Participate in a discussion

A discussion board is a place to share information and discuss topics with other people. When you create a discussion topic or reply to an existing discussion, you can format your text, insert a hyperlink or table, and link to a picture on the Web. Not only can you participate in a discussion board on a SharePoint site, but you can also send an e-mail and connect with Outlook 2010.

What do you want to do?

Overview of discussion boards

Participate in a discussion on a SharePoint site

Participate in a discussion by sending e-mail

Participate in a discussion by connecting with Outlook

Comparing the use of sending e-mail and connecting with Outlook

Participate in a discussion board on a SharePoint site

Create a new discussion topic

Reply to a discussion

Edit your own discussion topic

Edit your reply to a discussion

Change how you view a discussion

Participate in a discussion by using e-mail

Participate in a discussion by using Outlook

Connect a discussion board to Outlook

Post to a discussion board by using Outlook

Reply to a discussion topic by using Outlook

Remove a discussion board from Outlook

Overview of discussion boards

There are several ways to participate in a discussion as the following sections explain.

Participate in a discussion on a SharePoint site

A discussion board (which is a list) is a place to share information and discuss topics with other people. You can use discussion boards for a variety of purposes, such as brainstorming goals for your project or discussing a common interest. When you create a discussion topic or reply to an existing discussion, you can format your text, insert a hyperlink or table, and link to a picture on the Web.

You can also subscribe to the discussion to see a summary of the content that has changed or to receive alerts to find out when someone has added or changed an item.

Note:  Depending on how the discussion board was set up, you may need to be a member of the site that contains the discussion board, or the owner may have assigned other types of permission. For more information, see your site owner.

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Participate in a discussion by sending e-mail

If your discussion board is set up to receive e-mail, you can add discussion topics by sending e-mail. You create a message as you normally do and then include the name of the discussion board in the To or Cc box of the e-mail message. The message then creates a new discussion topic on the discussion board.

If you belong to a SharePoint group that includes the discussion board in its e-mail distribution list, e-mail messages that you send to the group are automatically added to the discussion board. If you reply to an e-mail discussion message and include the group in the To or Cc box, your e-mail reply also becomes a reply in the discussion.

To use e-mail to participate in a discussion, first you need to obtain the address of the discussion board or SharePoint group. Depending on your situation, the e-mail address of your discussion board or group may appear in the address book of your e-mail application. If it does not appear there, you can add it to your personal contacts list of your e-mail application after you obtain it, so that you can easily find it later.

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Participate in a discussion by connecting with Outlook

If you have a discussion board on a SharePoint site, you can interact with it in several ways by using Outlook 2010. If you spend a lot of time working with e-mail, you may find it easier to work with a discussion board by using Outlook, instead of opening your SharePoint site in a Web browser.

After you connect a discussion board on a SharePoint site to Outlook, its contents appear in the SharePoint Lists folder in the Navigation Pane. You can read, post, and reply to discussions on the SharePoint site without leaving Outlook. You can also add items from your Mailbox, such as e-mail messages, to a discussion board by dragging or copying them.

After your discussion board is connected to Outlook, you can take the discussion topics offline and work with them. If you create or reply to topics offline, your work is posted to the server when you reconnect and then refresh the view in your browser.

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Comparing the use of sending e-mail and connecting with Outlook

Consider the following when deciding whether to send e-mail or connect with Outlook to participate in a discussion board.

Send e-mail to a discussion board when:

  • The lists on your site are enabled to receive e-mail.

  • You do not use Outlook or you do not have the discussion board connected to Outlook.

  • Your discussion board is part of your SharePoint group, so the content appears in the discussion board as a natural part of a team discussion.

Connect a discussion board to Outlook when:

  • Your discussion board or site is not enabled to receive e-mail.

  • You want to view and work with the contents of the discussion board the way that you work with e-mail or tasks in the Navigation Pane.

  • You want to use the proofing tools and other features that are available in Outlook. Although you can format discussion topics when you work with them on a SharePoint site, Outlook provides additional tools, such as a spelling checker and a thesaurus.

  • You have items in your Mailbox that you want to drag to the discussion board.

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Participate in a discussion board on a SharePoint site

You can create topics, reply to topics, and edit both topics and replies. In addition, you can change how to view discussions in a number of ways.

