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Communications Sites AMA

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Is the release track "First release for everyone" also included in the first rollout wave or is the specific release track "First release for selected users" required? That isn't clear to me after reading the blog article SharePoint communication sites begin rollout to Office 365 customers

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Hi there

 

Any idea on when the roll out will hit O365 Developer versions?

 

Thanks in advance

We have enabled first release and we're able to implement it since beginning of July.

 

However, as we check this morning, the option for communications site have been remo

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We've rolled out to First Release Select Users yesterday. Our next step for expansion will be to go to First Release tenants. We will start this expansion after July 4 we... Read More
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Hi, this is Claudia Lake, a content developer on the OneDrive and SharePoint User Experience team. Here's a list of the communication site documentation we published for users and admins. You can provide feedback by clicking either "Yes" or "No" at the bo

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Where can I report an issue related to the DocumentLibrary web part in the modern experience? I am not able to use custom filters on a DocumentLibrary in a modern page.

Hello,

 

really love the new Communication Site template! Just one question - how do I change the default colour scheme? On regular team sites, we upload the .spcolor file

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The People web part requires us to add every member of the Group one-by-one. That is a big limitation, any plans to improve that?

 

Also, we have our users display name as

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I just added a link to the documentation that covers how to customize the navigation.

 

Customize the navigation on your SharePoint site https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Customize-the-navigation-on-your-SharePoint-site-3CD61AE7-A9ED-4E1E-BF6D-4655F0BF25CA

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Hi Dragan, we're working on more documentation aimed specifically at admins. I'll add the links here as soon as it's published. In the meantime, which specific admin cont

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Are there PowerShell commands to create the new Communication Site site collections?

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Wow @Brent Ellis - This thread went awry.  I just tried the 'New-pnptenantSite' commandlet specifying  SITEPAGEPUBLISHING#0 as the desired template and I received a PS er

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@Vesa Juvonen is thinking about this area quite a bit and would a great person to jump in with thoughts on leveraging PnP.

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Hi Yannick. There has been recent discussion on how we might make the default root site collection in SPO something more modern. Would this be a communication site, and/o... Read More

Also curious about how we can deploy a SharePoint Communication Site using PowerShell.

 

Is there a cmdlet which allows us to deploy it using the SITEPAGEPUBLISHING#0 templ

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As communication sites should replace the publishing sites, our clients will need to enforce the corporate branding on them. So, my question is: what can be customized from the communication sites?

- page layouts (or what was before from master page and pa

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Anyone have any idea how one might go about changing the default SharePoint favicon when using a Communications Site? What Master Page is it using, where do I find it, an

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Great question (and responses)! Yes, we are enabling modern themes - and a way to centrally store and reference them programmatically during or after site creation. This ... Read More

Branded or custom layouts could also be addressed with a set of templates that could then be selected for use on a site. Those templates could also allow some branding /

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I would say the branding is going to be traditional themes in addition to the new capabilities with the next generation of the SharePoint Framework that they announced at

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Does the new publishing (communication sites) support multilingual content? Something like the variations from the traditional SharePoint now?

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In Belgium, with our 3 official languages, it always enters the discussion in one form or another. So for us, a technically stable solution is very desired.
Variations has... Read More
Multi-Lingual is very important for several of our customers
If you all want this multi-lingual capability, can you like this question to help us with the feedback? Thx!

I think it is an important feature for all international organisation.

@Anton Labunetsdoesn't it support the Variations feature of SharePoint online?

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We are in the same situation, and multilingual support is a basic business need or the solution, so high priority

Can the reaction functionality be disabled for individual News pages created at SharePoint Communication Sites?

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When you say reaction do you mean comments on news? If so, then yes - comments can be disabled at a page/news item level, a site level and a tenant level
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Will we be able to add the full width communication page on a classic site like we could do with the modern team pages?

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Thanks for asking this Niclas, I'd really like to hear if this is possible.

 

As you, as some of the replies say, a lot of us are already well down the road in terms of hav

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Hey @Michael Holste - wouldnt this still have the fat header like other modern pages - or can you select the layout to be the new communications type instead of fat heade... Read More
If you create a new modern page in a classic site then yes!

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.

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

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 Highligh

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Is the communication site going to bring improved breadcrumbs to SharePoint.

