Editing Pages with the Modern SharePoint Experience (Part I)

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posted by Khoa Quach
on Jun 04, 2018

What you should know

You’ve likely created a communication or team site with the new modern SharePoint experience by now, so this quick guide might help you decide whether you should be building future pages with the new or classic version. In this article, I will review and focus on the web parts that are currently available.


One of the big changes under the modern SharePoint experience is the reactive layout, which allows you to quickly adjust the display of a given page. It resembles the page layout experience from the classic experience, with the difference being that it provides more control over the page since you adjust the layout section by section.

What to do if you want a four or five column layout? Well, it is not an option with the modern experience; instead, you have to build within the layout options provided to you. I have found that the options cover most of the scenarios I’ve encountered and that they are successful at promoting better visibility and readability. Moreover, as far as IT or development teams are concerned, the provided options allow end users/power users/contributors to really take control of the content they want to add under a unified “branded” experience.

Modern SharePoint Experience

Text Editor

The Text editor web part allows you to perform straightforward content editing. You have a simple WYSIWYG editor offering basic controls, such as bold, underline, list items, etc.

About tables

You can add tables, but don’t expect the same experience you’re familiar with when using Word. The styling options are limited (black or blue~ish themes), and modifying the table size (width and height) is not possible.

Modern SharePoint Experience

For those trying to copy/paste content from Word documents, you will have to make adjustments to the basic table. Obviously, some might get frustrated with the exercise.

Modern SharePoint Experience

 Table in Word

Modern SharePoint Experience

The copied table in SharePoint Text editor using the modern experience

About image rendering and additional customization

You can’t add images to a text editor, but there is a web part for that. If you’re interested in being able to perform some HTML changes, this new web part won’t let you edit the source code like you once could with the classic experience.

Modern SharePoint Experience

HTML Source editing is not available under the modern experience (at least, not out of the box).



This is a very simple web part to use. Simply add it and then select the “Add image” button. Options for the images are as follows:

  • Recent images used
  • Web Search, which are collections of images related to a specific theme powered by the Bing search engine
  • OneDrive, used for the images stored on your OneDrive for Business account
  • Site, used for the images stored on SharePoint Online
  • Upload
  • From a link, which shows an image from the web as long as it is publicly available

Note that the Image web part only displays images one at a time that will always be 100% in width from the selected container. Also, no hyperlink option is available (you will have to use the Hero web part for that).

Modern SharePoint Experience

File Viewer

If you need to display the content of an Office document or PDF, this will allow you to do so. You can chose the starting page for each document.


Instead of simply providing a hyperlink to a document, article, or web page, you can use the Link web part to display a small excerpt and thumbnail. By simply copying and pasting the link into the input area, SharePoint will automatically pick from the source content and render a tile view.

Modern SharePoint Experience

Example: An article from U.S. News & World Report


Modern SharePoint Experience

Example: The rendering when you add the link


This is a web part to share embed links from different sources (YouTube, etc). The editing is simple: add the part, then copy the link. I take our Upteamist video as an example:

Modern SharePoint Experience
Modern SharePoint Experience

However, be aware that some sites might be restricted by your SharePoint environment. If you have administrative rights, this can be easily resolved by going to Site Settings >> HTML Field Security and either removing the restrictions per domain or simply adding the domain you would like to be able to embed. Note that this is a global setting for the site collection; if you do not have this level of control, request this change from your administrator.

Highlighted Content

For those SharePointers familiar with editing in the classic experience, this reminded me of using the Content Search Query Web Part.

Once you add the web part, you will have the ability to select the source (note that you can select other site collection content) and the content type, perform filtering and sorting, and choose the display size. Although it can take a little bit of time to get the right settings, this web part can be quite practical to surface content on pages in an organized fashion.

You do have some options when it comes to display; however, no customization (such as CSR or JSLINK) is provided out of the box, so you must choose either the Cards, List, Carousel, or Film styling.

Modern SharePoint Experience



Modern SharePoint Experience

Card view of most recent pages

This ends Part I of the Modern SharePoint Experience series. In the next article, I will review the Hero, Lists view, Group calendar, Quick chart, Planner, People, and Yammer web parts.  Don’t want to miss the next part? subscribe to our newsletter!