10 more things to know about creating SharePoint News

Decorative image - a self-created concoction of the SharePoint logo, a Newspaper icon and the number 10.

Some time ago I wrote a post: 15 things to know about creating SharePoint News

By now it is 16 things, because posts with numbers are cursed, as my fellow bloggers will know 😁

In the mean time I have learned a few more things, so it is time for an update.

1. The news publishers in your organization may appreciate guidelines

With all the options SharePoint has to offer, in web parts, columns, fonts and font colours, you may want to provide your News publishers with a few writing and design guidelines. This will help create some consistency across your intranet.
I have shared my last organization’s guidelines in an earlier post: Writing SharePoint news posts (our way). This post was pretty popular so I guess it fills a need.

2. Be aware of when to use which image source

I have tried every option and made an overview in this post: Images in SharePoint news and pages.

In short:

  • Using an image from Web Search and Upload will create a new folder and file in your Site Assets library. All other options do not.
  • You have most control using Upload or Site, as you will know where the image is stored and you will be able to re-use it easily
  • Stock Images and Organizational Assets are the best options when you care about respecting intellectual property, assuming someone is in charge of maintenance of Organizational Assets

3. In some cases the header image is not visible

I have written about troubleshooting images. These are a few common causes:

  • The “Plain” page template (no image) is used
  • Readers have no permission to view the picture, for instance because it lives in someone’s OneDrive
  • The image has been moved or deleted
  • On Yammer, in some cases when the post has been promoted to Yammer – see point 4.
Screenshot of SharePoint news web parts with a post with header image that was deleted, and a post in Plain template, with no header image by default.
Example of a News web part with a news post with a deleted header image (top) and one using a Plain template (with no header image)

4. Promoting a post to Yammer may not show it as nice as you expect

How your News post looks on Yammer is depending on

5. The Description field can be used for several purposes

The Description is a field that you can find in the Page Details. It is easily overlooked, and you do not have to use it, but it can be quite powerful.

  • Create a summary of your post. This will be displayed under the title of the post and will show your readers quickly what the post is about. You will have to make an effort, as by default the first part of the body text will be displayed.
    The Description will also be shown in the Newsletter and in Search results.
  • Hide key words that will be used in Search results. It is best if you add these keywords as far to the bottom of the description as possible, to avoid it showing up in the news overviews.

Read more about it: 7 things to know about the Description field (by now it is 8…sigh 😊)

Screenshot of two examples of a SharePoint News post: one with the default Description (= the first part of the body text), one with a short summary of the post, which shows you quickly what the post is about.
Example of a summary: To the left, a custom summary of the post. To the right: The default description: the first paragraph which trails off.

6. You can add a publication date on the post or page itself

The publication date of a News article will be visible on the News web part, (if you have that enabled), but when you open a News post you do not see the publishing date. You may want to add the date from the web part settings in the header (1), then toggle on the “show published date” button (2) and then the date will be shown underneath the title and author (3). I have not found a way to enable this by default. Please let me know if there is an easy way to make this the standard.
Adding the publication date is a good practice for intranet pages with a longer lifespan.

Screenshot of SharePoint news post in the making, with the option to add the Published date to the post itself, underneath title and author.
The web part settings is where you can make the publication date visible. By default it is off, unfortunately.
Screenshot of SharePoint news page with the News web part. The publication date is shown, but this date is by default not replicated on the news article itself.
You can show the publication date in the News web part, as shown here, but this does not show on the News post by default.
Screenshot of SharePoint News article, published, with the publication date underneath title and author. This is useful for both news and intranet pages.
This is the publication date on the published post.

7. You can manage comments on your posts and pages

Your readers can respond to posts by clicking the Like button or adding a comment. Notifications will be sent via email to you. If this gets a little overwhelming or distracting, my post 4 ways to manage comments on SharePoint news or pages may help you.

8. If you are publishing “on behalf of” an Author, here’s some ways to redirect comments to them

By default, Likes and Comments are sent to the person who has published the post. There is no standard option to redirect them to the person who is the intellectual owner (as opposed to the publisher) of the post.
I have come up with a few workarounds in this post: Diverting SharePoint news comments to the Author.

9. In some cases you will NOT see “See All” on the News web part

Sometimes the “See all” link, which you will need to see more news items and in order to create a Newsletter, is not visible:

  • When you have less than 5 published News posts
  • When you use the Hub News display
  • When you have hidden the “Title and Commands” in the web part settings.

You can read more about it in my post SharePoint Holmes and the Disappearing Digest link.

Screenshot of SharePoint news web part settings, where you can toggle off the "Show title and command" bar. This will take away the word News, but also some other useful things.
If you toggle the “Show title and commands” off, the items News, See all and Add in the top bar will not be visible on the page.

10. The Carousel display still has usability limitations

Even Microsoft, who are big on inclusive design, have not managed to come up with a good Carousel. It also does not display any indication of the content of the article apart from the title. You can read my rant in this post: Can you get a text preview in a SharePoint News Carousel?

Screenshot of a SharePoint news Carousel.
An example of a Carousel.

As SharePoint is evolving, we keep finding out more and more things about it, so please stay tuned and keep asking me questions, so SharePoint Holmes and I can investigate!

Number “10” by publicdomainpictures.net

2 thoughts on “10 more things to know about creating SharePoint News

  1. Darren December 12, 2022 / 5:42 am

    Hi Elen, couldnt figure out how to PM you so adding potential bits for this article that I’ve been struggling with 😊

    – Despite following Microsofts 16×9 Image specs, images will be cropped to fit the news web part (Hero news) at full desktop res.
    – Creating a copy of a news post (Via ‘Copy of this news post’) does not change the first poblish date – So won’t appear as new item in News web part.
    – To remedy the above… There is NO way to back-date or change a first published date.
    – Exposing the ‘Promote state’ column and using a custom News template requires news items to be published AND promoted (To make show in News web part) – This 2 step process also disables ability to shcheduled publishing 😢.
    – Using animated GIFs can be used as the thumbnail for news Posts BUT you need to change the News web part’s News source default setting to ‘Select sites’
    – Moving a news article leaves behind all its comments and likes (We tried archiving them to another folder 🤦‍♂️).
    – When creating News links, When the news item appears in search results it takes two clicks to get to the remote artcle (Once to get to a landing page with link and another to link from there to the remote site)
    – There is no way to share news articles comments count in a centralised column or dashboard. You need to manually hovering over the Site Page’s ‘Show actions menu’ on the page. Tedious when doing monthly reports.
    – News will have the same default SharePoint page icon in page libraries (despite the meaningful news icon in search results)

    • Ellen van Aken December 12, 2022 / 11:22 am

      Thanks Darren, what a list! I will check these out and it may be another post…thank you! (I will credit you of course)

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