Refine your message and increase your reach with SharePoint communication sites
Published Sep 25 2017 11:05 PM 75.2K Views

At Ignite 2017, we announced the next wave of innovation coming to SharePoint communication sites to provide more design control with layout and content expression, social engagement with promotion, commenting and likes, and increased visibility on how your content is being used.


You can create communication sites in seconds. They are perfect for internal cross-company campaigns, weekly and monthly reports or status updates, product launches, events and more. And by default, your communication site looks great on the web, on PC or Mac, on mobile browsers, and in the SharePoint mobile app. You focus more on your message, the layout and organization of content, and worry less about how they look in Web and mobile.


Build beautiful communication sites in seconds and more easily refine your message with powerful web parts and page layouts.Build beautiful communication sites in seconds and more easily refine your message with powerful web parts and page layouts.

Communication sites give you more of what you need to display and share your message broadly. Let’s dive into the details.


Spread the news, email news digests and overall page improvements

There is no better way to create data-rich, dynamic updates and announcements throughout your organization than with SharePoint news and pages. It is easy to create and layout your news and pages, and connect them to powerful sources of content and information in ways that keep them always up-to-date and available to be discovered by new people and found via powerful enterprise search.


Promote – Once your news is created, it’s important to then amplify and spread the news. SharePoint makes that a one-click action. From a new or existing news article, click the Promote button and choose how you want to increase the reach and impact of your message. You can add a page or news to the site navigation, post a page as news to have it automatically flow into SharePoint home and the SharePoint mobile app News tab, and quickly send an email to a person or group.


Email a news digest – Increase the reach of and combine select news articles into one consolidated email update. From the full list of news articles, select specific news items, click Send news digest to send an email to a group or individuals with clean previews and links to the full news articles.


Send select news article as news digests in email in just a few clicks.Send select news article as news digests in email in just a few clicks.

Start with a copy of this page – Don’t start from blank! If you have a series of pages you’ve created with a similar layout and design, you can now go to an existing page and use it as a quick start to create a whole new page – but with a head start. From an existing page, click New and then select Start with a copy of this page. The service will create the new page and you simply jump into updating with new text, images and content updates, with layout, design and common text already in place.


Page animation – To keep your reader, you must delight your user. You will do this with good content and messaging and we will help with beautiful, new page animations using parallax views that keep the eye engaged as readers scroll the page. It’s the little things, and it’s delightful.


Mobile notifications for news articles – when an important, relevant news article is posted by someone in your close sphere of work – derived from the intelligence of the Microsoft Graph, you will receive a notification on your mobile device, from SharePoint within your device’s notification tray. When you click on the notification, you are taken directly into the SharePoint mobile app to view the news article. Don’t go hunting for the good news, good news will find you.


SharePoint news notifications appear in your notification tray and take you right to the full news article within the SharePoint mobile app.SharePoint news notifications appear in your notification tray and take you right to the full news article within the SharePoint mobile app.

New web parts with updated search and usability from the authoring toolbox

Communication sites dynamically pull in content from across Office 365. To do this dynamically, and with flexibility, SharePoint pages use web parts, which you can configure to your needs. You can add files, videos, images, news, Yammer feeds and more. Just click the + sign and pick a web part from the toolbox to add content to your page. The toolbox itself has been updated to expand and more easily find the right web part by category or search.


The updated authoring toolbox can be expanded and uses search to more easily find the right web part quickly.The updated authoring toolbox can be expanded and uses search to more easily find the right web part quickly.

The team has been hard at work developing new web parts and updating existing ones:                                       

  • NEW                 
    • Planner - View Planner plans inside SharePoint pages and news with visual Kanban task layouts and beautiful plan overviews.
    • Microsoft Forms – Create your survey at, grab the final Share URL and display your surveys right within the SharePoint user interface. You can choose to show the results after the user submits the form, too.
    • Group calendar – display your Office 365 group’s upcoming and past calendar meetings and events.
    • File viewer – Beautifully, visually highlight over 270+ file types from within SharePoint pages and news article. This web part is an update (+ name change) to the Document web part, and continues to support embedding Word, Excel and PPT, and now renders PDFs, 3D models, medical images, and more.
    • Twitter – bring in live tweets from chosen Twitter handles, specific collections or via search keywords. It’s always nice to show the live context of what’s being said externally right alongside the context of what you are working on internally.
    • Spacer & Divider – simple web parts that give you the ability to add physical space between web parts, or a visual line in between.
    • Yammer – Now out of preview, the Yammer web part can be programmed to showcase a Yammer group discussion, and it looks great in the Web layout of SharePoint pages and news articles and when viewed within the SharePoint mobile app (iOS, Android and Windows Mobile).
    • Image – You can pull in Bing Images that utilize the Creative Common license to enhance your pages and news (you are prompted to review the image licensing). You, too, can pull images directly from a specific document library. And once your images are on the page, you can edit them inline with simple gestures like adjusting the ratio and cropping.
    • Text – the rich text editor web part now gives you greater control for how your text appears. From the simple command bar within the web part, select the ellipses to display the broader set of choices in the edit pane, like font colors and highlights, plus table creation and editing.
    • People – a new Descriptive display shows more profile information with room to add custom links and descriptions per person.
    • Events – greater control of the preferred date range to show upcoming events, plus the ability to see each instance of recurring events.
    • Highlighted content – Ability to choose from a specific document library as the source, more design and layout choices like Filmstrip and Masonry, plus additional filtering mechanism to refine by document type and control metadata mapping to influence the display of the search-based results within the web part.

