The SharePoint team has been hard at work with great new updates rolled out in December 2018. This is the comprehensive recap for all things SharePoint, plus the Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop: December 2018 episode – a bonus monthly companion podcast to help answer, "What's rolling out now for SharePoint and related technologies into Office 365?" It's all about supporting good change management based on feedback from you, our listeners/readers - so thank you.


Listen and scroll below (info, links and screenshots) to stay informed on how the SharePoint team finished 2018 - plus a few teasers of what's to come in 2019:



In this podcast episode, I, too, talk with Sean Squires (LinkedIn | Twitter), senior program manager on the SharePoint engineering team, who focuses on all things site designs – when you want to take a programmatic templating approach to using and managing SharePoint.


All the features listed below began rolling out to Targeted Release customers in Office 365 as of December 2018 (possibly early January 2019 to give realistic wiggle room). Office 365 users -- start your engines!


Inform and engage with dynamic employee experiences

Page templates (formerly disclosed as "page designs" during Ignite 2018). [Correction: this feature is delayed. Our apologies for the mistake both here in the blog and within the related podcast episode. We will remove this text once it has launched.]; Roadmap ID 33136


View and apply site designs from within a SharePoint site. Moving beyond PowerShell and enabling access from within the user interface (UI). Site owners can access the site design panel to see site designs that have been applied or are available to the site owner who is logged on to apply to their site.


IZRP-epi2_002_site-design-panel.jpgThe new site designs edit pane allows you to see what site designs are applied, and can be applied, to your site.


Customize the title region for each page. Modern SharePoint pages and news articles will now have more options to customize the title region of each page, with four layouts, two alignment choices, text badges above the title, the ability to change the displayed author, and show or hide the published date. Own the title and the rest will follow. Make it your own.


IZRP-epi2_003_customize-title-region.jpgMake the title of your page or news article appear more how you like it - with controls for layout, alignment, text blocks and more.


Modern pages support section backgrounds – this makes it easier to see the distinct sections and adds visual variety throughout the page. Create additional visual design and clarity as a user scrolls through your content. Now you can add colors from your site’s theme (neutral, soft & strong) to the background of your page sections or leave them white as they are by default.


IZRP-epi2_004_section-shading.jpgAdjust the background color accent for the sections of your page or news article.


News – pinning. Within the News web part for SharePoint sites, you can now decide what order the news appears in when viewers land on the page highlighting news articles. Now you will be able to highlight high-value content more easily knowing it is most and/or first visible among the breadth of news being published within a site.


IZRP-epi2_005_news-pinning.jpgControl the order for how your news articles appear within your News web parts.


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 web parts, people will see their recent sites, their recent documents and news tailored for them. When you add a personalized web part 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.


IZRP-epi2_006_personalized-web-parts.jpgMake your SharePoint pages more relevant to the user who is logged in by using the personalized web parts (My recent documents & My frequent sites).

  • My recent documents – This is a personalized pivot of the Highlighted Content web part when you filter on “created by” or “modified by” current user; this will filter for items created by whoever is viewing the page at the time.
  • My frequent sites – This is a personalized pivot of the Sites web part when you filter sites based on “Frequent sites for current user” – this displays the same sites as those on the user's SharePoint home in Office 365.


Microsoft Stream webpart update – When you embed a Stream channel, you can now sort by trending, date, views and likes - plus its playback is now supported within the SharePoint mobile app - BOOM stream that on the go!


IZRP-epi2_007_Stream-web-part.jpgSort how videos from a given channel appear on your SharePoint pages and news articles.


Learn more about using web parts on SharePoint pages in Office 365. Learn more about building your modern intranet on SharePoint in Office 365.


Teamwork updates across SharePoint team sites, OneDrive and Yammer

Sharing links that block download. Users will be able to share a link to Office documents that blocks recipients from downloading copies, yet still allows them to view the document in Office Online via a Web browser. In Link Settings - choose "block download" for view-only links.


IZRP-epi2_008_block-download.jpgCreate sharing links in OneDrive and SharePoint in Office 365 that enabling viewing of content, but block the ability for users to download.


