7 things to know about the Description field in SharePoint pages and news

My former colleague recently asked me how to add metadata or tags to SharePoint news or pages, in order to be able to make them link to a certain common topic, and be able to find them in Search.

My first thought was to add metadata to the pages in the Pages Library, but I quickly dismissed that thought as it would mean that every publisher would have to go into the library after publication to add their metadata. It would also mean that every Page Library would have to have those fields added and back-filled and oh well, I got tired just by thinking about the implications! πŸ˜„

But then we remembered that we had once added something on the page, “somewhere in a popup to the right”. I started investigating.

It turned out that the place to look for is the Description field. You can find it by clicking on the link “Page Details” during or after creating a new post or page.

There are a few things to know about this field.

1. The Description field is almost on top of the popup

It is directly under the thumbnail of the header image.

After clicking on Page Details (1) the popup will open and you will see the Description (2).

However, the popup often opens “in the middle” so you need to scroll up to see it.

If the popup opens like this, please scroll up!

2. The Description field is auto-populated after publishing

It will be populated with the first 255 characters of the body text.

SharePoint will tell you how many characters you have left.

3. You can change or remove the text after publishing

Now why would you want to change the description text manually? Items 4 and 5 will provide the answer!

4. The text in Description is shown in the News web part

Rather than having a text that suddenly ends in the middle of a sentence, you may want to edit the Description to provide a good summary to your readers.

The number of characters displayed is depending on the configuration of the web part, e.g.

  • If you have no image, you will see more characters than with an image.
  • If your News is in a page-wide column, you will see more characters than when it is one of three columns.
  • Hub, Carousel and Tiles layouts do not show descriptions.
In the red-lined example, we can remove all text behind the ! in the Description and have one proper sentence.

This preview is not relevant for pages, as these are not shown on web parts.

5. The text in Description is shown in Search results

When you have executed a search, in all of Microsoft365, SharePoint or your site, the Description text will show in the Search results, at least the text around the keyword.

Please compare this screenshot of a news web part, where the word “peregrine” is only

  1. In the title
  2. In the body text
  3. In the Description
  4. In a different text web part

To this screenshot of a search on the word “Peregrine” in the Microsoft365 homepage search box. The numbers correspond to the list above.

The search word ‘peregrine” is in various places in the news posts, but they will all turn up in search.

Please note that I have filtered the search for News, to avoid that the various images that have been auto-uploaded to the Site Assets library during news creation, clutter the list. How was it again with images in SharePoint news? This post will tell you all.

6. The text in Description is searchable

From the screenshots you can see that the keywords can be on various places on the page, but the posts all turn up in Search.
This means that you can add keywords or metadata in the Description, without having to use that text in the title or body of the post or page.

For News, you’d best add the keywords at the bottom of the field after the summary text, so you do not show the keywords alone in the news preview. My news post 3 only has “peregrine” in the Description, and it makes a meagre preview on News.

For pages, you want to make sure that you have a good text for Search, but you do not need to worry about any preview.

Please note that I chose the word “peregrine” in my example because I have not used it before in this tenant. In real-life you will get more search results so you may need to filter.

7. The text in Description is not dynamic

When you are editing your post after publication, the description will not be adjusted. This does not have to be an issue, but you need to be aware, especially when you have edited the first paragraph of your post. My post SharePoint Holmes and the not-so-dynamic Description tells you more.

You can leave the description as is, replace it with the new intro, or even better, replace it with a summary of your post so your readers get the gist immediately!

8. The Description shows up in Newsletter

It will be no surprise, but just to be complete. The Description is also displayed underneath the title in the SharePoint Newsletter.

Conclusion

The Description field in the Page Details can be very useful in the following scenarios:

  • Providing a one-sentence summary of your news post on the News page(s) and Newsletters instead of the first words that trail off somew…
  • Making sure the post or page can be found in Search results. You can add the relevant keywords without having to add them to the title or the text. For instance, if it is related to a certain project or topic, but you do not want to use that word all the time.

Do you have other scenarios?

