Extend News Pages with custom properties e.g. Managed Meta Data Properties

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Will it be possible to extend News Pages in Communication Sites with custom properties e.g. Managed Meta Data Properties? So we can later populate a list of all pages categorized as "ABC" or some other custom property.

50 Replies

Yes, we are doing that on my project. The challenge is that you have to edit the properties from the Site Pages list view. But, it works and allows us to use the Highlight Contents web part (my personal favorite) to roll up content based on our custom managed properties.

We are looking at categorization of Pages/ News and will be able to confirm roadmap by Ignite 2017.
@Susan Hanley & threading the metadata needle in Comm Sites? Perish the thought! :face_screaming_in_fear:

Great to see it's on the roadmap @Sohail Tariq. Thanks @Susan Hanley for the hints how to workaround this, sounds good!

Hi Susan, I've a question, if possible. How did you do that? In my brand new communication sites, I'm not able to edit SitePage content type, as shown in attachment: nothing under "Settings" part.

Any ideas?

Don't add the column on the Content Type level, but at the SitePages Library level:



As @Maarten Eekels says, you can add the site column as he shows or by selecting Library Settings and adding it there. You don't want to edit the default content type (and I'm not sure you are able to). What I do is create a Site Column and then add the Site Column to the library from Library Settings. I also sometimes create a custom content type that inherits from the default Site Page and then I add that content type to the Site Pages library. Both approaches work.

Days ago I've tried to create a custom (see Language field) that inherits from SitePages std content type (screen1), but without success.

I can create new CT with my custom fields, but when adding the new CT (screen 2) to a brand new DocLib, it dosn't bring all the fields with it (screen 3). in addiction, new pages will be added to SitePages default DL, not in mine.

Where is the error? Obviously no problem to follow your first indication to work directly on SitePages DL.


Thanks in advance,



I'm not able to read what is on your screenshots, but here's what I do (and it works): 


1. Create custom Content Type that inherits from Site Pages.

2. Add all custom columns as Site Columns.

3. Add the Content Type to the Site Pages library and make it the default.

4. After adding new pages, update the page metadata using Quick Edit or the information panel on each page. 


I've added two screen shots below. I hope this helps.


Content Type Attributes.jpg

CustomContentType in Site Pages.jpg

Ok, i found out. The problem was that I was trying to add my new CT to a new DL, not on SItePages one.
Last question: how to put my new fields in Highlighted Content webpart? Can't see my fields for filter. Do I have to map it in search service?.Thanks,

Yes, you have to map the properties to an available Managed Property in order to be able to use them in Highlighted Contents. I've got some instructions and screen shots for how to map the properties and then use them in Highlighted Contents in the slide deck link about using a Communication Site for governance and training delivery if you haven't done this before. 


Step by Step Approach to Create a Governance and Training Delivery Site for SharePoint and Office 36...

Thank you very very much Susan.
Last doubt: what will happen when the Pages/News categorization announced few posts ago will become "real"? We'll have to remap everything, in your opinion?
Thanks again,

No way to answer that without knowing what the capabilities will be and whether or not they can be used to accomplish the outcome you are trying to achieve. If it accomplishes the same outcome that you are doing manually, it will be up to you to decide to switch how you do it. If it doesn't, you may want to stick with what you have. In this case, I think the issue is more than just News and Page categorization - it's also how the property (or properties) will be able to be used in Highlighted Contents. Right now, it's complicated to use custom attributes because you have to map them to available managed properties so I would love to see that be a little easier and closer to what we had with the CSWP and CQWP.


This is what happens when you use v1 of anything. You are making a trade-off. I happen to love the v1 version of Comm Sites and I'm willing to re-visit sites we build using them as the features evolve because we've been able to work-around or add custom web parts to achieve what we need today that aren't available out of the box. But they may not work for every use case so like anything, you need to let your business outcomes, not just technical options and bright shiny objects, drive your choice about when you jump in to emerging capabilities and when you wait until more features are added.

Morning all,

Sorry to interven on a very interesting conversation but we have just created managed properties in the way you describe so that we can use the highlighted content webpart to filter news in a communication site.

Our problem is that most of our news 'consumers' will be accessing the site via the SharePoint App and we have doscuvered that once you add a managed property to a news post, it disappears from view in the app.

Any ideas?


