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Deleted
Not applicable

Hi - I'm about to launch a new intranet based on communication sites and finding lots of limitations with the news web part


1)  The owner of my homepage would like to be able to identify news articles in the list of site pages.  I've added the column promotedstate (using lookup from promoted state) to site pages to try and show where the value is 2 but can't get any values to display in that list view.    Is there a better way?.   It would be great if Microsoft would provide a way for pages to be changed to news articles.

2)  Ideally we want to be able to rank news stories to control the order they appear.  Is there any method to use a refineable field or managedproperty to do this?

3)  The modern news web part doesn't have any controls to say whether to show news from just this site or the site collection.  I'm therefore forced to use highlighted content for news which doesn't display news articles in the same way (you don't get the same first sentence of the article shown).  
Is there any other way to refine what the news web part searches for?  It seems to be the only modern web part with no controls when its one of the most important things on a homepage!

Thanks
Ian

10 Replies
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Solution

For 1) Try using the + Show/Hide columns option in the All Pages view of Site Pages. You can only expose Promoted State from the "modern" experience. Once you have it showing, you can group by Promoted State (again, from the modern experience) and then use Save As to save the view. I usually save it to All Pages and then make that the default. That makes it easy to find News pages.  I haven't found a way to do (2), but should be able to add a SortOrder column (it might have to be a site column) to the library and then map it to an available RefinableStringxx column and use Highlighted Content to create your own list of articles. For (3), I've been using Highlighted Content to organize news articles and filter them with naming conventions (e.g. People Spotlight) but if your site structure follows "the world is flat" model, it won't matter whether news is site or site collection - because you won't have sub-sites. Once Hub Sites are available (Q1 2018), you will be able to roll up news from a family of sites on to the Hub. And from SharePoint home, users see all the News from sites they follow and those suggested by the Graph. News experiences are evolving but with some planning, what we have today is a really great start.

Highlighted

Thanks so much for your help Susan.   I had promoted state to be a lookup field (from promoted state) but when I changed that to be calculated as =promotedstate instead it solved the problem and I've now created a view grouped as you suggested which is exactly what our news editor needs.

I hadn't heard about Hub sites coming but will check them out too.

One last thing which is strange on (3) is that all our news stories in the highlighted content web part have in small text the site that they have come from (eg. Intranet Home) above the headline.    This is a separate hyperlink that if clicked on just opens the site pages directory which obviously isn't a very good user experience and is confusing for users.   Is this something that happens on your site?   It never used to be there so I'm not sure what has caused this to suddenly appear.

I've attached a screenshot here if that didn't make sense.

Thanks again for your most helpful response!! 






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Yes, that's what I see too - but I never tried clicking that link so this is the first time I noticed! Are you sure it changed recently or was that always what happened? I agree, not the best user experience because we probably don't want most folks seeing the site pages library accidentally. That same link in the "card" display in SharePoint Home takes the user to the home page of the site so I would think it should work the same way in Highlighted Content. I would definitely recommend adding this to User Voice because while I don't think it's a bug, it's definitely not desired behavior. I do know that we will shortly be able to customize the cards and content in Highlighted Content so that may make this a non-issue.

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Ian, that link under the graphic and above the headline on our news items all show the correct URL for the site:

https://(name).sharepoint.com/teams/(sitename)

 

The link to the news sites are all under the /SitePages/ link (and also embedded in the graphic):

https://(name).sharepoint.com/SitePages/(sitepage).aspx

 

 

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Hi Andrew 

I wonder if that's because you are using a team site whereas I'm using a communication site?

The URL above the headline on my communication sites is
https://(name).sharepoint.com/sites/(sitename)/sitepages/

Which is really confusing for users who then see a page of site contents, most of whom then have no idea what they are looking at.

Interestingly some of my older news articles are missing this link under the graphic.  I'm wondering if flipping the news webpart to select from 'site' to 'site collection' might be what first made them appear although switching back to 'site' doesn't now remove them.

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Hi Ian

Just to be clear, both our team and communication sites have the same URL for the news items, both under sitepages. Both include the name of the news page (below as 'newsitem.aspx'):

 

Communication Sites:
https://(name).sharepoint.com/sites/(sitename)/SitePages/newsitem.aspx

Team Sites:
https://(name).sharepoint.com/teams/(sitename)/SitePages/newsitem.aspx

 

Are you saying that this link on your site doesn't include the news page name, just a link to the general 'sitepages' library?

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Hi Andrew - See the attached diagram for a clearer explanation.   Things are fine if people click on the news headline  

The problem is that when people hover over the site (above the headline) it changes colour - if they click on it they then just get the directory of site pages organised by author leading to end user confusion... I would never want them to see this page.  

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Thanks Ian, it was helpful to see the screenshot.

 

In our environment we have a mixture of team and communication sites, as well as O365 Group-based team sites. On the main SharePoint landing page, users can see news from the sites they follow. https://(org).sharepoint.com/_layouts/15/sharepoint.aspx

 

Those news items have three URL links:

  • The news photo and the (identical link) news item title: https://(org).sharepoint.com/sites/(sitename)/SitePages/(page title).aspx
  • The site name between the photograph and the news item title: https://(org).sharepoint.com/sites/(sitename)

Note that the title of the news page (e.g., 'news from today') may be different from the name ('news-from-today').

  • News items on the front page of team sites point to the /sitepages/ URL: https://(org).sharepoint.com/teams/(sitename)/SitePages/(newspagename).aspx.
  • News items on the front page of communication sites also point to the /sitepages/ URL:
    https://(org).sharepoint.com/sites/(sitename)/SitePages/(newspagename).aspx
  • News items on the front page of O365 Group-based sites do the same:
    https://(org).sharepoint.com/teams/(sitename)/SitePages/(newspagename).aspx

The problem seems to be that your 'Intranet Home' link, which should be a link to the site URL but points to '/Home/SitePages/Forms/name.aspx' (the site pages library) and not the actual site name. In the page source I can see that library name but our news items are correctly showing the site URL.

I'm sorry I don't know how this might be fixed. 

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interesting discussion.

here is the ignite 'making a news site' demo that may have some useful snippets about how they see this working https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/Microsoft-Ignite-Orlando-2017/THR2036

 

also the overview of HUBS is very relevant to news as that will be where that extra link comes into play eventually. see here , second half of video https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/Microsoft-Ignite-Orlando-2017/BRK2393

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Hello @Deleted, I am also considering using the modern sites for our Intranet. Did you use the News part in 2 or 3 column layout? I am actually experimenting with the various alternatives as can be seen here: http://www.marcofriedmann.de/blog/index.php/2017/11/03/the-news-teaser-webpart-comparison-of-different-column-layouts/

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