SharePoint Roadmap Pitstop: December 2018

December 31, 2018

The SharePoint team has been hard at work with great new updates rolled out in December 2018. This is the comprehensive recap for all things SharePoint, plus the Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop: December 2018 episode – a bonus monthly companion podcast to help answer, “What's rolling out now for SharePoint and related technologies into Office 365?” It's all about supporting good change management based on feedback from you, our listeners/readers – so thank you.

Listen and scroll below (info, links and screenshots) to stay informed on how the SharePoint team finished 2018 – plus a few teasers of what's to come in 2019:

In this podcast episode, I, too, talk with Sean Squires (LinkedIn | Twitter), senior program manager on the SharePoint engineering team, who focuses on all things site designs – when you want to take a programmatic templating approach to using and managing SharePoint.

All the features listed below began rolling out to Targeted Release customers in Office 365 as of December 2018 (possibly early January 2019 to give realistic wiggle room). Office 365 users — start your engines!

Page designs. Save your creators time when they generate new SharePoint pages, and ensure that the consistency of experience for how you promote your content and information remains intact. You can control the design and layout of your pages in a similar fashion as you can with custom site designs and themes using site scripts.

IZRP-epi2_001_page-designs.jpgSave time creating new SharePoint page by using page designs to accelerate repeatable layouts, information, images and more.

View and apply site designs from within a SharePoint site. Moving beyond PowerShell and enabling access from within the user interface (UI). Site owners can access the site design panel to see site designs that have been applied or are available to the site owner who is logged on to apply to their site.

IZRP-epi2_002_site-design-panel.jpgThe new site designs edit pane allows you to see what site designs are applied, and can be applied, to your site.


Customize the title region for each page. Modern SharePoint pages and news articles will now have more options to customize the title region of each page, with four layouts, two alignment choices, text badges above the title, the ability to change the displayed author, and show or hide the published date. Own the title and the rest will follow. Make it your own.

IZRP-epi2_003_customize-title-region.jpgMake the title of your page or news article appear more how you like it – with controls for layout, alignment, text blocks and more.


Modern pages support section background shading – this makes it easier to see the distinct sections – better accessibility and adds visual variety throughout the page. Create additional visual design and clarity as a user scrolls through your content. Now you can add complimentary color shading accents (neutral, soft & strong) to the background of your page sections or leave them white as they are by default.

IZRP-epi2_004_section-shading.jpgAdjust the background color accent for the sections of your page or news article.

News – pinning. Within the News web part for SharePoint sites, you can now decide what order the news appears in when viewers land on the page highlighting news articles. Now you will be able to highlight high-value content more easily knowing it is most and/or first visible among the breadth of news being published within a site.

IZRP-epi2_005_news-pinning.jpgControl the order for how your news articles appear within your News web parts.


Personalized web parts – Give a personalized experience to your site and page visitors – so they see the content that is theirs and meant for them to experience. When using personalized web parts, people will see their recent sites, their recent documents and news tailored for them. When you add a personalized web part to the page, it is aware of who is signed in and gives them a unique, relevant experience to the content and information you are promoting to them.

IZRP-epi2_006_personalized-web-parts.jpgMake your SharePoint pages more relevant to the user who is logged in by using the personalized web parts (My recent documents & My frequent sites).

  • My recent documents – This is a personalized pivot of the Highlighted Content web part when you filter on “created by” or “modified by” current user; this will filter for items created by whoever is viewing the page at the time.
  • My frequent sites – This is a personalized pivot of the Sites web part when you filter sites based on “Frequent sites for current user” – this displays the same sites as those on the user's SharePoint home in Office 365.


Microsoft Stream webpart update – When you embed a Stream channel, you can now sort by trending, date, views and likes – plus its playback is now supported within the SharePoint mobile app – BOOM stream that on the go!

IZRP-epi2_007_Stream-web-part.jpgSort how videos from a given channel appear on your SharePoint pages and news articles.

