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As SharePoint Turns 20, Microsoft Readies Multiple Feature Enhancements

Microsoft 365 subscribers that opt to get "targeted release" updates can expect to get multiple new SharePoint Online capabilities soon, Microsoft announced this week.

The new features include the arrival of the SharePoint App Bar navigation element, SharePoint page analytics and the use of images in Events Web Parts.

Microsoft's announcement of the improvements came shortly after SharePoint's 20th birthday, which landed on Saturday. To mark the occasion, Microsoft recounted SharePoint's origins from an early project code-named "Tahoe." A replay of the birthday festivities, featuring avatars, can be accessed here.

SharePoint App Bar
Microsoft 365 subscribers are getting the SharePoint App Bar for use across SharePoint Online sites using "modern" pages. It's not available for use with so-called "classic" SharePoint sites.

The App Bar, based on SharePoint Home Sites, is a vertical navigation strip hovering on the left side of the screen that provides quick access to the most frequently visited sites, news and files via "tab" icons. The content is personalized via the Microsoft Graph service. Only the global navigation item on the App Bar can be customized by organizations.

Organizations can disable the SharePoint App Bar in advance of arrival, but doing so will only delay delivery until Oct. 31, 2021, Microsoft explained in this "Introduction" document.

Other Arriving SharePoint Online Features
Microsoft 365 subscribers are getting an analytics capability that will show SharePoint "pages and news articles" access stats. This SharePoint Page Analytics feature shows the number of viewers, the number of page views and the "average time spent per user."

A "Focus Mode" toggle capability is arriving that empowers "SharePoint page authors and viewers" to simplify the appearance of a SharePoint page by "hiding the site header, site navigation, and global navigation bar with one click." Another click by the user will bring those elements back.

Microsoft also improved the Events Web Part in SharePoint Online to be capable of showing images for events. The Web Part automatically pulls the "image used in the title area of the Event page," which will display as a smaller icon when events are viewed in a list.

Non-SharePoint Additions
Microsoft's announcement included some non-SharePoint items expected to arrive this month for Microsoft 365 targeted release users.

One of those items is streamlined migration from Box storage to Microsoft 365 storage on OneDrive, SharePoint or Teams. It's a capability that will show up in the SharePoint Admin Center portal under "Migration Manager."

Microsoft announced the end of Delve mobile apps for Android and iOS devices will happen on June 1, 2021. Organizations and individuals should switch to using the Outlook Mobile app instead, the company advised.

A new "Integrate" menu navigation item for users of the Microsoft Lists service is coming. It will replace the Power Apps menu navigation item that's currently there. Clicking on Integrate gives end users access to a couple of menu options, namely "Power Apps" and "Power Automate." A future menu item option coming to Integrate in Lists will be a "Power BI" option, but the timing wasn't described.

About the Author

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

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