Reinvent business process in SharePoint and OneDrive
Published Sep 26 2017 06:09 AM 65.9K Views

Microsoft 365 drives digital transformation, giving organizations the opportunity to accelerate and optimize business processes. Today, we are announcing a new series of capabilities for SharePoint and OneDrive, integrated with PowerApps, Power BI, Microsoft Flow and Microsoft Forms, that allow people to create and share custom forms, applications and workflows that automate processes.  


Microsoft Forms allows anyone to create surveys and simple forms inside and outside organization boundaries.  Custom forms with PowerApps and column formatting allow designer to build beautiful experiences for multiple data sources or just a single field.  Mobile interfaces for PowerApps and Flow can now be shared in the browser views for SharePoint sites for a more consistent user experience. Power BI is integrating new capabilities for generating reports from data wherever it lives.  And SharePoint lists are being optimized with predictive indexing to accelerate lists with millions of items.


This week, we’re announcing the rollout of exciting new capabilities for Office 365 business applications: (First Release dates in [BOLD].)

  • Custom forms with PowerApps.  Solution creators can build rich forms inside SharePoint that blend data from lists with over 160 online and on premises data sources. [October November 2017]
  • Flow for OneDrive.  Now, you can build and launch Flows directly from inside OneDrive to automate processes for your personal files.  [October 2017]
  • Column formatter.   Allow power users to add rich formatting and interactivity to data in SharePoint lists and libraries.  [October 2017]
  • Predictive indexing.  SharePoint automatically sorts, queries and indexes your information so it’s even easier to work with the largest lists and libraries.  [Now]
  • Flow launch panel.   When a flow is launched, an inline panel prompts the user to enter information, that can then be used by the flow (e.g.  adding optional steps such as logging or alerting.) [October 2017]
  • Document/item review.  A built in Flow allows you to route a document for review and feedback.  [December 2017]
  • Custom approval action.  Build custom processes with Flow, to approve and publish content for libraries requiring formal check in and approval. [November 2017]
  • Power BI & Forms web parts.  Add simple forms and interactive data visualizations to any SharePoint page. [October 2017]
  • PowerApps web part.  Add PowerApps to any SharePoint page. [December 2017]
  • Let’s look in more detail at some of these:


Work with the largest lists and libraries with predictive indexing and queries

SharePoint lists have long been used for planning, tracking, collaboration and data management.  They’re used to track everything from t-shirts and lunch orders to NASCAR race standings and public health programs.  Up to 30 million items can be kept in a SharePoint list.  But until recently, storing more than a few thousand items required careful planning and administration.


Predictive indexing changes that.  As lists grow beyond 5000 items, SharePoint senses the fields used in views and sorts and automatically adds indexes without user intervention or throttles.  The modern user experience is also optimized to use those indexes, when available – and to retrieve data in sets to avoid throttles and unavailability.


Visualize column data with column formatter

SharePoint lists can be tailored to support almost any content or business application need.  But until recently it has required special skills – custom development –to customize the formatting of fields and columns. 


Today, we’re introducing new, low-code capabilities that open custom formatting to non-developers too.   Data bar graphs, color coding, red-yellow-green KPI icons, or interactive icons for email and Flow can be easily added to any list or library.

Column formatterColumn formatter

The column formatter lets people cut-and-paste JSON formatting scripts from our SharePoint Patterns and Practices site or other online examples as column properties.  Over time, we’ll make the SharePoint column formatter a no-code solution, as easy to use as Excel. But this first step enables power users—or at least “super power users”—to take advantage of this powerful new capability early.


Custom forms with PowerApps

As we announced earlier this year, power users can use PowerApps to build customized SharePoint forms - which previously required InfoPath or custom code.  Customized forms launch in the SharePoint list in a dynamic, responsive panel.  For a consistent user experience, the default forms will now open in the same panel.

 Custom forms with PowerAppsCustom forms with PowerApps

Almost any user can use PowerApps to customize the default forms for viewing and editing SharePoint data.  And the customized SharePoint forms can take advantage of the full capabilities of PowerApps – no code connectivity to over 150 data services such as Google, Dynamics, Salesforce, Box, Twilio, and Mail Chimp.  


[7 November 2017 UPDATE: the custom form rollout is close to starting; First Release is expected to start in mid-November.  Thanks for your patience.]


Later this year, we’ll also rollout the PowerApps web part, so you can embed any PowerApp on any SharePoint page.  PowerApps supports most of the scenarios that organizations addressed with InfoPath, and lets you take advantage of new cloud-first, mobile-first, connected capabilities to create custom forms and digital experiences.


Enrich user experience with new SharePoint web parts

We are also simplifying the process of integrating business apps with SharePoint pages.  New web parts for Microsoft Forms, Power BI and PowerApps allow designers to combine those experiences on any SharePoint page.

Microsoft Forms and Power BI on SharePointMicrosoft Forms and Power BI on SharePoint


Flow Launch Panel

Microsoft Flow brings makes it easy to streamline and automate business processes in SharePoint, across Office 365 and beyond.  Flows can run automatically, based on a trigger event, or you can launch a flow for a selected item or document. 


Today, we announced a new feature that lets you add values to a flow before it runs.  For example, a “Request new equipment” flow might ask you to select a desktop, laptop, or a tablet, and send that selection to the team responsible for handling the request   You are prompted to enter information in a panel that opens directly inside a list or library.

Flow launch panelFlow launch panel

In-the-box Flows for streamlined collaboration

Many documents require a quick review before they’re shared or further processed.

 Send for reviewSend for review

We are building a send for review flow into every SharePoint library, so you don’t have to custom build one.  People can route a file to another user for feedback and review.  Built with Microsoft Flow and integrated with the Flow approval center, signoff Flows are trackable in SharePoint as well as the Flow admin consoles. 


For more formal approvals, such as document or page publishing, we’re also introducing a custom action to the Flow designer that will approve and publish a file.  You can use this action to create a custom flow that can be triggered automatically by an event or launched from the command bar.



Innovations across SharePoint, PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, Microsoft Forms, and Power BI give organizations unprecedented ability to build no/zero/low-code applications that can connect to over 160 data sources and services.  You can empower everyone -- not just developers – to create solutions that streamline processes, solve problems, and improve productivity. Empowering everyone to be a solution creator is an essential ingredient in digital transformation.

If you’re at Ignite this week, learn more at our session “Transform business processes with SharePoint, PowerApps, and Microsoft Flow” URL Tuesday, September 27 at 4:00PM.  And you can always learn more about Office 365 business apps in SharePoint and OneDrive on our resource center (  Thank you.

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‎Nov 07 2017 04:23 PM
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