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.
I checked the Description, and it matched the text; it showed almost the entire first paragraph.
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.
I then manually changed the Description text into a short summary. I had to change it manually anyway, so I tried to improve it.
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.
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.
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.
My former colleague recently asked me how to add metadata or tags to SharePoint news or pages, in order to be able to make them link to a certain common topic, and be able to find them in Search.
My first thought was to add metadata to the pages in the Pages Library, but I quickly dismissed that thought as it would mean that every publisher would have to go into the library after publication to add their metadata. It would also mean that every Page Library would have to have those fields added and back-filled and oh well, I got tired just by thinking about the implications! 😄
But then we remembered that we had once added something on the page, “somewhere in a popup to the right”. I started investigating.
It turned out that the place to look for is the Description field. You can find it by clicking on the link “Page Details” during or after creating a new post or page.
There are a few things to know about this field.
1. The Description field is almost on top of the popup
It is directly under the thumbnail of the header image.
However, the popup often opens “in the middle” so you need to scroll up to see it.
2. The Description field is auto-populated after publishing
It will be populated with the first 255 characters of the body text.
3. You can change or remove the text after publishing
Now why would you want to change the description text manually? Items 4 and 5 will provide the answer!
4. The text in Description is shown in the News web part
Rather than having a text that suddenly ends in the middle of a sentence, you may want to edit the Description to provide a good summary to your readers.
The number of characters displayed is depending on the configuration of the web part, e.g.
If you have no image, you will see more characters than with an image.
If your News is in a page-wide column, you will see more characters than when it is one of three columns.
Hub, Carousel and Tiles layouts do not show descriptions.
This preview is not relevant for pages, as these are not shown on web parts.
5. The text in Description is shown in Search results
When you have executed a search, in all of Microsoft365, SharePoint or your site, the Description text will show in the Search results, at least the text around the keyword.
Please compare this screenshot of a news web part, where the word “peregrine” is only
In the title
In the body text
In the Description
In a different text web part
To this screenshot of a search on the word “Peregrine” in the Microsoft365 homepage search box. The numbers correspond to the list above.
Please note that I have filtered the search for News, to avoid that the various images that have been auto-uploaded to the Site Assets library during news creation, clutter the list. How was it again with images in SharePoint news? This post will tell you all.
6. The text in Description is searchable
From the screenshots you can see that the keywords can be on various places on the page, but the posts all turn up in Search. This means that you can add keywords or metadata in the Description, without having to use that text in the title or body of the post or page.
For News, you’d best add the keywords at the bottom of the field after the summary text, so you do not show the keywords alone in the news preview. My news post 3 only has “peregrine” in the Description, and it makes a meagre preview on News.
For pages, you want to make sure that you have a good text for Search, but you do not need to worry about any preview.
Please note that I chose the word “peregrine” in my example because I have not used it before in this tenant. In real-life you will get more search results so you may need to filter.
You can leave the description as is, replace it with the new intro, or even better, replace it with a summary of your post so your readers get the gist immediately!
8. The Description shows up in Newsletter
It will be no surprise, but just to be complete. The Description is also displayed underneath the title in the SharePoint Newsletter.
9. The Description is essential for selecting the correct template
According the comment below by André, the description field is crucial for page templates because the content of this is displayed in the dialog to choose a page template for editors. I don’t have a lot of experience with templates, so I am taking his word for it.
The Description field in the Page Details can be very useful in the following scenarios:
Providing a one-sentence summary of your news post on the News page(s) and Newsletters instead of the first words that trail off somew…
Making sure the post or page can be found in Search results. You can add the relevant keywords without having to add them to the title or the text. For instance, if it is related to a certain project or topic, but you do not want to use that word all the time.
Do you have other scenarios?
Are you using the Description field consciously or do you have another scenario where it comes in useful? Please let me know!
A few months ago I helped create and introduce a SharePoint intranet for “my” health care organization. The majority of the new intranet consists of SharePoint Pages and News, default functionality. As this provides our publishers with tons of options for layout, colour schemes, styles, fonts and what not, we had to take a few measures to keep a somewhat consistent look-and-feel. Additionally, many publishers wanted some guidelines as they were a tad overwhelmed with choice.
