Browsing SharePoint Connections Using Server Explorer

Server Explorer now includes the ability to browse local SharePoint connections. This lets you navigate through the components of a SharePoint site located on your system. SharePoint site components such as list definitions and content types display in a node called SharePoint Connections in the tree view of the Server Explorer window. To display Server Explorer, click Server Explorer on the View menu. In addition to displaying the SharePoint site components, shortcut menu commands in the tree view let you remove items, view their properties, or refresh the tree view.

Important noteImportant

To browse a SharePoint site, you must be an administrator on the SharePoint site collection and you must be running Visual Studio as a system Administrator user. If you are not, then the site appears in Server Explorer, but you cannot expand its node. To ensure that you are a site collection administrator, view the SharePoint site in a Web browser, click Site Actions, then Site Permissions, and then click the Site Collection Administrators button on the Manage tab. Your name will appear in the text box if you are a site collection administrator. If you do not see a Site Collection Administrators menu command in Site Permissions, then you do not have site collection administrator privileges on the site and you must obtain them from the current site administrator.

Every component of a SharePoint site is represented by a node in the Server Explorer tree view under SharePoint Connections. For example, default SharePoint sites include a content type called Discussion, which represents a discussion type that displays in the Discussions page of the SharePoint site. The Discussion content type contains several fields. To view these fields in SharePoint Explorer, expand the ContentTypes node, and then the Discussion node. Under it are several field nodes, such as Body, Discussion Subject, and Title.

Each node has a shortcut menu that you access by right-clicking it. Node commands may include the following:

Command Name



Updates the tree view to reflect any changes that may have occurred since the last time the node was displayed.


Removes the selected node from the tree view. However, this command does not delete the underlying file.

This command is enabled only on SharePoint connections listed under the SharePoint Connections node.


Displays the available properties for the selected node in the Properties window. The properties are all read-only, and not every node has properties associated with it.

Add Connection

Allows you to specify a SharePoint site that you want to browse. Available on the SharePoint Connections node and sub-site nodes.

View in Browser

Displays the selected list in the Web browser. This command is available on some lists under the Lists node which is contained in Lists and Libraries.



How to: Add or Remove SharePoint Connections

Describes the steps that are required for adding a new SharePoint site to the SharePoint Connections node in Server Explorer.

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