 

We have our intranet on our main site collection (consisting of 6 sub-sites exc. the root site) and one of the biggest problems I come across from end users is that they dont kno

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Thanks for the scenario and feedback, Peter and Andrew. As we shift toward flatter site collection hierarchies in our current models we recognize the need for this "locat... Read More
With no reply to the question during the AMA hour, I've posted the question as a request to UserVoice: https://sharepoint.uservoice.com/forums/329214-sites-and-collaboration/suggestions/19765030-page-level-breadcrumb Read More
This would be great for us as well!

Will there be any way to convert a previous team site to a communication site? Or will we have to recreate and migrate?

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Thanks for the great responses everyone. I understand team sites are based on the group models, I am just thinking of one of my customers who has an old team site (pre-gr

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Would you really want to do this? Team sites are focused on Collaboration and backed by Office 365 Groups. Communication sites are focused on broadcasting or communicatin... Read More
You can think of Comm sites as another site template, i.e. another in the list of classic team sites, modern team sites, publishing sites, etc. We have never been able to... Read More
The fastest way to get your site up and running will be to copy and paste content from your existing site pages.
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No to recreate and migrate. Should be able to just create it quickly with current layout. Just update things.

Will it be possible to change the tenant root site collection into a Communication Site? It seems to be the perfect spot for a new companywide site/intranet that could benefit highly from the new features.

 

It would be nice for users to set a SharePoint si

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Just imagine being able to set a SharePoint communcation site as the Office 365 landing page, then being able to add this app launcher as a single modern webpart:

 

365.PNG

 

Would

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This is something I am eagerly awaiting for! I need to update our root site, and don't want to have to do it twice - once now, and then again when I can convert to commun

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I'd like to know this as well as I'm still debating if our "new" intranet will consist of one big sitecollection container (e.g. the default root) or multiple SiteCollect... Read More

Could Communication Sites effectively be used to form the basis of an intranet with minimal effort, would that be a valid use?  Could you possibly have an intranet design option for when creating a site in the future or is that wide of the mark (having a

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We have a very advanced intranet built using the Publsihing sites template. We  were very hopeful to switch to the Communication site template  to realise benefits of res

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Agreed that some sort of guide to an intranet using the modern components would be valuable. We too are in limbo with revamping our intranet on 365 until communication si

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I have the perfect solution when it comes to intranet in a box. We have helped a lot of organizations drive utilization and adoption of their SharePoint Intranet Portals.

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I think so, @Cian Allner. I'll eloborate a little with a few ideas you've sparked, and know that each/most is really just there, or easy to create, fo you from day one.

 

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There are a number of assets in the portfolio of the broader intranet: team sites, main entry points (SharePoint mobile app & SharePoint home in Office 365), partner solu... Read More

Hello from Seattle, WA. We have been expecting Communications sites since couple of Ignites ago, after we saw Infopedia features. we are excited that they are finally comming. As a First release user on our test tenant I am still not able to start creatin

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Where can I as a global administrator see the communication sites that have been created.

 

They are not shown in the admin of SharePoint and they are not shown in groups a

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yeah kind of surprised by that. Self-service an all or nothing for users - want to limit publishing site creation, leave normal team site creation more broadly avail. Und... Read More
Here's an article that describes how to enable self-service site creation: Manage site creation in SharePoint Online https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Manage-site-creation-in-SharePoint-Online-e72844a3-0171-47c9-befb-e98b23e2dcf9 Read More
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Communication sites can only be created through self service site creation on the SharePoint home page. Do you have that enabled?

Are there any tricks to get it rolled out to our tenant dev site?  We have a customer who we are putting project on hold until we can get our hands on it

 

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We have made extensive use of the search results/display template model to author content in one place (e.g. a document management specific team site), and make results available on publishing site.

 

In the new world, we'll be moving publishing sites to co

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It's strange how close the Highlighted Content modern UI web part comes to meeting this need.  It will search all sites (or specific locations) for specific types or all

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Will Communication Sites have the same level of user and group permissions that we see in classic sharepoint sites?

 

E.g., this a communication site only for a particular business unit to see?

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It's not associated with a modern group like team/group sites. So in that way it's more like a classic SP site in terms of permissions.

Hi @Cristina Prunescu - are you referring to an enterprise navigation construct to move between different sites or managed navigation (read: where navigation nodes are re

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Getting my question in early...

 

I am very excited about and looking forward to communications sites hitting our tenant soon.  One question we have been wondering is will the multi-column pages and new web parts that will be available on Communications sit

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Yes, the functionality we're delivering for pages and web parts will also be available for team sites as part of this rollout!