I mentioned before that our Communications function is not too fanatical in enforcing the corporate style guide on people – everyone can select their own Office365 theme, for instance. But some consistency is needed, of course.
What a difference with my (multinational) employer before! There we spent the majority of our intranet redevelopment budget on creating a complicated News setup, which was at that time not available in SharePoint, with fixed page templates and colour schemes, fonts, whitespace and what not. Did I ever tell you that, after launch of this beast, the team attended a SharePoint conference and learned that Microsoft would be introducing SharePoint News? Out of the box? FOR FREE? You can imagine what we felt when we heard that 🙂
Please find below an overview of our attempts to keep things consistent. Feel free to translate these to your own organization or clients, and please let me know if you use any other guidelines for this purpose.
1. Structure what can be structured
All “formal organizational units” have their own site for publishing pages and news posts. Although I know you should not structure your intranet according to the organizational setup, there were hardly any other ways to structure it by without running into other issues, such as ownership. Trust me, we tried 🙂
All organizational sites are grouped into one Hub site. This allows for one navigation and colour scheme, and roll-up of news.
All hub sites have the Blue theme. This matches best with our style guide. I offered to change the main blue colour into the actual style guide colour, but that was not necessary.
Every hub site has the same site icon. This way it is always clear if a site belongs to the intranet.
The news web parts on all sites are configured to display title, summary and date only. Adding too many data provides a cluttered look. It also uses a little more vertical space.
Headers are compact, footers simple.
2. Provide guidelines for what is flexible
As we use the standard functionality, we had to create some guidelines for writing and design to try and keep the pages and posts consistent and in line with our standards, and to limit the options for publishers. Those guidelines were brought up in training sessions for all potential publishers (and whoever was interested), and are available as reference material.
Use a short and catchy title, one line max. The title shows what interesting information your text contains, attracts attention, is informative, distinctive and piques curiousity. There are internal trainings for writing catchy titles!
Use active text. Do not use verbs such as ‘will’, ‘can’, ‘be’, ‘may’, or ‘become’.
Do not underline your text. Readers may think it is a hyperlink.
Avoid abbreviations where possible. If you must use one, first write it out completely and add the abbreviation behind it in parentheses. For example: “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)”
When you add a document, give the document a clear title, without date or version. The date and other information can be viewed from the document library it lives in. And in case you need to edit the information, you do not need to edit the title.
Keep your page or news item as short as possible. When you really need a long text, please break up your text with headings and use anchors to allow the reader to jump to the desired part immediately.
Use capitals sparingly. There is a paragraph in the style guide for the use of capitals. (I am a Big Fan of Capitals, but the style guide is not :))
Use “One column” or the “One-third right” layout for news posts The first one suits straightforward posts, the other is better when you want to add a photo, button, etc. For static pages, publishers can use another layout.
Use our “Image bank” (Organizational assets) or Stock Images for images where possible. The photo’s in the image bank are suitable for the organization, and, like the Stock Images, have no copyright issues.
When using an introduction text, use standard size, bold, black or “theme dark alternate” blue. That blue is well readable and matches best with our corporate colours.
For headings, use standard size bold, standard size italics OR heading 2 or 3. You can use black or “theme dark alternate” blue, as long as you use the same colour of the introduction text.
Add the Publish date on your news posts. By default this is off, so this is easy to forget. Perhaps a new page template may help. If anyone knows how to turn this on by default, please let me know!
Enable comments for news and short-time pages. This allows for discussion within the organization. You can disable comments for static pages.
You probably recognize some of these as standard writing guidelines, but it never hurts to repeat, as not all publishers are experienced writers.
Please note publishers can deviate from these guidelines, e.g. if they have a post or page about a special topic that needs to stand out.
What have we missed? What do you use?
Please let me know which other guidelines you are using to make your vanilla SharePoint news a little consistent.
