Last month, we unveiled our broad vision for the Future of SharePoint, and today we’re delighted to announce the that modern document libraries are now rolling out to all Office 365 commercial customers worldwide. You can learn more about how to use modern libraries in this article, “What is a document library?”
Helping people share files and collaborate on content has always been central to our mission. That’s why we’re creating a better experience for document libraries that’s faster, more intuitive and responsive.
Here’s a look at what’s new:
The new, modern document library experience, showing two documents and a link pinned to the top.
Modern document libraries combine the power of SharePoint with OneDrive usability—Modern document libraries have an updated user interface that offers an experience similar to OneDrive, so it’s more intuitive to create a new folder and upload files in the browser. The ribbon has been replaced with a trim command bar, which provides intelligent commands relevant to the tasks at hand. If your organization has customized the ribbon with buttons that map to critical business functionality in your enterprise, those buttons will appear in the command bar as well. With this update, each new Office 365 group now gets a full modern document library, replacing the former “Files” page.
Important documents easily highlighted—Click Pin to top to add documents “above the fold” in any onscreen view.
Copy and move files from the command bar—Copying isn’t new, but the copy and move gestures are intelligent about displaying your information architecture and letting you create new folders on the fly.
Copy files from SharePoint command bar.
Import files from other libraries—You may not have to make as many copies any more. Document libraries are also intelligent about remembering other files you’ve been using in SharePoint. That’s why you can import other files from other libraries as links, without having to duplicate files between multiple sites. You still see thumbnails and metadata for native files. And SharePoint shows your list of most recent documents, so you don’t have to cut and paste a link.
Create a link in modern document libraries.
Personalized views simplified—The new document libraries let you group files directly in the main page without clicking to a separate admin screen. You can also click and drag to change the size of your columns, as well as sort, filter and group from any column header. To make the view available to everybody else in the library, just click Save View.
Responsive and accessible design—Mobile browsers have the same features as the desktop, making SharePoint productive for every user—whether they interact via mouse, keyboard, touch or screen reader.
Document metadata now available inline—You can now edit metadata directly from the main view in the information panel. No more clicking into multiple screens to apply an update! If you’re in a view that groups files by metadata, you can drag and drop files between groups to update the metadata. And if you miss something required, the document is no longer hidden behind enforced checkout—you just receive a reminder to enter the data when you can.
One-stop shopping for everything about your documents—Thanks to Office Online integration, you can navigate a complete document preview at the top of the information panel. The panel offers metadata, including the history of recent activity, updates to the file and who received a share to the file. You can also add more users or immediately stop all sharing. Finally, all other file properties are displayed, in case there’s anything else not already covered.
The document information panel.
Keeping it authentically SharePoint—While we enhanced the document libraries to make them as intuitive and productive as possible, we know that the power of SharePoint has always been in your ability to customize document libraries to work for your team. At the same time, there’s a rich tradition of using content types, check-in/check-out, versioning, records management and workflows in SharePoint. Modern document libraries inherit all of these.
Modern libraries come to Office 365 Groups—To bring enhanced content management to group files, libraries belonging to an Office 365 group have a new header control at the top of the page. Unlike the old control, which included links to the group’s conversation, calendar and member management, the new control has a single link to the group’s conversation, from which users can navigate to calendar and member management.
Getting started with modern document libraries
As we roll out modern libraries into production, we know it’s important to focus on several key aspects of managing the overall user experience.
Since usability requires manageability, we keep IT in control of the experience. You may be ready to adopt this across the board or you might want to stay in classic mode until you can prepare your users. We give you full control of using classic or modern looks at the tenant, site collection and library level.
When we bring modern document libraries into production later in June, it will become the new default for all libraries in most cases. However, we will add the tenant and administrative controls in advance of the actual library rollout, so if you choose to opt out, you can do so before users start seeing the new experience. We also included customization detection, so if we see certain features and customizations that don’t work in the modern experience, we automatically drop back to classic mode.
And we’ll keep classic mode running well into 2017 while users and developers adapt and adopt the new capabilities. See the support.office.com article “What is a document library?” for more details.
There’s more to come
First Release customers have been actively using many of these features since April and their feedback has guided our improvements announced today. You can join that conversation on the Office 365 Network on Yammer and weigh in on the improvements that will be part of our general release.
We heard your feedback on extensibility and customization in particular, and we’ll have more to share in a future update. We plan to add support for customizing the page using modern techniques. Until then, customized library pages should stay in classic mode.
In the meantime, learn more about using and supporting libraries in “What is a document library?,” try out the new document libraries in SharePoint Online and give us feedback directly inside the modern document library experience with the Feedback button.
Thanks for using SharePoint.
—Chris McNulty, @cmcnulty2000, senior product manager for the SharePoint team
Frequently asked questions
Q. Will new document libraries support customization?
A. Yes, modern document libraries will continue to support declarative CustomActions that represent menu and command actions. Solutions that are currently deployed that make use of this mechanism should continue to work as before, with actions appearing in the new command surface in addition to the ribbon in classic mode. CustomActions that deploy script, JSLinks and additional web parts on the page are currently not supported. Environments that require these unsupported features should continue using classic mode for the time being.
Q. How long will classic mode be supported?
A. We recognize the need to test and prepare for any disruption to user experiences such as document libraries. We expect to run the two modes in parallel into 2017.
Q. Will these modern experiences come to on-premises servers?
A. Bringing modern experiences to SharePoint Server 2016 is central to our vision and is very much a part of the roadmap. At this time, we have no information to share yet about how or how soon this will happen.
Q. Which versions of Internet Explorer work best with modern libraries?
A. SharePoint Online supports the latest version of the Safari, Firefox, Chrome and Edge browsers, along with Internet Explorer 10 and 11. Older versions of Internet Explorer are already out of support generally. Internet Explorer 8 and 9 were previously noted as a “diminished experience” in SharePoint Online. Users of these older browsers should remain in classic mode or, preferably, upgrade to a currently supported version.