Can the document library web part look like Stream?

OneDrive and SharePoint will be the storage location for video in Office365. I have already shown earlier how to display your videos on SharePoint pages.

I was curious to learn what you can do with the document library web part for this purpose, knowing that the recommended Highlighted Content web part lacks some functionality compared to the Stream web part. I also liked the Card view for the Document Library, so I wanted to check what it can do. Not just because I like playing around with these things, but also so you, Office365 support person, does not have to do it yourself! You are already busy enough.
So the question is:

Can the Document Library web part show videos in a way that is closer to the Stream web part?

What are we aiming for?

As a reminder, this is a Stream web part for multiple videos. You see thumbnail, title, # views and #likes.

Stream (Classic) web part displaying “All of Stream”

And this is the web part for Highlighted Content, displaying Stream (on SharePoint) videos. You see thumbnail, title, uploader, date.

Highlighted Content, most recent. This displays videos in SharePoint.

So, how do we go about when we want to tweak the Document Library web part? This is the basic display, using a card view – more about that later. You see the thumbnail, name (with extension), Modified by and Modified date. Almost the same as the Highlighted Content, but less compact.

So, can we tweak the Document Library web part to be more like Stream? And if yes, how?

1. Add Title column to the All Documents view

The Document Library web part displays the file name, with an extension. If this does not bother your audience, you can skip this item.
If you want to display the title, you need to add the Title column to your All documents view. In most cases you will need to manually add the titles to your videos. This is work, but it will give you the opportunity to use a better title than the file name.
Do not remove the Name (linked to document with edit menu) column because you may need it to make individual adjustments.
Please note the Title column does not show in bold. This makes it slightly harder to notice than the Name column.

2. Create a Tiles view

In your document library you will need a view in Tiles mode before you can create Cards. So, first of all, save your standard All Documents list view again as “Page View” and then save it again as Tiles. This will be the view to add to the page, after some configuration.

If you want to display other columns in your Page view, please add them now.

The view to add to the web page (after tweaking).

3. Use different views

You now have the following views:

  • All Documents for maintenance, adding columns etc.,
  • Page View to display on your page.

Make sure you know what’s what and do not delete either. You can create other views if needed.

4. Configure Cards

You can only configure Cards in the document library itself, not on the web page. So go to your document library, open the Page View and select “Format current view” from the bottom of the view menu. (see screenshot above)

Then click on “Edit card” and the Card view will pop up with options to change it.

You can create and edit the Card view in the document library.

You can select which columns to show, and decide if you want people’s pics or not.
You can also decide if you want to show the column names. They can provide extra information, but take up vertical space, so it is up to you to see what works best.

Document card designer. The … allow you to move an item up or down

Below an example without the column names and the Modified By (as this is often not relevant), but with an extra choice column called “Topic”.

Example of configured card.

5. Showing the number of Views πŸ˜’

I know you want to see what the end product looks like on a page, but we are not there yet!
I have tried to find a way to easily show Views and Likes, as they are shown together with every Stream video.

Unfortunately I could not make the Views visible on the Card. The number of views are not stored in a column.
The only way you can see how many hits this video has had is in the document library itself. Select a video (1), click the “document details” icon (2) and you can see the number of views in the popup. (3) πŸ˜’

You can not make this visible on the page, not even when you have enabled the command bar.

You need to go to the library to see the number of views.

6. Showing the number of Likes πŸ˜’

Another thing I want to show is the number of likes. I know there is a Rating option in document libraries, so I checked out this post from Gregory Zelfond to see how I enable that again.

I did not see the Rating option in my document library and in the video Greg confirms my suspicion that this is only available in Team sites. But my Intranet site is a Communication site, obviously, and it makes much more sense to me to have a rating option in a large-audience Communication site than in a limited-access Team site!

So, just for the sake of it, I replicated my video library in a Team site and enabled the Ratings.

With Likes it looks like this:

Video library in a Team site – likes

And with Star ratings it looks like this:

Video library in a Team site – with Star ratings

Well, that looks cool, huh?

It does, BUT you can not click on the heart or the stars to give your feedback – you can only do that in the list view in the document library itself…

Another disappointment!

7. Showing the number of Comments πŸ˜’

This is not available on the Stream (Classic) web part, but you can see it in the Stream (Classic) portal and on every video page.

