How to work with modern News in classic SharePoint Online sites

You have been working with Office 365 SharePoint sites for some time now. Last year, the whole “modern” SharePoint was presented. You probably have your document libraries and lists set up to use these modern parts. Brilliant! Or maybe your organisation is not yet ready for these new, modern experiences. No worries! But what about modern pages and modern news ?

Now that the “SharePoint homepage” is also listing news, you might want to start using it. But how do you create new newspages in your classic site?

What are these new Newspages you are talking about ?

Together with the modern lists and libraries, Microsoft also added “modern pages” to SharePoint. When you create a modern site or group, you can immediatly see these new pages. To be honest, at this point (in april 2017) I personally think it is lacking too many features to be able to use it for all my sites compared to wiki-pages.

But now that it appeared on one of my clients tenants, it might be a good idea to start using it.

Other then the announcements, newsfeed or Yammer, modern news will give you a new modern page everytime you create a new newsitem. They are stored in your sitepages library, next to all the other pages you might allready have in there. Not sure if Microsoft will allow you to store them in a different library later on.


Sounds very cool! But how do I set it up this modern news on my classic site?


Step 1: creating a modern page

The modern pages are located in your sitepages library. Maybe you haven’t noticed them yet, but even in classic sites you can already create these new modern pages.

Go to your sitepages list (via the automatically added “pages” link in the left navigation or via the site contents page). Open the “file” tab and click on the arrow underneath the new button.

Create a new site page.

create a new sitepage

The new page will open. To give it a name, just write something in the header. This page will be the placeholder for your modern news.

Step 2: adding the modern news webpart

Next step is to add the news webpart. Well, it is not really a webpart as we have in classical SharePoint pages, but for lack of a better name I will name them webparts ;).

When you click on the “+” sign on the page, it will open a small menu that allows you to add a new part on the page.

add the news list

In the list, you can see 2 news webparts: News headlines and News list. You can choose which one you want to use, both of  them will work, they just look different.

news headline webpart
news headline webpart
News list webpart
News list webpart

Now, your newspage is ready. Don’t forget to publish the page!

You can now click on the “+ Add” button to create a new newsitem. That will automatically appear on your modern news webpart.

add new newsitem

Every time you create a new newsitem, SharePoint actually creates a new modern page. That doesn’t mean however that every modern page is also a modern news item! Elio has written a really good blogpost about the differences, see the link on the bottom of the page.


Step 3 (optional): Setting the news webpart as the homepage of the site

Personally, I struggled a bit in settings this new page as the homepage of my classic site.

When the “sitepages library” is still in the classic view, there is no way to set the new page as homepage.

In both publishing pages as wikipages, when you open the page in editing mode, there is a page tab where you can set the page as homepage.

This is however nowhere to be seen in the modern pages.


The trick for this is to convert the sitepages library in a modern library. To do this, you go to:

  • Library tab – Library settings
  • Advanced settings
  • On the bottom of the page you will find the option to show the library in the new modern mode


Once that is complete, you can now click on the … Next to your new page and select “set as homepage” in the menu.

set as homepage


Some really useful links for more information around news pages:

Elio Struyf / What makes a page to be a newspage ?

Chris o’Brien / How to query/search for newspages

Original announcement / Enriching the mobile and intelligent intranet with team news, apps for Android and Windows and more

About: Marijn

Marijn Somers (MVP) has over 14 years experience in the SharePoint world, starting out with SP2007. Over the years the focus has grown to Office 365, with a focus on collaboration and document management. He is a business consultant at Balestra and Principal Content Provider for "Mijn 365 Coach" that offers dutch employee video training. His main work tracks are around user adoption, training and coaching and governance. He is also not afraid to dig deeper in the technicalities with PowerShell, adaptive cards or custom formatting in lists and libraries. You can listen to him on the biweekly "Office 365 Distilled" podcast.

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