As this weekend is a bit weird (Happy New Year, BTW!) I thought I’d make things easy and entertaining with a new set of intranet promotion videos. I still have to decide what to do with my collection – transfer them all to a new platform (again!) or post a few here now and then? Suggestions welcome!
1. Wageningen University and Research – new intranet
This is the university where I got my degree in Food Technology – a long long time ago. A nice fresh non-SharePoint interface, with all the usual stuff like groups and news and personalization and a smartphone version. With background images of the town on Wageningen and a nice soundtrack. Uploaded September 2020 but the video is from 2017, if you look closely.
2. CPS Intranet Introduction to The Pulse
Long and complete walkthrough of the intranet of this American pharmacy organization. It is not very exciting, but they explain all parts. It does not look very interactive. The intranet branding is very similar to their website. Uploaded September 2020.
3. Wendel intranet relaunch
Nice, short intro to the revamp of this intranet (of a French investment company) with the original name of “Connect”. (I have worked for an organization that had an intranet called Connect – as are many other intranets) The new site looks pretty slick, and apparently the group seminar is very important! 🙂 Uploaded November 2020, but the video is from 2019.
4. British Psychological Society – Intranet Launch Video
Very nice, soft-spoken introduction and demo to BPS Insider, the intranet supposed “to keep you connected, informed and engaged”. Colourful design, lots of interaction, people search, good integration with IT-systems, and they talk about an “Office365 profile” but the intranet does not look like SharePoint. Curious to learn what the relationship is! Uploaded November 2020.
As List.ly still has not gotten their act together, please find here another set of intranet promotion videos from Vimeo. Their Help and Community pages have been showing up blank for the past weeks, so I am very afraid that I will have to move my video collection elsewhere – again 😦
1. Landmark Intranet Teaser (SharePoint)
A short teaser for a new intranet set to launch about now. This video does not go beyond the corporate part (news, events, video) but it is always nice to see another SharePoint home page. This is a UK commercial real estate company.
Uploaded February 2020.
Backpack, what a nice name for an intranet for a series of private schools in the USA! This is a demo – slightly on the long side (5 mins) but it has some nice features, such as the ability to select or suggest apps. Also, the presenters are chatty and relaxed which is nice to listen to. It uses Office365 for document management but not for the intranet pages. Uploaded January 2020.
3. Social Intranet RM IT
Silent demo for the intranet of a Swiss recruitment agency. Nice colours (completely different from their website, and not a company logo in sight) and the usual stuff. I am not so happy with the name “Wiki” for corporate policies (as the word “wiki” suggests to me that documentation is still in the crowdsourcing phase) but I know people will not agree with me 🙂
Uploaded February 2020.
4. Intranet launch Claro (in Spanish)
Upbeat teaser/demo for the intranet of an Argentinian telecommunications company. It looks nice and is accessible on all devices. I could not see that many details.
Uploaded February 2020/
5. Intranet relaunch Ricola (in German)
Very on-brand mockup design. The new intranet for this Swiss herbal sweets manufacturer has workspaces (collaboration spaces to reduce emails and paper), a community for help with the intranet, search function etc.
Uploaded February 2020.
As List.ly still has not updated their Vimeo API, I have some more video’s for you.
1.(in Dutch) This is an animated teaser for a Dutch news and broadcasting organization. The interesting thing about it is that it does not emphasize the homepage or corporate news, but it looks as if the landing page displays your personal timeline. This timeline includes news but also other things. Nice idea. Otherwise, it has a lot of “colleague finding”, transactions and you can even sell stuff.
Uploaded December 2019.
2. This is a demo of a modern SharePoint intranet for law firm in Brazil. The text may be in Portuguese but it is a silent video which speaks for itself. It is nice to see a real-life intranet that has a lot of out-of-the-box visual elements (like training videos, new books in the library, etc.)
Uploaded December 2019.
3. I received this video and the accompanying story from Thoughtfarmer, about the intranet launch video for a gas company in the USA. This is a termination interview with the old intranet. Hilarious and painful too!
