The A to Z of Building a Responsive SharePoint Site with Bootstrap
The A to Z of Building a
Responsive SharePoint Site
BY THOMAS DALY
What is Bootstrap
Live Examples / Intranet Site
Real World Examples
Senior SharePoint Consultant Extraordinaire
Branding & Developer
Focused on the UI side of things
NJ SharePoint User Group Organizer
SharePoint Saturday NYC Organizer
SharePoint Saturday NJ Organizer
My SharePoint Blog
MSDN forums (eh not so much)
What is Bootstrap?
The most popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework
Used for developing responsive, mobile first projects
on the web.
Mobile First Strategy
Works and looks great on the mobile device.
As the devices scale in the size the content scales
and experience is enhanced.
Responsive Web Design
Crafting sites that provide an
optimal viewing and interaction
Easy reading and navigation
Minimal resizing, panning, and
Works across a wide range of
Why Choose Bootstrap?
Speed of Development
Use of ready made code blocks and pre-defined styles.
Mobile devices continue to grow in popularity year after year.
Use of Bootstrap's grid system and classes make it easier.
Uniformity, same experience across Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox
Ability to fine tune your bootstrap package.
Large user community behind it. Constantly being updated. Lots of documentation
There are a large number of Themes available and either free or very inexpensive
Similar Responsive Frameworks
Bootstrap is not alone. There are numerous frameworks that are similar. The key to
picking one is to understand your requirements.
Almost infinitely more…
Grids – Defining pages in terms of columns and rows
Typography – Headings / body elements
Glyphs – icons that are font based, scalable
Navigation – responsive navigation
Images – responsive images
Helper Classes – clearfix / show / hide / centers
Responsive Utilities – hide / show content via class
Easy to use grid system for creating rows & columns for your content
Allows you to craft CSS to scope media features
such as height or width.
Bootstrap has pre-defined breakpoints mobile,
tablet, desktop, & large desktop
Necessary to know in order to achieve
My Personal Disclaimer
Mobile Design works best on sites where you the developer, designer, or owner
have the most control over the content being displayed and how the users
interacts with that content.
SharePoint Lists, Libraries, Web Parts, Page Layouts, Site Templates are generally
not responsive, and therefore can be difficult (sometimes impossible) to convert.
To obtain 100% perfect mobile experience will take a lot of work. It’s
recommended that your sites have custom master page, css, page layouts, and
What to Expect with SharePoint &
SharePoint is semi-responsive, but some aspects cannot be made responsive
without extensive amounts of time and effort.
When creating new items (page layouts, web parts, display templates) you’ll be
able to put your best foot forward for mobile. As the screen real estate increases
your content will grow and gradually be enhanced.
When working with existing SharePoint components, you’ll be forces to write
media queries to gracefully degrade these items to work on smaller screen real
Master Page Modifications
Bootstrap makes use of certain HTML elements
and CSS properties that require the use of the
HTML5 doctype. Include it at the beginning of all
To ensure proper rendering and touch zooming,
add the viewport meta tag to your <head>.
Turn off Mobile Browsing
This will make mobile devices use the normal UI
Mobile Browsing View
Box Model Issues
Bootstrap uses border-box
SharePoint uses content-box
This causes SharePoint components
to look broken in particular areas
Apply a reset to the broken pieces
The Box Model Explained
Box Sizing Explained
The width and height properties (and
min/max properties) includes content,
padding and border, but not the margin
The width and height properties (and
min/max properties) includes only the
content. Border, padding, or margin are
The most challenging task
You’ll need to change the default HTML markup
Navigation will no longer be hover, but touch.
This can disable top tier nodes w/ children
Sites & Pages
Publishing (the way to go)
Publishing Feature is required
Publishing Sites use page layouts
Custom Page Layouts are the best way to
control how the page responds
Wrap your Web Part Zones & Content
Areas in columns and rows using the
Bootstrap grid classes
Team Sites are not good because they use
Text Layouts are pre-defined, not
customizable, and not responsive
Existing Team Sites pages would need to
be re-created using a custom responsive
Try to plan ahead which web parts will be allowed, or define a set of web parts that you will be
primarily using throughout your site.
The best types of web parts are Custom, Data Views or Content By Search
Custom & Data Views – you can create the html markup and styles
Content By Search – you can utilize display templates which allow you to control the html. (styles can
be applied separately)
The worst types of web parts are Out Of The Box (OOTB) & List Views
Out Of The Box (OOTB) web parts you have no control over how they render.
List Views columns can break your design (unless you change to custom display template)
You can make Search, Wiki,
Community Portal, Blog Sites
responsive but not easily
Be prepared to write media queries
to override default styles per each
type of template
Difficult, Yes. Challenging, Yes. But
Lists & Libraries
Not very responsive and would be very
tough to make responsive
Similar issue are web parts, columns and
<tables> are the enemy.
Lists & Libraries are <table> based html
elements and these components are not
Difficult, Extreme. Possible, with code?
Advice = Stay Away
Alternative PnP Project
SharePoint 2013/2016 Responsive UI
This solution provides you the capability to enable Responsive UI for a Site Collection in Microsoft SharePoint 2013/2016
of the box UI of a classic Team Site (STS#0).
2013/2016 Team Site (STS#0) into a Responsive UI. The Responsive UI supports three rendering models:
Desktop: screen width above 768px
Tablet: screen width between 481px and 768px
SmartPhone: screen width lower than or equal to 480px
Real World Examples
B&R Business Solutions
Center for Retail Compliance
SP2013, On-Prem Public