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Extend Office 365 with these 5 SharePoint Online Features

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This year’s Office 365 upgrade brings a host of new features to the service in general and to SharePoint Online in particular. SharePoint online is ripe with new features, including improvements in collaboration, organization, discovery, building, and management.


Social – SharePoint online now includes three social hubs: Newsfeed, SkyDrive, and Sites.

Newsfeed includes any information posted by your team as well as updates about their activities. Similar to Twitter, the microblog feature allows users to follow you but also interact with you and “like” items that you have posted.

SkyDrive Pro, like the standard consumer SkyDrive, offers users a cloud storage platform they can access from anywhere. They can also share documents and sites with colleagues and receive alerts about document activity on their Newsfeed.

External Collaboration – SharePoint Online now allows you to share items with people outside of your organization. These might include vendors, business partners, or others.

Community Sites – A community site is a platform for open communication between teams and groups within an organization. Rather than forwarding around emails or group instant messaging, this discussion system saves all interaction, allows users to rate contributions, and provides an achievement system to reward participation.

OneNote integration – Team sites are now automatically integrated with OneNote. Whenever a team site is created, a notebook is automatically created with it, giving you the ability to capture, compile, and share information.



Document libraries – New features include the callout feature showing rich commands right from the document library, drag and drop uploading of files, synchronization with your computer and SkyDrive Pro.

Site tracking – You can quickly create new team sites from the Sites page and track them, receiving alerts. You can also create a news feed for each site.

Task tracking – Keep track of tasks assigned to you and tasks you entered in other applications like Outlook. On your task timeline, you can also see which tasks are active, completed, or due soon.



Search – SharePoint Online has added new features that makes finding things easier. You can now use the phonetic search in multiple languages and see search results now include information about a person’s expertise. Navigation now includes a more strategically placed search box with results arranged and logically grouped to provide the most relevant information.

Business Intelligence – SharePoint Online gives you the ability to interact with workbooks from within a browser window. These include PowerChart reports, PivotTable, and Power View content, all of which you can view without using the Excel client.



Site customization – You can now create and edit lists on the page without having to access the backend. There are also now more themes and look customization options than ever before. The rich text editor now includes the ability to embed videos, cut and paste from Microsoft Word (retaining formatting), and also drag and drop images into your content. You can now configure SharePoint sites for mobile devices, including support for HTML 5. SharePoint Online also supports push notifications for Windows Phones.

Public website – New features for your organization’s public website include more page editing options, easier changing of the look and theme, better website navigation, and advanced site design (including support for page layouts, mobile views, and CSS).

Apps for SharePoint – You can now use apps for SharePoint. You can download apps from the SharePoint Store or your organization’s own App Catalog.

External data access – With Business Connectivity Services and the Secure Store Services, you can work with external data and add it to published Visio diagrams. SharePoint also now has improved external data performance.



Security, site management, and site upgrade – SharePoint Online gives you the ability to allow or disallow iFrames, upgrade collections more easily, and perform a number of new tasks in SharePoint admin center, better external sharing, a new recycle bin, and integration with Project Server via a new add-on.

The SharePoint Online Management Shell gives you the ability to perform administrative tasks, including site creation, site upgrade, removing users, and managing the recycle bin. Customers now have secure access via HTTPS to Team Site, SkyDrive Pro, and the Public Website for editing and authoring.



If you are new to Office 365, you should already have the latest upgrades. Upgrades for current users have been rolling out this year.

For more information, see the online documentation


By OTT, Inc., a Microsoft Partner Network member in theTwin Cities area, Minnesota.

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