SharePoint Online new library experienceRecently Microsoft gave all document libraries in SharePoint Online an overhaul.  Some call it “modern document libraries”, others refer to it as the new library interface experience (or UI experience).  This change has gotten a lot of press and lots of blogs about it. 

I want to give folks a more granular walkthrough of the experience, and in this post I want to call out some important differences and changes you should pay attention to.

First, you can find the my short 20-minute video on our YouTube channel:

What Is It?

Microsoft wanted to give a consistent user experience across the consumer OneDrive, OneDrive for Business (Office 365), and finally document libraries in SharePoint Online. 

They go from the classic experience:

SharePoint Online classic library experience

to the new library experience:

SharePoint Online new library experience

That is the exact same library, just with the new library experience. 

When is this available you might ask?  This was first announced June 7th, 2016, and enabled by default on all tenants by June 22nd, 2016.  So at this point it should be available everywhere. 

If you don’t see it enabled, there are certain features in your library that might prevent this from being enabled (custom actions, etc.).

You can find instructions here to learn where and how to enable or disable these features.

What Do I Need to Care About?

I won’t go into detail on every little change, but I demo what I consider important or awesome in my video and I wanted to call a few out here as well. 

You won’t be able to use the experience in every library

quick action command barWhile this gives a lot of great functionality, you will lose some as well.  The ribbon was removed and was replaced with a quick action / command bar.  You still have actions like Alert Me, Upload, etc.  However, there are some others noticeably missing.  Like Export to Excel, Most Popular Items, Connect to Outlook.  If you need these, you will have to use the Classic View for now.  I believe the plan is to add more as time goes on.

Getting a direct link to a file is now confusing and unintuitive

In the old days of SharePoint, you could just right click on the file in the browser and click “Copy shortcut”.  Then in SharePoint 2013 and previous online, this was blocked, and you had to click the 3 dots and get the link via the hover panel.  Now, that has been removed and you have this option called Get a link. That’s what you want right?  Then you scratch your head:

SharePoint Online get a link

The View and Edit options will not work for external users, as noted by the “account required”.  To get the actual URL, you choose Restricted. 

QUICK TIP – In the browser, you can hold Shift + right click and you get the old style menu!

The new usability features and details pane are awesome!

You will really appreciate being able to resize column widths, add/remove columns, group and filter and use the details pane all without having to go into another settings page. 

Moving files and folders around just got TONS easier!

SharePoint Online copy or move a folder or fileI don’t know about you, but I’ve lost count how many times users have said to me, “I want to move all the files in this folder around”.  You say, "Oh you can, use Content and Structure, oh wait you can't."  Argh!  Well now you can at least copy or move files and all files in folders around inside the same library with ease!

Final Thoughts

Be sure to watch the video for all the details on these and other features / caveats.  With all things Microsoft it appears, this is another 2 steps forward one step back.  Like all other aspects of SharePoint, this is just another item that should be thought through, tested and part of your governance and training strategy to ensure it doesn’t affect user adoption. 

Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss further!