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SharePoint Roadmap Pitstop: April 2020

March winds brought April showers, and features – raining up into the Cloud. Cast your umbrella aside for a moment and soak in the seasonal innovation and updates that landed this month.

April 2020 brought modernized MMS, file card “conversations”, stock images, audience targeting in navigation, SharePoint spaces preview, Yammer app for Teams, and more. Details & screenshots below, including the audible companion: Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop: April 2020 podcast episode – all to help answer, "What's rolling out now for SharePoint and related technologies into Microsoft 365?"

In the podcast episode, I interview Graham Kent (LinkedIn | Twitter), senior program manager at Microsoft who works on intelligent file card experiences across Microsoft 365. Graham and I talk broader design strategy for how the on-hover experience works and the breadth of content and information that is dynamically pulled into view where you are working.

Graham Kent, senior program manager (SharePoint/Microsoft)

All features listed below began rolling out to Targeted Release customers in Office 365 as of April 2020 (possibly early May 2020).

Inform and engage with dynamic employee experiences

Build your intelligent intranet on SharePoint in Microsoft 365 and get the benefits of investing in business outcomes – reducing IT and development costs, increasing business speed and agility, and up-leveling the dynamic, personalized and welcoming nature of your intranet.

Stock Images in SharePoint

These are free-to-use stock images available in the SharePoint image file picker experience, alongside recent, web search, your organization, OneDrive, site, upload and from a link - a plethora of methods and locations – managed and ad hoc – to add imagery to your intranet.

Enhance your internal communications with stock images for SharePoint pages and news.

When you click on Stock images in the SharePoint image picker experience, you'll have access to thousands of high-resolution stock images to use while authoring pages and news. And FYI, we'll continue to add more images over time so you can continue to publish unique and professional experiences.

Managed Metadata Service (MMS) has new modernized filtering and tagging experience

The new term store experience enables intuitive management to import or create the global term sets for formal taxonomies. Note: this update does not impact existing term customizations nor does it affect the classic term store management experience; local term set management is unchanged.

Managed Metadata Service (MMS) - modernized Term store

In addition, there is a new content type gallery to create and manage custom content types from the SharePoint admin center. These content types continue to be stored in the content type hub. Again, this change does not affect the classic experience for managing content types should you still require it.

Managed Metadata Service (MMS) - modernized Content type gallery

Beyond IT, benefits flow to employees with new filtering and tagging options for managed metadata columns. When filtering, this new tree control is available within ‘See all’ in the filter panel – to help select the desired term.

Managed Metadata Service (MMS) - modernized tagging and filtering

Audience targeting in site navigation and footer

SharePoint site owners are able to filter navigational links to specific audiences by using audience targeting - in the same fashion that you can target news and pages.

Site owners will see the toggle setting to enable audience targeting when editing the site, including hub site navigation, or footer navigation. Once ON, site owners and editors target the specific navigation links to be filtered to specific audiences.

When enabled, audience targeting will apply to all menus on the site including hub and footer menus.

You can now create engaging experiences in a targeted fashion; focus your audience’s attention by removing distractions from less relevant content.

Note: Only site owners can turn audience targeting on and off. Once on, any site editor can target menu links to specific audiences using Microsoft 365 Groups or security groups.

Shy header - save space when scrolling SharePoint sites, including hub sites

As you scroll a modern SharePoint site, you will see the site header shrink to maximize reading space on the page, giving viewers easier access to content. This has often been described as a shy header and this applies both to desktop and mobile versions.

Left-to-right: As you begin to scroll the page, note how the site header (where you see logo, site name and navigation) shrinks dynamically.

And as you can imagine, when you scroll back up, the site header returns to full size. Not so shy now, eh?

SharePoint Spaces has moved into preview

SharePoint spaces is a web-based, immersive mixed reality platform which allows people to create and share mixed reality experiences. The creation experience is the same as building a modern site or page.

A SharePoint space showcasing interactive 3D objects, video and text.

First, a person creates the space and chooses options such as structure, background, and theme. Next, add web parts for 3D objects, 360° images and videos, and 2D images and text. The resulting immersive 3D experience can be viewed in a web browser or with a mixed reality headset.

From within the SharePoint site, click New > Space (Preview) to start building your space.

To get started, site owners must enable the SharePoint spaces (preview) on the Manage site features page. Once enabled, people will see a new option in the site’s New menu to create a Space (Preview).

Teamwork updates across SharePoint team sites, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams

Microsoft 365 is designed to be a universal toolkit for teamwork – to give you the right tools for the right task, along with common services to help you seamlessly work across applications. SharePoint is the intelligent content service that powers teamwork – to better collaborate on proposals, projects, and campaigns throughout your organization – with integration across Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, Yammer, Stream, Planner and much more.

Review mode in Word for the web

When people share documents with Open in review mode only selected, recipients who open the document in Word for the web will be limited to adding comments or leaving tracked changes. This can help prevent unintended edits to the document.

Share a Word document where the recipient open's the document in review-only mode.

With this feature, file owners have more control over new edits, and only file owners can accept or reject changes made by other people. If someone else leaves suggestions in the document, they’ll be able to reject their own changes but can’t accept or reject someone else’s changes.