You can see number of views, likes and comments on the My Videos page in Stream (Classic)

I checked if there is a column that shows comments, to add to the Card. Indeed, in the View configuration there is a column called Comment count but it does not get added to the View when you select it.
(Number of) Comments are only visible when you open the video.

Comment count column – but it does not show up when you add it to the view.

8. Configuring the page

Now it is time to add the web part to the page. I used the following setup for the web part:

  • One column with the Document Library web part
  • Page View
  • Hide the command bar
  • Show “See all” button
Web part configuration

And this is the best I could do (in a Team site)

Document Library web part in a Team site, non-clickable likes.

Conclusion:

The Document Library web part is a little more flexible than the Highlighted Content web part, so you can vary in what you show on your SharePoint page. It takes some work to make it ready (you need to create and configure an extra view at least).
It does not show exactly like the Stream web part, so if you are looking for views, likes and comments we will have to wait until Microsoft comes up with a web part more like Stream.

There will be a SharePoint video collections page for Teams, that may do the trick. I have not seen that yet. More information here, please scroll to “In development – Release June 2022” for the announcement.

In any case I enjoyed myself with all the investigative work!

Alternatives for the Stream web part on your SharePoint page

So, the other day I switched the link of my Stream tile and I found out I needed to plan for a migration project of videos currently residing in Stream. Now my one-person-tenant does not have a lot of important videos anyway, let alone that they need to be migrated, but I can image that it would be an unpleasant surprise for anyone maintaining an Office365 tenant.

As I currently have some time on my hands, I have already thought about the approach of this migration project and shared that in my most recent post.

Part of your migration project will also be to replace all Stream web parts on SharePoint pages with other video player web parts. Let’s find out how things work, shall we?

Stream web part

I expect this web part to be disabled together with Stream. But you may want to know what it can look like when you look for Stream web parts to be changed.

By default, once you add this web part, the web part will show “All of Stream” with all videos you have access to. You can Sort by “Trending” (default), “Upload date”, “Views” or “Likes”. You can also filter on a word.

The default settings when you add the Stream web part

When you publish the page, you will see an array of cards, with thumbnails, titles, views and likes. On the top right you will see “View more in Stream”, which takes you to the Stream (Classic) landing page.

The default Stream web part on a published page.

When you click on a video, it will open on the same page, in a large format.

You can also use a single video as a source. In that case you will need to add the URL and you can decide the starting point of the video. This looks like the screenshot below:

Stream web part with Stream (Classic) video.

Please note there is not much to see before you hit the Play button. Only when you play will you see indications in the corners of the video that this is a Stream web part with a video living in Stream. (Especially the Stream logo bottom right). See my previous post, scroll to the bottom for screenshots.

You can also use a Channel as a source. After adding the URL you can Sort by the same options as above. This will look like the All of Stream web part, but then just a selection.

Do you see a larger web part with the text “Microsoft Stream” in bottom right? Then you do not have to do anything; this will be a video living in SharePoint or OneDrive, embedded in a File Viewer web part.

File viewer web part with SharePoint video – please note that it mentions Microsoft Stream at the bottom!

Alternative web parts

When you select web parts, search for “Video” and these options pop up:

Potential video web parts

I have not done anything with Viva Connections yet, so I will skip that one. YouTube is also out of scope – we are dealing with videos that live on SharePoint.

I have used a SharePoint page with one column, to keep things comparable.

As it turns out, videos on Stream (on SharePoint) have a different opening behaviour compared to Stream (Classic): Clicking on a thumbnail will open the document in SharePoint (or OneDrive), so you will no longer be on your page.
When you click the x top right after playing, you will open the library where the video resides, not go back to the page.
Perhaps there will be a “video portal” web part one day, or there might be a PowerShell script to change the behaviour, but I am currently not aware of that.

Update June 28, 2022: From mid-July 2022 you will be able to play videos in the Hero web part inline, so without leaving the page. Nice!

πŸ‘ File Viewer

File Viewer is excellent when you want to show just one video.

  • Easy to pick the video from the site.
  • Has a nice large display on the page (depending on the column width of course).
Published page with the File Viewer web part with one video

πŸ‘Ž Hero

The Hero web part can be used for multiple videos, but it has downsides:

  • You need to manually add each link.
  • Displays thumbnail, but not a nice card.
  • You can only add 5 per web part, so you have to manually add multiple web parts if you want to display more.
Published page with Hero web part and 5 videos.