Learn more about using web parts on SharePoint pages in Office 365. Learn more about building your modern intranet on SharePoint in Office 365.

Sharing links that block download. Users will be able to share a link to Office documents that blocks recipients from downloading copies, yet still allows them to view the document in Office Online via a Web browser. In Link Settings – choose “block download” for view-only links.

IZRP-epi2_008_block-download.jpgCreate sharing links in OneDrive and SharePoint in Office 365 that enabling viewing of content, but block the ability for users to download.


OneDrive Fluent UI. OneDrive is going Fluent. The OneDrive UI is not only cleaner, but more helpful with things like showing Recommended files, file cards for a deeper look into a file on-hover, activity and lifecycle feedback/indicators about comments/edits/@mentions, and last but not least – the Fluent update will bring the full-fidelity of shared libraries into OneDrive – the common experience of working with files across Office 365.

 IZRP-epi2_009_OneDrive-Fluent-UI_v2.jpgThe OnDrive user interface updated with Fluent UI brings both an updated look and feel. plus new capabilities.


Yammer group files in Office 365 connected groups will now be stored in SharePoint. Yammer is rolling out changes to file storage for Yammer files in Office 365 connected groups. Formerly, all Yammer files were stored in Yammer cloud storage. Once your organization gets these changes, all new Yammer files for connected groups will be stored in SharePoint but will still accessed from within Yammer. As part of this change, all existing files stored in Yammer for connected groups are made read-only. This means that instead of editing a file, you'll need to download and re-upload the file, and edit the newly uploaded version.

IZRP-epi2_010_Yammer-Files-in-SharePoint.jpgFiles uploaded to Yammer groups and conversations will be stored in the connected SharePoint document libraries.


Permanently docked “social bar” (aka, Content Bar) at the bottom of pages – contains the page Likes, Comments, Views and Save for Later – will now be permanently docked above the comments of a page or news article. This makes for a cleaner, more consistent experience while reading and acting on a SharePoint page or news article.

IZRP-epi2_011_Docked-content-bar.jpgThe content bar that show a SharePoint page or news article likes, views, comments and Save for later, will now always appear at the bottom above comments.

Create a reminder using Microsoft Flow on lists and libraries when using a date column. You can enter the number of days in advance for the reminder, based on the selected date column. Based on your selection, you’ll get an email from Microsoft Flow for any items or documents ‘x’ days in advance of the selected data column value. And here is a roadmap Flow for you: Remind reader to listen to the Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop: December 2018 episode. 😉 We’ll remind/tweet you in a few days (from @SharePoint) …

IZRP-epi2_012_Create-a-reminder.jpgCreate a reminder using Microsoft Flow on SharePoint lists and libraries.


Column formatting. Choose the color schemes for SharePoint list and document library columns with simple inline formatting edit pane. Custom formatting lets you add conditional coloring based on column values for choice, date and Boolean columns, without scripting. You can apply a pre-built template, or you can adjust the colors manually if desired.

IZRP-epi2_013_Column-formatting.jpgAdd more visual distinction to your SharePoint lists by using column formatting.


Location column for SharePoint lists in Office 365. Add rich location data from Bing Maps. You can then filter sort and search by any aspect of the location data (city, state, address, etc). The data gets added automatically across automatic columns of your choice; just type in the name of a place or business, select the columns of info you are interested and all the data flows in to your list. Also, you can now drag and drop columns to reorder them left to right, or vice versa. Might this be GPS (Groovily Positioning SharePoint)? We think so 😉.

IZRP-epi2_014_Locations-column.jpgAdd locaations data to your SharePoint list items by using the Locations column with built-in Bing Maps look up.

Scan items into OneDrive and add custom metadata. We are also adding new functionality to the capture experience on iOS and Android so that when saving a scanned document or image to a site document library, users will be able to add metadata on that document or image. The metadata will be uploaded – along with the document or image – to the selected document library. This capability helps unlock potential new uses cases and workflows right from your phone.