I've noticed today a lot of new web parts and changes available for my standard modern pages. I don't know if anything inparticular is available on communication sites th

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My understanding is that we will also have the multi-column features for regular modern SPO Sites

Doesn't appear possible to create a global nav link in a Communication site sub site that takes the user back to the parent Communication site ?

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Ian can you elaborate on your scenario? Communication sites are created as site collections (spsites); when you create a subsite, we're still directing you to the classic... Read More

Thank you for joining us and voicing your questions and feedback during this fun and action-packed hour.  

 

We will put together a summary document of what was covered during and share it in this group. See you next time!

 

IMG_5997.jpg

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Thanks for taking the time, must feel great to be bringing SharePoint into a new era with the modern interfaces and features!
Thanks a lot SharePoint team!
There were a few questions created before the AMA started that remain unanswered. Would the team be able to get to those questions before the summary?
Thanks all

Another great AMA! Lots of useful information. Thanks to everyone involved.

We are a realatively new adopter of Office 365 (we have only had our tenant for 9 months) and before that we didn't use Microsoft products at all.

 

At this point we are in desperate need of a company intranet. We have 29 departments and nearly 2000 employe

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This is a great question, @Brian Critchlow. And a great time to take a step back and ask what needs you have across the breadth of your intranet and extranet. For the mor

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It's absolutely a great start!

 

Our model for communication sites, is more of a flat model where each area has their own site collection (say for IT, HR, etc.) Not as he

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Hi,

 

Can we get some low-level details on what the templating/extensibility story is please? Let's say I want to add to Topic/Showcase etc. with my own templates - how does this work? I've heard about new models for this (for communication sites), but I th

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So, just as a very quick test, I created a Topic site and a Blank site, used PnP PowerShell to Get-PnPProvisioningTemplate from Topic site and Apply-PnPProvisioningTempla

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I would also like to learn more about this story. I think it would be great if there was an option to add our own created design templates.

Hello Chris

 

On the latest Pnp JS SIG there is a sample showing how to provision pages and also client side webparts inside pages for modern team sites,  the creator of th

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Will it be possible to create a news article as a group or a department (e.g. Communications department) instead of displaying the user who created the news article?

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We don't have that capability at the moment. We have a feature in our backlog for ghost writing, essentially the ability to write on behalf of someone. Good to know that ... Read More
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Will  Communication Site /Modern Page get support for scheduling the publication and de-publication of a page? So you can prepare a page to be published tomorrow morning at 8 am and after some months be de-published at a specific time?

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interesting on the de-publish/take down after certain time. Thanks for that one - is that a common requirement for you? We're actively looking into scheduling scenarios b... Read More
Hey Harold, this is great feedback and definitely something we are thinking about but nothing to share yet.
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Hello from Italy.

I've activated FirstRelease since the beginning of the subscription of my company on Office365 years ago. Why I stil cannot be able to create communication sites? Still under release?

Thanks, bye

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Any ideas when tenants with Goverment licenses will be getting Communication sites??
Rollout of any feature takes days or weeks, there is no single switch that the team can throw to light everyone up at once. A graduated start for a widespread release is ... Read More
So Is not going to work if "all users" is selected?
Can i change It on the fly?
Currently it's for "select users" rather than whole-tenant First Release setting: https://blog.blksthl.com/2015/05/31/office-365-news-first-release-for-select-users/ Read More

New customization options are in the works that would allow us to use SPFX extension placeholder zones (to say create custom headers and footers), will Communcation Sites support these zones?

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Yes, this is a known scenario we're planning to address. Thanks for the feedback!
That is important to use since we would like to add some kind of common footer

What is your suggestion if I want to use a communication site as a knowledge site (or company wiki)?

Right now every page stays for itself and users don't really have a structured sitmap / hierarchy of all the sites I create within a communication site. Tw

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We agree! It's a great scenario - and a common one. We definitely plan to address as modern sites are site collections and support a "flatter" hierarchy, but still requir... Read More

So can anyone provide a few good examples of business cases for use of Communication Sites? From the business perspective not from the technical one. Thanks!

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The use cases and scenarios are much like Publishing Sites, but with less end-user training and support.

