SharePoint Updates Coming for Hub Sites, News, Pages, Web Parts

Microsoft will start rolling the updates out to Targeted Release customers in early September, with a global release through November.

SharePoint Upgrade Roll Out

New features and changes are coming to Microsoft's SharePoint web-based collaboration and document management platform, including the ability to create up to 100 SharePoint hub sites, page editing improvements and new capabilities to share news links with users. 

The updates and additions, which will start rolling out to Targeted Release customers in early September and to all other global users by November, were announced in an Aug. 21 post by Mark Kashman, a senior product manager on the SharePoint team, on The SharePoint Blog

One of the most useful updates will be the ability for users to create up to 100 SharePoint hub sites, up from the previous limit of 50. SharePoint hub sites allow users to connect internal sites based on projects, departments, divisions, regions and more to make it easier to find related content and apply common navigation and branding across associated sites, wrote Kashman. 

"When people in your organization create new SharePoint sites, you often need to ensure a level of consistency," Kashman wrote in his blog. "You can use site designs and site scripts to automate provisioning new or existing modern SharePoint sites that use your own custom configurations. And this can be most critical when sites get associated to well-managed SharePoint hub sites," he wrote. 

Also being improved is site scripting when SharePoint hub sites are associated with each other. That means that the new site not only inherits the theme of the hub site, but can also be further configured using powerful site designs and site scripts to adjust and enforce permissions as well as apply shared metadata, preferred content management and policies, he added. 

Users will also gain a new option to modify the color of their site headers for more site theming flexibility, wrote Kashman. "This header emphasis will be based on the currently applied site theme color and can either be a lighter, softer color or a darker, stronger one. The site owner always has the option to set to gray or back to no emphasis.” 

Other new capabilities include news sharing, which will make it easier to share external news links within SharePoint, as well as improved editing features aimed at keeping information flowing. Using the upcoming news links feature, users will be able to share a link to items such existing news within a company, news from a company's public website, LinkedIn articles and more, according to Kashman. 

Page editing improvements will now include the ability to see if someone else is already editing a page, while identifying them and providing information on how to contact them. To prevent unintentional page lockouts, Microsoft has added a 5-minute timeout if no changes are made and a page is left open in edit mode. 

New web part layout options are also coming, such as being able to use SharePoint web parts to arrange and present content as users are editing. Under the changes, Quick links will get four new layouts (Buttons, Grid, List, and Tiles), while the Image gallery gets a new Brick layout to show images of varying aspect ratios.

Also coming is an improved Hero web part, which sets a focal point on each image to better draw in visitors, and an improved News web part, which will display all news in a carousel layout.