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SharePoint Roadmap Pitstop: March 2024

Careful not to be the fool (today). March 2024 was a great month for pages, docs, lists, tasks, and more — and we ain’t foolin’.

March 2024 brought some great new offerings: SharePoint: New section backgrounds, Answers in Viva content in Microsoft Search, SharePoint Premium: Enable/disable Unstructured, Structured, and Prebuilt Document Processing, Manage SharePoint Embedded containers, Microsoft Lists: New forms experience, New Planner app in Teams (Public Preview), OneDrive: Create with templates, Microsoft Viva Goals: New URL domain, and more. Details and screenshots below, including our audible companion: The Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop: March 2024 podcast episode – all to help answer, “What’s rolling out now for SharePoint and related technologies into Microsoft 365?”

All features listed below began rolling out to Targeted Release customers in Microsoft 365 as of March 2024 (possibly early April 2024).

Inform and engage with dynamic employee experiences

Build your intelligent intranet on SharePoint in Microsoft 365 and get the benefits of investing in business outcomes – reducing IT and development costs, increasing business speed and agility, and up-leveling the dynamic, personalized, and welcoming nature of your intranet.

SharePoint: New section backgrounds in Pages and News

We’ve introduced new features that allow page authors to add curated image or gradient color backgrounds to page sections. The update includes improved focal points, fill mode, overlay, and opacity settings to ensure accessibility.

Customize your SharePoint pages and news by configuring the section layouts with custom images or gradient color.Customize your SharePoint pages and news by configuring the section layouts with custom images or gradient color.

You’ll find all the new goodness when you edit a Page or News section: in Edit mode, in the Section panel, select Edit section. Choose an image or gradient color from Background options. When you set a background, a see-through overlay will be added automatically to make the text easier to read.

Note: When you send a News post as an email, SharePoint theme colors will be used in place of section backgrounds that aren’t supported in email.

Answers in Viva found within Microsoft Search

Answers content already appears in the Viva Engage search, and now Answers content will also appear within your Microsoft Search results: In Office.com, SharePoint.com, and Bing at Work searches. If you don’t find the information you are looking for, you will be prompted to try posting your question into Answers. You’ll also receive the Answers digest, which collects relevant questions recipients may be able to answer into one convenient, interactive email.

Answers in Viva found within the Microsoft Search results page.Answers in Viva found within the Microsoft Search results page.

Note: Licensed Answers in Viva users will be able to post a question to Answers in Viva right from within Microsoft Search.

SharePoint Premium: Enable/disable Unstructured, Structured, and Prebuilt Document Processing

SharePoint Premium users can now enable/disable Unstructured, Structured, and Prebuilt Document Processing individually. These are capabilities to automatically classify files and extract information; services that work best for unstructured documents, such as letters or contracts.

And based on feedback from IT Pros, Microsoft 365 admins, after signing up for pay-as-you-go, can turn off each document processing service across their tenant. Admins will now be able to turn on and off each of the following services individually: 

    • Unstructured Document Processing
    • Structured and Freeform Document Processing
    • Prebuilt Document Processing

Manage SharePoint Embedded containers through the SharePoint admin center

Microsoft SharePoint Embedded, currently in Public Preview, is an API-only solution empowering app developers to leverage the file and document storage in Microsoft 365 to create line-of-business or multitenant applications. Microsoft Loop is an example of a SharePoint Embedded application – and is configured for you by default – and is a great example of what a custom application can do using a SharePoint Embedded repository as its backend storage.

From the SharePoint admin center, select Settings in the left-hand navigation. Locate and select SharePoint Embedded to enable it for your tenant.From the SharePoint admin center, select Settings in the left-hand navigation. Locate and select SharePoint Embedded to enable it for your tenant.

With this rollout, alongside PowerShell, consuming tenant admins have the added ability to manage SharePoint Embedded applications registered in their tenant directly through the SharePoint admin center. This is all managed by a new, assignable SharePoint Embedded administrator role in the Microsoft 365 admin center. Once delegated, Embedded Administrators can log in to the SharePoint admin center and then can:

    • View a list of SharePoint Embedded containers created in the tenant including details such as storage used, Created Date, Owner, Labels, and so on.
    • View owner, manager, reader, and writer user permissions assigned to the SharePoint Embedded container.
    • Soft-delete and restore SharePoint Embedded containers
    • Or permanently delete SharePoint Embedded containers

Teamwork updates across SharePoint team sites, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams

Microsoft 365 is designed to be a universal toolkit for teamwork – to give you the right tools for the right task, along with common services to help you seamlessly work across applications. SharePoint is the intelligent content service that powers teamwork – to better collaborate on proposals, projects, and campaigns throughout your organization – with integration across Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, Yammer, Stream, Planner and much more.

