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Switch library interface

A SharePoint Online tutorial by Peter Kalmström

SharePoint iconIn April 2016 Microsoft started to roll out a drastic change in the user interface of the SharePoint Online document libraries. In the demo below Peter Kalmström, CEO and Systems Designer of kalmstrom.com Business Solutions, points out the differences between the new and the classic experience and shows how to switch between the two interfaces.

Note that if you use the new interface, some of what is said about document libraries in the SharePoint Online from Scratch series is done in a another way than showed in here. We will update articles and demos as soon as time permits, but if you know both interfaces you will hopefully understand the instructions given in this series even if your library interface looks different.

Quick Actions Pane

The most obvious change is probably that the SharePoint ribbon has been removed in the libraries. Directly under the top banner the new interface instead has a quick actions pane.

SharePoint Online quick actions pane

The image above shows the quick actions pane when no item is selected in the library, but the pane gives different options depending on if no, one or multiple items are selected. Depending on screen size the controls are in form of icons or in a dropdown under an ellipsis. These are all controls:
  • Alert me – applies to the whole library or the open folder and gives the same alert options as the earlier Alert button in the ribbon.
  • Check out /Check in – gives a possibility to to check out a page while editing so that no one else can edit the same page. The changes are not visible to others until the file has been checked in again.
  • Copy to – copies folders or files to other locations in the same library.
  • Delete the selected file(s) or folder(s).
  • Get a link – gives with the URL to the file or folder. The dialog also shows the sharing.
  • Info – the info icon far to the right shows recent activity in the library, and when one item is selected also editable item details. No info is shown when multiple items are selected.
  • Move to – moves folders or files to other locations in the same library.
  • New – now also with a link option. The link is added to the list of files and folders as another item.
  • Open the folder or file. For Office files you can choose between opening in the online or the desktop version.
  • Pin to top – the file or folder will be shown as a thumbnail above the other items. When you pin a folder, the icon text will be changed into Unpin. When you pin a file, it will be changed into an Edit pin dropdown with the options Move Right and Unpin.
  • Quick Edit – opens the library in datasheel view.
  • Rename a file or folder.
  • Share – give other people permission to view or edit the file or folder. Edit is default. (Note that this is not the "share this site" feature from the classic design.)
  • Sync – this OneDrive for Business sync works as before.
  • Upload – with a new possibility to upload folders, if you use Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome.
  • Version history shows earlier file versions and gives a possibility to restore them. .
  • View options – the Tiles view is especially good for pictures.
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More Important News

  • SharePoint Online Library SettingsSettings: the Library Settings link is now found under the settings gear. The settings page looks as before.

  • Search: there is only search field that searches the current library.

  • Navigation: the Top/Global navigation is gone, so you have to use the SharePoint link in the top banner to navigate outside the site. The Quick Launch is still there,
    but it is not possible to customize it.

  • There is no easy, no-code possibility to edit the page.

  • There are no Connect & Export features, and there is no possibility to open the library in Windows Explorer.

Switch between classic and new experience

In the left bottom corner of the new view there is a link: 'Return to classic SharePoint'. There is however now corresponding "to new SharePoint" link in the classic view. Instead you must go into the Library Settings:
  1. Open the Library Settings and click on the link 'Advanced settings' in the General Settings group.
  2. Set the List experience at the bottom of the Advanced settings page to New experience.
  3. Restart the browser.




Learn more about switching default library from Microsoft!


Read about Peter's opinion on the new interface in the kalmstrom.com Blog!



Learn more


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