Office 365 Groups turns on SharePoint doc library features

O365 Groups starting to turn on more SharePoint library features and some new ones.

We’re getting closer to seeing Office Groups get full SharePoint Team Sites. It remains to be seen whether the Group site collection itself will be opened up an used. Or a Group may just be associated with a separate site. But I was pleasantly surprised today to see more SharePoint Document Library functionality and features arrive in Groups Files, using the new menu. There were also a couple of new features too.

Here’s my list of observations.

My top 3 favourite changes were

  1. Permissions on folders
  2. Changing and creating views
  3. Pinning documents and folders

Permissions

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We can now select a file or folder and manage permissions at a granular level. Using the Share button, visit shared with and advanced permissions. Here you can remove the Group Members and Group Visitors groups. I strongly recommend leaving Group Owners. But now you can give access to individual members or SharePoint and security groups in the organization.

You might have a Management folder in a group where only Group owners and managers can access content, removing access for all others.

The advanced permissions window needs work as it doesn’t fit the window and adds scroll bars when adding users. I expect we will see this tidied up.

Pin documents and folders

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Pin a document or folder to the top of the Files. Displays a tile / preview of the document above the list of files.

  • Up to 3 documents can be pinned. Move the order around. Unpin them.
  • Pinned documents are pinned for all Group members, rather than an individual view.
  • Useful to draw Group members attention to documents before a meeting

Create links to website addresses or documents. The URLs will appear as icons in Group Files, much like creating a list of shortcuts.

Alerts

Here’s where we start to see some familiar SharePoint library features. Set alerts on a document or the whole library and be emailed when changes occur or new documents are added to Group Files.

Library Settings

Visit Groups files and click the Settings Cog. There is an option now to enter Library settings and configure a lot of the familiar SharePoint library settings. I spent some time experimenting with different views and adding columns.

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  • Add additional columns to the “All Documents” view, such as version number, checked out to or check in comments.
  • Turn on Enterprise Keywords and add it’s column to the All Documents view.
  • Create new views like:
  • My Documents — filter to show documents only created by you.
  • Group by views — grouping all documents and folders by the person who created them. With this view I recommend displaying without folders and perhaps ordering the documents by most recently modified. This will show what has been recently worked on by each member.
  • Versioning settings — Major versioning is turned by default. You can now take advantage of major and minor versioning (drafts). If you have added the Version column to the View, you will see the major.minor number displayed.
  • Content approval — This could be very useful for Schools that use Groups. Students contributing to the Group Files can add documents, but they wont be available to the rest of the class till a Group admin (teacher) approves them.
  • I observed that it took between 20–30 min before two new views were added — Approve/reject items and My submissions. Then as a Group admin, I can approve documents to be seen by Group members.
  • Draft security — has similar potential to content approval. Group members can submit work to Group Files and only Group admins can see the document until it is approved and published.

Views menu button

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The new Views button can also be used to display different views, create new views or modify the current view. I’m not sure what the “Hightlights” view is supposed to show. It’s a new view added to Group files by default. It’s not a view you can edit the settings for. It may be using Office Graph to present documents that would be most interesting to the user logged in.

I haven’t fully explored the different document library settings to see what works well in a Group Files scenario. Version settings will need some work to expose all the options using the new menus, for managing content approval and publishing drafts.

The Group Files Document library permissions can be adjusted. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. The traditional Owners, Members and Visitors groups are there. Potentially, you could add a SharePoint or security group to a Private Office 365 Group, to give access to other people in your organization. But it could get messy when they can’t access the whole group and they have trouble navigating to just the Group library.

It’s best to use the Office 365 Group membership to manage membership and access to resources.

Take a look at the Library settings for yourself and see what works well, what still needs work.

I’m interested to hear what you find and how it fits your use cases and how you’re organization is using Office 365 Groups.