Microsoft Lists: New forms experience

In Microsoft Lists, list owners and collaborators with permission to edit the list will be able to collect information on their lists with new native Lists Forms. Lists forms can be created quickly and shared with a link. The recipient can focus on filling out the form without seeing your full list. All submitted responses appear immediately as new list items that list collaborators can see and refine.

Lists forms work well in scenarios such as recruitment tracking, managing orders, tracking customer issues, filing expenses, etc. For example, an event organizer can create and manage multiple forms for the same list to track attendees, feedback, logistics, and more, with each form collecting a part of the full list.

Please note:

    • When you create a form in a list, you can only share the form as a link that allows anyone in your organization to fill out and submit. You cannot share the form with different permissions — at this time. For sure known feedback.
    • Forms will not appear on lists or sites that do not allow sharing a link with organization members.
    • And note: The +Add new item will continue to work as before for those that have access to the list.

And last, I want to re-emphasize: The new Forms experience in Microsoft Lists is native within Lists and does not use or require Microsoft Forms, Power Apps, or Power Automate. All previous integrations still exist, to further configure and customize your lists, for certain scenarios like reaching anonymous audiences, showcasing several data sources in one view, and adding rich business logic/flow – respectively.

For many internal information collection scenarios, Lists Forms are beautiful, save you time as they don’t require any real setup or additional skills, and just work.

New Microsoft Planner app in Teams (Public Preview)

The New Planner is a single, unified work management offering. It brings together the simplicity of Microsoft To Do, the collaboration of Planner, the power of Microsoft Project, and the intelligence of Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 into a single, simple solution that spans from individual task management and frontline task management to enterprise and professional project management.

Find the tasks you need, right when you need them. Manage all your tasks, to-do lists, plans, and projects across Microsoft 365 applications in one simple, familiar experience. We are updating the existing Tasks by Planner and To Do app in Microsoft Teams to the new Microsoft Planner app, which will maintain all existing app functionality and add new options and features to help users be more productive.

OneDrive: Create with templates

We’re refreshing the file creation experience in OneDrive for the web. When you select the Add new button, you will have the option to create a new blank file or to choose from high-quality, beautifully designed templates in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint — to jumpstart your work.

The updated create experience in OneDrive for the Web.The updated create experience in OneDrive for the Web.

You’ll also be able to create new files using your company templates. And you’ll continue to be able to upload files and folders and create new files and folders, just as before.

It just gets easier to create new files from templates and select where your new files will be stored.

Related technology

Microsoft Viva Goals: New URL

Like we noted for Microsoft Loop a few roadmaps ago, and as part of the broader effort to bring Microsoft 365 apps and service onto the single cloud.microsoft domain, you can now access Viva Goals with a new URL: goals.cloud.microsoft.

Access Viva Goals with its new URL: https://goals.cloud.microsoft – above is the splash screen with an adjusted overlay to show the URL address you use within your Web browser.Access Viva Goals with its new URL: https://goals.cloud.microsoft – above is the splash screen with an adjusted overlay to show the URL address you use within your Web browser.

Learn more about the domain change: Introducing cloud.microsoft: a unified domain for Microsoft 365 apps and services – Microsoft Commun…


Enterprise Connect 2024 news | Microsoft Teams: Building a Foundation for the Future

During the Enterprise Connect 2024 event, the Microsoft Teams team shared how we are setting a new standard for performance, reliability, and simplicity. This included a future glance at things like: Copilot in meetings, Copilot in Teams chat compose box, Intelligent call recap, automatic camera switching for IntelliFrame, Windows Autopilot for Teams Rooms, the new Queues app, and more.

Copilot in meetings will now provide information and insights from the meeting chat in addition to the meeting transcript.Copilot in meetings will now provide information and insights from the meeting chat in addition to the meeting transcript.

Review all the Enterprise Connect 2024 announcements from Microsoft in two executive blogs:

April 2024 teasers

Psst, still here? Still scrolling the page looking for more roadmap goodness? If so, here is a few teasers of what’s to come to production next month…

  • Teaser #1: Microsoft Lists: Approvals for any list | Message ID: MC757613
  • Teaser #2: Microsoft Loop: Guest Sharing | Message ID: MC736437

… shhh, tell everyone.

Helpful, ongoing change management resources

  • Follow me to catch news and interesting SharePoint things: @mkashman; warning, occasional bad puns may fly in a tweet or two here and there.

Thanks for tuning in and/or reading this episode/blog of the Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop – March 2024. We are open to your feedback in comments below to hear how both the Roadmap Pitstop podcast episodes and blogs can be improved over time.

Engage with us. Ask those questions that haunt you. Push us where you want and need to get the best information and insights. We are here to put both our and your best change management foot forward.

Stay safe out there on the road’map ahead. And thanks for listening and reading.

Thanks for your time,

Mark Kashman – senior product manager (SharePoint/Lists) | Microsoft)

The Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop - March 2024 graphic showing some of the highlighted release features.The Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop – March 2024 graphic showing some of the highlighted release features.

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