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Interesting New Features in SharePoint Online

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Interesting New Features in SharePoint Online

Here are some of the new features in SharePoint Online


Social Features

SharePoint Online primarily consists of three different sections: OneDrive, Newsfeed, and Sites. Access to these sections can be managed via a navigation bar. By integrating the social features of My Sites to enhance the SharePoint Online experience, customers do not have to separately visit My Site for the social features anymore. They can also see updates on other’s activities and be able to post to a public or team site newsfeed that is being followed. By allowing users to share the conversations by way of a link, the new microblogging features allow them to have conversations right within the Newsfeed. SharePoint Newsfeed can be accessed from iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows Phone with the SharePoint Newsfeed app.

Collaboration for External Users

External stakeholders of the organization such as business partners, vendors, customers, and associates can share, view, and interact with the content on a SharePoint site through a Microsoft/work/institution account. While external sharing is turned on by default in SharePoint Online, site owners have the option to both share as well as prevent sharing of documents and sites externally.

Community site

SharePoint Online introduces Community Sites; a new feature that extends the discussion board capabilities. Now users can build community sites by utilizing the Community Site template. Community sites make learning from others’ knowledge, skills, and experience easier by helping teams within an organization to share information and collaborate. All community members can now access Content in the Community Sites with the help of built-in search.


Document Libraries

Document management is now made easier with the new callout feature in SharePoint Online. Users can now view rich commands and context-based information by trying the callout for any library document.  Actions like opening, sharing, or even following the documents can be taken from the callout. By using OneDrive for Business, users can sync the document library to the folders in PC. This is a useful new feature since it helps the users access their documents even when they are offline. The folders get automatically synced when net connection is re-established.

Keeping Track

SharePoint Online allows easy tracking of sites on the Sites page by following them and viewing them in the list. Users can post to directly to a site from the public Newsfeed provided the site in question has been created with a Newsfeed. They can also view the timeline of various tasks such as current, assigned in SharePoint, entered in Outlook etc.

Project Sites

Project sites allow seamless and efficient collaboration on projects for people within an organization. Team members can assess their individual contributions in the overall scheme of work while project managers can get an overview and details as and when required. They also help users to share and use project-related files or folders along with any relevant communications.



Now, SharePoint Online has made support available for phonetic search in multiple languages; the search results provide in-depth details such as contact information, organization details, documents authored, as well the projects handled by a person.

Navigation Improvements

Navigation has been optimized to incorporate a more user-friendly experience so that users can quickly locate and center in on the search box.  Increasing the scope of search to site levels or higher levels has enhanced the spread of search results.

Design Improvements

Users do not have to click through in order to view the entire result entry anymore; Mouse-over panels display critical nuggets of information pertaining to a particular result thereby saving time. Any Additional customization can be achieved through the use of search centers which can be designed and maintained by site admins.



Site Customization

As a SharePoint Online customer, users can easily make a new list or edit an existing list right from within the page itself – not very different from the usual working process on an excel spreadsheet. Adding, editing, or deleting columns can be done at the click of a link and without exiting the current page. New functionalities have been added to the rich text editor, especially for wikis and blogs that allow drag and drop facility for images.

New Look and Theme for the Site

With the new Choose a Look feature, users can now easily customize the look and feel of the site. Site navigation can also be changed quickly using the new Edit Links feature in the navigation.  Design Manager is used to modify master pages, layouts, and several other parameters for a complete overhaul of site design and is best preferred for advanced site redesigning, especially for public websites.

Configuring for Mobile Devices

SharePoint Online features can be used to ensure a better and improved mobile rendering of your site. If the mobile browser is equipped with HTML 5A support, desktop view can be made possible and notification alerts can be set up to display any changes to the site.  The use of device channels ensures that the content displayed on different devices is different, while retaining the same page and layout.  Push notifications will keep users of Windows phones constantly updated on every event occurring on the site.


Security and Site Management

By allowing or disallowing insertion of iFrames onto site pages, site collection admins can improve the security. The admins can also evaluate site collection to preview changes made to the new interface before committing the changes. The SharePoint Online admin center has several new additions (for selected Office 365 business plans), which includes a new range of admin tasks for managing site collections, InfoPath forms, user profiles, Business Connectivity Services (BCS), managed metadata and records management, search, external sharing, secure store, Duet, Information Rights Management, Apps, and self-service site creation.

Information Rights Management

In order to restrict unauthorized users from accessing sensitive information, the Information Rights Management (IRM) encrypts the files that are downloaded from SharePoint Online. IRM can also provide an additional layer of protection by restricting the “read” rights of the users at the list and library level of SharePoint. Rights Management comes disabled by default with Office 365 and the SharePoint Online admin should set up IRM through Microsoft Azure Active Directory Rights Management Services (RMS) in Office 365. PDF documents uploaded to libraries having IRM protection will get protection through Microsoft Office IRM after download.

Stanislaus Okwor is a Web Designer / Developer based in Lagos - Nigeria. He is the Director at Stanrich Online Technologies. He is knowledgeable in Content management System - Wordpress, Joomla and PHP/MySQL etc

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