πŸ‘ Highlighted content

This is a good alternative for the “All of Stream” or “Channel”.

  • The actual sorting is displayed on top of the web part. (“Most recent videos”)
  • You can show a library, or use a filter. I filtered for content type Video and all videos in the site are shown.
  • You can filter (on word) and sort (Most recent, Most viewed, Trending, Managed property).
  • You have various display options – screenshot below is “Grid”, but you can also use List, Carousel, Compact and Filmstrip. This Grid, Carousel and Filmstrip show cards.
  • You can select how many items you want to display.
Highlighted content – configuration

The final page looks nice, with the cards and the play button. There are no views or likes displayed.

Published page with Highlighted Content web part

If you are looking to build a portal-like site, you can check out this blog by Chris Hoard, aka Microsoft365Pro. He also uses the Highlighted Content web parts.

πŸ‘Ž Link

The Link web part can be used to embed just one video. I do not think it has any advantages over the File Viewer.

  • You need to find the video, then copy and paste the link.
  • It shows only a small thumbnail.
  • You need to remember to remove the ugly link before you publish.
  • There is very little information except the title and that is in file format (.mp4)
Configuration of the link – remember to remove the ugly URL before you publish
Published page with the link web part

πŸ‘ Quick Links

This is another good option for multiple videos, especially if they are not living in the same site/library. I have already sung the praise of this web part before.

  • You can easily pick the videos to display. You need to be careful with linking outside of your site due to permissions, though.
  • You can select different display options – I have used Grid because it shows the thumbnail, but you can also use Compact, Filmstrip (shows thumbnail as well), Button, List and Tiles.
  • The video shows the title only, but with the length of the video in the corner.
Quick links web part – configuration
Published page with Quick Links webpart

πŸ‘Ž Saved for later

This web part is useless as it displays only your own saved items and these include News items, documents etc.

πŸ‘ Document library

This is not mentioned in the video web parts but an option when you have a dedicated video library. It will show a more elaborate card, that you can tweak, but needs some work, so I would use the Highlighted Content if that looks good enough for your purpose.

  • First you will have to change the default view from List to Tiles. Save the view.
  • Click on the Views dropdown and select “Format current View” from the menu.
  • Select the “Document Card Designer” radio button and then “Edit card”
Going to the Document Card Designer from the Tiles view

You can now select the columns you want to show in the card, and if you want to show the column name.

The Document Card Designer with the default card.

Only you can determine whether this is worth the extra work.

Conclusion

None of these web parts show or play the video exactly as the Stream web part does, but in many cases the following web parts will be good alternatives:

  • For just one video, e.g. on a page with an explanatory text, or as a side column with a News post, I would suggest you use the File Viewer web part.
  • If you want to quickly display all (or most) videos from a site, the Highlighted Content is your best friend, but the Document Library web part with some modifications can work, too.
  • If you want to pick videos from a site or different sites, the Quick Links may be a good option.

Hope this was helpful and please let me know if you have any questions or tips for others in the same boat!

4 ways to manage comments on SharePoint news and pages

Whenever I published a SharePoint news post, I have always been happy when people took the trouble to read my posts at all, let alone push the πŸ‘ button or even spent time on a reply.

But when we introduced the publishers to these feedback options a few people were hesitant. When we told them they would get an email for feedback some were relieved that they would not miss comments, some were even more hesitant because it meant “more email to take care of”.

Nonetheless, we strongly advise publishers to allow interactions for news posts. It means more two-way communication and that is a good thing.
For static pages, which are available all the time, we leave it to the publisher. It may be better to mention the responsible person or provide an email address for questions about a page on processes within the organization, for instance.

So, how can you manage comments and likes?

1. Best option: as is

When you publish a page, comments and likes are on by default. When someone likes or comments, the post’s creator (this is not necessarily the author mentioned on the page) will immediately receive an email for each interaction. (The Microsoft info says it is batched, and I remember it worked like that, but during the creation of this post all likes and comments turned into individual emails.)
This email may end up in “Other” if you have enabled the Focused Inbox.

Whether this floods you with emails, is dependent on many things: how frequently you post, the type of info you post, the size of the organization, and how interactive the audience is, for instance.

This is the email for a comment.

