Mastering common challenges in Office 365 – Part 3: SharePoint (en)

Share Point

You want to master SharePoint? Well, this is your start. Time for the next part of the “Mastering common challenges in Office 365” series. You can also check whole mastering Office 365 series.

Again as in all of my articles of this series you find below an overview of this article. You can directly click on the link to jump to the specific part or you just scroll through everything. Also the articles about Microsoft Planner, OneDrive, Microsoft Forms, PowerShell, Microsoft Teams and more available.

Maybe you saw it recently, maybe not. Every Wednesday at 6 PM CET / 9 AM PST there will be a new or updated article at my blog. Next week: Digital Transformation Part 3: Microsoft 365 Explained – Check out the first two articles from the series Digital Transformation. Now let’s go!

The new Admin Center

It is here. The new admin center. Well, the preview. 🙂 Go to your SharePoint admin center and you find a link to the new one.

The new SharePoint admin center
The new SharePoint admin center

Not everything is great in the new admin center. Sure, it is still a preview, but a few things are now way better than before. You get a short welcome popup if you enter the new admin center.

Welcome to the SharePoint admin center preview
Welcome to the SharePoint admin center preview
SiteCollection overview

There is now a better overview of all the sites. That is a cool step in to the right direction. Even the HubSite Association is listed. Why the templates are in German… I don’t know. Everything else is English.

SharePoint Site Management
SharePoint Site Management

As you can see in the picture above you can also modify the views and save your own view.


Back to the cool things. Next to the URL column the are the three dots. Click on them! You will find a bunch of columns you can add to your view.

Site management customize columns
Site management customize columns

You maybe have now the look from the GIF below in your face. Uhhhh What? Views?

uhhhh, what?
uhhhh, what?

There are predefined views you can select to show you different things. You can of course also sort by the columns AND you can now save your own customized view as a new one!

Save you custom view
Save you custom view

The site management part of the new SharePoint admin center is definitely awesome. The other sections are not that cool to me, of course helpful, but not that super fancy as the site management portion. To get more info about the new admin center you can check the Microsoft SharePoint resources or if you more of an video person you can check the YouTube videos at the Microsoft Mechanics Channel.

Communication and Hub sites

This is the future way for your “laying in the wild” unstructured sites in SharePoint. In general there are two predefined options. Communication sites with topic design and showcase design.

A topic design can look like this:

Communication site - Design Topic
Communication site – Design Topic

And a showcase design looks like this:

Communication sites - Design Showcase
Communication sites – Design Showcase

Hope you like those little design ideas 🙂

I have to say: Communication sites are awesome. They are super fast to create, feature rich, mega monster easy to customize and really show off!

To get more insights about communication sites you can check out an great article from Sharegate. They also offer an superb way if you have to migrate or need more insights in your SharePoint environment. It is really worth to check out their products. #NotSponsored

Hub sites are also available now and if you want to learn more about those check out my article on that available in German and English. Also I am quite sure, that you might want to stay tuned for the Ignite Conference in September. Just saying 🙂

Column formatter

In the old days of my SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 job, the topic of making lists cool was an day to day topic. Now with SharePoint Online it is no difference, but it is now easier and just feels better with SharePoint Online especially with the column formatter feature. A list can look e.g. like this:

Column formatter
Column formatter

Of course the other side of the coin is, that it still requires a good amount of JSON knowledge. Let’s face it, until Microsoft offers a “click-2-run” way, it will always be the job of an admin, power user etc. To get started I recommend you check this article.

You can also check out my category SharePoint where you find around 50 articles I wrote in the past about SharePoint in general. Javascript, CSS and more. Don’t be afraIT 😉

Don't be afraIT
Don’t be afraIT

For someone who has experience with SharePoint administration and customizing, it is no rocket science, but for a newbie or not that tech-geek person, it is still way above their level. At least in my opinion.

Bulk metadata editing

If you worked on larger lists and you wanted to change a property of several items you know how difficult it was. Either changing it by hand for every item, writing an workflow which does the job or other fancy custom stuff. Therefore it is great to see that Microsoft really does something with the input we give them. If you never checked out the User Voice, here is the link.

Bulk metadata editing is something, where the end user really has an instant benefit. Just open a list, select the items you want to change a property and change it in the info panel.

Bulk metadata editing
Bulk metadata editing

If you want to have the official Microsoft article, here you go.

Predictive indexing

Most of you have faced the magical number 5000 in lists or libraries. Not good, not good at all. The good thing is, that there is light on the horizon. SharePoint Online leverages predictive indexing to quickly and intelligently index any list or library view containing up to 20,000 items. So we need less custom views and the end user is able to navigate within the list way faster. Definitely a great feature which is important for user adoption!

Everything is done in the background for you. It adds indices to your views and runs an automated job if you edit the view. Use the modern UX. Let’s be honest it is anyway better than the classic. Microsoft will try to push boundaries here as well to increase the limit.

Hub sites

The wait is over! SharePoint hub sites are live. This here is just a sneak peek into hub sites. I have released an full article in English and German about it. English article + German article. Lets go on with the short description about hub sites. How do you get it? Well, you have do use the SharePoint Online Management Shell to specify which site should be the hub site. Open the shell, connect to your tenant and connect to your SharePoint service via:


If you need a refresher on “how to connect to your tenant”, check out my article about mastering common challenges with PowerShell and Office 365.

Then type in your admin center SharePoint URL:


and register a site as your new hub site with the cmdlet:


The site “MegaHubSite” is the name of the existing site that I want to convert into a hub site. So you have to replace your tenant name and the site. (puhhh, a lot of “site” words there) 🙂

Associate a site

Now it is just one more cmdlet and you have your first hub site with an associated site. So go ahead and add a site via:


After these steps you should have a similar output as in the following picture:

Handling Hub sites in PowerShell
Handling Hub sites in PowerShell

The ultimate indicator is of course your hub site itself! If your tenant is ready, you should see several indicators for a hub site. For example the navigation:

Hub site navigation
Hub site navigation

Check out Mark Kashman’s released article in the SharePoint Community blog to get more information how it looks or check out my full article about the HubSites.

If you want to have more details about SharePoint (and I know there is much more) let me know and get in touch with my via mail, Twitter or Facebook. Also stay tuned on my articles or check out my other articles in this series or my fun article on “How to use 7 tools to create 1 simple survey in Office 365“. The hub and communication sites showed a little bit what the future brings 😉

The next update will be available shortly after Microsoft’s Ignite Conference. I think we have to look at a few things after that 😉

Until then, don’t be afraIT and enjoy Microsoft Office 365 🙂

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