I was thinking about it for these sorts of things 

 

  • Annual report or year in review
  • Organisational achievements, KPIs or other metrics that you would want to share and high
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Within Microsoft we have teams (large and small) using these for their sites that face out to the org.  We have a number of internal events that are using Comm sites.  We

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Oh so many use cases! A functional and/or departmental landing page branching off into team sites, teams, groups. Security trimmed (natch). One I'm anxious to implement
We will be using it when we migrate our intranet from SP2010 to SPO. The older version was highly customized and a real pain to manage. This new site will allow our Commu... Read More

How can a SharePoint administrator manage Communication Sites? Will they be shown at https://TenantName-admin.sharepoint.com with the current SharePoint Online Admin Portal or do they have to wait till the new SharePoint Online Admin Portal is rolled out?

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Unfortunately they won't show up on the existing/legacy tenant admin site. Have you tried the SharePoint tenant admin management consolse like one has to use for managing

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Will it be possible to create a site and replicate it for reuse by another group/team? Or can you share resources, like all the pictures coming from the library?

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Yes, for select site elements/configurations! We are working on the ability to programmatically configure site elements post-creation. Is your example representative of t... Read More

At the moment this functionality isn't available but we are working on a plan for custom templating. More to come at Ignite in September. See you there? 

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The communication sites are built with React. Do you have as well Redux in the plan to allow third party web parts / controls to interact with the ootb React components? Like the old web part connections. So we can build our custom logic / web parts conne

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+1 framework-agnostic. Redux = agony 😭
There is a preview of framework-agnostic way to connect webparts via a basic subscription model (I can't find it in the official documentation though, sorry). You could a... Read More
Now a really nice thing would be to put all the web part source code as open source

Are we still supporting the concept of using SharePoint groups for basic Owner, member and guest or are moving more to concept of Office Group.  I am a bit confused on this.

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The SP permission model will stay consistent within SharePoint Online. Think of O365 Groups as O365-wide - membership is ultimately stored in AD, and they allow access to... Read More
Yes, in addition to supporting O365 groups in communication sites, as Andy notes, we map them directly to SP groups/roles when you create a new one w/ a group-connected t... Read More
The membership model for Communication sites allows different groups to be added to the owner, member, visitor roles. You can add Office 365 Groups or SharePoint groups f... Read More
That is good.

We use SharePoint site collection permissions groups in combination with Office Groups (notice Office Groups in caps :-)   Office Groups can function as AAD security grou

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I am sure we will get a deep dive or somthing at the Ignite, but since this is an AMA: What are we looking at here?

 

I guess we have a regular old site template? If so, why do we have that - why not a PNP template? The new WebParts look like SPFX WebParts?

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Exactly, all of our modern web parts use #SPFx. We deploy our first party web parts globally (across all SPO tenants, environments), so the process is a bit different tha

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How do you encourage customers to make use of new features like communication sites? Those that might be entrenched in using SharePoint in particular ways and not getting the most from recent enhancements?  As well, they may be building an implementation

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Probably the best way to encourage customers to move forward is to just demo Communication sites for them so they  see how easy it is to build a beautiful page, and compa

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Hi Cian,

 

Much of what we develop and release is based on customer feedback, and is a motion we always seek to achieve, to provide an improved user experience is somethi

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Is there already / will it be possible to have workflow (Flow, third party) based approval for new pages on communication sites? Any insight on roadmap and features along those lines?

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The only mechanism today is that you can leave a page in an unpublished state, and those that can edit the page(s) would be able to collaborate on the page. We do want to

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Short today but a publishing lifecycle is top of my wish list for Communication Sites. Great work so far!
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And thanks!
We're on it!
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where can I submit issues with the new Communication site?

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Uservoice is a great place for feedback suggestions: https://sharepoint.uservoice.com/forums/329214-sites-and-collaboration

And Tech Community is great for how-to's etc.

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Does the communication sites support development of full pages? Like if we want to replace the navigation of the communication site with a custom / global one. Or add some more links in some situations? I know for the page content we can use the new SPFx

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The idea of comm sites is to make it so easy to make a beautiful SharePoint site that you don't need to customize the master page :)

 

While we have this in the backlog,

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We have a lot of deskless workers licenced with K1. They should follow the communication sites (and their team sites) within the Sharepoint App to stay informed and get their work done.

But follow is not possible for K1.

How should a deskless worker use the

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If you frequent these sites, it's recognized as a 'signal' and is more likely to appear in your sites. So if you don't follow it, it can still be shown in recently visite

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We are in the same boat. The idea of K1 for deskless worker is broken without following. Following channels in Teams is supported for K1, following comm sites not.. why?