Learn more about using web parts on pages and news; this article highlights all web parts that are in production for SharePoint in Office 365.

In closing

As you consider updating and expanding your intranet, we know SharePoint will be an essential element to support you and your communications into the future. Let us know what you need next. We are always open to feedback via UserVoice and continued dialog in the SharePoint community in the Microsoft Tech Community —and we always have an eye on tweets to @SharePoint. Let us know.


—Mark Kashman, senior product manager for the SharePoint team


Note: you can now view the corresponding Ignite 2017 session video on-demand, “Inform and engage employees with SharePoint communications sites and news” by Mark Kashman & Andy Haon [#BRK2207].


Q: When can I expect to see the above-mentioned innovation within my Office 365 tenant?

A: What is mentioned above in this post will begin to rollout to Office 365 First Release customers before the end of calendar year 2017.


Will the image webpart give credit for images used? Bing search is great and much needed but it also needs to give credit for the images used.

Wow, what a lot of announcement, great stuff @Mark Kashman and the SharePoint team. Any ability to share any dates, will they all be there by Christmas?

Valued Contributor
Great news @Mark Kashman! So much good stuff from Ignite.
Occasional Contributor

Great news @Mark Kashman

Trusted Contributor

This is great, I love how this is shaping up, with these readymade web parts that practically anyone can put to good use with no additional skills. It's like democratizing intranets and similar uses, where companies would have paid previously tens of thousands of dollars (pounds/euros etc.) to have something inferior to this if that makes sense.

Valued Contributor
AWE.SOME.STUFF Tiny question: will the Highlighted Content Webpart ever be able to show "Sites" as content types? (might this be possible already, and I just don't know it?)  Does the SharePoint iOS Update from Today include the push notification feature (wasn't mentioned in the change logs) ?
Regular Visitor

This is brilliant guys can’t wait for the new functionalities. Can anyone tell me about the rumors that MS is killing Yammer soon. If that’s the case why work on improving it?

Super Contributor
The Connect with FB/Twitter etc web parts that have appeared do not work. They are defaulted to 'sonjasapps' and no matter if you try and overwrite the default the web part retains it so you cannot configure the web parts for your social media accounts. Any timeline for fixing this as it is a little frustrating that they do not work.
Not applicable

These links from the Admin Centre come up with a 404 message???  This message is associated with Office 365 Roadmap ID's: 16051, 21050, 21052, 21053, 21054, 24082.

Is there another way to look at these items?

Frequent Visitor

@Deletedyou can find Office 365 Roadmap at this site: 

Occasional Contributor

@Mark Kashman "Events on Modern Pages" - will clicking add to Outlook actually add to Outlook or save as an ICS? We love the Event Feature but it is turning off users who are both trying to use it and take advantage of the "events".

Frequent Contributor

Hi, @Mark Kashman

It is great that there are a lot of support for various web parts in SharePoint sites.


Does it still retain the Featured items or most commonly used web parts that an author would need? An average "business" user may not necessarily use all of them to create a post/article and this would just hinder usage rather than promote adoption. Just like the TV/VCR analogy, most people do not use all the buttons in their remote


Fred Yano

Not applicable

Lots of great improvements! Nice work :thumbs_up:

Looking forward to try the Planner webpart, I think that will be very useful. 

Not applicable

I am not able to see the navigation of communication or modern site in mobile view. Is this by design?  Also communication sites dont seem to have managed metadata capability. Is it going to be introduced?

Not applicable

Com sites on mobile have the nav rolled into that three horizontal line menu button on top left on page. 

Occasional Visitor
New Contributor

What about adding a link to an image. Seems like such a simple one, but it is not available.

Occasional Contributor

Great, but is there a way for us to add uniform global navigation across all communication sites? may be from managed metadata??

