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7 Features for Creating and Managing SharePoint News

Matt Dressel

September 16, 2022

Managing and creating news on your intranet doesn't need to be hard if you can understand these seven features on SharePoint.

Intro

Understanding all of the features you can use to create news posts on SharePoint can be tough. Fortunately, there are only a few critical things you need to know to be able to create and manage news posts well. If you’re able to understand all of these you should be well on your way to leveling up your news game! Let’s get right into the seven features you should understand.

Publishing 

This one might seem obvious, but all pages use the feature "publishing" to provide two benefits to users who create pages (including news posts). 

  • Draft vs. Published – Allows you to work on a new version of a page without everyone being able to see your work in progress. 
  • Version history – Allows users to go back and see how a page has changed over time. 

Understanding how this works is critical to your success in managing news. Below are the most important concepts you need to remember: 

  • When a page has a draft version you will see an option to republish the page. 
  • When the page you are viewing is published you will only have the option to edit. 
  • Draft content is only visible to users with edit permission (this can be changed in the version settings of the library). 
  • Published content is only visible to everyone else (this means editors can’t see the current version of the page). 
  • You can have multiple minor versions of a page that is in draft. Once the draft is published the minor versions are deleted. 
  • The version number of a page is in the format MAJOR#.MINOR#. For example: 1.0, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2. 
  • You can unpublish a published version and go back to the previous published version of the page. 

Coming soon: You will also be able to have a draft version of your page that's private to just a small group of users who are working on the content

Microsoft: Private drafts for SharePoint pages and news

Compare Page Versions 

Since pages make use of the version history, you can see who made changes to your page. What if you want to see what they changed? SharePoint provides a visual tool that allows for this and you should use it. 

Microsoft: Compare page versions in SharePoint

Scheduling 

This feature allows you to create a news post and set a time in the future that it would be automatically published. This is great for when you have spent time creating content for an announcement, but don’t want to have to remember to publish the post at a specific time. 

To use this feature the site owner first needs to enable it on the site pages library. Once you have it enabled, it's as simple as going to the details of the page and selecting the date and time you would like to publish the post. 

Notes: Scheduling can’t be used on sub sites.

If you want to change the schedule, make sure to turn the schedule off and then back on again. Scheduling works with approvals (which we cover shortly). 

Microsoft: Schedule a SharePoint page or news post to go live at a specific time

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Comments 

This allows users to have discussions directly on SharePoint Pages, which seems like a great idea! The reality is that the out of the box functionality has a pretty glaring issue. The only person notified when comments are created is the author of the post. This creates big issues regarding managing and responding to comments. I recommend being purposeful regarding comments. Either disable comments or make the effort to develop a custom notification approach using Power Automate. 

You have two options to disable comments: 

  • You can disable comments on each page individually 
  • You can disable comments at the tenant level 

Resources: 

Two ways to disable modern page comments

Accessing SharePoint modern page likes & comments using Power Automate

Recommendations 

Microsoft attempts to make suggestions about other pages or news posts that you might be interested in. This is based on your network and what other users that viewed the page you are on are also viewing. Administrators are not in control of what recommendations appear. If you don’t like the recommendations being made, you have two options: 

  • Edit all pages you wish to disable this feature and toggle it off. 
  • Deactivate the site feature called SharePoint Recommendations 

Notes: It is not possible to disable recommendations for an entire tenant 

Microsoft: SharePoint page recommendations

Approvals 

Approvals allow you to require a news post be reviewed by another user(s) before it is allowed to be published. To do this SharePoint integrates with Power Automate and has a basic template built in that can be customized. This experience is highly integrated into the page editing experience. 

Notes: If you need to disable approvals after you have it enabled you need to delete/disable your Flow and disable content approval for the library. 

Microsoft: Customize SharePoint page approvals to meet your needs

Wrap Up 

Hopefully this gives you some areas you can investigate further to improve your use of SharePoint news posts. Comment below if you would like a deep dive into one of these topics. 

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