Links List with Favicons and Under the QuickLaunch

Applies To: SharePoint

SharePoint has a handy list called Links that makes putting together a list of links with a display name pretty simple. Since it’s a normal list you can use views or even XSLT to make it look nice wherever you display it on the page. By default, here’s what a small links list looks like using the Summary View:

It’s not too bad, especially for a simple team site. But with just a little extra work you can have that same list of links display with their favicons and you can move them to some relatively unused real estate – under the QuickLaunch, and on every page in your site.

I’m combining these techniques because that was what I did. Fortunately, you can use the bulk of my tips to get nearly any web part to show up below the QuickLaunch. You can also just use the Favicon information to make your link display snazzy. Also, although I’m demonstrating all of this in SharePoint 2010, you should be able to do everything in SharePoint 2007 as well.

Displaying a Web Part Beneath the QuickLaunch

In order to place a Web Part below the QuickLaunch, you’re going to have to edit the Master Page. There are a couple of options. You can add a Web Part Zone and then customize this area on a page by page basis, or you can do what I’m going to demonstrate: add a specific web part to every page on your site.

Open your site in SharePoint Designer (Site Actions -> Edit in SharePoint Designer). Choose Master Pages in the Navigation pane and right-click on v4.master and choose Copy then right-click and choose Paste. Right-click on the new Master Page, v4_copy(1).master, and choose Rename. Once you’ve renamed it, right-click on it and select Edit File in Advanced Mode:

Depending on your site’s settings, you might have to check it out. If so, make sure you check it back in when done and verify you’ve published a major version so that those without full control can see your changes.

We’re going to place our web part right below the quicklaunch. So scroll down to approximately line 594 (in Code view) where you should see two closing divs shortly below the PlaceHolderQuickLaunchBottomV4 UIVersionedContent control. If you want your web part to be included in the leftpanel then press enter after the closing div in line 592, if you want it placed below the box press enter after the closing div in line 594:

Type <br /> and press enter again. Press Save. You’ll get a warning about customizing the page, go ahead and click Yes.

Now switch to the Insert ribbon and select Web Part > Content Query:

Switch to the Design view and right-click on your new web part and choose Web Part Properties. In the dialog window expand the Query section. Choose Show items from the following list under Source and click Browse… and choose your Links list.

Expand the Presentation section. Set Sort items by to <None> (This is to ensure the custom ordering allowed by Links lists is used). Uncheck the Limit the number of items to display checkbox.

In the Fields to display section enter Url [Custom Columns]; for the Link and remove the Title entry:

Choose any other display options you want (I expanded Apperance and chose Chrome Type: None). Press OK to close the dialog. Save the master page. In the navigation pane on the left, right-click on your master page and choose Set as Default Master Page:

Now when you refresh your site you should see the changes (Be sure to publish a major version and/or check in the file if required to ensure everyone can see it):

Adding Favicons to the Links

The above screenshot is pretty cool. Unfortunately, instead of using the display text, it just uses the link. It also doesn’t open the links in a new window. We’ll fix these issues and add a favicon using some simple XSL.

I found the basic XSL to fix the Links display on Marc D Anderson’s blog who apparently got it from this Microsoft forum thread. We’re going to straight up copy that XSL and tweak it just a little to add our favicons. Here’s our customized XSL:

<xsl:template name="LinkList" match="Row[@Style='LinkList']" mode="itemstyle">
	<xsl:variable name="SafeLinkUrl">
		<xsl:call-template name="OuterTemplate.GetSafeLink">
			<xsl:with-param name="UrlColumnName" select="@URL"/>
		</xsl:call-template>
	</xsl:variable>
	<xsl:variable name="DisplayTitle">
		<xsl:call-template name="OuterTemplate.GetTitle">
			<xsl:with-param name="Title" select="@URL"/>
			<xsl:with-param name="UrlColumnName" select="'LinkUrl'"/>
		</xsl:call-template>
	</xsl:variable>
	<xsl:variable name="TheLink">
		<xsl:value-of select="substring-before($DisplayTitle,',')"/>
	</xsl:variable>
	<div id="linkitem" class="item link-item" style="padding-left:10px;">
		<xsl:call-template name="OuterTemplate.CallPresenceStatusIconTemplate"/>
		<img src="http://www.google.com/s2/favicons?domain_url={$TheLink}" align="middle" style="padding-right:2px;" />
		<a href="{$TheLink}" target="_blank" title="This link opens in a new window">
			<xsl:value-of select="substring-after($DisplayTitle,',')"/>
		</a>
	</div>
</xsl:template>

The main changes I made were the additional padding added to the div in line 16 to get everything to line up with the QuickLaunch links and the img element in line 18.

The img element uses a special link from Google (found on the Coding Clues blog) concatenated with our link’s URL. This link allows us to dynamically retrieve the favicons without having to store them within SharePoint or maintain them as links get added or changed.

So where do we put the above XSL? In your site collection’s Style Library there is a folder called XSL Style Sheets. Open the ItemStyle.xsl file and scroll all the way to the bottom. Just before the final node, </xsl:stylesheet>, paste the above XSL. Since this is just a named template, this won’t affect anything else within your site collection. Upload the changed ItemStyle to the XSL Style Sheets folder and make sure to Publish a major version of the file so everyone can see it:

Now we need to tell our Links Content Query web part to use this item style. So, back in SharePoint Designer, right-click on your Content Query web part and choose Properties. Scroll down to ItemStyle and change it from Default to LinkList:

Save the master page and refresh your site and you should see something similar to this:

Isn’t that pretty!? Now everyone loves you!

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