Are you using the Description field consciously or do you have another scenario where it comes in useful? Please let me know!

From Stream (Classic) to Stream (on SharePoint) – summary

Redirecting the Stream tile to Stream (on SharePoint) will roll out to standard release tenants from now.

Office365 support folks may ask themselves what to do – enable it now or wait until more is known? Please note Stream will only be decommissioned when the functionality in SharePoint is comparable to Stream now – which is not the case at the moment. I expect you will have a year at the very least.

I have done some experiments in the last few weeks (June 2022), to give you a better idea of the current consequences of this change, and this is my advice:

  • Is Stream new for (or not yet used by) your organization?
    Redirect the tile as soon as possible, and instruct everyone in the new ways of working (video creation and storage, web parts etc.) via SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams.
  • Is Stream an important app for your organization? E.g. you have created a video portal?
    Wait until more is known. At the moment there are quite some functionality gaps, although these are being addressed as we speak.
    • You may want to do some pre-work such as checking out how many videos you have, which department is the most active, and which sites would be the receptors for videos migrated from Stream. Housekeeping could also be a good idea, if you own many videos.
    • You could also start instructing people where to create new videos and how to embed videos on pages, how to manage video in SharePoint etc.
    • Do you have an idea about how to approach the migration project when it is time? You may want to think about that now as well.
  • Do you have a few active pockets of video on Stream, and the number of likes, views and comments are not very important for the owners?
    Suggest a manual migration (download from Stream to PC and upload to SharePoint) to the owners, which will reduce the complexity of your migration project later, by doing a few things now.

I have written a few posts to help you with each of these scenarios:

What experiments have I done?

  • I have redirected my Stream tile in Office365 to Stream (on SharePoint).
    I found that this redirects to a new page in SharePoint, comparable to the Office365 homepage, where you can see all videos on OneDrive, Teams and SharePoint you have access to.
    Videos that are in Stream stay there and will eventually be deleted. This means any video on Stream that you want to keep, needs to be migrated by you.
  • This means you suddenly have a migration project. Although I expect it will be some time before Stream gets decommissioned, it will take thought, preparation, communication and other work.
    I have a few suggestions for that project.
  • Microsoft will provide a Migration tool, which I have not seen yet. I expect this will move videos with all their metadata (including comments, views, likes), but YOU will have to decide where the videos will go.
    If you do not want to wait, and/or if you have a few Stream channels where the metadata are not terribly important, you can reduce complexity by moving those videos manually. I have checked what happens when you download from Stream and upload to SharePoint.
  • Do you have Stream videos embedded on your SharePoint intranet and other pages? You will need to change web parts and link to videos in SharePoint.
    I checked which web parts are best:
    • Highlighted Content for videos from one site
    • Quick Links for a hand-picked selection of videos
    • File Viewer for a single video, illustrating a News post
  • As video is treated as a document, I have also checked if the Document Library web part would be a good web part to display video, as you can configure it more than the Highlighted Content. However, it is a lot of extra work and it is not better than the Stream or Highlighted Content web parts.
  • Do your colleagues use Stream (desktop or app) to create video’s? You may want to wean them off and suggest another app from the Office365 suite. These are my recommendations:
    • the OneDrive mobile app for their impromptu and personal videos
    • a recorded meeting on Teams desktop for more official videos, such as instructions or speeches.

When you have access to the SharePoint Admin and Message centers, you can see some improvements for Stream being planned, e.g. inline playing in the Hero web part.

The SharePoint message center will keep you informed about Stream (on SharePoint) improvements

What’s next?

I hope I have saved you some time by doing and sharing my experiments. If anything new pops up, like further improvements to Stream (on SharePoint) I may create a new post.

Good luck!

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!

Where to create a video in Office365

This Stream project is a gift that keeps on giving. There are so many things I want to find out and write about! Not just for myself, but especially for you, to help you understand what this change will mean.

This change also means that you will have to change the ways your colleagues create videos. I do not know if many people in your organization are using Stream right now, but even if they don’t, you may want to create a campaign on video creation, as video is an important medium and it may be a good idea to increase the creation and usage of it in your organization.