Create a new discussion topic

  1. Navigate to the site that contains the discussion board you want to work with.

  2. Click the name of the discussion board on the Quick Launch, or click Site Actions, click View All Site Content, and then in the appropriate discussion board, click the name of the discussion board.

  3. A site can be significantly modified in appearance and navigation. If you cannot locate an option, such as a command, button, or link, contact your administrator.

  4. On the ribbon, click the Items tab, and then in the New group, click New Item.

  5. Type the text that you want for the subject and body of the message. Click the Format Text tab to apply any formatting and the Insert tab to add tables, media, pictures, and files.

  6. Click Save.

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Reply to a discussion

  1. Navigate to the site that contains the discussion board you want to work with.

  2. Click the name of the discussion board on the Quick Launch, or click Site Actions, click View All Site Content, and then in the appropriate discussion board, click the name of the discussion board.

  3. A site can be significantly modified in appearance and navigation. If you cannot locate an option, such as a command, button, or link, contact your administrator.

  4. Click the title in the Subject column of the discussion topic that you want to reply to.

  5. In the bar above the message that you want to reply to, click Reply.

  6. Type the text that you want for the subject and body of the message. Click the Format Text tab to apply any formatting and the Insert tab to add tables, media, pictures, and files.

  7. Click Save.

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Edit your own discussion topic

Use the following procedure to edit the original topic that you posted in a discussion. You may not have permission to edit a topic that was created by someone else.

  1. Navigate to the site that contains the discussion board you want to work with.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • If the discussion board is not already open, click its name on the Quick Launch, or click Site Actions, click View All Site Content, and then in the appropriate discussion board, click the name of the discussion board.

      A site can be significantly modified in appearance and navigation. If you cannot locate an option, such as a command, button, or link, contact your administrator.

    • If you are already viewing the discussion board and have opened the topic that you want to edit, do the following instead:

      1. Click View Properties, and then click Edit Item Button image .

      2. Skip to step 4.

  3. In the Subject column, point to the discussion topic that you want to edit, click the arrow on the menu that appears, and then click Edit Item Button image .

  4. Make the changes that you want, and then click Save.

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Edit your reply to a discussion

Use the following procedure to edit a reply that you made to an existing discussion.

  1. Navigate to the site that contains the discussion board you want to work with.

  2. Do one of the following:

    1. If the discussion board is not already open, click its name on the Quick Launch , or click Site Actions, click View All Site Content, and then in the appropriate discussion board, click the name of the discussion board.

      A site can be significantly modified in appearance and navigation. If you cannot locate an option, such as a command, button, or link, contact your administrator.

    2. If you are already viewing the discussion and your reply, skip to step 4.

  3. Click the title in the Subject column of the discussion topic that contains the reply that you want to edit.

  4. Locate your reply, and then click View Properties.

  5. Click Edit Item Button image .

  6. Make the changes that you want, and then click OK.

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Change how you view a discussion

It is easy to sort and filter the discussions on the page, and you can create your own view. Do one or more of the following to change the way that you view discussions:

  • Sort the discussions    Click the heading above the column that you want to sort by. A down arrow appears next to the heading for descending order (such as the newest discussions first) and an up arrow appears for ascending order.

  • Filter the discussions    To see only the items that meet specific criteria, point to the column that you want to use, click the arrow that appears, and then click the item you want to filter by. For example, you can see only discussions that were updated today by selecting the current date in the Last Updated column.

  • Change the current view of the topic    On the ribbon, click the List tab, and then in the Manage Views group, click Modify this View. Change any other settings that you want, and then click OK.

  • Create your own view of a discussion    On the ribbon, click the List tab, and then in the Manage Views group, click Create View. Under Choose a view format, click the type of view you want to create. To always see the discussion with that view, if you have permission to modify lists, click Make this the default view. Change any other settings that you want, and then click OK.

  • Change the way that you view individual discussions    Open a discussion topic and then switch to another view, change the view, or create a new view by using the same procedures that you use to change the view of a discussion board. Two key options are Threaded, in which the replies are indented under each topic, and Flat, in which the topic and its replies are displayed at the same level, with additional data about the participant.

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Participate in a discussion by using e-mail

  1. In your e-mail application, prepare the item that you want to add to the discussion board by doing one of the following:

    • To create a new discussion topic, create a new e-mail message.