When do you NOT receive an email?

  • When you like or comment on posts you have created yourself
  • When you are an external publisher, i.e. you have no (email) account on the tenant where you publish
  • When you are mentioned as the author, without being the person who created the post. The person in “Created By” will receive the email instead.

2. Collect all feedback mails in one folder by using Outlook Rules

If you receive (too) many feedback mails, and/or you do not like to have all these mails scattered around your inbox, you can use Rules to collect all these in a separate folder.

Make sure you create a folder first and then set up the rules, based on ‘subject includes”

The subject lines for the various posts are

  • [Person] liked [Title of post]
  • [Person) left a comment on [Title of post]
  • [Person) replied to a comment on [Title of post]

You can also do this in PowerAutomate, of course, but Rules are easier.

My Rule to move comments to a special folder in Outlook on the web

You can also use this when you are often posting news on someone else’s behalf; you can forward comments to them using a Rule. In that case use “Forward to” as the action.

Remember to look into this folder on a regular basis, and to reply to comments where needed. This is important as the phrase “left a comment” is also used for comments on shared documents and Lists!

An alternative option for Likes

It is possible to see all Likes in the Pages library, so you could also choose to make that visible in the library, look there on a regular basis, and move the emails to the Deleted Items with a Rule. After all, you are not expected to react on Likes.
You can make it visible in the Pages library as follows:

  • Open the Site Pages library (Gear wheel > Site contents > Site Pages)
  • Click “Add column”> “Show/hide columns”
  • Select “Like count” (at the bottom) and click “Apply” top left.
    You can also do this by editing the View, but that is more work.
Add the Like Count by using Add Column

3. When appropriate: Turn off comments for one news post or page

When you click “Add > News post” from the web part, you will see the Comments option on the bottom of the page. When you toggle the switch before publishing, nobody will be able to add comments.

Toggle the switch and people will no longer be able to add comments

People can still like your post, however, and this will send an email to the creator’s mailbox.
This will also happen when there is no author mentioned or when the mentioned author is not the creator. The creator will receive the email.

There is still a “Like” button, and this will send you an email when clicked.

So, turning off comments on your posts or pages can save you some emails, but you will still receive an email for each like, so you could also use the “autodelete” option by using a Rule.

4. Not advised – turn off all notifications across SharePoint pages/news

I would not advise to do this, but for completeness’ sake I can inform you that there is an option on the SharePoint landing page to remove ALL likes and comments across SharePoint news and pages for all your SharePoint sites.
I honestly can not think of any good business case to do this (except for the Likes, see 2.), so if you have a reason to recommend it, please share in the comments!

There are two ways go reach the page with the settings:

  1. Click “Notification settings” at the bottom of every email notification for news and pages.
  2. Click the gear wheel on the SharePoint landing page, and select “Email notification settings”
Here you can turn off all news/pages notifications

You can toggle the notifications on and off.

Please note this does not stop the comments on documents. If you click “Notification settings” at the bottom of a “document comment email” you will be taken to your OneDrive notification settings, where you can turns some notifications off. But why would you?

Conclusion

If you are a news and/or page publisher, and you receive too many notification emails because your colleagues respond frequently, first congratulate yourself with being a publisher that can set people in motion! πŸ™‚
After giving yourself this constructive feedback, check if 2 or 3 are suitable options to reduce the noise a little.

If you have any experiences with managing comments within your organization, would you please share them in the comments?

Writing SharePoint news posts (our way)

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚
  • 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.
The standard Blue theme matched well
  • 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.
Left colum: with author, date and views, right column: date only.
  • 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.
The preferred page layout for news when you want more than just text
  • 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.
The preferred blue colour
  • 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!
Show the published date is off by default. 😦
  • Enable comments for news and short-time pages.
    This allows for discussion within the organization.
    You can disable comments for static pages.
Comments are on by default

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.

SharePoint News I might have written πŸ˜‰

When we heard about the functionality “News you might have missed” we could not wait until we found the script to turn that off. As our intranet news sites are all open, and there are more open sites with news, we expected an avalanche of news, while our colleagues are already complaining that they get too much information.

So, disabled it was!

Not so in my own tenant. I have not learned PowerShell yet – it looks easy enough but I need to find out WHERE to insert the command – so I have not disabled the functionality. And as I am the only person in my tenant, I did not really think about it.