My goal for this post is to help Office365 support folks guide their colleagues in a simple way to other video tools. “Please no longer use Stream, use …”

I have reviewed the options.

Where can you create videos in Office365?

  • Stream Classic (desktop and app – please note F3-licensed users can only view, not add!)
  • Teams (desktop and app)
  • OneDrive (app)
  • Yammer (app)

At this moment the Office mobile app does not support creating videos, but I have just learned this will be added in future as the Office mobile app is very much focused on documents. You will be able to create 90 second videos with annotations.

Stream (Classic) – desktop

You can record a screen or a video with your web cam. (Instructions from Microsoft)
You can trim the video, but it can only be 15 minutes max.

πŸ‘ Trimming options

πŸ‘ Stable image as this is usually done from laptop

πŸ‘Ž Max. 15 minutes

πŸ‘ŽType of videos is limited to web cam options or screensharing

πŸ‘Ž Created and saved in Stream which is Office365 but an app that will be discontinued, so you will have to move it to SharePoint

Stream (Classic) – app

The Stream mobile app is a bit more flexible than the desktop version. There is no time limit, and you can use the smartphone camera.

Instructions from Microsoft

πŸ‘ Quick to start

πŸ‘ Freedom in topics as this uses the smartphone camera

πŸ‘ Created and saved in Office365 (but in Stream, so you will have to move it to SharePoint)

πŸ‘ Editing options, see example below: (Not sure if I need to add that I am not an experienced video creator πŸ˜€)

πŸ‘ Trimming options (in the Stream desktop app)

You can add some effects while creating your video.
You can use the effect buttons at the bottom of your screen during recording.

Teams – desktop

Using a Teams meeting recording option, you can create a

  • meeting recording
  • “talking head” video (using the webcam)
  • screensharing recording, e.g. for Office365 instruction videos

When you use a Live Event and/or add a different camera, you can also create face-to-face event videos, such as conferences, lectures and physical town halls.

I generally use the Meet Now option to create a screensharing video.

Meet Now is a quick way to start a meeting with yourself

Instructions from Microsoft.

At this moment, it is not possible to trim or edit your video in Teams or SharePoint. You need to download your video, upload it to Stream, trim and then download and upload to SharePoint. I hope that this will be available on the other apps shortly!

πŸ‘ Created and saved in Office365 (OneDrive > Recordings folders or in a Teams channel)

πŸ‘ Stable image as this is usually done from laptop

πŸ‘Ž No trimming options, so the video generally starts with the standard Teams meeting screen

πŸ‘Ž No effect options

πŸ‘Ž Type of videos is limited to web cam options or screensharing

πŸ‘Ž You need to start a meeting first and then push the record button

Teams – app

The Teams app uses your camera phone, so you are more flexible when it comes to the topic of your recording. You can use the options from the desktop, but also flip the camera from self-view to world-view.
Instructions from Microsoft

πŸ‘ Freedom in topics as this uses the smartphone camera

πŸ‘ Created and saved in Office365 (OneDrive > Recordings folder or in a Teams channel)

πŸ‘Ž No trimming options, so you start with the standard Teams meeting screen

πŸ‘Ž No effect options

πŸ‘Ž You need to start a meeting first and then push the record button

πŸ‘Ž Video quality is not so good

πŸ‘Ž You need to give your microphone access to Teams – if you forget this there will be no sound, as in this example:

No sound, video in Teams mobile app of part of the Singel (city moat) in my hometown Utrecht
Create a “Meet Now” by tapping the camera top right.

OneDrive – app

The OneDrive app allows you to record audio or video with your regular phone camera. You are very flexible. You can flip the camera from self-view to world-view. Your video is saved in your OneDrive (root folder) and can not be edited. You can move it from there to a suitable SharePoint/Teams site for sharing. (Moving deletes it from your personal OneDrive).