OneDrive Fluent UI. OneDrive is going Fluent. The OneDrive UI is not only cleaner, but more helpful with things like showing Recommended files, file cards for a deeper look into a file on-hover, activity and lifecycle feedback/indicators about comments/edits/@mentions, and last but not least - the Fluent update will bring the full-fidelity of shared libraries into OneDrive – the common experience of working with files across Office 365.

 IZRP-epi2_009_OneDrive-Fluent-UI_v2.jpgThe OnDrive user interface updated with Fluent UI brings both an updated look and feel. plus new capabilities.



Yammer group files in Office 365 connected groups will now be stored in SharePoint. Yammer is rolling out changes to file storage for Yammer files in Office 365 connected groups. Formerly, all Yammer files were stored in Yammer cloud storage. Once your organization gets these changes, all new Yammer files for connected groups will be stored in SharePoint but will still accessed from within Yammer. As part of this change, all existing files stored in Yammer for connected groups are made read-only. This means that instead of editing a file, you'll need to download and re-upload the file, and edit the newly uploaded version.


IZRP-epi2_010_Yammer-Files-in-SharePoint.jpgFiles uploaded to Yammer groups and conversations will be stored in the connected SharePoint document libraries.


Permanently docked "social bar" (aka, Content Bar) at the bottom of pages – contains the page Likes, Comments, Views and Save for Later – will now be permanently docked above the comments of a page or news article. This makes for a cleaner, more consistent experience while reading and acting on a SharePoint page or news article.


IZRP-epi2_011_Docked-content-bar.jpgThe content bar that show a SharePoint page or news article likes, views, comments and Save for later, will now always appear at the bottom above comments.

Create a reminder using Microsoft Flow on lists and libraries when using a date column. You can enter the number of days in advance for the reminder, based on the selected date column. Based on your selection, you’ll get an email from Microsoft Flow for any items or documents ‘x’ days in advance of the selected data column value. And here is a roadmap Flow for you: Remind reader to listen to the Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop: December 2018 episode. 😉 We’ll remind/tweet you in a few days (from @SharePoint) …


IZRP-epi2_012_Create-a-reminder.jpgCreate a reminder using Microsoft Flow on SharePoint lists and libraries.


Column formatting. Choose the color schemes for SharePoint list and document library columns with simple inline formatting edit pane. Custom formatting lets you add conditional coloring based on column values for choice, date and Boolean columns, without scripting. You can apply a pre-built template, or you can adjust the colors manually if desired.


IZRP-epi2_013_Column-formatting.jpgAdd more visual distinction to your SharePoint lists by using column formatting.


Location column for SharePoint lists in Office 365. Add rich location data from Bing Maps. You can then filter sort and search by any aspect of the location data (city, state, address, etc). The data gets added automatically across automatic columns of your choice; just type in the name of a place or business, select the columns of info you are interested and all the data flows in to your list. Also, you can now drag and drop columns to reorder them left to right, or vice versa. Might this be GPS (Groovily Positioning SharePoint)? We think so 😉.


IZRP-epi2_014_Locations-column.jpgAdd locaations data to your SharePoint list items by using the Locations column with built-in Bing Maps look up.


Scan items into OneDrive and add custom metadata. We are also adding new functionality to the capture experience on iOS and Android so that when saving a scanned document or image to a site document library, users will be able to add metadata on that document or image. The metadata will be uploaded – along with the document or image – to the selected document library. This capability helps unlock potential new uses cases and workflows right from your phone.

 IZRP-epi2_015_OneDrive-scan-metadata_v2.jpgScan items into OneDrive and SharePoint in Office 365 and add custom metadata.


Important, related technology

The new SharePoint admin center in Office 365 is now 100% available to all admins worldwide. This gives all Office 365 admins the ability to set the new experience as the default SharePoint admin center experience. The update draws heavily on our modern principles. And it’s not just a pretty user interface lift. The SharePoint admin center update includes: managing group-connected sites, options to manage and configure hub sites and associated sites, a simplified configuration of sharing controls that are more aligned to the OneDrive sharing controls, options to allow for configuring default site creation properties, adjust policies (access control page), progress indicators, greater reliability, and more. Manage more, manage easier. And did we already say it just looks nicer?


