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Essential SharePoint Xmas Quiz Using Lists

SharePoint Management

How to Set up a (Festive) Quiz in SharePoint Using Lists

In this blog we will look at how you can use SharePoint Lists to allow individuals to answer a series of quiz questions over a series of days.

The starting point was that our marketing manager wanted to create a daily fun and seasonal quiz question to go alongside our SharePoint advent calendar.

Each day, she wanted to post a new quiz question on SharePoint, and at the end of the quiz period, she would need a way to collate and mark all the entries to select a winner.

The other driver behind this approach was to make visiting our intranet a daily habit.

My first thought was that using Microsoft Forms would be a good approach, but this did not suit the ‘daily habit’ she wanted, as we would have needed a form per day.

As with many things in SharePoint, there may be more than one way of doing this with varying degrees of work involved.

In the end we used a SharePoint List, and this is how we did it, step by step:

Create a virtual advent calendar for your team In Modern SharePoint

1. Create a basic SharePoint list

First we created a very simple SharePoint List called ‘Christmas Quiz’. We later changed this name, and I’ll tell you why later in this article.

Next we renamed the first column and called it ‘Insert Question No. Here’ as follows:

  • Click on Column Settings > Rename > ‘Insert Question No. Here’

Then, we added a column for the answer, with the name ‘Enter your answer here’ as follows:

  • +Add Column>Text>Next
  • Name= ’Enter your answer here’,
  • Type=’Single Line of text’
  • Save

The above example is for a single line of text, but you could make all your questions multiple choice. In this case you should ideally establish a fixed number of options (e.g, A, B, C & D).

The ability to upload an attachment to the list is on by default so we turned off the option to upload attachments.  To do this:

  • From the list view, click on the ‘Cog’ link on the top right of your screen
  • Select ‘List Settings’, followed by ‘Advanced Settings’.
  • In the Attachments section select ‘Attachments to the list are: Disabled’.

2. Set the SharePoint list so users can only add and see their own answers.

This stage involves two steps:

Enabling respondents to edit the list. You’ll no doubt find that a list on say, your marketing site, has a default setting of read only. You will need to set an individual permission on your list. To do this:

  • From the list view, click on the cog on the top right and select ‘List settings’.
  • Under ‘Permissions and Management’ select ‘Permissions for this list’
  • Click ‘Stop Inheriting Permissions’, then
  • Grant permission levels for the relevant group for your company (or those you want to participate in the quiz) to ‘Contribute’. 

Make sure you uncheck the ‘Notify’ box so as not to spam everyone!

Making sure respondents can only see and edit their own list entries. To do this:

  • From the list view, click on the ‘Cog’ link on the top right of your screen
  • Select ‘List Settings’, followed by ‘Advanced Settings’.
  • Under ‘Item Level Permissions’, select the following radio buttons:
    • Read access: Read items that were created by the user
    • Create and Edit access:  Create items and edit items that were created by the user

After these two steps, members of the group you specified will only be able to see and edit their own entries.

Meanwhile only the List Administrator (in this case, our marketing manager) will be able to see and export all entries for marking.

NB This same approach to setting permissions on SharePoint Lists can be handy for things like recording holidays and sick leave in SharePoint.

3.   Get the best user experience for your SharePoint List

Ever mindful of getting the best ‘end user’ experience, we wanted to make sure that folk not used to working with Lists in SharePoint didn’t struggle: 

  • Arguably, adding an item to a SharePoint list is not intuitive.
  • Although you can embed a list as a web part in a page and add ‘instructions’, the default action when you embed a list is that a new tab is opened when you click on +New.
    This may be confusing to end users.

My ‘hacks’ to make SharePoint Lists more user friendly are as follows:

  • Link directly to the list view.  By doing this, the data entry panel that pops up when you press +New is kept in same view.
  • Given that a ‘list view’ does not allow extra information to be added, you can use the name you give the list to provide a bit of user guidance!
    Here I used ‘Press +New (above) to add an answer’ as the list name.

If you have any other ‘hacks’ to make SharePoint a bit more user friendly like this I’d be keen to know!

4. Create and post your Christmas Quiz Questions

The questions you use and how you post them is up to you.

We will be posting our questions as daily news items in SharePoint, each with a link to the list and each with a little reminder about the entry rules and how to post answers. 

You can take advantage of news scheduling to set all your questions up in advance and know they’ll go out automatically.

You could of course have a dedicated quiz page and update it with each new question daily – perhaps you could have an advent image for each day and link your question with that.

You might also want to set up a workflow to put notifications about each new question into your ‘social’ or other relevant Team.

5. Mark Your Quiz Responses

At the end of the quiz, you can simply go to your List page and export all the entries to your quiz as a CSV file for marking.  Note that the name of the respondent is automatically shown in the ‘Created By‘ field.

We’ll leave the marking bit up to you, but if you are handy with Excel manipulations you won’t find it a problem!

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