@Sohail Tariq any news yet on categorisation of Pages / News? I haven't seen any updates or roadmap announcement at Ignite 2017 on this. Can you shine your light on this?

Here is another option that might work. In some cases, we are using a naming convention to categorize news. For example: People Spotlight for news articles telling a story or introducing a team member. The title of the article starts: People Spotlight: [Article Title]. Then, we use pages with Highlighted Content web parts to "roll up" news by topic by filtering for Title contains People Spotlight. I think this would work fine on mobile devices (both entering and viewing) and it's actually a little easier than assigning properties after the fact. It doesn't work for every use case, but if it fits your objective, it's pretty easy to explain to news authors and it works!

Content categorization for Pages was part of Roadmap that we showed at Ignite in 2018 - Top of mind. Here's side screenshot from Ignite:Pages Roadmap.jpg



Firstly, I really appreciate @Susan Hanley effort to provide some kind of advise and a workaround for the huge deficiency left by Microsoft SharePoint  team.


Secondly, my $0.03 in response to the @Sohail Tariq  post about "roadmap") 


The  missing ability to apply metadata to Site Pages pretty much prevents using Communications site for any real life enterprise solutions.  Absence of metadata renders Highlighted Content web part more or less useless;  it also prevents site owners for managing content. 


Even medium-size organization, would have more than a few pages and therefore would need ability to "slice and dice" pages in the Site Pages library.   For a small organization, I am questioning the need of Communication site at all.  So who is the target customers for the current implementation of the Communication site? Sort of none. 


It is pretty disheartening that a major SharePoint functionality ( i.e. metadata for a library - has been SP hallmark feature since 2001) has been "overlooked". On another hand, in my opinion, this is just yet another example that current MS approach of "agile development in O365"  results in producing semi-working at-best solutions. That solutions almost universally now  have major flows that prevent them from being used for any real life solutions. Combined with the fact  that O365  features are changed/ removed/added "every 20 minutes"  makes O365 increasingly difficult to use for enterprise grade solutions for web content management.


What now gets deployed in production in Office 365, in the past would not even qualifies for Alpha version.


Other than MVPs "playing" with these new solutions and promoting bits and pieces at conferences, it is impossible to use these solutions (including Communication sites) for any serious and coherent implementation.  But from my observation, even many MVPs are getting frustrated with the current situation.


I (and I assume  other SharePoint veterans)  were expecting Communication sites to be "Publishing Site + Responsive page". What it is in a current state is "Responsive pages and ... nothing else for managing them".  We have to resort to using sort of unsupported  hacks for getting  metadata for the Site Pages library, really ? 


I would like to ask MS to fix this deficiency ASAP.   


Thanks @Yuri Deglin for your feedback. I agree that metadata is key page management functionality and something that we are actively worked on. Please stay tuned.

Is this still just "2018 Top of Mind" or do you have any more specific timings to share?
This is a very good summarization of the current state.
some stuff is quite ironic (and sad) like metadata being the 'technology' you must use since the start of SharePoint, but it's never supported in mobile apps, office client software or now even the Modern experience

@Thomas Bak - Team is actively working on this. You should hear more on the exact timing of this in SharePoint conference in May 2018. Please stay tuned! 


CC: @Yuri Deglin@Denis Tiri

Great, I'll be there listening eagerly!

I get the distinct impression that some new features (this this one) are ready for us to use, but that we are not getting them because you want to have something to announce in May. However, I hope that I am wrong.

It seems this is just round the corner!


We received a notification in our message center -  MC133284 - New feature: Custom metadata integration with modern SharePoint Online pages and news.


We’re excited to announce the availability of custom metadata integration with modern SharePoint Online pages and news. With this change, modern pages will take advantage of custom columns added to a pages library, which will enable grouping and organization of modern pages.

This message is associated with Office 365 Roadmap ID: 27251.

How does this affect me?

For users that have been granted SharePoint Online page authoring permissions, this feature will enable them to add columns to modern SharePoint Online pages. Additionally, users will be able to add/edit the values of custom metadata columns of individual pages via pages library.

We'll be gradually rolling this out over the next couple of weeks, and we anticipate rollout completion by the end of May.

Reading all of these comments worries me! I've just joined a new organisation that want to use O365 for their new Intranet, and I'm keen to use the new Communication site for the web parts and layouts that it provides.


