SharePoint powers your intranet throughout your connected workplace. And now is the time to modernize it building with SharePoint and Microsoft 365 – to reimagine the role of the intranet, powering employee experiences that inform, organize and engage employees and harness collective knowledge.


Microsoft disclosed many new announcements at this week’s Ignite 2018 conference (#MSIgnite) in Orlando, FL – including ways to:


  • Confidently build your modern intranet in Office 365
  • Further organize your sites with SharePoint Hub sites updates
  • Take your intranet on the go and engage with SharePoint mobile app updates


Outer-loop_001_communication-site.jpgExample SharePoint hub site used to communicate news and information to the Contoso Inc. product marketing team through their intranet.

SharePoint helps you create and broadcast your message throughout your intranet. Content is dynamic and immersive, including video and mixed reality. And the structure of the portal itself is dynamic, adjusting to changes in your organization and workforce. It’s about getting things done. Finding where you need to go—with effective navigation.


“Every time we had a design idea, we found a way to build it with SharePoint and Office 365—the possibilities are limitless. We iterated quickly, learning and developing at the same time, so we appreciate the intuitive, versatile features.”
- Cheryl Bartel, Manager of Platform Systems, Helmerich & Payne


We’re excited to share this with you for the first time and look forward to working with you as a trusted partner to achieve your desired outcomes. Let’s dive into the details of what was disclosed…


Build your modern intranet in Office 365

It’s time. It’s time to improve the performance from your intranet. It’s time to put the power of all your content, people and information in the pocket of each and every employee – especially when they are mobile. It’s time to improve your return on investment. Build your modern intranet on SharePoint in Office 365 and get the benefits of investing in business outcomes – reducing IT and development costs, increasing business speed and agility, and the up-leveling the dynamic and welcoming nature of your intranet.


We announced a lot of tech to help you along the way…


New megamenu layout for site and hub navigation - Increase the value and space of your site navigation. The new megamenu options allow for multiple levels of hierarchy at once - no fly-outs needed. This will enable you to better organize and showcase the related content and sites associated under that hub site.


Outer-loop_002_megamenu.jpgNew SharePoint megamenu shown being used on a communication site.

Personalized web parts – Give a personalized experience to your site and page visitors – so they see the content that is theirs, and meant for them to experience. When using personalized webparts, people will see their recent sites, their recent documents and news tailored for them. You can personalize any page or news article. When you add a personalized webpart to the page, it is aware of who is signed in and gives them a unique, relevant experience to the content and information you are promoting to them.


Outer-loop_003_personalized-webparts.jpgPlace powerful, personalized web parts on the page to show the user who is logged in their recent sites, documents and news tailored to them.

Audience targeting for News and Highlighted content webparts - You can better define what news articles and pages appear on the home experience of your site by configuring what is visible to specific groups. Each person will have a unique experience that complies with what you wish them to view without creating multiple audience-specific sites, you can serve them all from within a more centralized location with a personalized, targeted experience. Audience targeting support will be enabled in news, pages and other web parts so that you can define and target who best to reach with content and site experiences by using Office 365 Groups.


Outer-loop_004_org-news.jpgSharePoint news webpart showing organizational news coming from the News @ Contoso site.

As the rich capabilities of Organizational news move to production, you will empower all communicators to keep groups, departments and divisions up-to-date with team news. SharePoint News is a content distribution system that works across the spectrum of personal, team and organizational news and helps customers get their content to their audiences across SharePoint apps and experiences. News works across all modern sites in SharePoint – Team sites, communication sites and hubs.  And it enables you to get your message to the right people – even if the news is published on the internet using News links to bring it into the flow of where your people consume work-related information.


Sites: header layouts - Now, site owners can reclaim some of the vertical space at the top of the site and highlight the main page content instead. There will be two choices: default and compact.


Sites: adjust the footer of a site - When you change the look of your site, you can now add a site footer to showcase common information you wish to highlight at the bottom of your site - like a logo, text and hyperlinks. Note: configuring the footer is only available in pages and news articles in SharePoint communication sites. It will not be available on SharePoint lists or document libraries pages within these same communication sites, and it will not available in SharePoint team sites. You, too, will be able to turn off footers as well.


Learn more about how to change the look of your SharePoint site footer.


Central asset library – provide easy access to your organization’s approved images that can be leveraged by everyone. When a person needs an approved image, or one that was purchased for licensed use throughout the intranet, they can click on “Your organization” and navigate files and folders of assets that are centrally managed for use in title regions and the Image webpart.


Outer-loop_005_central-asset-library.jpgChoose approved photos from Your organization when placing them on your site pages or news articles.

Web part: countdown timer – Site owners and members will now be able to show a countdown timer to important launch dates, key meetings, campaign ends, etc. on their site home page, within subpages and/or within a news article on team sites, communication sites and hub sites. Simply add the web part to your page or news and tap in the target date and time to count down to. And voila, everyone can see how much time until that important date and time.