πŸ‘ Automatic upload to Office365 (OneDrive root folder)

πŸ‘ Freedom in topics as this uses the smartphone camera

πŸ‘ Quick to start, compared to Teams

πŸ‘ Good video quality

πŸ‘Ž No trimming options

πŸ‘Ž No editing options

Example:

Video created with the OneDrive mobile app

Yammer app

The Yammer app also works with your phone camera. Just click the “new message” button

You can use self-view and world view, and add texts, emoji etc but it is displayed vertically, even if you film horizontally. Check out the example below. You can create a video from your feed, a community or your inbox, and the end result is stored in Yammer. The resulting message (=video + other info) can be moved to another community, but not to SharePoint, so you will have to download the video to PC and upload it to SharePoint. It is also not shown on the Stream (on SharePoint) landing page.
I expect that with native Yammer (which I am not using at the moment) you will be able to move it to another SharePoint site.

The effect options in the Yammer app

πŸ‘ Automatic upload to Office365 (Yammer)

πŸ‘ Effect options (texts, emoji etc.)

πŸ‘ Quick to start – just open Yammer and create new message

πŸ‘Freedom in topics as this uses the smartphone camera

πŸ‘Ž Needs downloading to share outside of Yammer (when using New Yammer in any case)

πŸ‘Ž No trimming or editing

πŸ‘Ž Effect options are shown vertically, even when you film horizontally

πŸ‘Ž Video quality is better than Teams, less than OneDrive

Video created with the Yammer mobile app. You can add text, emoji, drawing but only vertically.

Phone video

You can also use your phone camera to create a video and then upload it to OneDrive or SharePoint/Teams. I have not made an example as most people will know how this works.
It takes discipline to upload work videos to Office365 and delete them from personal records. If you think this is a challenge for your employees, you’d better teach them using the OneDrive app as the preferred option.

πŸ‘ Editing options including trimming, colours, filters, formatting

πŸ‘ Quick to start

πŸ‘ Good video quality

πŸ‘Ž Needs discipline to remove video (if it is a private device) after upload to Office365

Recommendation: Teams desktop or OneDrive mobile app

Stream will go away, so you will have to use another way to create videos in your organization.

In my opinion, the most useful options are

  • Teams desktop, for more formal videos, such as demo’s and talking heads
  • OneDrive app, for impromptu videos or when on location

We are really missing trimming and editing options, so I hope Microsoft will add them to SharePoint soon! This Excel file with functionality planning does not have info about the editing options. (Unless I am overlooking something). But Marijn Somers told me that a good tool (Clipchamp) will be built into Windows 11, so we can look forward to that!

Of course there are a zillion other video tools available, with excellent editing options, but my goal for today is a simple swap of Stream with another app from the Office365 suite.


How have you or will you tempt your colleagues to move away from Stream and use another option instead? Please let me know!

Manual migration from Stream to SharePoint

You will have noticed I am currently trying to find out as much as possible about the consequences of the decommissioning of Microsoft Stream.

There is no hurry, as only the Targeted Release has been able to redirect the Stream tile to SharePoint, and the standard release will only be able to do it from July 2022 onwards. When Stream will be disabled, no one knows, but I guess it will at least be a year until that happens.

Still, I like to be prepared and to know what will happen exactly, before I do something that has unpleasant side effects. And I guess you will want to know, too! So, let me save you some time by doing some experiments.

If I would still be working at the mental health care organization (I retired in January) I would have moved my small video collection manually from Stream to SharePoint in the upcoming summer period.
I owned just a few instruction videos, and although I would miss the likes and views that my videos received on Stream, those are not really important.
I can imagine that there are more small pockets in organizations that feel that way.

Migrating manually (Downloading to PC and uploading to SharePoint) will result in some data loss but it may offset the freedom to to this at your own time. Also, it will save the project manager time and complexity.
One of my readers asked what will happen to transcripts, comments and stuff. I have not used the migration tool that Microsoft will provide. But I can check what happens when you do a manual migration.