    • To reply to an existing discussion topic by using e-mail, open the original e-mail message, and then click Reply.

  2. In the To or Cc box, add the address of the discussion board or SharePoint group. If you are responding to an existing e-mail message, the address of the discussion board or SharePoint group appears if you reply to all recipients.

  3. Add the content that you want to the message.

  4. Send the message. In most e-mail applications, you click Send to send the message.

Note: 

  • To open an attachment to a discussion topic or reply, open the discussion, click View Properties in the bar above the discussion item, and then click the name of the attachment next to Attachments. Depending on how your discussion board is set up, e-mail attachments may not be saved in the discussion board on the site. For more information, see your site owner.

  • If someone sends e-mail to a discussion board that contains the same subject line as an existing discussion, the message is not automatically stored as a reply to the discussion on the site, unless the message is also a reply to an existing e-mail discussion. This way, messages that belong to different conversations aren't accidentally added to the same discussion, even if they happen to have a common subject line, such as "contracts."

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Participate in a discussion by using Outlook

To participate in a discussion by using Outlook, first you connect the discussion board to Outlook. Then you can conveniently post topics and reply to topics from Outlook.

Connect a discussion board to Outlook

  1. Navigate to the site that contains the discussion board you want to connect with Outlook.

  2. Click the name of the discussion board on the Quick Launch, or click Site Actions, click View All Site Content, and then in the appropriate discussion board, click the name of the discussion board.

  3. A site can be significantly modified in appearance and navigation. If you cannot locate an option, such as a command, button, or link, contact your administrator.

  4. On the ribbon, click the Lists tab, and then in the Connect & Export group, click Connect to Outlook.

  5. When you are prompted to confirm that you want to connect the discussion board to Outlook, click Yes.

  6. Optionally, click Advanced to change several options, including the name of the Outlook folder and whether to limit updates.

    In Outlook, the discussion board is added to the folder list in a new folder called SharePoint Lists. After the discussion topics appear, you can read and respond to them.

    After you connect a discussion board to Outlook, you can send a sharing message to other team members that invites them to connect to the discussion board. Right-click the discussion board name in Outlook, point to Share, and then click Share <discussion board name> on the shortcut menu. This creates an e-mail message that contains a link and a command to connect to the discussion board..

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Post to a discussion board by using Outlook

  1. In the Outlook Mail Navigation Pane, expand the SharePoint Lists folder, and then click the name of your discussion board, such as Marketing - Team Discussion.

  2. On the ribbon, under the Home tab, in the New group, click Post in This Folder.

  3. In the Subject box, type the subject of your discussion topic.

  4. Click in the body of the post, under the Subject box, and then type the text that you want for your discussion topic. You can apply formatting and use the proofing tools to help you compose your message.

  5. Click Post.

The topic is added to the discussion board in Outlook and you can see it on the SharePoint site when the browser is refreshed.

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Reply to a discussion topic by using Outlook

Post a reply to the board when you want to add your reply to the discussion board and you do not need to send a reply directly to the person who posted the topic. If you just want to reply directly to the person who posted a discussion topic, you can reply as you would normally reply to an e-mail message.

  1. In the Outlook Mail Navigation Pane, expand the SharePoint Lists folder, and then click the name of your discussion board, such as Marketing - Team Discussion.

  2. Locate the discussion topic that you want to reply to, and then double-click the item to open it.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To add a reply to the discussion topic without sending mail, click Post Reply. Type the information that you want to include, and then click Post.

    • To send a reply in e-mail, click Reply. Type the information that you want to include, and then click Send.

      • Clicking Reply sends the reply message only to the person who posted the discussion topic; it does not add the reply to the discussion board.

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Remove a discussion board from Outlook

Note:  This procedure removes the discussion board only from Outlook, not from the SharePoint site..

  1. In the Outlook Mail Navigation Pane, expand the SharePoint Lists folder, and then click the name of your discussion board, such as Marketing - Team Discussion.

  2. In the SharePoint Lists folder, click the name of the discussion board that you want to remove.

  3. Right-click the folder name, and then click Delete Folder on the shortcut menu.

  4. When you are prompted to confirm the deletion, click Yes.

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