More thoughts on Modern libraries in SharePoint on Office 365

One of my current assignments as a SharePoint consultant is to train users how to work more efficient with document management. It’s quite a challenge, as users mostly are against using metadata, first because they don’t understand it and second because they are used to folders which is of course much more easy but not so efficient and modern. Once you get them to understand the benefits of using metadata they start seeing the possibilities and power of it. But it’s a change of behavior for the users, and it takes some time for them to get into it. My only goal is to help users use SharePoint in the most efficient way and make it easy for them to organize and find their documents.

I have spent a lot of time lately on a customers Office 365 intranet to help them organize and restructure their documents and I found some annoying things and maybe some of them are actual bugs. Also, there are too many clicks involved and don’t we want to reduce that and not increase clicks?! Anyway, thought I wanted to share them here and maybe someone out there has an answer, solution or explanation.

Note: this list is based on SharePoint in Office 365, not on prem servers.

  1. First on my list is a thing that is really annoying, but I know it’s not fixable since it is a new “feature”. You cannot right click on documents to Copy Shortcut anymore. Oh that is so f-ing annoying. I do that all the time, it’s like deep down in your browser behaviour that you forget you can’t. Instead you have to do the “get a link” and then select if the user should have Read + login, Modify + login, Read -login, Modify – login…. Sigh. Why. It is TOO much security and not healthy for the heart!!! And the links is ugly, does not give a hint what it’s about, it’s just a long gui or something.
  2. When you have selected a document in a library and you open the “i” panel to add metadata – the fields in the “i” panel kind of “jumps” or moves a bit so it is hard to focus on them. I don’t like this feature, it’s slow, jumpy and hard to fill in. It’s also a long way to get out of the panel, click the “i” again and then deselect the document. It’s just not a good and user friendly UI.
  3. I miss the “Settings” link when you are in a document library and want to customize it. Now you have to click on “Site contents” in the left menu and then select the library and click the “…” dots and then click on “Settings”. That is a loooong way to go. I want the “Settings” link back!
  4. PDF files and metadata. My customer needed to move an entire library from one site to another. That is not possible through the UI. The “Content and Structure” does not allow move of libraries. So you must first create a template of the library and setup that on the new site (so that all metadata follows) and then you can use “Content and Structure” to select all docs and move them into the new library. That is quite okey, but of course there is a but and it can be a BIG BUT 😉 because if the files are PDF’s the metadata will not follow. Just beacuse it’s Adobe and not Microsoft. It’s just stupid. We are trying to do our daily job and we need good tools for that and these kind of bugs, errors, annoying shit makes us lose patience with the products and users will do it in another way instead.
  5. The Content Query web part is buggy. It works best with IE. But if you use Edge, it will not add the URL to a site or site coll or library in the query field. You must paste it manually. Something I miss with it is also the possibility to group query by Document Library. For instance, I have added a web part that will show all Archived documents on the site, and they are stored in different libraries. So I would like to organize my documents by library, but that is not possible, only by Site. A missing feature.
  6. When you upload a document that already exists in the library you will notice (or NOT! until some time….) in the menu bar that a message is displayed with a red cross saying that “1 items was not uploaded” which is a bit misleading and makes you think something is wrong with the document, until you actually click the message and then it says “a file already exists…” and you can replace it. Not so good UI again… And when the replace is done, you would want that panel to disappear but no, you must click on the X to close it. Annoying, too much clicking and inefficient.
  7. It can be painfully slow to work with SharePoint on O365. Just is.
  8. The customer has a start page on their intranet, but the “new” look top navigation cannot display that link. It says “Page cannot be found“. So no home page is allowed?
  9. “Tiles” versus “list”. How can you control that the tiles are not shown when you open a library? I mean that should be an option that the user makes, not by default. Because: it takes time to load, it is totally messy and you don’t get an overview of your documents and you don’t see your tags. The only time tiles are good is when it comes to pictures. Then I understand why it’s there. But not for documents. I have not found a setting for it, so I wonder if this is something that the browser remembers, like how it was set the last time and then it opens in that mode per user? So that means that I think the library opens in “List” mode but it really opens in “Tiles” when another user opens it for the first time?
  10. This last one is actually the same for ALL SharePoint versions, no matter on prem or cloud, and it should be known for most of the people who uses SharePoint for document storage. And that is: The field “Title” is not in sync with “Name”. And that gives you headache! Because: the Title field is used to display search results, and if that is empty, SP will display the document name. And if the document has a title then the title will be shown in the search result instead of the document name. WHY are there two fields with the same functionality?! And one is filled in but not the other! I have always thought about adding a workflow that simply copies the text in Name to the Title field, but then you must add that to each library and we all know what that will cost in performance, errors in workflows, not possible to achieve even. It’s just bad UI.


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