SharePoint App Bar Quick Start


Have you spotted the new thing on the left-hand side anywhere in SharePoint? Would you like to know what can you do with it? Meet the app bar.

After Microsoft recently released the Home Site App, they continue to innovate in the SharePoint space with the all-new app bar. Its mission is to help users find important content and resources no matter where they are in SharePoint. We see the app bar as an improvement on the global way finding experience through dynamic displaying personalized sites, news, and files. You will find the app bar in all your modern communication and team sites.

SharePoint app bar

Key Points

  • When: Released in May 2021
  • How: SharePoint app bar added to all modern sites
  • What: Provides a consistent navigation experience on every site in your Modern Intranet

Main Benefits

  • Consistent navigation experience
  • Personalized content (sites/news/files)
  • Powered by Microsoft Graph
  • No code, simple setup

What is the SharePoint app bar?

The SharePoint bar is a new experience in modern SharePoint Online communication and team sites. It consists of four key elements:

  • Home / Global Navigation – Goes directly to SharePoint start page or global navigation
  • My sites – shows frequently visited sites and those that you follow.
  • My news – displays curated news based on your activities and interests.
  • My files – shows your recently edited files and gives you quick access to them

SharePoint app bar Experience

Once enabled, the global navigation allows users to easily navigate to important intranet resources anywhere in SharePoint. The global navigation details can be customized; Microsoft Graph then does the real work by dynamically displaying and updating personalized content for websites, messages, and files. The global navigation is shared with the Home site app, giving employees that consistent navigation experience across Teams and the browser.

How to customize the global navigation?

Global navigation can be enabled and customized in the SharePoint app bar. The customizable elements are the title, logo, and navigation source. If you don’t enable the global navigation, the home icon will link to the SharePoint start page.

Notes:

  • You need a home site provisioned to customize the global navigation.
  • You need to be a site owner (or higher permission) to enable global navigation.
  • Users need read access (or higher) to the home site to view the global navigation links.
  • Audience targeting can be applied to menu links in global navigation.
  • Enabling global navigation may take up to 24 hours for the changes to take effect for users.

Follow these steps to customize the global navigation tab:

1. Create a home site if your organization doesn’t already have one and make sure to share the home site with everyone in your tenant to ensure all users can access the global navigation links.

2. Go to your organization’s home site.

3. Select Settings and then select Global navigation settings.

SharePoint App bar settings

Note: If you do not see Global navigation in the Settings pane on the home site, you may not have site owner permissions (or higher) to the home site.

4. Switch the Enable global navigation toggle to On.

SharePoint app bar toggle global navigation

5. Add the Logo for global navigation that will be recognizable to users to replace the home icon in the app bar.

Global navigation logo specifications:

  • Resolution: 20×20 pixels
  • File type: PNG
  • Transparent background recommended

6. Enter a Title that will be displayed at the top of the global navigation pane.

SharePoint app bar global navigation logo and title

7. Change the selected global navigation source if needed by selecting Edit global navigation. Select Save when you are done.

SharePoint app bar navigation source

Notes:

  • The global navigation source can be edited at any time by site owners or home site admins.
  • The site and global navigation links and labels can be edited at any time by home site editors.
  • The changes to the global navigation can take several minutes to appear for end users.

How to choose global navigation source?

For home sites that are a hub, you have two source options:

SharePoint app bar hub site

  • Select the site navigation source to display the home site’s navigation.
  • Select the Hub or global navigation source to display the home site’s hub navigation.
  • Note: When you apply the extended header layout to the site, you will no longer see the hub navigation.

For home sites that are not a hub, you have two source options:

SharePoint app bar site navigation

  • Select the site navigation source to display the home site navigation.
  • Create a secondary set of navigation nodes specifically for the global navigation panel by selecting Hub or global navigation. Then, select Edit global navigation to create the new global navigation menu. Click Save when you are done.
  • Note: For home sites that are not a hub site and choose to create a secondary set of navigational nodes for the global navigation pane – if you decide to make your home site a hub in the future, the new hub site navigation will inherit the current navigational nodes for global navigation and can be edited at any time.

Can I disable the SharePoint App bar?

You can only temporarily disable the SharePoint app bar through PowerShell until October 31, 2021. Microsoft does not provide the option to permanently remove the app bar feature, it’s just basically delaying the rollout to your organization.

Steps to disable the app bar:

Set-SPOTemporarilyDisableAppBar $true

If you want to revert the change, say for example you’ve already modified your customizations around the app bar and communicated the new experience to your users, run the following command:

Set-SPOTemporarilyDisableAppBar $false

To check the status of the app bar feature in your environment, you can use:

Get-SPOTemporarilyDisableAppBar

  • Note: It can take up to an hour for the app bar to be added/removed on a tenant after running the above commands.

App bar considerations

  • Global navigation is the only app bar tab that can be customized.
  • When global navigation is disabled or not configured, the home icon links to the SharePoint start page.
  • Specific SharePoint app bar tabs cannot be disabled.
  • The SharePoint app bar cannot be disabled on specific sites.
  • The SharePoint app bar is not available on classic SharePoint sites today, however soon administrators will be able to add it to classic sites manually.
  • The SharePoint app bar may impact current page customizations specifically those that appear on the left side.
  • Personalized content in the SharePoint app bar is enabled by Microsoft Graph.
  • The SharePoint app bar will not display in SharePoint for external or guests users outside of your organization.
  • When Microsoft Graph is disabled, the news and sites experience will be degraded.
  • Global navigation in the SharePoint app bar must be enabled for SharePoint resources to display in the Microsoft Teams app bar for Viva Connections.
  • If you have customized the header and footer placeholders through SPFX, the SharePoint app bar will impact those customizations by covering parts of both the header and footer page placeholder.

SharePoint app bar customizations impact

Conclusion

The SharePoint app bar is a significant change to the user experience and your organization’s intranet information architecture. While it might be a very useful feature some larger organizations with various locations across the globe, the app bar is less appealing to small businesses and simple SharePoint environments. To ensure you take the right path and provide your users with a seamless experience, get an experienced partner on your side. We at Impactory would be happy to provide you guidance and set you up for success.

Additional Resources

  1. What’s common between the SharePoint app bar and the SharePoint Home Site App? The global navigation is shared between both and provides a consistent experience in the browser and Teams. To find out more about the Home Site App, check out our detailed Home Site App blog post
  2. OK, the app bar provides a structure and that’s nice, but how do I make SharePoint beautiful? We get this question a lot and we always suggest by starting with a look at the

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