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Microsoft

SharePoint has always been at the core of collaboration – people working together on files, lists, and libraries. Our customer stories, like Shire Pharmaceuticals, share insights into the value of intranets that connect people and information seamlessly across use cases: from collaboration on to communication. Today, we are excited to usher in a new generation of the mobile and intelligent intranet, allowing you to communicate to people throughout your organization with beautiful, dynamic, mobile-ready communication sites and pages that keep everyone informed and engaged.

 

“The more we facilitate our employees to get information faster, to be more productive, the more that they can do to push therapies towards our patients." -- Nicole Rojas - Head of Digital Communications, Shire. Please review the full Shire video case study and learn more about their intranet they call The Hub.

 

To view more of what communication sites offer, please watch the new, related Microsoft Mechanics video, “An overview of SharePoint communication sites and pages,” and continue reading more information below, with screenshots and additional links.

 

 

Communication sites and related features will be released this coming summer. Let’s look at how they’ll work.

Create beautiful, dynamic communication sites

It is easy to move from working on the details of a project or campaign collaboratively in team sites to create broad-reach communication sites. Like SharePoint team sites, new communication sites are created in seconds by clicking Create site on SharePoint home in Office 365.  It is then easy to adjust page layouts and add web parts and to pull in valuable data and content from other services, like conversations from Yammer and videos from Microsoft Stream. The result is a vibrant, interactive, dynamic experiences for your site visitors.

 

CommSite_blog_001_web-mobile-side-by-side.pngA communication site shown in a desktop Web browser (left) and in the SharePoint mobile app (right). Features include a consistent logo, top navigation, page layouts, and new web parts: Hero, News, Events, Microsoft Stream, Yammer, and People (with more to come).

After the site is created, you create your pages – layering in your content, exactly how you want it to appear.  You select from single and multi-column layouts, leveraging dynamic web parts connected to various Office 365 services. Organizing and reorganizing web parts is easy, just drag and drop to tell your story the way you want.

 

CommSite_blog_002_create-site.pngWhen you create a communication site from SharePoint home in Office 365, you can choose from several site templates.

Communication sites dynamically pull in content from across Office 365. You have the right tools to design sites for upcoming events, campaigns, or product launches, report sites for teams to share their insights and expertise on topics, and many other scenarios where the key goal is to communicate effectively and broadly without barriers.

 

When you create a communication site, you are presented with several helpful tools:

 

Section layouts | You can use a variety of multi-column section layouts on your pages, to arrange information side-by-side – like an important video from Microsoft Stream to the left of a related Power BI dashboard. The page authoring toolbox has new Section layout choices.

CommSite_blog_003_section-layouts.png

 

Web Parts | You can use web parts to bring content and information from across Office 365 into your pages. Five new web parts will let you better inform and engage the audience of your communication site:

  • The Hero web part highlights important content
  • The People web part showcases notable members of the team
  • The Events web part calls out important upcoming events and lets you easily them to your calendar
  • The Microsoft Stream web part presents a gallery of videos from a Stream channel.

CommSite_blog_004_web-parts.png

Learn more about using web parts on pages and news--an article that highlights all web parts available in SharePoint Online.

 

Theming | Preview and apply custom styling and colors to your sites. IT administrators can manage the custom themes that are available to the organization.

 

Top navigation | Make it easy for visitors to get to important pages with the top navigation. Click Edit to add, arrange, and modify menus and submenus.

 

Site usage | How is your site doing? Review charts and reports that show daily unique user trends, most active readers, and page views. These insights are right at your fingertips. Click the upper-right gear and select Site usage.

 

Custom web parts | If you’re a developer, you can use the SharePoint Framework (SPFx) to create fast, modern, client-side user experiences and web parts that authors can add to their pages in communication sites.

Reach and engage your audience

When you publish a page, you can be confident that your page reaches your audience wherever they are, no matter what device they are on. Your communication site looks great on the web, on PC or Mac, on mobile browsers, and in the SharePoint app. It, too, is easy to share communication sites and pages with others via email – just like you would share a document via the built-in share button in the upper right of the page.

