyperlink to it.  When you check the box to “Show list name and modified user” it will add the name of the item’s location, like “Shared Documents” in front of the item name, the person’s name also.

For the Target List drop-down box, you’ll notice that the list is a little sparse.  This will only let you select lists and libraries where the Modified column has been indexed.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

The drop-down “Use the below person column as filter” is an optional field.  You can choose to display the items in a given list or library, filtered according to the logged in user.  The drop-down box will consist of all “Person” fields in the list.  By default, this is “Modified By” and “Created By”, but if there are any other “Person” fields in that list, they will be available to choose from. (such as the Checked Out To field in a library)

The ADD LIST button at the very bottom lets you add another list to be included in this what’s new rollup.  You can add several more lists and libraries.  Not sure of a limit.

The Indexed Column

You can only use lists and libraries where the Modified field has been indexed.  Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to a list or library on your site, and go to the list or library settings page.
  2. At the bottom of the Columns section, click Indexed columns.
  3. Click to Create a new index

  4. Choose the Modified column in the primary column drop-down box, and click Create.

Once you’ve set the Modified column to be indexed for all of the lists and libraries that you want to roll up, next time you go to the What’s New web part settings, all of those will be listed in the Target List drop-down box.

Each of the lists and libraries that you set a person filter on will show as Personal Items in the web part, and the ones that aren’t filtered by a person field will show as Shared Items.  You CAN add the same list or library in here twice, once being personal and once being shared if you want.  Here is the end result:

This is a great out-of-box content roll up, and it does appear to be only for the site level, and not cross-site.

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