The new app bar in SharePoint Online

19-05-2021 In the Spring of 2021 Microsoft started rolling out a new feature for SharePoint Online: An app bar with quick access to users' files, news and more. But does the app bar interfere with or improve the intranet?

Some SharePoint updates are discrete and go unnoticed, but the new app bar is definitely an update all users notice. It occupies the entire left edge of all modern SharePoint pages.

The app bar contains:

  • The House: A global navigation that can go across hub sites and be defined on a Home Site
  • My News: SharePoint news that are relevant to me
  • My Sites: Sites I have recently visited or followed
  • My Files: Files that I have been working on lately

Can you remove the app bar?

Not all news is good news and although the app bar has clear benefits and contains easy shortcuts, it can also create unnecessary confusion. Therefore, many are asking if it can be removed. And yes, it can. Although… From October 2021, the app bar will be imposed on all SharePoint Online platforms. Because of this, we recommend that you consider how the app bar can work for you. For example, you can start offering your users courses and learning materials that show them what value they can get from the app bar.

The app bar and IntraActive Intranet

IntraActive Intranet accepts SharePoint news, but we also have our own news module: messages. We are working on presenting them in the app bar under "My news", so that the bar's content becomes even more relevant to IntraActive users.

In addition, we recommend that our customers define their intranet as the Home Site. By also defining a navigation, users can access the intranet from the house icon. That navigation ony has to contain a single link to the front page of the intranet and nothing else. This is a good idea, as the Home Icon otherwise links to a SharePoint front page, which for most users does not make sense, but simply creates confusion.

In addition to this, we encourage you to inform your users about the app bar and what it contains and how they can use it. Particularly "My files" can be a valuable feature for many.

Read more about the app bar.