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.

Where do you find news posts saved for later?

We launched our new intranet this week. Although it is vanilla SharePoint (and what a joy NOT to have complicated requirements and unmaintainable customizations) I have had to create some help materials for users, as we have some organization-specific information to share, and the Microsoft support documentation has not always been translated correctly.

One of the help items is “Where to find the news items you have saved for later”.

Saving is easy: click the label. When you see the post on the SharePoint start page, the label is on the card. When you have opened the item, you see the label on the bottom of the post.
Unsaving: click the label again.

The image to look for when you want to save a news post for later

But where can you find them later?

There is only one place where you can view your saved news items only. Most places I found also contain favourited documents and even other types of content. Most confusing!

Let me list the locations:

1. Clicking “Save for later” or “Saved for later”

When you accidentally hit the text next to the label you get a popup with your latest saved or favourited items.

If you click the text next to the label, you will get this popup

When you click “See all saved items” you get a page with all your darlings.

All my six saved items

You see this is a mixed bunch: news items and documents.

2. “My saved items” web part

We have this web part on our main news page, to make it easy for our colleagues to find their saved items. Again, it shows news posts and documents. (More info from Microsoft)

This web part shows news items and documents

When you click “See all” you get that page with all saved items. Mind you, while the overview above appears to be a page in the SharePoint landing site, this is now shown within the site where the web part lives.

All my six items, but now in the same site as where the web part is added

3. “Saved for later” on the SharePoint start page

In the left hand rail of the SharePoint start page, underneath “Following” and “Recent” there is a block displaying your most recent 5 darlings. I would have expected to have an option to “See all” here, but no.

The Saved for later web part on the SharePoint start page.

4. SharePoint mobile app: “News” and “Me”

The only place where you can list just the news posts is the SharePoint mobile app.

  • “News” shows all your news posts, and allows you to filter the saved items.
  • “Me” shows your recent and saved items, and in the Saved items you can again filter for news posts only.
This is the News part; you can filter for “Saved items” on top.
This is the “Me” portion. In the saved items (“Opgeslagen”) you can filter for just news items.

5. The Microsoft/Office365 landing page

Here is where it gets really confusing.
At work I see my opened news posts in the “All” tab of content, and in my Favourites tab when I have saved it for later. In my personal tenant I do not see those. I have been unable to find out why. 🀯

Saved news items do not appear in Favourites in my own tenant. I made the one shown here a favourite when it appeared on this page.

While we are on this page, let me inform you how to make something appear in your Favourites. On the All tab you will see all items (Lists, news, Forms, recordings, images) that you have recently looked at or edited. Hover over an item you would like to add to Favorites, click … and then “Add to favourites”.
(Remember you could briefly do this from SharePoint? That has been gone for some time)

How to make a content item a favourite so it is shown in the Favourites tab

It is a star icon, just like when you want to “follow” a site. 🀯
The Forms that you “pin” on the Forms landing page will also appear on the Favourites tab. 🀯

You can also make a List a Favourite from this page. But if you go to the List itself, and click the star near the list name, it will appear as a Favourite on the Lists landing page, but not on the Microsoft/Office365 landing page. 🀯

Well, this homepage functionality appears to be a bit messy. Does anyone know if this is being worked on?

In any case, did I miss a location where you can see your saved news posts? Let me know in the comments!

How to link from a SharePoint page

Did I tell you we are finally moving towards a SharePoint intranet?

We are currently training staff to publish pages and News on SharePoint. Many of them are very happy with the ease of creating pages and news articles, and the fact that you can so easily embed pictures and video. (The old platform can handle one picture or video per article)

One common question is: how do we create links from a page or News article?

Let’s discuss some options. Do you want to link to just one site, page or document? Of do you want/need multiple links on your page? And do they need to be functional and modest, just pretty or attention-grabbing? SharePoint has something for every occasion πŸ™‚

I have made examples in a Team site, but it works the same in a Communication site.

Link opening behaviour

You may want to know that links to content within your tenant always open in the same window. Links to content outside of your tenant always open in a new window. I have been playing around with different options that I found on the internet, but no luck so far.

Make SharePoint Online Menu Items Open in New Tabs! – Views from Veronique (veroniquepalmer.com)

How to open SharePoint Online Modern SPFX links in new tab | Code2care

Suggestions welcome, as sometimes you want to keep people on your page and the link is supposed to be only a side-step!