A few weeks ago I started posting lots of News, for my tests with the behaviour of images.

To my surprise and amusement I recently received an email titled “News you might have missed”!!!

It contained a number of posts I have created myself…

The email, you see my name everywhere πŸ™‚

Well, in any case I now know what this email looks like! It is slightly different from a regular Newsletter.

This is a regular Newsletter email.

What are your experiences with this functionality? Have you turned it off? If you have not, do people really like it? Please let me know!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Troubleshooting images in SharePoint news

In recent blogs I showed what can go wrong with images in SharePoint news. So, here’s the recap for everyone who is publishing and sharing SharePoint news and everyone who is supporting them. It will save you time trying to find the cause and solution!

These are the issues, their cause and solution:

  1. No header image visible (News post, News web part and SharePoint landing page)
  2. Header image shows a placeholder image (News post, News web part and SharePoint landing page)
  3. No image visible on Yammer when promoted

1. No header image visible

Does your News post look like this?

This is an example of a news post template with no image
This is the same post, but then on the SharePoint landing page

You (or the publisher) may have selected the “plain” template, this does not have a header.

If this is by design, no action is needed.

If an image is desired, edit the post, click the pencil top right next to the title (1) and select a different template than “Plain” (2). You can now add a header image.

You can easily switch the template to add a header image

2. Header image shows a placeholder image

Does your News post look like this?

The news image is a generic grey image

A News post with a generic grey image on the left can have two causes:

  1. Intended readers have no access to the image.
    The image lives in a place (OneDrive, Document library, Site Assets library) that is not accessible for the intended readers. See my earlier post.
    The issue will be reported by someone who does not have access. The image is visible for the publisher and anyone else who has access.
  2. The image has been deleted or moved after publishing.
    It can take some time before this is noticed, especially by the publisher. The image sticks in the browser cache, so the post will look OK to them. But someone “new” to the post will notice immediately that there is no image.
    In my experiments, the post itself will quickly lose its image and show a grey header, on the News web part it will take some more time, and on the SharePoint landing page it may take even longer!
    In the screenshot below the image is still visible on the SharePoint landing page. (All screenshots have been taken at the same time)
    The SharePoint search index may also have a role in this.
While the image has been deleted, it stays visible for some time on the SharePoint landing page

This can be quite hard to troubleshoot if the publisher does not remember where this image came from. Due to the “stickiness” of the image the issue may only be noticed few days after deletion, which may be quite some time after publishing!

And before you say: “Why bother, the news is outdated after a few months anyway?” remember that this also goes for pages!

You can try the following:

  1. If the publisher remembers the site where it lives, (whether it is the OneDrive or another site) you may want to check the Recycle Bin to see if a deleted image is the problem. Restoring it will solve the issue.
  2. If the publisher remembers the site where it lives, check the permissions to validate the assumption. But rather than changing the permissions for one image, suggest the publisher to download and upload the image, and re-add it to the post.
    It means duplication, but now the image is within control of the publisher.
  3. If the publisher does not remember, things are more difficult.
    It is very unlikely that the Site Assets library or folder of the News site itself will have different permissions from the rest of the site. Nonetheless, to exclude that option, check if there is a folder with the name of the news item in the Site Assets library, and then check permissions of the folder and the image. If yes, inherit the permissions of the site or library again, as unique permissions for a News image are not good practice.
  4. Search for the image. “Images” is now a search vertical. It helps if you know the name!
  5. If this is not the case, there is not much you can do. I tried the F12 “underwater screen” to see if I could find a URL that shows the location of the image (like …my.sharepoint.com/… or the name of the site) but until now I have been unsuccessful. If anyone knows, please let me know!
    You’d better suggest to use another image.

So, this would suggest that using Web Search or Upload is the best source of News images, since you are in control. On the other hand, it means duplication of files which may lead to a lot of clutter all over your tenant.
This may also be your trigger to finally create an Organizational Assets library :).
Agree with the owner that images are not deleted, but hidden in a dedicated view when they are no longer in use, and wait a year or so before deletion. This will keep the images visible on News and pages, but discourage further use.

3. No image visible on Yammer when promoted

While it is very easy to “promote” (share) a SharePoint news post to Yammer, not all news posts show their image when shared.