But to my horror on looking deeper and reading this thread, and along with the fact that the traditional site structure of sub-sites, it isn't possible to create further communication sites below the parent! I'd admit I have some reading to do, but after a meeting on Monday with Microsoft and this template being recommended, it's kind of disappointing to read these issues within the template. I'd rather not have to settle for a Publishing Site Template either!!


 Any ideas to this conundrum? I'll post a separate article to collate responses directly as it doesn't related to the original post.




Jason, too bad the replies on this post worries you and scares you to even going to use the communication sites. In my opinion this is not necessary. As Susan Hanley states in her reply, there are a lot of ways to accomplish your goal. It's v1 of the functionality and at the moment the new Hub sites are arriving. I think they can suit your needs in order to structure your sites. So I would recommend to start reading into this some more, try it out, or contact a good Microsoft Partner in order to help you out on this matter.

Hi Robert,

 I'm just worried about choosing the right template for the new intranet I want to provide for the new organisation I've joined. I know I'm hijacking this thread a little, but I have the following questions:

1. Would you choose the Communication Template for a new Intranet?

2. Do you use sub-sites to categorise other content for other teams (typical intranet construction that I've seen on SharePoint before) and accept that the templates available are not further Communication sites, and result in choosing Team Site template, and enabling the site features for page publishing?


 I've gone and enabled the 'Site Pages' feature in the 'Site Features' and can see the new modern pages are possible, but end up with the page title at the top of the page, and I don't want my users to have to resort to using CSS etc to hide that section and make it look and feel like the home page of the Community site.


 What is everyone elses experience in building these Communication sites in terms of sub-site content?


Great thread and lots of information to read, feels like I'm in the right place to get some user stories and opinions!



1. Yes, I would choose the Communication template for a new intranet. It's my first choice while I explore the requirements with my clients. First off Communication sites offer you a great looking site, responsive by design. You could really start off and focus on functionality (components) which offer worth to the business, instead of starting first with design of the intranet and making it responsive (and test it on many devices/browsers). This will cut of a lot of costs. If design is a really big thing for your company and the Communication sites are a no-go, I would look in the option to go for Classic Publishing sites. And yes, these can be a very good option instead.

2. For many years I try to avoid using sub sites as much as possible. I use a site structure using site collections by default. Yes, you have concerns like cross site collection navigation, etc. Using search as much as possible in your components and a custom navigation component would supply your needs. But this is all for Classic Publishing sites. With the new Communication sites the structure of sites is done using the new Hub sites feature. This is still Targeted release at the moment, but it won't  be long before this is available on every tenant. So using Hub sites in combination with Communication sites and modern Team sites would be my first choice.


Good luck in your journey!


 Thanks so much for your response - yes, my leaning is towards the Communication site too, purely for the look and feel, and the ease of creating content. The responsive design is a plus, thanks for highlighting that!!


 I really want to avoid using a classic site, purely because the route to change anything to such a modern look, feel and design is so dated. I've been working as an administrator with SharePoint on-premise for more than 10 years, so I know what level of effort is involved sometimes. Just getting to grips with the modern capabilities that I've been following for a long time, but not in anger like this.


 I think you're right on the approach. All they want is a replacement for an existing flat site, which this will meet that requirement in one sweep, and then my intention to structure it as a true intranet with divisional/departmental content over time.


Thanks for the advice - some reading on hub sites next! :o)



I recommend reading/watching all of the content posted by Susan Hanley   , this will get you on the right track and then start a new thread with your questions for her.

Thanks Dean - have seen a few responses from her and looks like a great font of knowledge and experience. And your name too here and there! :o)

I do think you want to start another thread - since this is combining apples and oranges - but I agree with all the advice so far - you definitely want Communication Sites. Note the plural. You are not going to build an intranet with one Communication Site - but with several/many. Think about one site per function or topic and maybe lots of micro-sites for initiatives. News from all of these sites automatically rolls up on SharePoint home and in the SharePoint app - and you can also connect related sites using hub sites. There is some guidance coming soon from Microsoft about planning hub sites that should be helpful to get you started thinking about how to leverage hub sites in your organization.

Hi Susan,

 Thanks for the response, all of this advice is greatly appreciated!


 OKay - I wont create a separate thread - I was just mindful of forum etiquette and taking this thread aware from its original intention.