 

Add the Yammer web part to engage your audience, to spark conversation, to encourage best practice sharing, and to solicit feedback. The Yammer web part embeds the feed from any Yammer group or topic into a SharePoint page in the browser. A new web part, coming this summer, will bring that experience to mobile devices as well.

 

CommSite_blog_005_reach-Yammer-web-part.pngA community built with a SharePoint communication site, including a web part showcasing featured community members, and an informative chart alongside a related Yammer discussion.

Collaborate and communicate throughout your intranet

With the combination of team sites connected to Office 365 groups and the reach of communication sites, SharePoint gives you the tools to collaborate, inform and engage, with a few core people or with broader audiences across the organization. Throughout the lifecycle of your projects, your launches, and your internal campaigns, the SharePoint intranet helps you move seamlessly from concept to final product – all with powerful, dynamic user experiences that do what you want them to do to clearly communicate your message throughout your company.

 

Thanks,
Mark

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When will communication sites be available in Office 365?

A: Communication sites will begin roll out to Office 365 First Release customers Q2 CY 2017, with full worldwide rollout scheduled for Q3 CY 2017. This includes the five new web parts, section layouts, theming, editable navigation and the new site usage page. The same innovations will be available in SharePoint team sites, as well.

Q: How do communication sites compare to intranet sites based on the classic SharePoint publishing infrastructure?

A: Communication sites are complimentary to the sites and portals you’ve built using the SharePoint publishing infrastructure. The publishing infrastructure continues to be supported both on-premises and online. Communication sites are out-of-box sites you can use for internal campaigns, reports, product launches, and other scenarios that address broad audiences across the organization. Communication sites are easy to create: they require no code or design expertise. Simply point-and-click to add pages and parts. Communication sites are mobile-ready by default, looking great across browsers and devices, and in the SharePoint mobile app. For scenarios that go beyond those supported by communication sites today, Microsoft’s vibrant partner community has great expertise and offers services and tools that can help you build your mobile, intelligent intranet with SharePoint in Office 365.

158 Comments
Microsoft

@Ged Ellis - For 'everyone in your org', you can use the 'Everyone except external users' group. For external sharing, you'll be able to share communication sites externally with specific users using the set-sposite -sharingcapability powershell command once we've rolled out a fix for it. Should be in the next couple weeks.

Microsoft

@Brent Ellis - Can you share the version of chrome you're using? That screen responds correctly across all breakpoints for me when I try it in Chrome. 

Valued Contributor

Version 59.0.3071.115 (Official Build) (64-bit) - most up to date version.   May have found the culprit, I run my browser at 90% zoom most of the time.  When i go to 100% zoom, the panel loads fine.  But if I am at 90%, I get the jumbled screenshot I sent before.

Occasional Contributor

@Brent Ellis I have a user with that same issue in multiple browsers. Also my communication pages don't display the same for everyone in my organization. Issues like but not limited to missing banner images, webparts (specifically Quick Links) not displaying correctly, links not working. I've been testing and it doesn't seem to be related to browse, OS or permissions.

 

For example, i'm a global admin, windows 10, any browser and everything shows up correctly. My boss has Win7, any browser pages display wrong and links dont work. However if I log into my email on her computer everything is fine and if she logs into her email on mine it displays wrong but the links work.

 

I have tried diferent computers, browsers and users and so far nothing consistent as to why

Microsoft

@Rebecca Bowen - Is your entire tenant in First Release, or just a few select users (including yourself)?

Frequent Contributor

@Rebecca Bowen -- I bet your tenant is set to First Release for select users and those that are seeing it incorrectly aren't on the list of users that are included in first release.  To test, add someone, then wait for a bit (for me, usually only a few minutes), then reload the communication site (can't remember if you need to sign out of Office 365 or not).  

Occasional Contributor

@Clint Lechner -- wow, thank you so much.. I should have asked before I tested a billion different configurations

 

Also, thank you Dave, it wont let me mention you for some reason but thanks as well

Microsoft

Thx for the lively discussion and feedback on this one. Comments are now closed. If you have product issues, please reach out through your normal support channels. Cheers, and happy communicating.

- The SharePoint Team