Does your Yammer post look like this? (I am using “new Yammer”, but not “native Yammer”)

Promoted News item with image, but image does not show on Yammer

That is because the post has been created in an older (not Group-enabled) SharePoint team site. (and not in a modern Group-enabled Team site or Communication site)
There is not much you can do about it except confirm, and inform the publisher that this is how things work. This post explains it in more detail.

Does your Yammer post look like this?

This post has an image placeholder

If the promoted News post only shows an image placeholder, it has been shared from a modern site (Communication or Team) but here the image source is the issue. In my earlier post I found that when you use certain image sources there will be no image on Yammer.
In that case, please suggest to your publisher to use an image from one of the following sources and repost to Yammer:

  • Recent (but beware of copyright issues!)
  • Web Search
  • Upload
  • Organizational Assets
  • From a link to an image in an Assets library (not a regular Document Library!)

Hope this saves you time experimenting!

It is information I wrote before but now turned around into a guide for support folks to help their puzzled users! Hope it is helpful.

Sharing SharePoint news to Yammer

Last week I wrote about “promoting” SharePoint news items to Yammer. Only when the header image lives in the Site Assets library, the image is displayed on Yammer.
(According to Susan Hanley, it is also displayed when the image is from Organizational Assets)

While I was doing the experiments, the following questions popped up:

  • Does this work in the same way for News posted in Team sites?
  • Is there any difference when you use a different browser?
  • Do news items display better in the Yammer apps?

Let’s find out, shall we?

1. Promoting news from a Team site

Until now, I have only shared news from Communication sites. For the sake of completeness, I recreated all news items from my earlier post in an existing Team site in my tenant.

During Promoting to Yammer, the preview does not show the image, nor does it show on Yammer. This was the case for all options.

You may also notice that the display is slightly different than when you promote from a Communications site: there is no space on the left hand side for an image.

No preview when you promote a news item to Yammer.
None of the options display an image

Now this Team site was created in January 2018 and is not a modern, group-enabled site so I tried it again with a freshly created Team site. Experiments are marked with T2. I have no “recent” option as this was a brand new site.

The preview shows an image in most cases, and on Yammer the behaviour is the same as for the Communication site as mentioned in my preceding post.

One of the previews
A new, group-enabled Team site behaves like a Communication site in this respect

Conclusion: Very modern (group-enabled) Team sites work like a Communications site when showing images on Yammer, but if you have a slightly older Team site, your News header images may not be displayed. You may want to keep this in mind when troubleshooting!

2. Do different browsers show the same result?

I generally work in Microsoft Edge, but when I opened the Yammer page in Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, there was no difference. I also tried Safari on my iPad, same results.
So this is not browser-dependent.

3. Yammer iOS apps

The experience in iOS was rather disappointing – no images are visible on iPad or iPhone, and for the Communication site, it showed just the link to the page. Not nice!

News from a Communication site. Only the link, not even the title!
New Team site – even the “Upload” option does not show an image

Conclusion

There’s quite a number of factors that influence the visibility of images on Yammer. Location of image, site type, site age, web or app, so there can be various reasons why the image from your News item is not displayed when shared on Yammer!

(I feel like creating a troubleshooting guide…)

SharePoint Holmes and the Promoted Post

The case

One of our news publishers shared a post on Yammer but it did not show up very nicely: the image was not displayed. What did she do wrong?

I remember having mixed experiences myself, and I also think Microsoft promises a beautiful sharing experience on Yammer (that prominent “Promote” button is not on every news post for nothing) so I asked SharePoint Holmes for help!

We are not the only ones to experience this, see this item from the tech community.

The investigation

1. Sharing news posts to Yammer

I confirmed that this was a Communication site.
I then used the “Promote” option to share every news post created in my earlier article on the storage of images. I also used the “Send to” option and that behaves similarly.

My own Yammer has the “new” experience, but I have not switched to “Native Yammer” yet. It may be different for Native Yammer users, but my own and work tenant have the same experience.

Options to share your news post to Yammer

The sharing interface shows the image in all news posts.

The promote/send interface

But this is the result on Yammer:

Not all posts show an image on Yammer

2. News posts with images in a regular Document Library

Seeing the results, and as the “From a link” is a bit of an exception (the image resides in the Site Assets library of another site) I added two extra experiments: I uploaded images to regular document libraries, one in the Intranet site where I created all news, and one in another site, created a News post with those and shared them on Yammer.

