Why do modern team sites prevent you from using the full width of a page?

Iron Contributor

I don't know if anyone else finds this to be a big problem in SharePoint Online. One thing that frustrates me is that inserting web parts and page content only fills the left side of the screen. When viewing a team site on a widescreen monitor (which the vast majority of people are using), half the screen is just filled with white space instead of using the full width.


I've been creating a number of sites for staff and almost always they comment on this. It looks like a page hasn't been designed properly and all I can say is "sorry, that's the way SharePoint works". 


Is there a reason team sites are designed like this? Any solutions or upcoming updates that might resolve it?

17 Replies

Hello @Toby McDaid ! Can you pls. describe with a screenshot, what you mean? Wide screen can be filled with so many useful webparts as the quicklinks. Pls. see my screenshot: I had 2 important sites to link and one document set.


Them and the NEWS webpart opens new horizonts with better search tools within.

It all depends on your resolution, if you use a standard 1080p screen it's fine, the issue is when you have 1440p+ you really notice this white space. It's mostly there I believe because it's going to be best practice around creating sites that are responsive. Otherwise, mobile devices would have a hard time if you have many more web parts or webparts with very wide width. You also get some odd results trying to stretch that far across.

On comm sites it's even worse with white space, but I know they are looking into and have been touching up UI and eliminating a bunch of white space over time I'm sure we'll see some improvements here especially as higher resolution screens become more mainstream.
Hi Toby, Microsoft has committed to 1920 page density as ‘top of mind in 2019’. This doesn’t put a precise date a things but they are aware. Personally as a widescreen user too I can’t wait! Copying in @Mark Kashman and @John Sanders for their views on this one!

There are various reasons for this. The first being, Microsoft has invested a lot of time and money into accessibility in Modern SharePoint. Today, we have monitors with extremely large resolutions and it really poses a complexity for accessibility to make sure content is easily read across screen sizes. It's basically an industry standard now to not use full width layouts in order to better support various screen sizes.

To  give you some insight, David Warner made a great video about why the whitespace exists and in fact, why it really isn't a bad thing at all. http://warner.digital/modern-sharepoint-pages-layouts-and-whitespace/

As someone else mentioned, there is an effort to support 1920px, but as you expect, you still wouldn't get full width on a 4k screen. Watch the video, it will definitely help understand the purpose around white space.

2022 and still the same. There's always some kind of excuse for every gotcha.
Yup, if you want to develop an internal site for your end users that doesn't look amateurish you're definitely going to want to go with a modern CMS system not one that is constantly 10+ years behind.
Wow are you ever right Ross!! Problem is...............it's just me. I'm the only user, I have M365 for my own data but run it as though I have a user base.

@Carl_Williams , well then I guess it’s acceptable if you think so!


It surprises me in these days an ages of ever expanding resolutions and monitor sizes that people still use pixels for anything more then determining whether it’s a phone/tablet/monitor landscape or monitor portrait and then using percentages for aligning elements on the page. If the whitespace were set to 10% on either side then the page would size across different resolutions equally. 


No, I don't really think its acceptable, but from my experience, no amount of crying and complaining will ever amount to any fixes, only excuses and reasons. So, I just wait for something better to come along within same price range.
The only thing that will make MS change is exposing it’s warts so new prospective customers see these issues and make informed decisions on their choice of CMS. If SP adoption slows to a crawl maybe MS will direct some development effort towards the technology. I feel MS directs all their efforts in one direction at a time at the expense of their legacy core technologies. To stay competitive they are going to have to learn to continuously improve all their technologies at the same time otherwise they will find themselves irrelevant in the future.
Agreed 1000%. I've been saying that for 20 years and still nothing has changed. I've got similar rants about similar issues going back years and nothing has changed.
All it'd take is COMPLETING/FIXING certain technologies but instead all I ever heard/hear was/is excuses and justifications from them AND the 'know-it-alls" who's feelings I may have hurt talking smack about their love.

@Beau Cameron 

Dynamic page sizing is used by many other companies and many other products for the purpose of maintaining readability across platforms.  The current modern Sharepoint pages assume people are still using old resolution monitors.  I currently use a "standard" 1920x1080 screen size and have approximately a third of the screen unused (blank white on the right side).  The reasoning listed is simply an excuse.  This is not acceptable, ever.



Definitely not in the year 2023 when all monitors are 16x9, except say for a few kiosk monitors.




Beau Cameron points to David Warners' video which explains the white space. The video clearly compares all Sharepoint content to industry leading web pages and the use of smaller (phones) devices as being a majority of the site usage. Not sure if others use SP the way we do but our SP site is strictly our internal intranet site used only by our employees who all access it via computers with 1920x1080 monitors. Don't really care if it looks clutsy on a phone since that will never be our primary use scenario. So trying to explain why MS has done this doesn't help. Dynamically sizing the screen regardless of screen resolution should be the goal as opposed to shoving fixed width down everyone's throats while trying to justify it as "the future" or that is what the majority uses. Context here is very important.



You said it right, just an excuse. Why? Because like the rest of their 'stuff', nothing is truly completed. All the tech is relegated to ~75% completion missing small but important, standard, everyday expected functionality. But, nope. You have to add these requests into the rabbit hole: "UserVoice". 

Oh boy, if people are using SP on a mobile devices then they have a lot more issues then screen size and orientation! The mobile device CSS are from like 15 years ago and are practically useless.