SharePoint innovations rolled out at virtual summit

SharePoint innovations rolled out at virtual summit

David Rubinstein

Easier file sharing, communication sites, an official forms solution and personalized search topped the announced new capabilities of SharePoint and OneDrive at today's Microsoft SharePoint Virtual Summit.

Following up on its announcement at the Build developer conference last week, Microsoft today announced the ability to share Office 365 files directly from File Explorer on a PC, or Finder on a Mac. Files and folders can be shared with specific people within your team or organization, or a link can be widely distributed to anyone who needs access to that information. Permissions can be controlled and modified.

Microsoft today showed its new communication sites, due out this summer, that lets a group publish beyond its team site to the wider organization. The information publishes to the SharePoint homepage in Office 365, so anyone with access to the site can access the information, including from a mobile device. Using the Yammer web part allows companies to create a conversational layer on the intranet, the company announced.

For years, since Microsoft said InfoPath would no longer be the go-to solution for creating forms and workflows, users wondered what would follow. Today, the company announced that beginning this summer, PowerApps can be used to create forms "right in the context of a SharePoint list or library,? according to a blog post from Jeff Teper, Microsoft corporate vice president for OneDrive, SharePoint and Office. This allows the forms to populate data that users can then view and work with. Further, using Microsoft Flow, approval flows enable users to send a document or form within a custom message for approval, the company announced.

Finally, and again building on news from the Build conference, Microsoft announced personalized search based on Microsoft Graph's machine learning and AI capabilities to deliver responses to queries more quickly and that are more relevant. The search results also activate people cards so users can quickly learn more about them; an extended view offers even more detail from a user's profile. These capabilities are expected to roll out over the next few months.

Another holdover from Build is the extension of chatbots in Microsoft Teams for actionable messages and interactive notifications. These can cross platforms so teams can be notified without new applications having to be built.

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