Hey ho, let’s go! 😁 (Hello, former colleague Annica, I hope you are well)

Test setup

  1. I have recorded a Teams meeting with a transcript. By default, this video has been stored in my OneDrive. I have also added a comment.
    A recorded Teams meeting may sound like a limited business case but we have created many instruction videos this way.
  2. I have downloaded it to my PC and uploaded it to Stream (Classic). There I liked the video, added a comment and a Form.
  3. I have downloaded it from Stream and uploaded to a SharePoint library. This will be the scenario for a manual migration.
  4. I have copied the OneDrive file to a SharePoint library, just to see if there is any difference.
  5. I have also downloaded the file from OneDrive and uploaded it to SharePoint, without the Stream step.

Let’s see what happens with transcripts, number of views, Forms and comments. It is already known that “likes” from Stream (Classic) will not be a feature of Stream (on SharePoint).

1. OneDrive

When I open the video the transcript pops up immediately.

Video and transcript in OneDrive

I do not get a signal that there is a comment, but that may be because I added it myself. I can open the comment section and read my comment.

Video and comment in OneDrive

2. OneDrive > download > Stream

When I download the video and upload it to Stream, and open it there, the transcript is shown top right. It has timing next to it. Please note I added comments and the like after this video was uploaded to Stream, as well as a Form.
The comment from OneDrive has disappeared.

Video, transcript, like, comment and Form (top right, under Interactivity) in Stream

3. Stream > download > SharePoint (manual migration scenario)

This leaves you with the plain video – the likes, comment from Stream, transcript and the Form are not migrated. That is strange, as the download from OneDrive to Stream migrated the transcript.

Video in SharePoint, downloaded from Stream. by default, the transcript option is disabled. πŸ˜’
Enabling the transcript option in SharePoint

When I enable the transcript, I have the option to generate a new transcript in English, or to upload the transcription file in any language.

When the video-to-be-migrated has a transcript in Stream, you can download that by going to the video, clicking the … underneath the video, selecting “Update video details”, and then you can select to download the captions.

Downloading the transcript from Stream

It is a VTT file that you can use to upload in SharePoint. It will provide you with a timed transcript.

I have generated the transcript in SharePoint.

I have also generated a new transcript and this looks almost the same as my original transcript, and it is timed, but the times are slightly different. It is nice that it can be done, but it will be extra work, of course.

I have looked at the Library settings to see if I could enable the transcript option by default, but could not find it. Perhaps I need to add a content type Video, but I could not add new content types. Someone with more experience in content types may want to jump in!!!

4. OneDrive > copy > SharePoint

When I do the regular Copy To from my OneDrive to the shared SharePoint library, the transcript (not timed) is copied and opens up when the video starts playing.

The transcript is copied from OneDrive

And also the comment from OneDrive has been copied.

The comment on my OneDrive video is copied to SharePoint.

5. OneDrive > download > SharePoint

Downloading the file removes the transcript and the comment, so this is really not a good idea.

When you download from OneDrive and upload to SharePoint, all extra’s are lost. Copying or Moving will leave the extra’s intact.

Conclusions

When looking at my proposed manual migration scenario, please be aware of the following:

  1. Likes, number of views and comments from Stream will not be migrated when downloaded and uploaded to SharePoint. For Likes this is already known, for views it is obvious, for comments it was a surprise.
  2. You can see the number of (new) views in the details pane.
  3. Forms will not be migrated – you will have to create a new SharePoint page and add the video and the Form as separate web parts. (Let’s hope better options will be developed)
  4. Transcripts will not be migrated to SharePoint and you will have to activate the option after upload of each video.
  5. You have two options to create the transcript:
    1. You can create a new transcript in SharePoint automatically when the language is English
    2. You can download the transcript from Stream and then upload it to SharePoint for all other languages.

This scenario will not work for everyone, and perhaps, knowing all this, you now want to use the Microsoft Migration tool even more! No problem, now you can explain why you want this, without having to do the investigations yourself! 😁

Coming up next:

Next time I will show the differences in video creation using Stream, Teams and OneDrive.

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!