 Okay - So I've read some more now and take your point on plural Communication sites linked to a hub site. I played the video in the link and this appears to make more sense now. I've gone through some of the technical articles around registering the hub site, and have made notes there on the Powershell required. I've registered a site, but no option yet in that site to link other sites to the hub. I'll check back on it later as I've got so many other things on the go at the same time - these answers have at least got me to a point where I can move forward.

Many thanks again!


Jason - be sure that the tenant you are using is a Targeted release tenant. The Hub sites are still in preview and only available on Targeted release tenants. 

Robert - Thanks for the heads up on the release. I'll look up the schedule for this going GA as I don't want to switch a tenancy just for this aspect when I can wait.


Yuri - I did already suggest a new thread, but nevermind. I'll raise a new one if I have to.


Thanks all for the advice, much appreciated.

Hi Susan,

When trying to complete the steps in slide 44 of your PowerPoint, the "Add a mapping" option is greyed out in my SharePoint Online environment.  Any ideas?


My goal is to create 2 separate Highlighted Content web parts on a Communications Site and filter the News articles by categories.  I've added an additional column called "News category" and I'm trying to map it as you describe.



If you use managed metadata for the property, you won't have to map a property. Just be sure to first associate a page with the property (i.e. use it in your library), wait for the content to be crawled, and then you should be able to use the property in Highlighted Contents without mapping.


For mapping managed properties, you need to be the site collection admin. If not, that could be why it is greyed out. Take a look at and see if this helps.

Can you explain this part?  Just be sure to first associate a page with the property (i.e. use it in your library)


Thanks again.

Probably not saying this totally clearly, but apply the metadata to one or more pages. You can't map or use the field until it is used in practice. Hope that makes sense!

Still can't figure out the filter for the Highlighted content web part.


I found another small issue.  On the mobile app, when you click to open a news article in a Highlighted Content web part, it opens in a browser type window and doesn't allow comments or likes.  This is an important piece on the mobile side.  I'm going to search uservoice to see if any has suggested a change to this behavior.

Make sure that you know the name of the mapped column - if you are using managed metadata, you need to use the "system name" for the column. If you have mapped the column, you need to find your specific column by filtering using "RefineableStringxx."

Create a new site content type based on sitepages with the columns you need (News Type, Audience, etc). Call it news with categories just to make an example. 


Is someone insert a News Update the content type to the new one you created and collect via workflow the informations about the columns.


You can also use Audience column to change permition to let the content spread across sites.


It works for aggregate contents. The importart thing is that promoted state is 2.


Hope it help.


All the best






Image1.jpg2010 workflow

Hi Susan , I need some help regarding News Webpart(on Modern Communication site collection).

News Webpart is showing the News from the News pages we created. But i wanted to display other coloumns instead of default ones. Is that possible.


Example: Current pages library


Current Showing News Webpart:


Here instead of Created by(Tech Learn),Created(about an hour ago) fields i want to show "Number of Likes" coloumn. Is that possible?

@Susan Hanley 

You can’t change what is displayed without writing a custom web part. You can change the author if you want to show a different value but the fields in the web part are fixed. Try using a different layout and column width. You get slightly different experiences when the same layout is used in wider columns but you can’t choose what is displayed.

Thank you so much for clarification and instant reply :) @Susan Hanley 

Hi @Susan Hanley 

I am wondering if you help on this OR i need to post in another forum.

I am designing my company's modern intranet and requirement is to filter news/pages based on user location.

I am using HCWP for displaying news and managed property for filtering them.

Custom Profile Property - AureconOfficeTest
Managed Property - RefinableString00

RefinableString00 "equals" {User.AureconOfficeTest.Name} does not work.

RefinableString00 "equals" Australia does work without any issues.

I even tried by using OOTB user profile property by following ways.

RefinableString00 "equals" {User.SPS-Location} does not work.
RefinableString00 "equals" {User.ContactInformation.SPS-Location} does not work.

Am I using correct user profile property token OR missing anything ? Is ther any way I can troubleshoot - Please help.(Attached the screenshots)

@ashwane_12 I'm not able to help you troubleshoot - but this feels like you want to be using audience targeting for News (then you could use the News web part without having to use Highlighted Content). The roadmap says it is rolling out now. I don't see it yet in my tenant, though. Hopefully, this should be really easy to do in just a few weeks so you might want to wait rather than spend lots of time trying to sort this out if that works for the business.

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