IZRP-epi2_016_SPO-admin-center_pt1.jpgThe main new Home screen for the SharePoint admin center in Office 365 - showing new activity graphs, message center posts and service health information.

IZRP-epi2_017_SPO-admin-center_pt2.jpgThe updated Active Sites page in the SharePoint admin center in Office 365 gives you access to view and manage all site types, including group-connected team sites, communication sites, hub sites and more.


Control access from unmanaged devices - as a SharePoint or Global admin in Office 365. You can block or limit access to SharePoint and OneDrive content from unmanaged devices. Limiting access allows users to remain productive while addressing the risk of accidental data loss on unmanaged devices. Users on unmanaged devices will have browser-only access with no ability to download, print, or sync files. They also won't be able to access content through apps, including the Microsoft Office desktop apps. When you limit access, you can choose to allow or block editing files in the browser.


PnP Tenant Templates (Like the SharePoint Starter Kit; PnP = Patterns and Practices). Helps provision complex solutions and structures within your Office 365 environment (your tenant). PnP Tenant templates, XML-based manifests that can be used to define tenant level structures like sites, site collections, SPFx solutions, permissions, themes, Site Designs and Site Scripts. 


Client-side Object Model (CSOM) - minimal updates to the CSOM API surface for .NET client apps for SharePoint in Office 365. SharePoint Online Management Shell has also been updated. In all, this release helps as you programmatically work with content on SharePoint sites - specifically: comments on files, some tenant wide properties and commands, plus a few Project Client specific properties and methods.


SharePoint in Office 365 moves to React 16. For modern pages and custom elements that use the SharePoint Framework solutions (like custom web parts and page extensions) – we now support the latest React update. No impact if you were using React 15. A single page could have React 15 & 16 side-by-side without impact.


Next steps "tips and tricks.” You’ll see a new megaphone icon in the header of SharePoint sites. When you hover over it, SharePoint will help you learn how to do and try actions based on the context of what you are doing and where you are doing it from. Consider this inline help and guidance from within SharePoint. Oh if Clippy had a megaphone… 😉.


IZRP-epi2_018_SharePoint-Next-Steps_help.jpgGet tips and tricks inline when you are working within SharePoint in Office 365 with Next steps at the top of the page.

OneDrive help articles are now on docs.microsoft.com (documentation for IT, end users and developers). It's a cleaner and faster experience and broken into four main areas: Plan deploy and manage, Hybrid deployment, End user training, and Dev resources. https://docs.microsoft.com/onedrive


Microsoft Teams "Adoption Hub" https://aka.ms/TeamsAdoption - helps simplify the deployment and adoption process for Microsoft Teams. The hub is broken down into three stages: Start, Experiment and Scale. Includes "Day in the Life" training sheets, an overall service adoption project plan, example personas and helpdesk guidance to name a few.


What's coming in December 2018 teasers

Reminder emails - When someone shares a file with you, OneDrive sharing will send you an email with a link. It tracks whether this link is clicked within 7 days. If this link is not clicked within 7 days, the service sends a Reminder email to that same recipient. 


News - audience targeting - design more targeted experiences for how people do or do not see news within the News web parts you configure.


Helpful, ongoing change management resources


Thanks for tuning in and/or reading this episode/blog of the Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop - December 2018 (blog/podcast). We’re open to your feedback in comments below to hear how both the Roadmap Pitstop podcast episodes and blogs can be improved over time.


We had a lot to share and more to come next year - happiest of new years to you and yours. Please stay engaged. Ask questions. Push us where you want and need to get the best information and insights. We're here to put both our and your best change management foot forward.


Stay safe out there on the roadmap -- and thanks for listening.


Happy now and future trails,


Super Contributor

So, if there are thousands of files in Yammer groups, you tell to manually download and re-upload all of them? How about providing a migration tool or even better - migrate all the files on the backend.

Occasional Contributor

Thank you @Mark Kashman and Sean for the updates.  These are helpful and will be useful for my internal monthly SharePoint user group meetings where I cover new features.  I have a request for the engineering team that we have discussed briefly before with the product team via Polaris.  Please consider a mechanism that will inform the SP admins when a feature is available in our tenant.  