Enable communication site experience at the root of a tenant – we know one of the most important sites of a your Office 365 investment is the root site, the default one that is created and has the shortest URL: https://[yourTenant].sharepoint.com. And now it’s time for this to be a real place to communicate. The default for new tenants will be that a communication site gets provisioned at the root site. Start the root off right, and the rest of your intranet will grow and flourish off of it. Note: existing tenants will also have options to enable the communication site experience at the root of their tenants. In 2018, we are rolling it out with a limited scope and will gradually cover more root site scenarios for existing tenants.


You’re not alone. Learn more about how to build your modern intranet in Office 365.


Further organize your sites with SharePoint Hub sites updates

Hubs let you organize your intranet and drive consistency. They are powerful tools – flexible, dynamic building blocks for your company intranet – connecting collaboration and communication. Associating sites together in a hub site enhances discovery and engagement with content, while creating a complete and consistent representation of your project, department or region. We’re pleased to bring new capabilities to further organize and promote content across your divisions.


Events web part rolls up events from associated sites - Like the News web part and Site activity, commonly used on the home page of a hub site, you can now leverage the Events web part to roll events up from associated sites so that the aggregated view of all events appears at the hub site level.


Outer-loop_006_news-rollup.jpgEvents from across sites can roll up and be displayed in a unique Events webpart of ALL associated events. Note: events are aggregated from different sites.

Create associated site from within hub site itself - Make governing sites associated to a hub site easier by having them automatically associated and created from within the hub site itself. You'll connect sites to hubs by using a new button right on the hub site itself -- when you tap it, you get our normal new site experience and the site will be automatically associated to the hub site.


Outer-loop_007_hub-site-create-site.jpgYou can create a site from within a hub site, and that site will already be associated to the hub site along with any applied site designs when it is initially provisioned. Note the "Create site" button in the upper-right of the hub site homepage.

Create, associate/disassociate, plus report on hub sites in the SharePoint admin center in Office 365 - The SharePoint admin center in Office 365 will now allow you to create SharePoint hub sites and associated other sites once the hub site exists. This also provides a view into hub sites as they exist allowing for common admin tasks like reporting, contacting and managing sites - now including hub sites from the admin center user interface. The hub site association column also lets you see the sites associated with a hub.


Outer-loop_007_hub-site-spo-admin-center.jpgSelect any team or communication site and convert it to a hub site or associate it to an exsiting one - in one click (#noPowershell).

Approval on association - A flexible approval process further empowers hub site owners and site owners to make requests and programmatically adapt to changes within their growing, dynamic intranet.


Learn more about hub sites in the SharePoint hub sites planning guide.


Take your intranet on the go and engage with SharePoint mobile app updates

Take your intranet with you to stay connected and informed about important content, news, sites and people while on the go – for those in-between moments.


We’re pleased to share the latest round of mobile innovations – all driven by customer use and feedback…


Document library access – As you tap into a SharePoint document library, you will stay within the SharePoint mobile app experience (for viewing and navigating) before taken through to the integrated OneDrive app - where you can perform richer actions on files. This same SharePoint document library viewing and navigating is coming to the Outlook Mobile app, too.


Outer-loop_008_SP-mobile-doclib.jpgA rich SharePoint document library experience within the SharePoint mobile app.

Organizational news support – As you tap into the SharePoint mobile app News tab, you'll now see support for organizational news - which brings greater control, process and reach to how news can be published and consumed throughout your organization.


Outer-loop_009_SP-mobile-org-news.jpgEasily see important organizational news with visible badges.

Create news links - With News links, you can now bring in news articles from external sources. And now you can do this from your mobile device’s share option - through to the SharePoint mobile app. Once you share it, the news article goes into the SharePoint news service as a new News article. And when a person clicks on it, they will be taken to the original source to read the article. Note: this feature will initially only be on the SharePoint mobile app for Android.


@mentions within comments - When viewing a news article within the SharePoint mobile app, you can now directly @mention a person from within your organization and they will be notified - aka, drawn into the article and your response to further engage on what's happening around you. Bring people into the discussion - @mention them.


Outer-loop_010_SP-mobile-at-mentions.jpgEasily @mention someone in a news article comment - with full Azure Active Directory lookup.

Create and stay up to date while on the go with SharePoint mobile apps: https://aka.ms/GetSPmobile.


Try more and more of what SharePoint offers, and let us know what you think

In all, we encourage you to build out and organize your intranet. Establish the sites you need and ensure your users can create the sites they need. Once established, associate them to hub sites to organize related sites and projects. As you progress year over year, keep creating and sharing dynamic, data-rich news articles.


If you didn’t catch Jeff Teper’s general session, “Content Collaboration in the Modern Workplace” at Ignite [9/24/18], I encourage you to watch the session, right now ;).


We want to empower you and every person on your team to achieve more. Let us know what you need next. We are always open to feedback via UserVoice and continued dialog in the SharePoint community in the Microsoft Tech Community —and we always have an eye on tweets to @SharePoint. Let us know.


—Mark Kashman, senior product manager for the SharePoint team

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q: When is this all being released in Office 365?

