Microsoft announced some exciting new features will be rolling out broadly to SharePoint in the next couple of weeks. Amaxra evaluated a few of the new SharePoint web parts as part of the Targeted Release for early adopters. As heavy users of SharePoint in Office 365, we were impressed with how easy web parts make it to enable communication within our businesses—and to customers and partners.
If you feel like you missed seeing this announcement about new SharePoint web parts, then you're not alone. It wasn't until catching up on emails after the holidays that I saw the announcement, too. Unfortunate timing aside, two of our favorite SharePoint web parts in the announcement included one brand new and an update to a popular one.
Wait, what is SharePoint again?
SharePoint is the web-based collaboration and document management platform built into Office 365, it's usually the best and most cost-effective method for creating a secure intranet for organizations invested in the Microsoft ecosystem. SharePoint intranets are built using "web parts" which are the building blocks of your pages and sites. For example, say you want to display a list of internally-facing documents used by your team and stored securely in the cloud on the intranet. You just drag and drop a "Document Library" web part onto a SharePoint page and everyone on your team now has secure, shared access to those documents—and all without requiring any knowledge of software programming.
This means that a SharePoint-based intranet site for your business can be set up in a few minutes. The no-code modular design ethos of SharePoint web parts lets you create, broadcast, and engage with content and information shared throughout your organization. Recall that while SharePoint and OneDrive are both cloud-based storage for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 subscribers, SharePoint is for sharing "we" data while OneDrive is for "me" data.
Downloading add-ons for SharePoint Online
Office 365 for Business Premium and Enterprise E3/E5 subscribers have SharePoint Online built into their plans. Users can create a new SharePoint site for their organization with just two clicks from their Office 365 start menu:
Depending on the type of information you want to share, choose from either a Team or Communication site for SharePoint. A new Team site is best for sharing documents and keeping track of tasks related to a group or collection of groups inside a corporate organization (e.g. the documents and editorial calendar for publishing industry analyst research). Communication sites are good for informing employees about corporate events or projects in the organization (e.g. pages outlining diversity in hiring practices, an upcoming bring your daughter to work day, etc.). Once a new page is created, click Edit in the upper-right of the page, then click the circled + on the page to see a list of web parts to add. You can easily find the web part you're looking for by typing in the search box for a list of web parts:
If you don't see the Edit in the upper-right of the new SharePoint page, then contact your organization's Office 365 administrator for help.
Get excited for the new My Recent Documents web part
A new web part that we think most organizations with SharePoint are going to get a lot of use out of is the My Recent Documents. It enables a personalized experience to a SharePoint site so that page visitors see the content that is uniquely theirs and meant for them to experience.
Thanks to the secure cloud-based connection to Office 365 users in your organization, SharePoint's My Recent Documents web part automatically personalizes a list of their recently used documents. Microsoft said in their announcement that this web part was one of their most requested tools for SharePoint and it's easy to see why. This web part saves a ton of time searching for the previous documents you were just collaborating on a few minutes or a few days ago. Rather than showing "most used" documents, the My Recent Documents web part is aware of who is signed in and gives them a unique, relevant experience to the content and information they need to do their job more efficiently.
An updated SharePoint web part for charts
Our vote for best updated SharePoint web part is the Quick Chart. The original version of this web part enabled you to embed simple pie or column-type charts to your SharePoint page. This new update allows users to instantly create professional-looking charts either by selecting data from a SharePoint list on a site or by manually entering the data in the Quick Chart web part edit pane:
We found the previous incarnation of the Quick Chart could be a clunky and time consuming—especially when having to enter in each data point and label manually. With this update, making charts really is quicker!
Many more SharePoint web parts to explore
We've only touched on two out of the dozens of existing, updated, and brand-new web parts available for SharePoint today. If you are an Office 365 or
Microsoft 365 subscriber with a SharePoint site, then we encourage you to explore these new options available to enhance your organization's productivity.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the new options, then Amaxra can help. Our consultants are Office 365 experts who have successfully designed and
deployed SharePoint intranets for both small organizations and large global businesses.
Contact me at Rosalyn.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 425 749 7471 if you have any questions or comments on this blog.