Not applicable

@Prakash Acharya check into SharePoint Hub sites coming next year, you will be able to do that when those release. In order to do global nav now you will have to have a developer write in a SharePoint customization using the Application customizer features they released. Here was a quick one I found talking about it, but if you want this now you would need to use that.



Not applicable

Great news! Will the new RTF text webpart be customiable with a company css? Or at least a central configuration of headings, text and normal formatting?

I've been looking at the Yammer webpart and wonder when we will be able to add additional commands because we have different wording in our All Company group in the background of the status update/post box to every other group, and in the classic view webpart in SharePoint we were able to use html to add the correct wording for a group but there are no options in the new webpart therefore for us it will always be wrong and we can't use. Will this new Yammer webpart have that capability and if so, when?






Huge Kudos for the vision and Delivery.


Looking forward to hearing what's next at Las Vegas in your May announcements and then to see the first release of this vision in September at Ignite....


No Pressure... but you have set the bar high.... ;)  



New Contributor

I need to format text as (right-to-left) RTL or (left-to-right) LTR.

When will this be available?


@Gillian Pengelly_admin - let me loop in @Connie Woo who is closest to the Yammer web part in how it will update in SPO. Connie?



@Ali Sa'ad Eddeen - let me loop in @John Sanders to review and possibly comment. John?


@Diane Fligiel - you can do this with the links web part, or as a link within a text block using the Text web part. That help?


@Rob Bowman - I believe it opens an ICS and then the individual saves it locally to their Outlook calendar, that then syncs it to Exchange on the backend. +1, @John Sanders if he has additional info on how "Add to Calendar" works with Outlook from the Events web part.


Hi @Ivan Unger. This is a good one for @John Sanders, our local Highlighted Content web part SME. John, Ivan is asking about being able to filter on "Site" as a result type, to create a set of sites based on search/Graph :-).

Occasional Contributor

Is there an easy way to use the OOTB news web part to pull in a SharePoint List (not library)? I have a custom list with title, body, article date, article image and want the data to appear on the web part. I dont want to build a custom display template, etc. but rather use this web part.


I had to create a custom SPFX web part to do it with my own HTML/SASS linking to each items Display Form in the list. It would have been nice to use the OOTB web part.

Frequent Contributor

Thanks again, @Mark Kashman, for sharing these updates. I'm enjoying Communication sites in my tenant very much!

New Contributor

Any idea when the Email Digest option for news articles will be available?

Occasional Contributor

Just tried the new SharePoint modern app with the newer conversation model. I can get it to work with a group but not with the All Company group. Any idea if that is normal/expected behavior? 

Love all these new changes!

Not applicable

I think you mean Yammer modern webpart? :p

Occasional Contributor

Echoing @Josh Ring - When will this be hitting?  I haven't seen much more about this particular feature since this announcement, but it is a feature we really need.  For organizations that still lean heavily on email rather than natively using more modern techniques (like mine), this will be a huge plus.  Get the benefit of using the familiar tool (email) that drives usage and end engagement of the modern tools (modern SharePoint and all of O365 stuff).  This is the ladder we're waiting on.  We have custom developed on-prem solutions like this in SharePoint 2013, but we need to evolve that business practice and put it online. Thanks and looking forward to being able to use this.

Not applicable

Modern sites are so confusing, as someone who has been working with SharePoint since WSS.


Will these features be coming to all tenants?  We are on SharePoint online, and have very minimal web part options.  I thought perhaps they needed to be enabled, but I don't see any options for that.  Are these restricted based on what plan we are on?  We're on an enterprise plan.


Is there a timeline when most features that are available in legacy SharePoint will be available in modern sites on SPO?

Not applicable

They aren't confusing at all, they just aren't feature complete. The way of the cloud, get a little at a time. It'll get there. 

Frequent Contributor

If you're still supporting and designing solutions for SharePoint 2001, 2003, 2007, or 2010, yes these would seem very confusing. Even if you're mainly using 2013 or 2016 on prem, Modern UI can be difficult to get used to. Like anything, requires repeated use to become habit. I can assure you this is the future, and when you see what Microsoft is doing with communication sites [ie - the 'send as email' feature of a modern page] and how they save time, are responsive, are fast, and how sites can be scripted now, it is easy to see that they're not going away any time soon. Feature parity? Not there yet. Development stack different? You bet. I would argue the reward outweighs the risk of staying on older tech. Though I wish my Windows 2000 professional workstation was still supported. NEVER had a blue screen in 10+ years. Power supply died, and that was that. 

Occasional Contributor

Good improvements, what about personalised Page Content filtering based on User AD Properties ? For example showing documents for the User given Location / Country etc.

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