Book Review: Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Plain & Simple

It was time for another book review on my blog! This time, I chose the book  “Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Plain and Simple” from Johnathan Lightfoot, Michelle Lopez, Scott Metker.

This colorful book has 19 to the point chapters for end-users (Business users) who are just starting with SharePoint, or people who just migrated from an older version. Everything is written in plain English, specific terms are explained in a professional manner without making it too complicated. It covers a lot of topics in its 440 pages. I really liked the plain English (like it promises in the title) so it makes for a nice read and for a good quick lookup when you want to do something in SharePoint and don’t know how. It also features some excercises so you can play around yourself and try it out!

I love the metro look the book has and the chapter colors. The pages are clean with a lot of whitespace, but perhaps too much whitespace. And if I have to be critical: I don’t need a screenshot to tell me to click “OK” as a confirmation after I do something.

I suggest reading the book from start to finish, and then use it to look up topics when you need to.

The book focuses on the Foundation version of SharePoint 2013.


Chapter 1 About this book
The first chapter gives the reader some guidance on how this book was written and for who.

Chapter 2 What’s new and improved in SharePoint 2013
This chapter tells you everything that is new or better in 2013, like the design, sites, libraries, Skydrive Pro and timeline features.

Chapter 3 Getting started with SharePoint sites
This is the first step you can take with SharePoint. What is a site, how do you create one and what can you do with it?

Chapter 4 Organizing and managing information
Next, what are site columns and content types and what you can do with them ?

Chapter 5 List and library essentials
What are apps, lists and what functionalities do they have ?

Chapter 6 Working with documents
How does SharePoint help me managing my documents?

Chapter 7 Working with media
What can SharePoint do with media, like pictures and video’s ?

Chapter 8 Using SkyDrive Pro
What can I expect from Skydrive Pro? And how does that work ?
How can I set up synchronisation ?

Chapter 9 Using information management policies
Talking about governing my documents and information, what can SharePoint do to help keeping it all under control ?

Chapter 10 Organizing people and work
This chapter focuses on tasks, calendars and issue lists.

Chapter 11 Using Web Parts
Here, we use webparts to display information on pages

Chapter 12 Using SharePoint with Office 2013
Connecting SharePoint libraries to Office

Chapter 13 Collaborating with blogs
Managing a blog via SharePoint

Chapter 14 Security within SharePoint 2013
Security is very important, that is why it deserves a whole chapter in this book

Chapter 15 Using personal sites and social networking
Introducing My Site, tags, mentions and tasks

Chapter 16 Searching for information
Creating a Search Center and optimizing search

Chapter 17 Community portals and sites
Gamification and community building with discussions and portals

Chapter 18 Automating tasks with workflows
Workflows in Visio and Designer

Chapter 19 SharePoint and eDiscovery
Legal hold and eDiscovery for legal purposes


Johnathan Lightfoot is the Principal SharePoint Architect at GP Strategies. He is a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) who specializes in SharePoint 2013, 2010, MOSS 2007, WSS 3.0, Office 2007/2010/2013, and Office 365 technologies, along with providing Soft Skills training for organizations. Johnathan also speaks at SharePoint and social networking events around the world.

Michelle Lopez is a Certified Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) who specializes in SharePoint 2013, 2010, 2007, as well as InfoPath and Office technologies. She worked for 15 years at Microsoft Corporation and has dedicated the past 6 years of her career to championing SharePoint solutions to communities and companies nationwide.

Scott Metker has been an enterprise architect on Fortune 500 corporate software implementations for the past 15 years. His current role, chief software architect at GP Strategies, enables him to focus on new product development and implementing software development methodologies. He has worked extensively with the Microsoft SharePoint and Dynamics platforms and currently develops commercial applications on these platforms with a focus on bringing cloud-based technologies to regulated industries such as Life Sciences.

About: Marijn

Marijn Somers (MVP) has over 14 years experience in the SharePoint world, starting out with SP2007. Over the years the focus has grown to Office 365, with a focus on collaboration and document management. He is a business consultant at Balestra and Principal Content Provider for "Mijn 365 Coach" that offers dutch employee video training. His main work tracks are around user adoption, training and coaching and governance. He is also not afraid to dig deeper in the technicalities with PowerShell, adaptive cards or custom formatting in lists and libraries. You can listen to him on the biweekly "Office 365 Distilled" podcast.

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