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Deeper personalised search support coming to SharePoint
29 May, 2017 | Sophie Blackshaw

​During the SharePoint Virtual Summit in May, Microsoft previewed the company's plans for its upcoming set of SharePoint updates and features.

Microsoft is now preparing a strengthened personalised search for SharePoint in Office 365, which will show results for People, in addition to Sites and Files.

According to technology news source ZDNet, the company will roll out the capability for recommendations regarding recent documents, relevant content, news, and more, to appear instantly when the users click on the Search box in Office.

People Cards will also play a role in improved search function – recommendations about people who may provide related information to the search item will surface based on what their Office 365 profile contains.

Further, what makes the results "personalised" is the underlying Microsoft Graph foundation (previously, Microsoft officials expected to use the cancelled Infopedia portal on SharePoint to deliver the knowledge management capabilities).

Microsoft has planned, over time, to bring in more "signals" from Planner, Microsoft Teams, and Yammer to the Graph, ultimately affecting the lists of Sites, Files and People visible to users in their SharePoint Home results in single tenant within Office 365.

Other changes Microsoft is making in 2017 include:

-          Simplifying the sharing experience: from June, users will be able to share directly from Windows 7 and Windows 10 File Explorer, as well as Mac Finder

-          Connection between existing SharePoint Team sites and Office 365 Groups: the move is intended to modernise them

-          The ability to add SharePoint pages as tabs in Teams (expected around September-November)

-          Additional integration points between SharePoint and PowerApps and Flow to promote users' ability to create custom forms from inside SharePoint lists and libraries instead of depending solely on default SharePoint forms

-          New built-in approval forms to let users send customised email messages from within SharePoint

With more than 60 per cent of Microsoft's total SharePoint seats in SharePoint Online, a number of updates will be available first (or exclusively) to SharePoint Online/Office 365 users. However, the company will continue to support on-premises users with the release of a second Feature Pack for SharePoint Server 2016 later in the year.

More detailed information regarding release dates and progress will be delivered at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida, in September.