During upload to Yammer, both showed the image in their preview.

Normal preview with image

But on Yammer, they do not show their image.

Both posts do not show the image on Yammer

They look OK in the site and on the SharePoint homepage, though.

Both news post show the image in their own site
Both news posts show the image on the SharePoint homepage

The solution

So, it appears that you need to think beforehand whether you want to share a news item on Yammer, because your choice of image source makes or breaks your Yammer post!

I advised the news publisher to create news posts with images that will end up in the Site Assets, so that would be:

  • Recent (most likely – be aware of copyright issues as this might have been taken from the web)
  • Upload
  • Web Search – but be aware of copyright issues!
  • From a Link, if you know that the image lives in a Site Assets library

If you combine my advice from my earlier post and these results, “Upload” appears to be the best option. This is actually quite annoying – one would expect that all news posts would display their image!

According to Susan Hanley, images from Organizational Assets also show up when shared via Yammer. So there’s no more excuse…I have to learn how to Powershell this into my tenant! (I know the command, but I do not know where to enter it!)

This experiment triggered some new questions, such as the behaviour of News created in Team sites (as opposed to Communication sites), so that will be my next post!

About SharePoint Holmes:
Part of my role is solving user issues. Sometimes they are so common that I have 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.

Images in SharePoint News and Pages

We have established that creating pages and news in SharePoint is easy and gives excellent results. As our intranet publishers get more experience, they are also asking more questions, such as “where are my page/news images stored?”

In proper SharePoint style: It depends! πŸ™‚ on the original location of the image.
Let’s take a look at the various image sources. These are your 8 options when you add an image to a news item or a page. If our admin has NOT enabled the Organization Assets option you will not see “Your organization”.

Your sources for images for news or pages

A copy of the images used (for any page or news post) may be stored in the Site Assets library in your site, in a folder Site Pages. If yes, the page/post will get a new subfolder with the name of the page/post and the images used.

Experiment

To check what happens exactly, I created news items using each available option. I have no Organizational Assets library enabled in my tenant, but I know from work how it behaves.

These are the news items I created, with the name of the image source:

7 news item, each with a different image source

Results

Only Web search and Upload create a new folder.

Web Search and Upload create a new folder

The good thing is, that adding images is very economic; you seldom get copies taking up storage space.
I know storage quota is not really a thing anymore in modern SharePoint, but I have spent so many years worrying to keep SP2007 site collections within their 2 GB storage limit, that this topic will always be on my mind. πŸ™‚
The bad thing is that you will not collect your used images in your site, if you plan to re-use them again. Also, if someone decides to remove their image from the internet or their SharePoint site, you may end up with no image. For News this will not be so serious as most news is volatile. For long-term and important pages, it may be worth keeping your images under your own control.

Results

In the overview below I am sharing my opinion on the various options, based on my experiences, together with their storage behaviour. I have added a ⭐ for my favourites. Feel free to disagree, I like learning from others!

Recent

πŸ‘ Convenient

πŸ‘Ž You have probably used this recently, so do you really want to use this again?

πŸ“‚ No new folder, image is stored in its original folder.

Stock Images ⭐

πŸ‘ Good variety of images, freely available

πŸ‘Ž They might get over-used

πŸ“‚ No new folder

⭐ This is the simplest solution if you need an image and do not want to spend too much effort

πŸ‘ All images you can think of

πŸ‘Ž Beware of copyright – finding out can be time-consuming, not finding out can be costly

πŸ“‚ Creates new folder

Your organization ⭐

πŸ‘ Custom images suitable for your organization, no copyright issues (assuming you use your own and bought images)

πŸ‘Ž You need someone to manage these assets. I am lucky as our Communications manager is both a keen and expert photographer AND a tenacious intranet manager, so she really keeps an eye on this collection and is always happy to add new images when you ask.

πŸ“‚ No new folder

⭐ Easy to use and this allows you to use specific imagery that fits your organization

OneDrive

πŸ‘ Nothing

πŸ‘Ž Private by default, so you need to share them first with your intended audience (see my earlier post, SharePoint Holmes and the Invisible Illustration)

πŸ“‚ No new folder, the image stays in your OneDrive.

Site ⭐

πŸ‘ Easily available, good if you have custom images for your site, e.g. with specific theme or branding. Best option for long-standing pages as deletion is within your own control.

