New SharePoint Feature Announcements
We are excited by New SharePoint Feature Announcements this week from the latest Las Vegas SharePoint conference. With it came a range of New SharePoint Feature Announcements. In this article we aim to discuss some of the upcoming features we will be using for sure.
Among these announcements are numerous features that utilise AI, such as the ability for the cloud to recognise objects (Including text and geolocation) in an image and tag it according to what it finds.
New List Features
Among the new sharepoint feature announcements made during the event were some new features made to improve how SharePoint lists are formatted. One such example is the addition of script use, which will allow new conditional formatting options to apply over the entirety of a row, similar to the column formatter released last year. These script solutions can be as small as a simple field reformatting, or they can style a row to take up a screen’s width, scaling to the size of the window by using responsive design techniques.
Editing lists is also being streamlined beyond the quick edit feature with the new “Edit in Place” feature. Now, should you need to edit a single field for one item, this field can simply be clicked and edit mode will be opened for it alone, removing the need to wholly switch to edit mode or rely on a properties panel to make small changes.
The last of the new SharePoint feature announcements regarding lists involves features that make it easier to link SharePoint list items to other apps on Office365, including outlook calendars and Planner – for example, with a list item selected, an option on the List’s taskbar may appear labelled “Create Task”, allowing you to associate a Planner task with the list item. This also comes alongside real time updates, meaning that lists and libraries will update in real-time, taking away the need to refresh to see changes made as a result of the item being linked to other apps.
Image Features – AI Analysis & Custom Models
One of the more notable new SharePoint feature announcements in the conference was the use of cloud-based artificial intelligence to automatically analyse and tag images. While this capability does exist to allow AI to analyse objects in images already (e.g. Captcha verification systems), Microsoft’s new additions to SharePoint allow the AI to recognise text as it sees it in the image, as well as pulling data regarding the image such as geolocation data. These are pulled from the image and stored on the relevant list or library as a dedicated metadata column, making it easy to search for and filter by these results.
Another new feature for images is the ability to add custom models to display content and processes in a manner appropriate to the type of content you wish to display (e.g. logos, business cards, designs). These custom models are not just limited to SharePoint, and can be invoked in Flow as necessary. This particular service is available now at https://www.customvision.ai.
General Quality of Life Changes
Along with the previously discussed features and changes, there are various new SharePoint feature announcements that bring general quality of life changes, improving the general experience of using SharePoint.
First, Microsoft Forms is being given file upload functionality. This will allow users to upload a file along with their regular form responses. Form designers can, of course, limit the types that the users can upload – for example, if text is required and nothing else, the designer may want to restrict file uploads to .doc and .pdf files. These currently only work for named forms, but the functionality is planned to be added to anonymous forms by the end of the year.
Power BI integration has also been improved. With real-time updates for lists becoming an integral feature, it’s useful to be able to build visualisations of this data – Power BI allows you to mine your data and map the results to patterns and charts that update automatically. These will be accessed in lists, but can also be added to SharePoint pages, allowing for easy and immediate access.
Visio & Flow
Visio has been used for decades as a simple and effective tool for visualising and mapping out business workflows in the form of flowcharts and diagrams. Now, with the new SharePoint feature announcements in the latest conference, Microsoft has extended this functionality to SharePoint and Microsoft Flow, adding the ability for users to create Flows directly in Visio, as well as exporting existing Flows from Flow to Visio for editing.
Visio’s focus on collaboration allows colleagues and partners to comment and share the Flow as it’s being developed, allowing a smooth path through the Flow’s development cycle. When the Flow is completed, it can be ported to Flow on Office 365 with a single click, where it can be populated with parameters and used immediately.
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If your business is interested in learning more about any of these new features, or about SharePoint and Office365 in general, feel free to contact us today.
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