Create Printer-friendly Pages and List Reports

Printer-friendly page
Printer-friendly page - click to enlarge

The search results (SharePoint list-items) within the Metadata Search Web Part can be rendered in a “Printer-friendly” page. In order words, the Metadata Search Web Part can create any report out of your SharePoint list data.

As SharePoint pages get more complex with different Web parts, images, and navigational elements all over the place, they become harder and harder for you to consume, especially when trying to digest the results of a search or query.

When you search for items in SharePoint, you will probably want to print the results too. The Metadata Search Web Part includes a Printer-friendly hyperlink which when clicked, opens up a new browser tab or window with just the matching list-items rendered in it.

While the search-results displayed on the Metadata Search Web part are paged (showing only 30 items at a time for example), the print-friendly version renders all list-items that match the query into one single page, without the SharePoint menu and navigation, or other Web parts embedded in the page containing the Metadata Search Web Part. The Web part includes all the list-items in the page because you want to print the search-results, right?

What if the number of list-items matching the query is in the thousands? What’s the performance like? Isn’t this going to kill our SharePoint servers?

That’s a good question! We have meticulously designed the Web part such that its performance will not impact your production servers. How does the Web part accomplish this? The Web part, using custom JavaScript code, retrieves the list-items from the SharePoint Web server in batches of only 100 items at a time. In other words, even if the number of items in the search result is in the thousands, the print-friendly page fetches 100 items at the most from the SharePoint WFE server at any given time.

I want to format the search results in a nice format so that when I submit the report to my boss, she’ll think that I did an awesome job. Can I format the search results?

The Printer-friendly page’s format is fixed and static. Its purpose is to give you the ability to quickly send the search results to the printer without the clutter of images, navigation, and other SharePoint content. The good news is that if you want to format the search results, you can export the search results to a Microsoft Word file. When you click the Export search results to Word hyperlink, you’ll be able to download a copy of the search results in Word. Once in Word, you can format it according to your heart’s content (or your boss’s preferences!)

Search results in Word
Search results in Word - click to enlarge

Generate SharePoint List Reports

Are you using SharePoint to store Enterprise data but can't find an easy way to generate reports out of your list data? From a business perspective, if you are storing information in SharePoint but cannot report on that information, you are not fully leveraging your SharePoint investment. The Metadata Search Web Part can be used as a reporting tool for your SharePoint lists. Because you can create printer-friendly pages (simple tables) and export the list data to Microsoft Word, you can create reports using this nifty Web part.

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