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Microsoft

Note: I'm starting a new series of posts called "Modern Intranet" which will discuss topics around modern portal features available in SharePoint Online (SPO). These posts will come directly from my conversations with Healthcare customers that are in the process of moving their main intranet to SharePoint Online.

 

News Publishing & Syndication in SPO is a really great feature that was introduced last year (click here for a great infographic on using SharePoint News). One thing that was missing was the ability to gather up a collection of posts and quickly send via email. Sending a news digest via email was recently released, and this article walks through how to use this new feature.

 

Getting Started

 

Site News is a page in a SPO site that shows all news for the current site, as well as any news from associated hub sites.

 

The page for Site News is located at https://YOUR-TENANT-NAME.sharepoint.com/sites/YOUR_SITE_NAME/_layouts/15/news.aspx (in case you need the link for navigation menus, etc.), but you can easily access the page from the "See all" link on the Site News webpart.

 

Navigating to SharePoint News in your site.Navigating to SharePoint News in your site.

The page for Site News looks like this:

 

The SharePoint News PageThe SharePoint News Page

Important: If you do not see the "Email a news digest" link, ensure that you have at least Contribute permissions in the current site. Anybody in your site can access the Site News page, but if you do not have permissions to create news, then you do not have permission to share a news digest :(

 

Sending the Digest

 

Once you have confirmed you have Contribute permissions in the site, you are ready to select news posts and send them. Simply click the "Send an email digest" link, and select the news posts you wish to share.

 

Select the news posts you wish to share.Select the news posts you wish to share.

Note: At the time of this writing, I was able to send several news posts (around 20) at one time, so I am not aware of any limits to how many you can send. I'm sure there is a limit, but the practicality of hitting that limit is very low. Users need to select each news post they wish to share (there is not a "Select all" button), and recipients of the digest may not appreciate a long, scrolling, "spammy" email. Four to six posts per digest, per week is probably a good, safe number.

 

Once you have selected the desired news posts, click the "Next" button to specify a name for your digest, recipients, and an optional message. Recipients can be individual email addresses & distribution lists.

 

Specifying recipients and an (optional) message.Specifying recipients and an (optional) message.Once you are ready, click the "Send news digest" button. Recipients will receive your curated news digest in their inbox. Notice that the sender is NOT a service account; it is you!

 

Recipients will receive your curated news digest in their inbox!Recipients will receive your curated news digest in their inbox!

Final Thoughts

 

The ability to create and share email news digests is a new feature to the ever expanding components that make up a modern intranet. In future articles, I will highlight more modern intranet features.

 

Some additional tips, tricks, and FYIs:

 

  • Your organization may not allow you to send to certain large distribution lists. For example, at Microsoft, I am not allowed to send to "All Company" - for good reason (LOL)! That right is reserved for executives, corporate communications, etc.. Keep that in mind when sending your news digest.
  • When naming your news digest, the name will be used as the email subject... be consistent! Your audience may have inbox rules that trigger on the subject.
  • At the time of this writing, there is not a way to customize the appearance of the email. It's a new feature, and the road map is wide open. Make sure you direct feedback to the engineering teams via User Voice!
  • Easter Egg: after you send your digest, check your pages library - you will see a post containing your curated digest. This is a great way to create an archive of your digests. You can use metadata and highlighted content web part to surface your news digests. Tip: You can also use Flow to automate the posting of your news digest to other channels like Teams, Yammer, and other SharePoint sites.

 

14 Comments
New Contributor

Thanks for this post, Tyler, really useful.

 

Ideas for improvement of the digest functionality:

- make the message font black instead of grey

- make the message left-aligned rather than centered

- standardize the thumbnail image for all selected news stories in the digest

- stack the image above the article in a single column

- make the top-right corner SharePoint logo point to my tenancy rather than to the SharePoint promotional site

- remove from the editing template the option to add a header at the top of the selected news items, as it is not produced in the received message, or arrange that this title actually appears in the received message.

 

Note to self: will copy this to User Voice.

Senior Member

Currently, when I go to the news page of my Hub site, I'm only seeing news posted directly on that site, not posts from any of the other sites connected to my Hub. Is there a way to show news from all sites connected to the Hub, so I can bring more content into my digest email?

Microsoft

Hey @Benjamin Bennett! Right now, this functionality only pulls news from the current site. That is a great suggestion, though! Be sure to add to user voice!

Occasional Visitor
Hi I'd love to be able to email a news digest but I don't see the option (button). I have Sharepoint admin permissions and I'm a Global admin but I still don't see the button for the new digest creation. Any ideas?
Senior Member

HI @Miss_Lissa_In_AZ ,

 

I have that issue too, but you can solve this by entering a more than 4 news links, than you have the 'see all' button. When you click on this you will be navigated to a lay out page where you can see the email digest button. 

 

 

Occasional Visitor
@Joe_Choi I'll give that a try!
Regular Visitor

We love the news digest format. I noticed when generating a news digest post, it creates a page under site pages. We would like to reuse that page and post it to our other communication systems. However, when the news digest page is opened in a web browser, all the links of the post do not work. It is very odd, because if we refresh the page, the page will work again. This error is reproducible.

 

Thanks!

Microsoft

Hey, @elementlu! It appears to be working in my tenant... that is very odd... and, annoying! You might want to open a ticket with Support to check that out.

Regular Visitor

Great Article and super useful advice :smile:  I work for a Hospital in New Zealand and we are just talking about migrating our intranet to SPO so this was actually a really good place to start - Look forward to more of your insights on how we utilise SPO to change the game :cool:

Occasional Visitor

Great start, however branding is essential when sending out digests to the whole company. Are there any plans to allow for email template customization?

I saw there are threads and ideas floating around in various places but I found nothing on this on the current SharePoint roadmap, which is a bit surprising as branding is such a vital topic for every customer.

 

As far as the current News Digest feature is concerned, we would ideally want the following functionality:
1) Full control over the layout and look of the email template
2) Option to have several email templates, e.g. per news digest topic/group/department
3) schedule management to send digests comprised of x number of posts within defined time frame (e.,g. last 7 days, I understand Flow (renamed Automate) can help here)
4) access restricted digests via sub folders in the Page Library, right now we manually create new pages in a sub folder within the page library and post them as "News" on the site in order to give different access rights to news posted into the sub folder vs public news in the root of the page library. Not ideal and cumbersome.

 

Are there any plans for e.g. point 1) at least in the near future?

Occasional Contributor

Hi @Tyler Durham 

you're writing about automatization on Flow. Could you please give me more details? I tried to send email with the same layout like the one on sharepoint with Flow and there is no option like this.

Senior Member

Hi @Tyler Durham ,

 

  • When I use hyperlinks in my body text (for instance a link to a Form in MS Forms), these hyperlinks do not work in the mail message received via this Digest option.
  • But when I use a mail address in the body text, the mail address works fine as hyperlink (mailto: etc).

 

Are more people experiencing this problem? :thinking_face:

Occasional Visitor

I was very excited about this BUT THEN:

1. I go to See All

2. Click on Email a Digest and select the news items

3. Then click on Next...this is where it falls apart

 

This just seemed to create a new blank site page with no email option?

 

Is there something else that needs to be configured or created to get this Email Digest Page?:sad:

 

Occasional Contributor

Hello @Tyler Durham  can we send news post from some other email id.

 

Like i want to share some news post using Send by email button and mail sent from my id. Can i change that From email address.