1. In text

When writing a news article or explanatory text you may want to link to additional information. You can do this in two ways:

  • Linking to a page within your site: type [[ and the list of pages in your site will pop up and you just select one. It will be added with the page name.
Type [[ and the list of pages will show, just click to create a link
  • Linking to anything else: select the text and click the link icon
This is the only option allowing you to open the link in a new tab!
The links will be shown in the text.

If you want your links to stand out, you will need to use a separate web part for that. You can use a two column section where you have a link in the column next to the text, for instance.

The following web parts all handle links in different ways. I will show you how they look in edit mode, what the editing options are and what the end result looks like.

2. Link

The Link web part shows a preview of one link. It depends on the website whether a preview is available. As mine does not have a preview (What! I need to work on that!) I have linked to another very useful website. You just paste the link and the only option you have is to add alternative text or not.

In the screenshot below, from left to right: the empty Link webpart, the web part with link and preview, and the edit options.

If you work with SharePoint, you should follow Gregory Zelfond’s site, sharepointmaven.com!

3. Button

Again, this is for one link, which will be displayed as a button in the colour scheme of your site. You can determine the alignment, but that’s all. Our intranet sounding board contains a number of therapists, and they have warned us against making pages too full of stimuli. So this is a good option if you want to have a quiet, non-overwhelming page.

The Button web part. Very straightforward.

4. Call to Action

If you want people to do something, like register for a webinar or subscribe to a newsletter, a Call to Action webpart may be the best option. It allows you to write an explanatory text (“Attend a webinar”), add the action with the link (“Register now!”), add a background image and align the text.
You pick the background image from the same source as header images for your news items – is there a word for that place? Let’s call it link-picker-page.

This is where you pick images and links from. But not all web parts use this as a source.

The button will be in your site’s colour scheme. If only you could change that black background, it is very visible and sometimes clashes with your colour scheme.

5. Image

You can create a click-through image by using the Image webpart. You will immediately go to the link-picker-page. This web part has an option to add a link, an overlay text (off by default) and to add a caption.

Before we move on to the multiple-link options, let me show you what the web parts look like on a page. I have used three columns, so you have an idea of the relative size. The size can vary depending on the number of columns – the Call to Action and Image web parts will fill the column width, but the Button will always be this size.

This is what the single-link web parts look like.

6. Hero

If you prefer your page to be visually interesting, the Hero web part may be useful. You can choose anything between one or 5 links (also depending on screen resolution and the number of columns in the section) and you start with adding the link (you will go to the link-picker page), then click on the pencil in the bottom of the image to add an image, a call to action for the first item, etc.
This web part consumes a ton of real-estate and I personally think it is too much imagery, too little content πŸ™‚
There’s a lot to this web part and there is good help from Microsoft available: Use the Hero web part – Office Support (microsoft.com)

The Hero web part has many options

7. Quick Links

Another good option if you want to display multiple links. You can go from large image tiles to modest buttons (as below). You can have as many as you like, and you have a ton of options (352 to be exact) to display them. Click “Add Links” and you get taken to the link-picker-page to add the link, then you can adjust things with the pencil underneath.
This is my favourite as it is versatile and you can keep it compact, yet nice looking. The number displayed horizontally will adjust to the column.
This is my blog about it: 352 ways to show Quick Links in SharePoint – Ellen’s Digital Workplace (wordpress.com)

The Quick Links web part has a lot of display options. The Button option is my favourite.

What do all these web parts look like? Below is an overview of all options used.

This is what all web parts look like.

8. Navigation

Of course there is also the navigation menu that you use to link to the main parts in your site. That does not look as pretty as the options above, but it will be shown all over your site, so it has its own merits.

Just click the Edit button below (Team site), or next to the navigation (Communication site) and you can add links, sublinks, move, edit and delete them.

The navigation – adding a new link

Navigation – moving, editing, deleting, indenting a link.

Conclusion

You have many options to select the web part that works for you. I understand it is not always easy to choose the best option, but in general I would say:

  • Keep it simple; visually pleasing but not cluttered.
  • Use Alternative text with images whenever possible – you do not know if anyone in your organization has a temporary or permanent loss of vision and they may want to use the Immersive reader to have the page or news read aloud to them. (I assume the Immersive Reader reads the alternative text – not sure!)
  • Think about the future. If your page is there for a long time, think about the number of links needed over time. Will this stay the same or do you expect more or fewer items needed next year? If you expect that your 5 links of today may be 6 or 7 next year, it may be better to use Quick Links from the start rather than a Hero.
  • Do not forget about your navigation; as it is visible all over the site, you may want to use that for important pages rather than a pretty link on your home page alone.

Have I missed an option? Would you like to say something else? Please comment – I love to hear about your experiences and thoughts!