πŸ‘Ž Might become repetitive if you have used them before. When you are storing images in a separate library, you or fellow publishers need to remember where they are.

πŸ“‚ No new folder, the images stay in the library where you have stored them.

⭐ Useful when you create content that will be relevant for a long time, and/or when you have custom illustrations.

Upload ⭐

πŸ‘ Familiar experience for most users. Best option if you want to use an image from your OneDrive – upload it from your OneDrive client.

πŸ‘Ž Nothing

πŸ“‚ Will create new folder

⭐ Especially when you start using SharePoint you will probably have to dive into your own collection on your PC quite often. After some time you will probably be using your Site images, see above.

πŸ‘ Good way to re-use suitable images across the organization

πŸ‘Ž This can only be a link to an image within your organization (OneDrive or SharePoint).
You need to know where the image lives and be sure that your intended audience has permission to see it.
The owner can remove it, leaving you with no image.
Once you have used it, it is quite hard to find the link to the image and the site. I could find it using F12 (developers tool) and search for the name of the site or the image (if you know) but that is not very convenient. Please let me know if you know an easier way!

πŸ“‚ No new folder

Conclusion

My suggestion would be to use Stock Images, Organizational Assets, Site or Upload; they appear to be most user- and maintenance-friendly for short and long term.

Your experiences/opinion

Did I forget anything, or is there an option you really like or dislike? Please let me know!

SharePoint Holmes and the Invisible Illustration

Creating news in SharePoint is relatively simple compared to publishing on the old intranet, our news publishers have informed us. They especially like the many easy options to add images and web parts.

Still, the other day we got a small mystery to solve.

The case

One of the News items showed a strange header image. The publisher told us that she saw the illustration as intended, and that she had used the standard “Image and Title” template because she wanted to use a header image. The rest of our organization saw a grey/white image instead.

Strange image in the news post, not what the pusblisher intended!

She told us she had followed all the steps she usually did.
Time to wrap up in my SharePoint Holmes cloak!

The investigation

I looked at the news post but I could not see anything wrong with it, not even in admin view.

I checked the Site Assets library where images used on Pages are stored, but there was no folder with the name of the news post. This could either mean the image had not been uploaded, or that she had used a selection option that does not create a folder in the Site Assets. (More on that in my next post)

All images used on pages and news are stored in the Site Pages folder in the Site Assets library.

I then asked if she could reproduce her steps while I was looking, as just looking at people’s actions can give you a ton of extra information.
When it came to adding the header image, she selected “OneDrive” and selected the image of choice. She got a popup and clicked “OK” before I could read the message properly, so I asked her what the message said. She said she just clicked “OK” as this added the image to her post, and she had found that if she clicked “No”, she would go back to the image selection and had to start again, so that made no sense.
She then published the news post and it showed correctly on her screen, like this:

The News publisher sees this image from her OneDrive

But not on mine or anyone else’s.

This is the “image” everyone else sees.

It was time to look at that popup. This is it:

When you use an image located on your OneDrive, you need to share it with everyone in the site.

So, if you want to use an image from your OneDrive, which is private by default, you need to share it first with your intended audience. This makes sense, but there is no way to share it while you are in the process. Clicking “OK” assumes you have shared it, clicking “No” brings you back to the image selection. It would be nice if you could adjust the permissions then and there, like you can do with documents you upload in Teams chats!

The solution

In this case, I suggested to use the “Upload” option and select the image from her OneDrive client on her PC. This will upload the image and create a folder with the illustration, shared with everyone who has access to the site.
She could also have uploaded the image to the Site Assets in her news site, and then select “Site”.
It is also possible to share the illustration with everyone on her OneDrive, before adding it to the news post, but I thought that was too complicated. Not everyone knows that “Everyone except external users” is the group to share it with.

To fellow support folks:

Please notice the difference between adding a OneDrive “image” (1) and not adding a header image (2). This can help you find out if this is a similar case.

1: OneDrive image, not shared. 2: No header image (and no other images) added to the post.

My next post will discuss the various image upload options, so stay tuned!

About SharePoint Holmes:
Part of my role is solving user issues. Sometimes they are so common that I have 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 introduceΒ SharePoint Holmes, SharePointΒ investigator, who will go through a few cases while working out loud.