A: The above blog marks the disclosure of numerous feature and capability announcements. Our goal is to release all the items to Targeted Release customers in Office 365 by the end of the first half of calendar year 2019. You can expect future blogs and admin message center posts to raise attention to specific change management dates per each item to designate initial availability roll out in Office 365, with refined information about timing and duration of roll out.


BONUS IMAGE – full “Contoso Landings” sample communication site (header-to-footer):

Outer-loop_011_bonus-comm-site.jpgFull “Contoso Landings” sample communication site - including an embedded SharePoint spaces space :).

Occasional Contributor

Thanks @Dennis Goedegebuure.  Patience is a virtue.

Frequent Visitor

Is there any time frame in regards to the megamenu, header and footer features?


Thanks a lot



Yes they just announced this in the message center

Rolling out and completed end of march.




Occasional Contributor

Enable-CommSite is not even on the Roadmap, so the likelihood that we're getting this any time soon is doubtful.  I contacted Microsoft Support last month and showed them the Ignite video of it being executed.  They have no documentation on it and, after two weeks of escalations, their response was pretty much "we don't know".

New Contributor

Any update on when the Communication Sites will be allowed as the root of tenant?

Occasional Contributor

@Mark Kashman

Mark, @Wicus van den Berg and I never did get any feedback from @Naomi Moneypenny@Melissa Torres@Margrete Sævareid about the roadmap for Modern Search and it's current inadequacies. We continue to recommend and roll out Classic Search as being enterprise grade (including to small organisations) and advise them to avoid Modern Search other than for use within a Hub or individual site where the context and scope is known and limited.


It would be good to have some insights so that we can take a decision on developing our own approach to Modern Search. Happy for that to be a private, under NDA discussion if required, though I believe it should be part of the wider public disclosure on Search.

There are some great things going on with Microsoft Search ( I was recently published in a national technology periodiocal on that) and with O365-wide search; so that paucity of capability of the SharePoint search is especially painful.



Occasional Contributor

I reached out to @Mark Kashman and @Naomi Moneypenny about the lack of enterprise search in SharePoint. I continue to be impressed and excited by the improvements in Search elsewhere, which exacerbates the frustration with the downgraded Modern experience in the otherwise outstanding work in SharePoint.

The advice is that it's on the roadmap  and that it was announced at Ignite

I don't see metadata filtering or the other basics referenced there at all. It is interesting that easily half the question at Ignite were about the absence of enterprise features in SharePoint, so it's not just @Wicus van den Berg and I that are wanting it.


It would be good to have an update on the actual plan for Modern SharePoint Search; ideally by way of a blog and roadmap item.


Cool Stuff. Does anyone know if the Mega Menu Items can be sourced from Managed Metadata Navigation Terms ?

New Contributor

Megamenus are hardly new. My overall concern, which happened with SP2013, was that the interface was already 'dated' when it was launched, and continued to get progressively more dated as the years rolled by. Lets not be under any illusions that the UI of sharepoint as an intranet was frankly poor and had a fundamental impact on adoption for many organisations. This more incremental development approach will hopefully avoid that happening again, but Microsoft need to make sure that they keep actively developing this into the future and ensure they factor in modern web design/usability practices. 

Occasional Contributor

Any news on SharePoint pages: custom page designs Featured ID: 33136? It still says "In development" on the roadmap but also that it will be release in March. We are rolling out a new intranet for a customer in May and we really need this feature. We tried using regular site pages that the editors copied from but the problem is that they show up on other places, such as News web parts. Any update on this will be appreciated.


@Rasmus Österholm 


this is the last info I got

Mark Kashman


Replying to
Our engineering team is making progress and putting them through next level testing which is a good sign for coming in 1-2 month range. We'll make noise when they begun to move into Targeted Release.
3:06 AM · Feb 12, 2019
Occasional Contributor

@Denis Tiri thanks for the quick answer!

New Contributor

Any news when footer and site header options are GA in production? @Mark Kashman 


I think they said rolled out to all GA end of march;

Don't know if they will make that deadline.



edit source: 

We will first begin rolling out these new “change the look” features in February 2019 to Office 365 customers that have opted into the Targeted Release program. And then in March 2019, we will begin roll out to Office 365 customers on Standard Release, followed by rolling out to our sovereign data centers (like Office 365 for government (known as GCC)).





Hello Team,


Thank you for evolving SharePoint Online.

I would like to check update on below, which is supposed to be rolled out Till March 2019 !

  • SharePoint pages: custom page designs , Featured ID: 33136
  • SharePoint organizational news: audience targeting, Featured ID: 30695
  • SharePoint: organizational news, Featured ID: 30547

Hope it will release soon since these seems more promising to move to SharePoint Online Modern Site.

And yes thank you for adding "PowerApps integration with document libraries" into the Roadmap.


Occasional Contributor

Hi @Soyeb_Malek - when I was at the Microsoft Tech conference last year, the consultants all said to add "2 - 60 days" to any release date that Microsoft sends out.

Regular Visitor

Is there any plan to bring the three layered 'mega-menu' to Team sites?

Being able to use a third tier and non-linking headers will finally allow my navigation to get cleaned up.  Looks a mess right now.