Tips and Tricks: Closed versus Deleted Web Parts in SharePoint

by Kindler Chase 25. February 2008 18:41

There is a resource hog waiting to be released in your SharePoint environment… when a web part is added to a page in SharePoint and subsequently "closed" by the user at a later date, the end user will most often believe the web part to be deleted.

Let's think about why the end user believes the web part is deleted:

  1. The user most likely clicked the "x" button on the web part when editing the page (site actions > edit page).
  2. The tool tip on the "x" button says "close <name of web part>"  

Everything the user has done is standard practice for deleting/removing items in a Windows environment.

The Hidden SharePoint Resource Hog

In reality, the web part still lives on the page in a hidden state silently consuming server resources every time the page is accessed. What the user has done is known as "closing" a web part.

What happens if the user wants to add the same web part at a later date? They will most likely do what they were taught in the first place: Site Actions > Edit Page: Add a Web Part > And then select and re-configure the same web part.

What happens if the user repeats this cycle of closing/creating the same web part? The same web part will now live in multiple instances on the same web page. And over time this can become a fairly large resource hog.

Properly Deleting a Web Part

To properly delete a web part, the user should not user the "x" icon when editing the web part. Rather, they should use:

  • Site Actions > Edit Page: Find the web part in question and click: edit > delete (see screen shot):

Re-Opening a Closed Web Part

To re-open a closed web part:

  • Site Actions > Edit Page:
    • Add a web part
    • Advanced Web part gallery and options
    • Select "Closed Web Parts"
    • Drag-n-drop the web part back onto your page

Managing Web Parts

An easy way to manage all the web parts on a page is to simply append a given URL with the parameter: contents=1. For example:

http://moss/sites/marketing/default.aspx will become:
http://moss/sites/marketing/default.aspx?contents=1

Voila! You are now on the Web Part Page Maintenance:

Note: If a web part is closed on a page (Open on page? = no), then using the "Reset" action will not restore the web part to the page. Rather, it will "reset" the web part to its default values. You need to use the steps described above to re-open the web part.

Other Thoughts

I can understand why the SharePoint developers decided to close, rather than delete a web part when clicking the "x" button as it allows the user to hide the web part and then show it again at a later date without requiring any re-configuration. However, the SharePoint developers should have chosen an icon other than the "x" as this only leads to confusion.

Enjoy!

Kindler Chase

Kindler Chase
This is SharePoint's world. I'm only living in it.

Your host, on the right, with my better half, Sadi.