Uploaded December 2019.
4. A cheerful animation for a new intranet for a French insurance company. This new intranet should help you with your daily work. Nice visualisations of the different roles of the intranet.
Uploaded November 2019.
The platform I curate my videos on has not updated the Vimeo API, so any Vimeo video I add does not show a link or a preview, which makes adding videos there a bit lame.
As I have a number of Vimeo videos lined up, I will give you a regular update here. I hope it is temporary, though.
1. New intranet from Roadis
Let’s start with this teaser for an intranet for a company that creates and maintains highways around the world. I like the enactment of “old ways of working”. Uploaded November 2019.
2. GEMALTO intranet – 3D Motion Design
Another teaser, which focuses more on “tools” and “features” and not so much on how you can benefit from it. Perhaps the fact that this is an IT company, working in the area of security and data protections, accounts for that. Uploaded December 2019.
3. Conexão Unidas
Hey, that oldfashioned two-cans-with-a-rope communication idea is apparently a hype, as it is strongly featured in this teaser/demo for the new intranet of a Brazilian rental car organization. It is in Portuguese but you will get the idea. The intranet is called “Connect” (as are many others, including the one at my previous organization), and it has strong branding and is also available on mobile (of course). Uploaded December 2019.
4. Indigo presents INWEGO, your new intranet.
And the last one for this post is another teaser for an intranet about to be launched now. I like the name play! The organization is a Canadian expert in car park management (it can be a bit of a puzzle to cut through the corporate website lingo 🙂 ) Uploaded December 2019.
Well, I hope you like this alternative update to my collection!
In earlier posts we have looked at SharePoint News and the News digest from the sender’s perspective. It is time to look at it from a reader’s point of view!
1. You can find SharePoint News in the following places:
The site where it has been published
The site overview (click “See all” on the web part after publishing 5 articles)
News digests (Newsletters), consisting of the above, gathered with previews in an email
The SharePoint app
“News from sites” on the SharePoint landing page
All “News from sites” if you click the “See all” on the SharePoint landing page
To avoid a very long post, I have compiled some screenshots in this deck. You may want to watch it full-screen:
2. You will only see News articles to which you have access.
The News digest is an exception – it can be sent to you and you may not have access to one or more of the articles.
3. The SharePoint web part on the landing page can not be configured or removed.
So if anyone is posting News articles and you have access, you will see them there, whether you want it or not.
Our project was a first and we did not want to show the News to everyone just yet. That is why we made the News site and the News digest available to a limited group of people only, even thought the content was not confidential. We simply did not want to confront people with something new which may be there only once. (In theory 🙂 )
We received some comments of people in the target audience because it “obscured their view of the Frequent Sites”.
4. You can like a page and/or comment on it.
You will find the options at the bottom of the page. The author will receive an email now and then with the likes and comments. If you @mention someone, they will receive an email immediately. This is great for urgent remarks to the author, and also to inform a colleague about this article.
5. You can save a news article for later.
This will come in useful when you do not have time to read it now, or in case you will want to keep it. There are 3 ways to do that:
At the bottom of the post you will see an option to “Save for later”.
You can also click the label of any News article that you see on the “News from sites” overviews.
In the SharePoint app you can click the … at the right of each article and select “Save for later”
There are 3 places to see your saved articles:
On the News cards in “News from sites”, saved articles will show with a “filled” label as opposed to have the outline only (Is this proper English? 🙂 )
On your SharePoint landing page, in the left-hand menu under “Saved”
In the SharePoint app News, under Filter (on top) you can select the “Saved Items”.
I would have expected this to be on Delve, together with bookmarks. But no.
6 a. The SharePoint app (iOS and Android) is excellent for reading News.
The Newsfeed (in order of First Published Date) looks great and your saved items are available in a separate place. (Click the filter on top to see only the “Saved Items”)
You can easily read the News in public transport or in the evening on the sofa!
News in the app. The third item is “saved for later”. You can see all saved items nby changing the filter on top.
This items is “saved for later”.