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The Site Pages library lists all pages - without an easy way in the user interface to identify which pages are News and which are "regular" Site Pages. I know there is an "IsPromoted" attribute behind the scenes but is it possible to expose that in the us

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Thanks for your feedback Susan! We might look at provide a better view on separating pages and news in the future. For now, you could (and will have to) work around it by... Read More

Are there any plans for a bot webpart (microsoft bot framework)? At the moment there is just the posibility of the embed code version.

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We have a notion of this in our backlog; but not under active development. We've also seen some dev explorations in this area.

 

We'd love to better understand your scena

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Do the new communication sites bring the functionality to easily unpublish any page while you're directly in that page? Same goes for delete.

Currently you have to manually go the SitePage library to do these actions.

 

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you can also use the discard changes feature if you want to roll back to the last published version. This is available in the page authoring experience
Good suggestion for our backlog however for @Sohail Tariq & @Alyssa Danesh . Please let us know if you'd prefer we work on this vs deliver some other new capability (e.g.... Read More
I don't believe this is in the near-term roadmap but we are gathering feedback and actively prepared to make changes if needed.

I read that a like function is comming.

What are other cool features you are working on :)

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We'll have more to share at Ignite as well about roadmap
Tom that one is not an sneek peek :)
It sure is! So is a likes on comments feature :)

Good question - here's the Current SharePoint Online Roadmap.  :)  

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In the Communication Sites, will it be possible to create your own custom content type/page layout based on the default 'news' content type / page lay out? This to e.g. add additional properties to target/label news with an audience/department/topic?

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Not supported at the moment - but definitely something we're working on - to support creation of custom page layouts and to add additional properties or custom site confi... Read More
Best Response
I've done this with non-news modern pages. The provisioning process doesn't work with custom content types, but if you inherit from site page, you can change the content ... Read More

Are there any recommendations related to the amount of content / size of images used on Communication sites that you can now share (TechNet/Support article) in order to ensure satisfying rendering and speed performance? If no, do you plan to prepare somet

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I would recommend that you use the Private CDN feature to optimize the image performance: https://dev.office.com/blogs/general-availability-of-office-365-cdn Read More

Can communication sites have subsites, or are they meant to be standalone individual entities?

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I think that the thing to think about with Comm Sites is whether sub-sites make sense. The intention is that they are function or topic-specific. If you have a new topic

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I would say our model for comm sites is less heirarchical; more one site collection (comm site) per group/organization as opposed to one large site collection with many s

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It doesn't look like comms sites are available to be provisioned as subsites today. You can make a subsite, but it looks like just classic templates in there for now.
Yes, you can make sub-sites from Site Contents > Subsites tab.

Is it possible to have 2 News web parts on one Communication Site showing different news articles. For example one News web part with "CEO"-News and another one with "Corporate Communication"-News.

What happens when I add a news web part to a new page of t

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I support that idea, too. In addition to it, is it possible to have some sort order on the News or prioritizing what goes first?

Not something we support at the moment, but great feedback for the team. @Alina Skarbovsky

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Sorry, there isn't currently a way to configure the news to point otuside the current site or configure the data query. You can however now select the layout in the prope

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Do you plan to provide similar CMS/publishing functionality in communications sites compared to the SP On-Prem. Publishing Feature (versioning, approval wf, binding pages to the managed navigation etc.)?

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Will the news functionality get more complete / corporate for the communication sites in the future? Not sure if we should develop a news app for the communication sites or you will come a bit later with a more complete solution for news (news channels, s

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Company & organisational news featured in the Roadmap for SharePoint back at the end of last year, yet I didn't feel the Virtual Summit really addressed that.  I see Comm

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We have a number of items on our News backlog to add functionality.  News will be intregrated into Communication sites and since we expect many Comm sites will be widely

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When creating modern pages and working with them for data accessibility (e.g. screen readers) one thing I was hoping was going to get worked through with the communication sites was the use of Headings in the Text control.  Right now, if I choose text to

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Thanks for pointing this out, it is actually by design.

 

The Title for the page is an "actual" H1...and thus the headings below that need to be smaller sizes, so we rema

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will they be available for On Premise farms?

is the template exportable?

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Hi Fernando. We recently announced Feature Pack 2 (#FP2) for SharePoint 2016 that will bring the the development framework to on-premises, the SharePoint Framework (#SPFx... Read More