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Microsoft Adding SharePoint Migration and Site Collection Perks in April

SharePoint Online tenancies are getting a few new features that are "rolling out" this month, according to the Microsoft 365 Roadmap.

Normally, big news would be on the horizon prefacing the SharePoint Conference coming up in May, but that event got pushed forward to March 2021. In the meantime, here's a partial list of the 14 items described as either rolling out this month or that arrived in first quarter ("Q1") of this year.

Features Arriving in April
This month, Microsoft is releasing a public preview of the SharePoint Migration Tool for use with SharePoint Server 2016 site migrations to SharePoint Online. This capability, along with the ability to migrate SharePoint Server 2019 sites to SharePoint Online, was promised during a Microsoft Ignite session last year.

The roadmap didn't mention the ability of the SharePoint Migration Tool to move SharePoint Server 2019 sites, so that's likely still to come, although the tool can also move SharePoint Server 2010 and SharePoint Server 2013 sites. It'll move "files, folders, lists, pages, permissions, metadata, versions, and more," per the roadmap's description. Microsoft also earlier announced that it has extended the end-of-support date for SharePoint Server 2010 by about six months.

For SharePoint Online end users this month, Microsoft is delivering a so-called "shy header" for Sites and Hub Sites. The header on these sites will get smaller when the user scrolls down, which will maximize the reading space on the page.

This month also brings stock images for SharePoint Online users, which they can add to pages. The stock images can be accessed through the "SharePoint image file picker."

Lastly, this month, SharePoint Online users will see the label "Microsoft Power Automate" being used, instead of Microsoft Flow. However, this name change will start to appear later for users of the Office 365 Admin Center portal, plus in Microsoft's documentation. Microsoft had announced the name swap back in November at its Ignite event, while also adding robotic process automation capabilities to Power Automate at that time.

An update on Power Automate's capabilities was described earlier this month. Details can be found in a Microsoft Business Applications Virtual Launch Event talk, accessible here. Power Automate, part of Microsoft Power Platform tooling, lets user concatenate a series of tasks.

Features that Arrived in Q1
Organizations should already be starting to see the following SharePoint Online features, which rolled out in Q1, according to the roadmap.

SharePoint Online administrators can now greatly expand SharePoint site collections as there's now a new limit of 2 million site collections per single Office 365 tenant. The previous limit was 500,000 site collections per tenant.

SharePoint Online administrators now have access to the Azure Active Directory Global Reader role. It permits IT pros to read settings, but they can't execute management tasks. This new role is accessible through the SharePoint Admin Center portal.

SharePoint Online's so-called "modern" pages are now starting to appear in "classic" SharePoint Online home sites. This item comes with a few caveats, though, per the roadmap:

We will automatically update classic home pages to a modern home pages if they have not been customized. You can revert back if desired. Note: this update does not create an Office 365 Group for the team site.

Supposedly, it is easier to create news posts with modern pages, and they may display better on mobile devices than classic sites do.

Another end user improvement that's available is the ability to show "people cards" when hovering over a person's name or face image within a SharePoint List or Library Web Part. A people card offers additional information, such as a person's contact information.

Modern SharePoint Online pages and News items can now be created in multiple languages for end users.

SharePoint Online users can now apply "if/then" logic on rows and columns. That capability can be used "to apply color formatting across SharePoint lists and libraries."

It's also possible now to edit metadata in a Web Part directly. Users no longer have to go back to the Library or List view to accomplish that task.

Lastly, an Information Barriers private feature for SharePoint and OneDrive got released (sign-up here). It adds governance controls for organizations such as finance and health care to "avoid insider trading between different department users in the organization."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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