Three tips for Modern SharePoint

Modern SharePoint is beautiful, mobile-friendly and fun to use. Moreover, it’s an increasingly effective platform to tell your story, digitalize business processes and help employees to share and find information.

Modern Communication and Team sites have been around for years already, but just like the whole Microsoft 365 stack, they are constantly evolving. If your daily tasks (or hobbies!) do not include checking out the roadmap, admin message center and all the blogs around there, it’s very likely that you are not aware of all the fancy new things available. (… and don’t worry, that still happens when keeping track of new things IS your job :D)

In this post I’ll cover three very different features which may be useful to know about whether you are planning to introduce Modern Sites to your organization or to finetune already existing solutions.

Newsletter (aka News Digest)

Newsletter or news digest is an out-of-the-box way to manually send teasers of selected news articles via email. It’s especially useful in these two cases:

1) If your organization has previously relied heavily on mass email communication (proactive), and you’re trying to move to the Intranet News world (reactive), it might be wise to also provide the information in familiar email form during the onboarding or adoption phase, by sending the summary news digest for example once a week.

2) Because you can easily select the news articles included and the receivers of the newsletter, news digest is also an effective way to provide extra targeted information for special groups. For example, you can send a newsletter to team leaders once a month reminding them of the most important HR news.

How to send a newsletter? It’s easy! Just locate the News web part configured to show the articles you want to include in your news digest. Then click Show all to get to the news archive, and there you’ll find Email a news digest -button. Detailed guidance can be found here:

Look book – copy the examples in your tenant!

Look book is a website by Microsoft with almost 20 examples of modern SharePoint sites. The purpose of the site is to help you discover what kind of experiences can be built with Modern SharePoint and also get an idea of how these sites usually look and feel.

Look book does not only show nice pictures of sites but it also provides a list of features and elements (web parts) used in each examples – with links to actual guidance on how to use and configure the web parts.

Although Microsoft already published the first version of the SharePoint look book during the Ignite conference in 2018, they only recently gave it a new and straightforward URL address ( and the fabulous option to provision the examples in your own tenant with one click! So nowadays, when you find a great example to use as a starting point for your own site, you don’t need to build your site from scratch manually.

Custom List Formatting

SharePoint lists and libraries are flexible and efficient means to store, analyze and report your files and data. However, modern SharePoint lists used to be a little bit limited when it comes to changing the way the data is displayed.

With the new column and view formatting capabilities, you can customize the look and feel of your list – and you can also add actions to streamline user interaction with the data! Typical use cases for list formatting:

  1. use conditional formatting to highlight the most important data or visualize changes
  2. highlight every other row or add icons or other visual elements to make your data easier to read or understand
  3. add an action (for example link to start workflow) to allow smooth interaction with the data
  4. have the branding, look and feel as you wish – which is important for example when you show the list in your Intranet page

How to get started? Option to format the list view or column is available out-of-the-box in list user experience, but I’d recommend starting with official documentation: There are lots of examples and ideas available in GitHub, and when you find something useful, you can just copy it for yourself and start tweaking.

PS Here you can find my presentation slides about Custom Formatting:

Wanna hear more? Join me in the SharePoint Conference this May!

The SharePoint Conference is the world’s biggest and most comprehensive event empowering you to achieve more in the modern workplace with Microsoft 365. It’s happening in May 19-21 in Las Vegas. I’m proud to be part of the team presenting there!

This conference offers more than 200 sessions, panels and workshops to cover all the new stuff, as well as deep dives into existing technologies and practical how-to guidance to help you plan and implement them. This year there will also be specific sessions for people who are new to Office 365 or modern workplace concept.

And of course, it’s much more than SharePoint nowadays: we’ll be talking about Teams, OneDrive, Yammer, Stream, Power Platform and more. Don’t miss your chance to join – register now! If you register by this link!/register?utm_term=JOKISALO or just use my family name JOKISALO as a discount code, you’ll save $50 😘 See you there!

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