I often hear that people “do not have time to read the news during the day”.
I also heard a story from a bank that made the News available on smartphones (this was pre-SharePoint News and app) and they saw a massive spike in views around 8 pm, when people were ready to settle in for the evening. Apparently employees do not mind spending private time on work-related News, as long as they can consume it at a time that suits them.
6 b. The Android app is very sticky when it comes to post-publication changes.
Both iOS and Android are fast to show freshly published News articles. But while the iOS app is fast to respond to post-publication changes (e.g. items being renamed, edited, depublished or removed) the Android app is very slow and can take several hours to change. Some unpublished or deleted items never even go away, providing you with a 404 (not found) message when you click them.
Android phones and fast-moving news such as IT outages and their fixes are therefore not a good combination.
7. Make it a habit to click on the title to open a News article.
Clicking on the image in the News Digest will only show you the image. Everywhere else you can also click on the image. Weird.
8. You will get notifications of new News articles in the app.
This happens when someone you work with frequently posts a new article. This is determined by the Microsoft Graph (the machine that also provides you with suggestions of documents, sites and people) based on your interactions, so there is not much you can do about it 🙂
9. Alerts suck big time.
If you do not like to wait until you get a News digest or an app notification, you may think about setting an Alert. Please don’t – Alerts do not work.
Here’s what happens:
If you set an Alert based on “All changes” you will get two Alerts – one with the raw URL and one with the title, content and metadata. After that, you will get notified of all changes, of course.
If you set an Alert for “When new items are added” you get…nothing!
1. You need 5 published News articles before you can send a News digest.
Frankly, this one drove me nuts. I knew I had seen Jasper Oosterveld and other people demo this functionality, so why did I not see the “See all” link on the homepage? Well, because I had only posted 4 items. Duh!
2. The order is by selecting – the first article you select is on top.
This is independent of the creating or publishing order. You can change the order of items after selecting them and clicking “Next”. Using the arrows you can then drag and drop the items into the desired order. The “x” will remove the item from the selection.
3. You can only send this to an Office Group, Distribution List or individuals.
It looks like you can send this only to items which appear in the Global Address List.
I would have expected you could also use a SharePoint site user group (from this site) or a personal Group of Contact Persons from your Outlook, but no. In this case, it meant that our project manager had to add all people to a Distribution List. (We are not using Office Groups yet)
4. It is unclear (to me) what determines the logo.
If you do nothing the logo displayed will be the new SharePoint logo
If you replace the site icon by another image, the logo displayed will be the old SharePoint logo
Your organizational logo (the one in the Office365 top bar) does not show in the News digest
I would like to know how this works, as I would prefer to distinguish the various News digests from one another by using a custom image. On suggestion of Juan Carlos I tested this with a modern team site (instead of a Communication site), but it did not work there either. That said, if there is one site template I would expect to allow more branding, it would be the Communication site!
There is already a number of User Voice requests out there for more options to manage the News digest look-and-feel.
At this moment Microsoft says in their support article that “It is not yet possible to make changes to the appearance of images, header area, or summary area of the email.” That gives hope for the future!
5. Your News digest will display the site’s name.
So make sure your site has a meaningful name.
This is of course another good way to tell the difference between this digest and another, but I still would like to have an image, too!
6. Access requests will be sent for the News article, not for the site.
If someone has been forwarded the News digest, clicks on the first item and then finds out they need access, they will send an access request to the News article.
You can click “Approve”, but
You will only give access to this specific article, so they will have to request access for the next article and the next, etc.
They will not see the header image because that lives in the Site Assets library, to which they do not have access.
I would suggest to treat the access requests as a general request for access to the complete SITE.
In our case, I have added a link to the Visitors group on the top of the site, so the project manager can quickly open the list and add new people.
He grumbled a bit but is IS a sign of success when people forward the News digest 🙂
By the way, the access request email looks really nice these days. Sadly you can only Approve from the email if you are an Owner (not if you use a custom role, like we do) AND you can not give permissions for the complete site from this mail, only to the link requested.