I today must review the Roadmap and now your Blog/podcast to see what's coming, then go to our tenant to see if it is yet available.  If not available, I set a reminder to check again a week later.  A post to the Message Center or some service to which I can subscribe that would inform us that, for example, mega menu is now available in our tenant would be very helpful for change management and user adoption.

Super Contributor

I today must review the Roadmap and now your Blog/podcast to see what's coming, then go to our tenant to see if it is yet available.  If not available, I set a reminder to check again a week later.  A post to the Message Center or some service to which I can subscribe that would inform us that, for example, mega menu is now available in our tenant would be very helpful for change management and user adoption.

Exactly what i have to do all the time and complain in every feedback form. Having to rely on reminders to find out when a feature finally hits your tenant (it can be months or even half a year) is just laughable. I understand that scale is huge, but there should be considerations to make client informing more convenient.

New Contributor

@Oleg K


Just an FYI there is a hack documented out there to download all the files in a Yammer group in one go. 



I am not really a fan of hacks especially ones that use javascript and are not exactly user friendly. 

Ideally we should have a way to shift the files or have Microsoft do it for us. 


In the mean time it could save some folk some time to download and manually shift the ones they still need. As they do not always need everything. 



Established Member

So where are the items on the classic admin that aren't on the new one, termstores for instance, going to be found?  I've been toggling back and forth and that's not particularly convenient.

Occasional Contributor
I today must review the Roadmap and now your Blog/podcast to see what's coming, then go to our tenant to see if it is yet available.  If not available, I set a reminder to check again a week later.  A post to the Message Center or some service to which I can subscribe that would inform us that, for example, mega menu is now available in our tenant would be very helpful for change management and user adoption.

I also suggested it a while ago. I also try to post new features on our Yammer feed and don't want to do it if it is not available in our tenant yet...

Occasional Contributor

I love all these updates. However I'm still a little scared about the whole Yammer Webpart also for Teams. With data from Yammer living in a separate site it can really confuse people seeing the Yammer feed and links to files in the conversations to documents that are on other sites. I would have seen that Yammer could have been connected to an existing Office 365 Group. Like a Communication site. I know with the inner and outer loop principle that Yammer has a different position but still it confuses if a whole SP site is built for Yammer but it doesn't connect.


Nice updates.
Page designs is the most important feature for us, I hope to see the feature soon.

Also; on the landing contonso screenshot: how does one edit the header/title section to look like that? 

Senior Member

Hi, thanks for the update. I share my concern regarding the notifications about features actually being available within OUR tenant. I have monitored the roadmap and the blog and some features are already released/rolled out but I havent seen them in our tenant nor our customers tenant. We do a lot of SharePoint work, using OOTB classic sharepoint and there is so much still missing that according to the roadmap is already released.

Could you please clarify more on where we stand regarding the following:


  • dynamic data web parts, will it be generally available or do we need developers to build and deploy from SPF/git
  • Advanced List and library web parts
  • Enabling and disabling web parts for users

Do not misunderstand me, I am thrilled on the current changes you have done to SharePoint and related issues, it is just the essential things we currently do within classic SharePoint that we are anxious to see within modern SharePoint.



Senior Member

So when exactly are we going to see Page Designs?  The roadmap says Dec 2018.

Occasional Contributor

I wish I could get a better idea about when I will see these new features in my tenant. 

I am on targeted release. 

I'm not seeing yet some of the new web parts mentioned in Mark's blog post of December 19  that were supposed to be rolled out completely by end of December. For example, 'my' frequent sites (we have frequent documents), count-down timer, code snippet, markdown - although I could swear I did see this one for a day before the Holidays, but when I went back in to see if any more web parts it wasn't there. 
Is there something I should be asking my SharePoint or Office 365 Admins to check?

Agree with all the comments - the release schedule is shambolic at best and trying to navigate releases with no eta is an utter disaster. I know Msft is new to the continuous update game, but it's not rocket science. Hire a few folks from Google to sort it out for you.

Totally agree also.

This should be way better.

Better deadlines and at least notifications in the admincenter if your tenant got an update


Frequent Contributor

@Mark Kashman,

It would be nice to get dates/timeframe when features get released as per earlier comments. A better alternative would be displaying a version/release number in SharePoint site listing or home pages. 


