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Microsoft Rolls Out Home Sites and Multilingual Publishing for SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online tenancies are getting new features that Microsoft released in May, which are mostly arriving for so-called "targeted release" recipients.

Highlights include the ability to create multilingual sites more easily, plus the Home Sites feature is now globally available.

Multilingual Publishing
Microsoft on Tuesday announced the global availability of a multilingual publishing SharePoint Online feature for use with Communication Sites.

The multilingual publishing feature, possibly part of Microsoft's April announcements, doesn't actually translate pages. The translation has to get done manually by humans. However, it does provide a workflow for organizations wanting to translate their SharePoint pages into multiple languages, allowing them to request translations and then get notified when the translations are finished. There's also an optional step to have the translated page be part of approval process before publication.

The translation workflow gets kicked off by a SharePoint site owner, who can set up groups of people as translators.

"Once the feature has been enabled and languages added, the site owner can assign individual users, security groups, and Office 365 groups as translators for each of the languages," the announcement indicated.

Microsoft described the multilingual publishing capability as only being available for Communications Sites, per this document. However, it also explained that it's possible to translate the "site navigation, hub navigation, site name and site footer," plus SharePoint News and Pages.

Microsoft officials described the multilingual publishing capability as a worldwide release that's currently available to all subscribers. However, the document clarified that some of its functionality is just available to SharePoint Online tenancies that opt to get "targeted release" updates. Possibly that nuance means that some of its features are still at the preview or early-release stage.

May Releases
Microsoft also recently described some of its May releases for SharePoint Online users, which possibly is just available to tenancies opting to get targeted release updates.

Microsoft announced that Home Sites, described as a top landing page for SharePoint Online sites, is now globally available. It can be enabled by running a PowerShell commandlet on new or existing sites, namely "Set-SPOHomeSite -HomeSiteUrl." Home Sites, when designated, get preconfigured with organization-wide search. After a Home Site is turned on, the SharePoint Mobile App will then be able to access it via a new "home button" that'll appear.

Another new feature added to SharePoint Online in May is the ability to schedule the publication of pages and news posts for a future date and time. This feature is turned off by default.

There's also a new "prepublish panel" that appears before posting content. It shows details such as "an overview of the site name, a thumbnail preview, and information about what happens when you publish."

The footer section of Communication Sites pages now has a new "Extended" option for displaying "more content and links" at the bottom of a page. However, The Extended option is just available for Communications Sites. It's not available for List pages or Library pages.

Another new feature is that SharePoint Lists can now be created by importing an Excel spreadsheet.

Newly added is the ability to show or hide columns in a list based on a value in another column, which is done by adding a "conditional formula."

Lastly, Microsoft added some Web Parts this month. Users can add a "Yammer Conversations" Web Part into SharePoint pages. There's also a new "Saved for Later" Web Part that lets end users create a list of content for later review.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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