7. Access requests will go to the original name of the article.
Have you changed the title of your News article after publishing? When you get an access request, the original name will be shown. If you have forgotten what it was, never mind – another reason to give access to the complete site! 🙂
8. You can send this to external users.
The email and the articles will look just as nice for your external partners as for your internal colleagues, including all logos and pictures. Of course your external partners can only read the full articles when your site allows external sharing AND they have access.
9. Your News digest may end up in the Spam box.
I have had to dig my beautiful News digest out of several spam boxes, for different email addresses 😦
So if your first News digests do not get the attention they deserve, you may want to ask around if people have received the emails. (and help them mark it as Not Spam)
10. The web part layout determines if there is a “See all” link
I only recently found out that the Hub News layout does not show a “See all” link, even when you have 5 items or more. Additionally, if you turn off “Show title and commands” in the web part, the link will not show either.
Overall, our audience was positive about the News digest and we have already received inquiries from another team.
My next post will be about experiencing SharePoint News as a reader. Stay tuned!
Last week we distributed our first SharePoint News digest! One of our project teams wants to keep their audience informed with a Newsletter, and we decided to give the standard SharePoint News option a try.
So here are a few real-life things that your Communications colleague may want to know:
1. You can add max. 110 characters in the title, but will they all be shown?
A different number of characters will be displayed in any of the other places where the article is shown:
SharePoint homepage and News overview: 48
SharePoint site, 2 side-by-side: 43
SharePoint app: 59
News Digest email: 110
Please note this is based on my screen with my test text. The “i” is a very thin letter and you will get more in the same space if you only use that one (for instance 100 on the SharePoint homepage and overview) the “m” and “w” are wide letters and you will get fewer in that space (for instance 27 on the SharePoint homepage and overview.) So…it all depends…on your title!
And then I am not even talking about the body text!
These things can drive you nuts if you are trying to provide guidance! 🙂
2. When you have no background image, the title is black. With a background image, even a light one, the title goes white.
Seriously, I would never notice these things but my colleague did! It is a tad annoying as I think black would provide more contrast in many cases.
3 a. Every News article is a site page and lives in the Site Pages library.
In my organization we use SharePoint sites mainly for document management (well, until I came along 🙂 ). Every site has a homepage and that’s it. So working with the Site Pages library was a new thing for my colleagues.
Unfortunately all News article pages live in the same Site Pages library, including your site’s homepage and any other page not related to News. Make sure you do not accidentally delete those while cleaning up old News articles.
3 b. A News digest (Newsletter) is another page in that Site Pages library.
If you create a News digest, you create another page in that library. That makes it easy to make it available for everyone who is not in the distribution list for your News digest, but it can make it difficult to know what is what.
Microsoft suggests to add the date to the title, to identify it better, but…
4. There IS a way to know if a certain page is a News article or another page.
A big applause to Elio Struyf who figured this out first, as far as I know.
In your Site Pages library, click on “Add Column” and then “Show/hide columns” at the bottom of the popup.
Then select the “Promoted State” column to add to the view. Be aware that this column is only available on the page itself; NOT via the Library Settings. (trust me, I tried 🙂 ) And also remember to click “Apply”!
Promoted State: (Thanks to Susan Hanley)
0 = News digest or regular page
1 = News article page, not yet published
2 = News article page, published or unpublished
Please note that the default view (Grouped by Author) does not keep the column, so if you edit the view or log out it disappears. If you really want to make it “stick”, use it in a non-grouped view. Here’s an interesting thread about this topic.
5. You can unpublish an article.
This will keep the article in the Site Pages library, but will remove it from any views. Deleting the page has the same effect, but the article will be gone, of course.
You can unpublish as follows: Go to the Site Pages library, hover over the article and click the 3 vertical dots. Click “More” from the popup and then “Unpublish”. You can publish it again.
Please note this is not available everywhere – it may have to do with the site/web part type. I could not find it in some older posts in different site types, for instance.