Stream on SharePoint – tips for your migration project

Last week I changed my tenant from Stream (Classic) to Stream (on SharePoint). All nice and dandy, but as it turned out, videos that live in Stream (Classic), stay there, so if you have spent a lot of time creating a nice organizational video portal of sorts on Stream, you’ve suddenly got yourself a migration project!

I thought I’d check the available documentation and come up with some help to get you started.

The good and the bad

πŸ‘The idea is to move videos to document libraries in Teams/SharePoint/OneDrive.
Of course it makes perfect sense that videos are now treated as just another document type, that can benefit from the regular document management and video player capabilities in SharePoint, and that they will be stored, maintained and displayed by the content owners of the site, and not in a separate environment with a different interface and another set of permissions to manage.

πŸ‘ Microsoft offers a migration tool to help you move videos with their metadata.

πŸ‘ You have time. At this moment (June 2022) there is no end date for Stream. First the Migration tools needs to be made available for everyone (it is currently in preview), THEN an end date will be set which will be 9-12 months after the decision. So I expect you have at least a year. Still, it makes sense to start taking action now.

πŸ‘Ž But even while there will be a migration tool to do the dirty work, you will still have to inform and instruct your colleagues and decide WHAT to migrate and WHERE every video will live. This will be a project!

πŸ‘Ž The functionalities and features of Stream and SharePoint are not identical. Depending on the usage in your organization, this may or not be an issue. Please check this comparison (in Excel format) from Microsoft, thanks to Michael Zetti who made me aware of it.

Questions to start with

1. What could be criteria to keep/migrate, or leave/delete?

Is it age? View count? Whether the owner knows it is still in use?

2. How do you identify who owns which videos?

There will be report options in the Migration tool, but you may want to estimate how many videos, channels, active people, you have now, in order for you to estimate the complexity of your project.

You may want to start with checking the Stream admin portal. It will give you an idea about storage space used, restrictions for the use of global channels, etc.
Then, you may want to go to Stream (Classic) and turn admin mode to ON. This will give you more options to see what is there.
Sadly there is no way to create an Excel report, (as far as I know), but you can see who has uploaded what.

When you are an Office365 (global) admin you can turn on extra insight options top right.


3. How do you inform and, more importantly, persuade owners to spend time on decision making?

Nobody likes to spend time maintaining old content, so be aware that you will have to put in an effort to convince owners to take action.
As long as Stream Classic is still alive, links and embeds will still be visible and playable, but as soon as the old system is deleted (there’s no timing for that yet), those videos will be deleted. So it is important that your owners are aware of this, the changes involved, have good instructions on how to select the videos they want to keep, where they will store the good videos, and what to do with their SharePoint news and pages where embedded videos have been used.

More about that later.

4. How do you discourage use of Stream (Classic) and promote use of Stream (on SharePoint) as soon as possible?

Meeting recordings will already be stored on OneDrive or SharePoint and, generally, will be autodeleted after 2 months, so you do not have to worry about those.
But everyone who has just learned to share other videos, such as webinars, interviews, instructions or other non-meeting-recording videos, will have to learn to upload their videos on OneDrive or SharePoint from now on. The sooner you tell them, the better!

Mobile apps: Use OneDrive instead of Stream

Do you have any colleagues who are in the habit of creating videos with the Stream mobile app? Help them unlearn this habit. In Stream, you click the + top right and then “Record video”. This will allow you to create a video that will be uploaded to Stream.

How to record video in the Stream app: Click + top right and select “Create Video” from the popup screen
(in Dutch, sorry about that)

Please teach your colleagues to download the OneDrive mobile app instead and to use that. It works almost the same: Click the + top right and select “Create picture or video”.

How to record a video in the OneDrive app: click + top right and select “Create picture or video” from the popup screen
(in Dutch, sorry about that)

Do you have any F3-licensed users? Fortunately you do not have to worry about them; they can not upload to Stream anyway. 😁

5. How do you migrate your videos?

a. Microsoft migration tool

Microsoft is promising a migration tool, so you may want to check the instructions. They look pretty extensive to me. I will not use it, as I have nothing to migrate in my one-person tenant πŸ™‚

b. Manual download and upload

For a small unit that only has a few videos, and where the permissions and metadata are not essential to keep, you’d better ask them to download their relevant videos manually and re-upload them in a relevant SharePoint site. They can do this at their own time and it will save the project manager hassle.
You can use an existing library or create one especially for videos. I also tried using an Asset Manager list, hoping I could show video thumbnails, but that list only allows the uploading of pictures, not videos.