 IZRP-epi2_015_OneDrive-scan-metadata_v2.jpgScan items into OneDrive and SharePoint in Office 365 and add custom metadata.

The new SharePoint admin center in Office 365 is now 100% available to all admins worldwide. This gives all Office 365 admins the ability to set the new experience as the default SharePoint admin center experience. The update draws heavily on our modern principles. And it’s not just a pretty user interface lift. The SharePoint admin center update includes: managing group-connected sites, options to manage and configure hub sites and associated sites, a simplified configuration of sharing controls that are more aligned to the OneDrive sharing controls, options to allow for configuring default site creation properties, adjust policies (access control page), progress indicators, greater reliability, and more. Manage more, manage easier. And did we already say it just looks nicer?

IZRP-epi2_016_SPO-admin-center_pt1.jpgThe main new Home screen for the SharePoint admin center in Office 365 – showing new activity graphs, message center posts and service health information.

IZRP-epi2_017_SPO-admin-center_pt2.jpgThe updated Active Sites page in the SharePoint admin center in Office 365 gives you access to view and manage all site types, including group-connected team sites, communication sites, hub sites and more.

Control access from unmanaged devices – as a SharePoint or Global admin in Office 365. You can block or limit access to SharePoint and OneDrive content from unmanaged devices. Limiting access allows users to remain productive while addressing the risk of accidental data loss on unmanaged devices. Users on unmanaged devices will have browser-only access with no ability to download, print, or sync files. They also won't be able to access content through apps, including the Microsoft Office desktop apps. When you limit access, you can choose to allow or block editing files in the browser.


PnP Tenant Templates (Like the SharePoint Starter Kit; PnP = Patterns and Practices). Helps provision complex solutions and structures within your Office 365 environment (your tenant). PnP Tenant templates, XML-based manifests that can be used to define tenant level structures like sites, site collections, SPFx solutions, permissions, themes, Site Designs and Site Scripts. 


Client-side Object Model (CSOM) – minimal updates to the CSOM API surface for .NET client apps for SharePoint in Office 365. SharePoint Online Management Shell has also been updated. In all, this release helps as you programmatically work with content on SharePoint sites – specifically: comments on files, some tenant wide properties and commands, plus a few Project Client specific properties and methods.


SharePoint in Office 365 moves to React 16. For modern pages and custom elements that use the SharePoint Framework solutions (like custom web parts and page extensions) – we now support the latest React update. No impact if you were using React 15. A single page could have React 15 & 16 side-by-side without impact.


Next steps “tips and tricks.” You’ll see a new megaphone icon in the header of SharePoint sites. When you hover over it, SharePoint will help you learn how to do and try actions based on the context of what you are doing and where you are doing it from. Consider this inline help and guidance from within SharePoint. Oh if Clippy had a megaphone… 😉.

IZRP-epi2_018_SharePoint-Next-Steps_help.jpgGet tips and tricks inline when you are working within SharePoint in Office 365 with Next steps at the top of the page.

OneDrive help articles are now on (documentation for IT, end users and developers). It's a cleaner and faster experience and broken into four main areas: Plan deploy and manage, Hybrid deployment, End user training, and Dev resources.

Microsoft Teams “Adoption Hub” – helps simplify the deployment and adoption process for Microsoft Teams. The hub is broken down into three stages: Start, Experiment and Scale. Includes “Day in the Life” training sheets, an overall service adoption project plan, example personas and helpdesk guidance to name a few.

Reminder emails – When someone shares a file with you, OneDrive sharing will send you an email with a link. It tracks whether this link is clicked within 7 days. If this link is not clicked within 7 days, the service sends a Reminder email to that same recipient. 


News – audience targeting – design more targeted experiences for how people do or do not see news within the News web parts you configure.

Thanks for tuning in and/or reading this episode/blog of the Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop – December 2018 (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.

We had a lot to share and more to come next year – happiest of new years to you and yours. Please stay engaged. 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 roadmap — and thanks for listening.

Happy now and future trails,