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Jayakumar Balasubramaniam

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SharePoint's New branding capabilities - A First Look

Many SharePoint admins have for long wished for better branding capabilities in SharePoint Online. Microsoft has fulfilled their dreams in Ignite meet that was held last September.SharePoint administrators had enough of design flexibility while creating Intranet sites with SharePoint. They were able to setup SharePoint branding for every of their clients.

But with the shift to SharePoint Online last year, they faced a challenge. They found it difficult to customize the SharePoint online sites to match the branding of their clients.Customizing the online platform had many limitations and that was not easy as earlier. Microsoft addressed this by bringing in more customization capabilities to SharePoint Online.

Why branding is important?

Many often misinterpret brand identity as something relevant only to their customers. But the truth is that it is equally important to its own internal users, that is their own workforce.

On a broader level while branding is taken care by the marketing team, SharePoint administrators have a role to play closely with the marketing team in setting up the Intranet portal to reflect the organization’s brand.

As we said above, SharePoint administrators had full flexibility with customizing the on-premises SharePoint environment, but due to the limitations of customizations for SharePoint Online, they faced challenges and Microsoft has now given a complete facelift to its SharePoint Online customizations too.

Let us discuss in brief about the new changes, the key features that are added to SharePoint online version.

Modern Web Experience with Site Templates

Microsoft introduced News & Communication Site Templates with its latest update. Now, you can choose from a predefined set of site layout templates.

The new site layout templates are mobile responsive and also allows visitors to interact with responsive and dynamic pages from any device they view including mobiles.

More than that, now users can interact with site activities, news feed, Power BI reports etc. The communication template now has something called ‘tiles’ which can be 100% customized to deliver improved user experience.

Grouped Sites now gets Shared Themes

In its effort to allow more customizations to SharePoint online, Microsoft has announced what it calls SharePoint Hub Sites. This is really a cool feature for SharePoint admins and they could get more task done in much less time, and with minimal effort.

Consider, you have an option to group all related sites under one main site and all the customizations now apply across all related sites.

SharePoint branding that has common look and feel can now be made uniform by grouping sites and applying themes that will be shared across all related sites within a group site.

This will ensure SharePoint administrators maintain a consistent design and brand across sites and adhere to branding standards across their Intranet portal.

This is for sure a great facelift for SharePoint Online. SharePoint admins would love to have these features on board. Let us welcome more such interesting updates for SharePoint from Microsoft in the future too!

Jayakumar Balasubramaniam

Written by Jayakumar Balasubramaniam

A technology evangelist working on Microsoft 365, SharePoint & Azure. Gets my hands dirty with latest and greatest of SharePoint, Azure & front-end frameworks. Currently working with “Hubfly – A unified digital workplace” as a Product Engineer. Getting in to the depth of the domain & technology, with my eyes for perfection, ensures that the product releases go right every time.