Instructions for manual migration: How to download and upload

  • Go to Stream (Classic) and select “My Content > Videos” (1)
  • You will see a list of your videos
  • Check which ones you want to keep, perhaps depending on views, likes/comments and date (2)
  • Make a screenshot of views, likes/comments if those are relevant
  • Click the ellipses top right of the video and select “Download video” (3/4)
  • The file will be downloaded on your PC.
  • Check if the name is still relevant, if not change it.
  • Go to the SharePoint site where it should live and upload it there.
  • Remove the download from your PC.
How to download your videos manually

c. Third-party tools

I have not heard or found anything about it yet, but third-party tools may be available later.

6. How can you find out which videos have been embedded on SharePoint pages, or linked to in emails and other materials?

This will not only be relevant to keep SharePoint pages in working order, but also to provide direction for the new storage location. I have not found an option yet to see that.

Basically, it is the responsibility of the site/content owners to make sure their pages and emails are correct and their videos are available. But I would suggest to first check your intranet pages, so those at least will be updated.

7. What about embedding on SharePoint pages?

Again, as long as Stream Classic is still active, embedded videos will still work, as will links. But it makes sense to check any pages where you are using video, and see if they are linking to Stream Classic (and will need to be redone) or to SharePoint.
Check out below screenshots of both webparts/videos where a single video is displayed.

This is a page with an embedded Stream (Classic) web part, linking to a single video in Stream:

Stream web part with one video that lives on Stream (Classic).

And below you see a page with a File Viewer web part linking to a video on SharePoint:

File Viewer web part with a video from Stream (on SharePoint)

Perhaps the Stream icon on the bottom right of the Stream web part is the most telling, but there are several other differences in all corners of the video.

🀯 Strangely enough you can change the playback speed in the Stream web part, but not in the File viewer web part!

But Stream has other display options as well, and you need to be aware of that. As this is already a large post, I will leave that for next time.

Don’t panic, but start planning!

In most cases you will have plenty of time, but it helps if you start thinking about this now. I hope I have provided some more insight into the situation and also given you some help to tackle this. More to come! Please let me know if you have any other questions or helpful hints for others!

Moving to Stream on SharePoint

I have never been a fan of Stream. The interface is totally non-Microsoft and I always forgot where I could change ownership, for instance. My admin account needed a license in order to become a Stream admin. Stream has always looked more like an afterthought than the slick video portal that was promised back in 2015 or so. We were implementing Microsoft Video at that time, and Stream sounded so much better, and would be accessible for externals as well! (That never happened)

Recently we have been pushed to store videos on OneDrive and SharePoint. That already raised questions about the future of Stream. The video player in OD and SP got better and better, with variable playback speed, jumping 10 seconds back or forth, comments etc.
At the same time, those functions were slowly removed from Stream.

So when I read Message MC381948, published on May 18, 2022, I wanted to take action as soon as possible, and redirect the Stream tile, even without knowing fully what the end result would be.
I always like to make those type of changes at my own time, when possible. That way I can inform users at the right time, without having to wait until it has happened (and then being too late, of course πŸ™‚ )
So, “Stream on SharePoint”, OK, but what will it look like? That’s what I am going to show you today!

More information on this Microsoft page.

What does it look like now?

This is the current Stream (Classic) landing page. The URL is https://web.microsoftstream.com

The video player looks like this:

Current interface when you play a video in Stream

There is no option to change the playback speed. It used to be there! There is also no “jump” option, it is also not in the … or Settings.


When you play the same video on OneDrive it looks like this:

The interface on OneDrive.

It has variable speed, 10 sec jump and other options. Much better!

What happens when we make the change?