6. The Version tells you whether a News article is published or unpublished.
I have been looking all over the place to find how to see the difference between a published and an unpublished News article, and guess what? It is the Version, which has a x.0 for a published article and a x.1 for an unpublished article.
Thank you, Susan Hanley!
7. The author mentioned is the person mentioned in Author Byline or Created By (if Author Byline is empty).
My Communications colleague helped the project team out with their first efforts, but she did not want to appear as the author. We tried to leave the header empty, the project manager edited the item, but everywhere her name showed up.
However, Marc Anderson came to the rescue here. If we replace the name of my colleague in the article header (this is called the Author Byline) by the project manager’s name, HIS name will appear in all places. As I have only one user in my tenant I can not show it in a screenshot, but I have tested it at work and yes, that is the solution.
8. News articles are shown sorted on First Published date.
This can be different from the Created date! Thanks to Christopher Webb for pointing that out. As we published the articles as soon as they were written, we had not noticed.
It makes therefore no difference for the order of appearance if you change the article after a few days. It does not suddenly show on top.
The order of appearance/moving for the side-by-side webpart is top left > top right > bottom left > bottom right > off page.
(WordPress, I would appreciate an “insert table” option!)
9. You can change the order of appearance on the News web part manually.
This will be useful if you want to keep one (or more) important News article visible for some time, without it being pushed off the page by more recent articles.
Edit the page and click “Edit webpart” next to the News web part. Scroll down in the menu on the right-hand side and click on “Select news to organize”.
Drag and drop the News Article(s) you want to keep in the same place, to the desired place(s) and click the x top right. Remember to remove it when it has outlived its purpose, as it will stay there otherwise. And please note that this order goes for this web part only!
10. All images that you upload will be added to the Site Assets library.
You will get a folder for Site Pages and then one folder per page.
In most cases you will end up with one folder per page with one image. What a waste of folders and clicks!
11. Images should ideally be 16:9 with a good focal point that is not too close to the edges.
Another “vague” specification that is a big change from the “images should be square, in .jpg or .gif format, max. 1600 pixels wide and max. 2 GB in size” spec that we used to work with before Modern SharePoint came along. In real life it means that you generally get a decent result without being able to predict it. Keep in mind that the header image is wide and low, but in other places the images are displayed as a “normal landscape image”‘.
A deep bow for two ladies who have figured out picture behaviour extensively, so you do not have to:
Beth Hall: How SharePoint handles images.
It is a long and thorough post, and a little bit beyond me at times, but my Communications colleague, who is an expert photographer and editor, understood it very well.
12. If you delete a News article, the associated folder and images will stay in the Site Assets library.
Not sure if this is a good or a bad thing, but just so you are aware!
13. Changing the title of the News article after publication will not change the URL, the name of the Site page or the name of the image folder.
So this means links will keep working, which is good. On the other hand, you will lose track of that new title once the item has disappeared from the overviews and from the mind.
14. The News web part is not very stable.
When I was creating screenshots for item 7, I kept getting an empty web part when returning from the web part menu. Reverting to an earlier version helped now and then, but as soon as I hit the “Edit” or “Select news to organize” buttons, an empty page glared at me. I removed the web part and added it again, which helped, but it may be wise to not touch it too often! Microsoft help for the News web part.
John Sanders of Microsoft has kindly offered to look into that!
15. Edits take some time to update.
When you edit and republish an article after publication, the changes will be immediately visible in the article, the News web part and the overview in the site that the News lives in.
On the SharePoint landing page, the all-News overview page and the mobile app the changes take some time (in my test about an hour) to show up. This is probably due to the lag time in Search indexing.
16. Give access before publishing News.
Darn, a number 16! The other day I was given access to a site where a few News items had already been published. It took until the next day before the News was shown on my SharePoint landing page. Not a very big deal, but again something to be aware of!
I really enjoyed this project with my Communications colleague and the project manager. I appreciated their inquisitiveness and it was fun to research all their questions, find new blogs and support pages, see User Voice items, etc.
And…creating the News digest also generated some questions and insights. That will be my next blog as this one is quite long already!