With the wide variety of updated features available through Office 365, organizations can now create robust, beautiful intranets right out-of-the-box. In contrast to SharePoint classic sites, SharePoint modern sites have a clean interface, are responsive and adaptive to mobile devices, and offer significant performance improvements.

Read part one of this three-part blog series here. 

Read part two here.

Now that you set up your SharePoint libraries to use custom content types, you can add content. Go to the Documents library and upload a few documents to the library. For each document, edit the properties and choose any appropriate values for your custom site columns.

In the example below, All isselected for the AIS Office Location field, Human Resources is selected for the AIS Support Team (department) field, and the value for Show on AIS Connect Home is set to Yes.

Adding content to SharePoint

Modern site pages (including News) can also be added as custom content types, with some additional steps. Go to the Home page of your department site and click + New, then choose News post.

Adding News posts to SharePoint

Add a title, images, web parts, etc. with the content of your News post, and click Publish when you are finished. (For more information on editing modern site pages, see Add or remove columns on a page, and Using web parts on SharePoint Online pages.)

Sample news post in SharePoint

Navigate to your Site Pages library. (Select the gear icon, choose Site contents, then click on the Site Pages library.) Select the page you just published, then in the Properties card on the right side, click Edit all.

Site pages screenshot Content properties screenshot

Change the Content Type from Site Page to your custom page content type.

Changing a page type in SharePoint

The page will reload, with the additional fields for your custom page content type. Select the managed metadata for your custom site columns that’s most appropriate for your news article, then click Save.

In the example below, we selected News Page for the AIS Page Type field, All for the AIS Office Location field, and Human Resources for the AIS Support Team (department) field.

Custom page content type options in SharePoint

You can wait for the content of your news page to be indexed by the settings for your server, or you can index it sooner through Library Settings. While in the Site Pages library, click the gear icon, then choose Library settings. Click Advanced settings. When the settings page loads, click the Reindex Document Library button.

Reindex library

After you confirm that you want to reindex the library, give the search system some time to finish its indexing.

Once your content has been indexed, it can be shown throughout sites in your tenant, based on the managed property associated with your custom content type site columns. This can be done through the Highlighted content web part.

Highlighted content in SharePoint

Edit the home page of your hub site, then add a Highlighted content web part. In the web part properties page, you can choose to search content from a specific site, all sites, or all sites just within the site hub.

All sites in the hub

You can choose to search a specific type of content as well. Your custom content types are not available to choose from in this section, but you can filter specific site columns from your custom content types in a different section.

Searching for content types in SharePoint

To do that, in the Filter and Sort section, choose Managed property for Filter.

Filter and Sort managed properties

Under Find a managed property, type in the name of your custom site column that you want to search by. The select box under Managed property name should be populated with matching results. In this case, because the custom column Show on AIS Connect Home is the column desired, Show was entered, and managed properties that match that term appear in the select box.

Filter and sort managed properties by name

Since the desired outcome in this case is to show documents from all sites in the hub that have been specifically set to show on the site hub home page, the ShowonAISConnectHomeOWSBOOL property is selected, the operand is set to Equals, and the value is set to 1 (1 == True).

Custom managed property search

You can choose different sorting options and layouts. In this case, Most recent was set for Sort by, and Cards were chosen for the Layout., and 3 was set for Show this many items.

Layout options

Once all the properties for the Highlighted content web part have been set, you should see your changes reflected in the web part on the page. Finished content

In the example shown below, a Highlighted content web part is configured to show all news pages tagged as belonging to the HR department.

Highlighted Content web part

The AIS Page custom content type is configured to inherit from Site Page, so any page whose properties have been changed to an AIS Page content type will count as Type = Pages in the Highlighted content web part. If pages were created as News pages first, they will also count as Type = News.

The Managed property in this example corresponds to the custom AIS Support Team site column, and looks for items that have an AIS Support Team tagged with Human Resources.

Completed Intranet with content

The Highlighted content web part is a versatile way to roll up content throughout all sites in your hub, especially when filtering by associated metadata. This makes it ideal to use in intranets, where you may want to get content from throughout the entire intranet, but only show content specific to certain departments within that departmental site. See Use the Highlighted content web part for more information about how to configure this web part.

In conclusion, a robust and beautiful corporate intranet can be built out-of-the-box in Office 365, simply by taking advantage of the tools and features available with SharePoint Modern Sites:

  • Modern communication sites connected to a main hub site
  • Managed metadata taxonomy term store for term sets
  • Content type hub for site columns that reference those term sets, and content types with those site columns
  • Managed properties mapped to those site columns
  • Modern SharePoint web parts

Contact AIS to learn more about how we can help you build your own corporate intranet…and supercharge collaboration and productivity!