Web Part pages vs. Wiki pages in SharePoint 2010

Learn what the differences are between Web Part pages and Wiki pages in SharePoint 2010 and how you can distinguish between these two page types on a SharePoint site.

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Pages are the core building blocks of sites in SharePoint. Not all pages in SharePoint are made equal, though.

There are 3 types of pages in SharePoint 2010:

  1. Pages that are easy to change.
  2. Pages that can be changed, but not easy to change.
  3. Pages you cannot change.

SharePoint system pages

Starting with the last one first, pages that provide you with tools for working with a SharePoint site and that are not changeable using a browser are called system pages.

Examples of system pages include: a Site Permissions page, a Site Settings page, and the Recycle Bin.

SharePoint Web Part pages

Web Part pages are pages that can display an aggregation of information from other sources. They can display many types of data, including lists, other web pages, search results, or data retrieved from other servers. All content on a web part page is displayed using web parts.

Web Part pages are changeable, but not necessarily easy to change. You can use a web part page on your SharePoint site if you want users to view information on a page, but they do not necessarily need to make changes to the way that information is displayed on the page.

SharePoint Wiki pages

Wiki pages are pages that contain text, images, and links, as well as SharePoint lists and web parts. Wiki pages are useful for collaborating on projects. They are the default page type for SharePoint 2010 team sites, and unlike Web Part pages, Wiki pages are easy to change and add content to.

Differences between SharePoint Web Part pages and Wiki pages

While both Web Part pages and Wiki pages can be used to aggregate data, Wiki pages are easier to change than Web Part pages.

While you can only place web parts on a Web Part page, you can place text, images, and links in addition to web parts on a on a Wiki page. So Wiki pages are more flexible where layout is concerned.

Web Part pages are ideal for publishing, i.e. displaying data, while Wiki pages are ideal for collaborating, i.e. as team members working together on a single project who require editing the contents of pages often.

Web Part pages and Wiki pages can be distinguished from each other by looking at the way you edit a page:

  1. If there is a Site Actions > Edit Page menu item present, the page can be edited, so the page might be a Web Part page or a Wiki page.
  2. If there is a small Edit button on the ribbon right next to the Browse tab, then the page is a Wiki page. This button changes into a Save & Close button when you are in edit mode.
  3. If there is no small Edit button present, but the page is editable, then the page is most likely a Web Part page.

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