SharePoint Pages are finally getting serious editing capabilities

If you’re a SharePoint user, you’ll be acutely aware of the limitations in Microsoft’s editing tools on SharePoint pages. To put it bluntly, they’ve been severely lacking in capability...

If you’re a SharePoint user, you’ll be acutely aware of the limitations in Microsoft’s editing tools on SharePoint pages. To put it bluntly, they’ve been severely lacking in capability and usability. Thankfully the page and image editing is getting an overhaul.

Changes to Pages now enables faster creation time, enhanced control of text and images, increased promotion options, commenting and likes, and visibility on how your content is being interacted with.

Now lets take a look at exactly what’s changing.

Copy pages

If you’ve spent the time to create an amazing page layout and have multiple pages that are very similar, then you’ll love the ability to copy an existing page, make your updates and you’re done. This is a massive boost to productivity when building out pages in your site. To do this, just click New and then select Start with a copy of this page.

The service will create the new page, and you simply jump into updating with new text, images and content updates, with layout, design and common text already in place. And per user feedback, pages (and news) have an improved canvas experience when adding and managing multi-column sections – it is more discoverable where and how you add a new section or web part – with less overlap of “+” buttons.

WSIWYG editing

Editing text is now moving to be much more like using modern website editors and will now closely reflect the resulting text when you hit save. This takes away a lot of the guess work and speeds up page development. Microsoft says they’ve you loud and clear that you want to ability to make your message stand out.

The text web part has an embedded rich text editor that now gives you greater control for how your text appears. From the inline simple command bar, you can adjust size, bold, underline and spacing. And the real, new, magic of the Text web part lies behind the ellipses on the right side of the simple command bar. Clicking the ellipses opens a broader set of choices – showing all options in the edit pane, like font style, colors and highlights, indent, strikethrough, and the ability to create and manage tables. You, too, can add a link – which now has a page picker experience to add existing SharePoint content quickly.

Edit images in-place

Adding an image to a SharePoint page or news article is now as simple as it is in Office applications. When you do, its likely you’ll want to apply some further edits like crop and zoom and now you can do that inline, avoiding the painful workflow of going out to a image editor and then bringing the updated picture back in. You can pull in an image from online (powered by Bing) that are tagged as Creative Common license to enhance your pages and news.

Pimp your content to the business

If you’ve spent time creating great content, then chances are you’ll want to tell everyone about it. Traditionally content ends up in silos it individual SharePoint subsites, but can now be amplified and spread across the organisation with a simple one-click action. To do this from an existing page, click the Promote button and choose how you want to increase the reach and impact of your message.

You can add a page (or news article) to the site navigation, so site members of visitors see it on their next visit, or post a page as news to have it automatically flow into the site’s home page, the SharePoint home news section and the SharePoint mobile app News tab. This creates opportunities for your business areas to write about their successes and have them easily promoted across the organsiation.

You can kick start an email to a person or group with a preview of the page and an optional message to your selected recipients. Or simply grab a link to the page. Note, the Post as News on this site button may be grayed out if the page you are wanting to promote is already a news article. Also, the first time you publish your page, you’ll be prompted to help others find your page with the same promotion pane.

Page usage Likes, Views, Comments

Once your information is out there, you’ll want data on how users are interacting with it. This will give you information on what to post more of and what to post less of in the future. Similar to the the site usage page, Microsoft are introducing a similar view on information at the individual page and news article level.

At the bottom of each SharePoint page or news article you’ll see a row of information that tells you how many people have liked your content, how many left comments and total number of views. When you hover over the liked section, you’ll see a list of colleagues who like your ideas. And when you click on comments (and you left commenting on), you’ll jump right into the section at the bottom of the page to read feedback and engage with your audience. It, too, is now possible to click the like icon on an individual comment.

These changes are rolling out to Office 365 customers in the coming days and weeks. Initially it’ll go to businesses in the ‘Targeted Release’ bucket, then move into full release for all users. Microsoft provides information on release progress over at the public Office 365 Roadmap.

 

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MicrosoftSoftware and ServicesTechnology

Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.
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