SharePoint Holmes and the not-so-Dynamic Description

The case

“Can you help me? I have edited my SharePoint News post two days ago, but the old text is still visible on the News page, under the title. How can I update it?”

SharePoint Holmes had not had a request for help recently, so he was eager to jump in! 😁

The investigation

Not everyone knows that the text underneath the post title on a News web part is determined by the text in the Description field. You can find the Description field in the Page Details on the post or page in question. I recently wrote about the behaviour of this Description field.

On my site’s Homepage I changed the News web part into a List view. This shows a good portion of the Description text.

I created and published a new post.

The new post, with part of the first paragraph in the Description

I checked the Description, and it matched the text; it showed almost the entire first paragraph.

As expected, the Description matches with the body text.

I then made a change to the first part of body text, republished, and checked the Description field.

The Description field still contained the old text, and on the News page the old preview text was still visible.

New body text, but still the old Description.

I then manually changed the Description text into a short summary. I had to change it manually anyway, so I tried to improve it.

As I had to redo the Description text anyway, I thought I’d make it a one-sentence summary.
This is the new Description. I think it looks much better than a sentence that trails off halfway.

The solution

Unfortunately, the Description field does not update itself when you make a change to the introduction text of a news post or page. You will have to manually update it if you want to reflect any edits.
Of course, this behaviour does not always have to be a problem. If you only make small edits, or edits in another part of the text, you do not necessarily need to change the Description.

But even if you do not need to change the text, you may want to change the Description into a snappy one-liner that immediately informs your audience about the essence of your post.

And by the way, I have now found #7 of my post 7 things to know about the Description field in SharePoint pages and news! Told you! 😊

I accidentally I have also found #8: The Description field is shown in the Newsletter digest. Not unexpected, of course, but now it has been confirmed.

The Description is also shown in the Newsletter.

About SharePoint Holmes:
Part of my role was solving user issues. Sometimes they are so common that I had a standard response, but sometimes I need to do some sleuthing to understand and solve it.
As many of my readers are in a similar position, I thought I’d introduce SharePoint Holmes, SharePoint investigator, who will go through a few cases while working out loud.

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