Go to the Admin Center > SharePoint center. (Instructions are in MC381948). Under Settings, click on “App launcher tile” next to the Stream icon, select “Stream (on SharePoint)” and click “Save”.

How you change the Stream tile

It will take a few minutes before it takes effect. So, when you click the Stream tile after some time:

The Stream tile will now lead to…

πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯ πŸ₯

(drum roll)

The new Stream on SharePoint

Now that is more like it! This looks much more like Office365, with Recommended videos as thumbnails on top, and the filter tabs and a list of your videos underneath.
The URL is https://www.office.com/launch/stream?auth=2

When you click on the … next to the video name, you have options to open, share, add to etc.

With the … you can open a menu for the video

The “Add to” options allows you to create a task in ToDo or to add the video to your Calendar. The latter will open up a new meeting invitation with the link to the video in the body. Interesting, but I wonder about the use case for that.

But wait…my old videos are still on Stream (Classic)!

While the new interface is very nice, the new Stream homepage only shows the videos that are currently in OneDrive or SharePoint. All my older videos in Stream are still in Stream and do not transfer. So this means that older videos you want to keep, will have to be migrated. And what about links or embedded videos? I will need to dive into this for next time!

There will be a migration tool, I understand, but it will still mean that someone has to decide which videos to move and to which destination. So you will have an unexpected migration process to plan! 😦 Of course you can download and re-upload manually if you have only a few videos to transfer.

Has anyone made this change yet? What have you done with the existing videos that live in Stream?
How have your users reacted?

Intranet promotion videos #11

I thought it was time for a few new intranet videos. The below are all from Vimeo, which has turned out to be a better source than YouTube. The only drawback is that you will need an account (free) with Vimeo and log in in order to see some videos. This is a recent measure.

So, create an account, log on and enjoy!

1. New intranet for a global construction/engineering company (teaser)

“A Digital Headquarters to bring employees from all geographies together”. This intranet for a global engineering company (mostly agricultural from the website) is named after the CEO (who is also the name-giver for the company) which is a nice touch. Many employees feature in this teaser.
Sadly you can’t see much of the actual intranet, but it is supposed to be social and connecting, and not just functional en efficient. I also get a little irritated these days by all that corporate talk and big intentions, but I am sure that’s just me!

Uploaded January 2022.

2. Updated intranet for an Australian child care organization (demo)

After a rather bombastic musical intro, you see a decent functional SharePoint intranet with all the usual trimmings. The demo takes you through all the menu items. It has a focus on documents and links rather than news. (Nice search options in the central Document library, by the way).

There’s also some community elements.

The site title shows this is a demo site, so I hope that they have had the time to add some images to the link tiles, and to update the icons for the Office applications in the real site πŸ™‚

Uploaded September 2021.

3. Canadian university/college (teaser)

“The more you engage the better it will be”. Quite a cryptic promise, especially because there is no explanation of how that would work.” There is also no preview of the intranet, which is disappointing.

This teaser is one big promise for a new intranet called College Connect, and as you may know, one of the intranets I worked on/for has been called Connect, so I have always been partial to the name. πŸ™‚

Uploaded February 2021.

4. Intranet for a Swedish university (demo)

An interesting SharePoint intranet with a few non-standard items, I think: breadcrumbs on pages, selection of news sources (different than following sites) and My Menu.
I like the yellow dots that signify central sites. Technically it is just the site icon, but I like the concept to separate content in subtle ways, while keeping the design consistent.

There’s also some attention for general SharePoint stuff: search, save for later, navigation and the SharePoint mobile app.

Tip: if you think the speaker talks a bit slowly, you can speed up by clicking on the gearwheel at the bottom of the video and adjusting the speed.

Uploaded January 2022.

5. New intranet for a US online fashion store (teaser)

Nice colourful teaser for this fashion store. It has relevant info and a social component, and even “integration with Slack and workspaces”. I do not think this is a SharePoint intranet πŸ™‚

Uploaded September 2021.

That’s all for today, folks!

Photo byΒ Terje SollieΒ fromΒ Pexels

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!