Feature X: 

Availability: Rolling out for first quarter on Targeted Release


Feature Y: 

Availability: Jan. 30, 2019 on Standard Release, starting on version 2019.xx.xxxx


Feature Z: SharePoint Mobile feature

Availability: Starting on version 3.x.x in Android and version x.x.x in iOS


This way, one can cross-reference check from a list of Release notes whether a feature is available for an existing site. I've posted something similar for Teams update.







Frequent Contributor

These would be great if they ever made it to tenants on Standard Release. I'm still waiting for items marked as Launched on the road map in November to show up in my tenant. I do NOT run my production tenant in Targeted Release mode so both the road map and blog posts like this are useless to me.

Not applicable

The inconsistency of the roadmap release dates are very confusing. Having to edit pages each day to see if features are available. 

Below are a few examples from my tenant as of 7 January 2019. 


  • Custom page designs / In Dev / release December CY2018 = not available in tenant.
  • View and apply page designs / Rolling out / release Q4 CY2018 = not available in tenant.
  • Configure title region / In Dev / release Q4 CY2018 = available in tenant.
  • Section background color / In Dev / release November CY2018 = not available in tenant.
  • Custom formatting for SharePoint / Rolling out / release December CY2018 = available in tenant. 
Occasional Contributor

An update on my tenant - I have found markdown and code snippet. 

They are located in 'Other' web parts if you are on trying to find them in your tenant. I didn't spot them at first as we have a number of custom web parts that are also in 'Other' and this obscured their presence.

Therefore, my suggestion for when new web parts are scheduled for release, in Admin Message Center, please let us know which section of 'Add a web part' these are going to appear in so we don't have to go on the hunt. 


@Mark Kashman now that we can remove the author's name from a page, it would be nice to take that in consideration when displaying the news on the webpart. Communication department doesn't like to see an person name in the news headline when it comes from a group and not a specific person. 


If the name is removed from page, do not show it or, at least make it optionnal. In the case of a roll-up, the source site could be enough.



New Contributor

How identify  o365 groups, Sharepoint sites related to Yammer groups using PS, pnp  ?


Looks like the displayed name on home now matches the one set on the pages. Is it the power of the cloud with a little magic from the great SP Team? @Mark Kashman  



Not applicable

I don't have Personalized web parts in my Tenant(s) yet. It should be rolled out December 2018 according to Roadmap. Is there any information of delay?


Same here.

Not in TR or GA tenants.


Senior Member

Currently we deploy the starter kit from gitHub to get personalized web parts along with some other. What I find confusing about the roadmap is it seems that some of the released items are considered part of the deployable units from gitHub but not generally available to end users. We are still waiting on the web part to web part connections which was also release in December 2018 but is nowhere to be seen in either our tenant or our customers tenants. 

Super Contributor

Microsoft's roadmap as a whole (for all projects) is one big mess.

Senior Member

RE: Permanently docked "social bar" (aka, Content Bar) at the bottom of pages.

It appears this feature was working for a few weeks, but has reverted back to its original state: unsticky. This was a great feature for us and our readers. Any insight whether this is temporarily out of commission or ... ?



Occasional Contributor

 My 'test' tenant now has all the web part changes/new web parts announced in this blog article except for web part to web part connections.  My production tenant has still not had News pinning released even to me although I'm on target release list. So, despite the Road map noting both these as 'Launched', some of us still don't have them.


I did some searching through other Microsoft documentation and found that Office 365 Admins  have 'feature controls' that can control the release of updates to end users. I'm only a site collection admin so I don't have access to those controls. 


I was wondering if my O365 admins have somehow inadvertently blocked the release of News pinning and web part to web part connections .

@Mark Kashman would you be able share a screenshot of what the 'feature controls' look like in O365 Admin? I need to be able to show my Office 365 admins some evidence that they might have something set incorrectly.




Frequent Contributor

These updates are still rolling out. 


The web part to web part connectors as far as I know have yet to be released even to first release tenants. So no one have them right now. 



Occasional Contributor

@Philip Worrell  Thanks for advice about web part to web part connectors not yet available to first release tenants - I suspected as much.