Moving web parts in SharePoint (without going insane)

If you’ve ever edited a SharePoint 2013 page with web parts and tried to drag them around, you’ve probably experienced frustration over how bad it works. I don’t know of a quick fix for this, but here are a few tips that might help you a little bit:

First of all make sure that you are using Internet Explorer 9 or 10. IE9 works best. Other browsers, including IE11(!), will not work in a satisfactory way.

Tip: In Internet Explorer, press F12 to open the developer tools. In the top right corner of this toolbar you should see a drop down menu for selecting “document mode”. Use this to revert back to previous version of Internet Explorer even if you have the latest version. (Note that “Edge” in this context refers to the latest rendering engine (typically IE11) and not the new web browser from Microsoft with the same name.)

Here’s my best trick to handle web parts that just don’t want to move: Suppose that you want to add space between two web parts (or above the topmost web part). It’s seems impossible to place the cursor in between the web parts. But you can place the cursor at the very bottom of the web part zone, below the last web part. Do this and hit enter a few times to make extra room at the bottom. Now grab on to the web part and drag it downwards until you see the cursor appear in the new space that you just created. Release the mouse and the web part will move down a few steps!

Other things that are good to know:

  • The ability to move web parts depends on the type of page and/or area it is located in. Web Part Zones usually work fine. You can even drag web parts between different zones. It is Wiki pages and rich text fields that cause trouble.
  • Try to drag a web part and simply drop it on top of the web part above. Usually this will reorder them.
  • If you mess up, Ctrl+Z usually works to undo the last steps.
  • Web parts can be minimized so only the title shows. This can be useful when working with web parts taller than the screen height.
  • For web parts located in a Web Part Zone, open the web part properties (the gray sidebar) and find the section named “layouts”. Here you can manually both set the zone and internal ordering of the web part.
  • When everything else fails, remove the web part and add it again. New web parts are consistently added to either the top or bottom of the web part zone. Use this fact to plan the order of the web parts.
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9 Responses to Moving web parts in SharePoint (without going insane)

  1. Arjun says:

    Thanks, this article really helped me out! I was ready to tear my hair out, lol. That zone index field under layouts really saved the day. Cheers!

  2. Brian says:

    Thanks – I was beginning to doubt my sanity …. have I ever told you how much I hate the coders at MS – Thanks bill gates…

  3. Marleen says:

    Wow! This saved me a lot of tears and hairloss! Thanks for making my day!

  4. Annabel says:

    God bless you, Dan!! I really was going insane, until I read your helpful article! I was using IE 11, and so it would not let me move the web parts around. Thank you so much for all your helpful tips!

  5. Dianne says:

    Thank you!! I’ve been trying for days to figure out why drag-and-drop wasn’t working. Issue 1 – IE11. Collapsing sections and adding spaces was the perfect solution.

  6. robert says:

    someone show me in a video. I AM pulling my hair out trying to get it to work on an SPO web part page.

  7. Peter says:

    A quick and dirty trick for moving large webparts is to change the zoom setting on your browser to 50% or a size less than 100%. This will allow you to see more of the page in order to move the webparts around. Dan’s suggestion to minimize the webpart is better solution but the zoom trick works too in most cases.

  8. Kyle Ortman says:

    Using enter to add a few spaces did the trick!
    I don’t know why I didn’t think of that, must have just been scared to mess things up!

  9. Rich V says:

    Sweet… All this time that I have been working with SharePoint web parts and I had never realized that!

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