File card - "Conversations"

This new file hover card feature, alongside file details and actions like ‘Inside Look’ and ‘Activity,’ will show relevant emails, meetings and Teams conversations to the individual reviewing the file hover card information. So, when someone sends an email, a Teams chat, or a meeting invitation that references a file from SharePoint or OneDrive, that conversation is displayed in the file hover card with a link to the conversation(s).

Learn about your files at a glace with Inside look, file views and conversations.

Note: The conversations displayed on the file card will only be visible to those users who took part in them. This means that you won’t see another person’s conversations that are not related to the file in question, and they won’t see yours.

SharePoint Integrations with Power Automate and Power Apps to GCC-High Tenants

For government customers that fall into the "maker" persona, this update enables you to create and manage custom workflows with Power Automate and custom forms with Power Apps combined with both SharePoint lists and libraries.

Customize a SharePoint list form by using Power Apps – now in GCC-High.

We're excited to continue rolling out from commercial and into the Government Cloud Community (GCC) environment, now inclusive of GCC-high.

Power Automate now supports the ability to Get files and items from folders and subfolders

For all the Makers out there, this SharePoint list and library update allow people to build Microsoft Power Automate flows that can run on individual items contained within a document library or list.

Power Automate users will see the “Get items” and “Get files (properties only)” actions to include two new fields: “Limit Entries to Folder” and “Include Nested Items”. If a folder is specified, then the action will only return the entries located inside of that folder. If “Include Nested Items” is set to true, entries located inside of subfolders will also be returned; otherwise, they will be excluded.

When users select a folder, they will see their instant flows appear under the Automate command bar button. Note: Existing flows that include “Get items” or “Get files (properties only)” will continue to work like before if the two new fields are left unchanged.

Related technology

The new Yammer app in Microsoft Teams

Stay connected to what’s happening across your organization. You'll have the full experience of Yammer right in your hub for teamwork. You can participate in conversations, watch live and on-demand events, and browse your communities, helping you broadly stay up to date alongside access to your projects, chats, and meetings.

The new Yammer experience is available in the Yammer app for Microsoft Teams.

The new Yammer App in Teams can be pinned directly into the Teams left-hand navigation for quick access near Calendar, Teams, Chats etc..

Office 365 Groups will become Microsoft 365 Groups

Microsoft 365 offers an integrated set of apps and services that puts artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge innovations. And to do this with consistent, manageable access, Microsoft 365 Groups power collaboration experiences in more than 22 apps across the suite, and partners can build custom solutions for their customers leveraging Microsoft Graph APIs and the Power Apps framework.

Whether it’s a team in Microsoft Teams, a Community in Yammer, or a group-connected SharePoint team site, the Microsoft 365 Groups platform enables people to create, share and discover knowledge and information with governance and permissions intact.

The Planner mobile experience is getting a serious boost

The Planner app for Android improvements include: landscape mode for Android and the ability to attach files to tasks – just select a task card and then tap the paperclip icon to attach a file that’s stored locally on your device or in the cloud through OneDrive or SharePoint.

The Planner widget (left) and landscape mode (right) bring flexibility to the way you manage your tasks.

For Planner app for iOS comes Offline read-only mode and an improved Share to Planner where from any app or mobile web browser, you choose which plan and bucket to add your new task.

Creating a new task from external content is easy: find your content—in this case, an image—select the Action icon, determine the right plan and bucket, and tap “Add task.” The new task will appear in your plan with the associated content linked in the task’s attachments.

So I say, add a task for yourself to download:

New and updated usage reports in Microsoft 365 admin center

Many people are being asked to work in new and different ways as they are now working remotely. This has been driving a renewed interest in understanding how people are using Microsoft 365.  We hear that you want to learn if people are saving content to SharePoint and OneDrive, if more are using Microsoft Teams for chat and online meetings, and how email usage is trending.  The baseline question being: are people taking full advantage of the services for which you've enabled?

Example usage reports in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center with the new remote work elements card.

The usage reports in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center can help answer these questions and many others.  There are usage reports Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, Exchange, Yammer, and more with standard views across 7, 30, 90, and 180 day periods.

May 2020 teasers

Psst, still here? Still scrolling the page looking for the rolled out goodness? If so, here’s a few teasers of what’s to come to production next month…

  • Teaser #1: Conditionally show or hide columns in a SharePoint list or library form [Roadmap ID: 63518

  • Teaser #2: New Yammer Conversations web part for SharePoint [Roadmap ID: 63385]

    • Note: We talked to the Yammer team recently on all things #YearOfYammer; aka, a new Intrazone episode all about Yammer coming soon…

… shhh, tell everyone.

Helpful, ongoing change management resources

Thanks for tuning in and/or reading this episode/blog of the Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop – April 2020 (blog/podcast). We’re open to your feedback in comments below to hear how both the Roadmap Pitstop podcast episodes and blogs can be improved over time.

Engage with us. Ask questions. Push us where you want and need to get the best information and insights. We're here to put both our and your best change management foot forward.

Stay safe out there on the road’map, and thanks for listening and reading.



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