Modern Previewers in OneDrive and SharePoint

Microsoft 365 in 365 blog series

7/365

What It Is:

This is a topic that I am familiar with, going way back to 2001 and my former company, E2open, as we worked with clients who had a multitude of file types, especially in the CAD world with all of its proprietary platforms. Rather than license and integrate these constantly changing file types, we integrated with a couple of the major file previewers (and built some of our own), allowing our customers to open and, in many case, do some level of collaborative edits against, dozens of these proprietary file types. It was an expensive and increasingly complex problem.

Of course, not entirely the same issue with OneDrive and SharePoint, but my point is that I understand some of the complexity behind this enhancement to Office 365, and how important it is to the platform. Remember the old days when you would have to click on a file name and open the artifact to know what was in the file? Then came the “hover card” concept that allowed you to float over a file name and reveal the front page/cover and some basic metadata. With these modern previewers, you’re able to actually see the artifact, and flip through its pages/slides to determine if it is, in fact, the item you want to open or download. We’ve come a long way, baby! Of course, there’s a lot more to the October announcement than just the preview capability — be sure to take a look at the Tech Community article by Microsoft’s Stephen Rose below for a great overview of what has been delivered, and what is still coming our way on the road map.

High-level Description:

From Stephen’s Tech Community post:

When you store files in OneDrive, you can count on our rich viewer support for over 270 file types: Visio, Adobe formats like Photoshop, PDF and Illustrator, RAW, 3D and high-precision DICOM medical imagery to name just a few. Our preview-generation engine creates crisp thumbnails and large previews with incredible speed, and they look especially gorgeous on 4K and Hi-DPI displays like the Microsoft Surface Pro. These previews will make you more productive and find your files faster when you’re using OneDrive. [Read More]

Recent News/Media:

Microsoft shares more details about “beautifully useful” OneDrive redesign, rolling out to everyone in the coming weeks (ON Microsoft)

New files jump out at you. Shared files are now easier to spot and we have made the thumbnails larger and more detailed. Your eyes are attuned to recognize familiar shapes and colors instantly, our design helps you quickly find the items you’re working on via improved list and tile views with clearly defined shapes for files and folders.

Next up, Microsoft is updating the preview generation image on OneDrive for the web, meaning that users will see “crisp thumbnails and large previews with incredible speed” for over 270 different file types. Lining up with this, the company also reworked file icons, making them more modern and lightweight, while still keeping them recognizable.

Our preview-generation engine creates crisp thumbnails and large previews with incredible speed, and they look especially gorgeous on 4K and Hi-DPI displays like the Microsoft Surface Pro. All these previews will make you more productive and find your files faster when you’re using OneDrive [Read More]

Forrester Wave for Enterprise File Sync and ShareForrester recognizes Microsoft OneDrive as a Leader for Cloud Enterprise File Sync and Share [MS PowerUser]

Forrester yesterday published their Wave report for Cloud Enterprise File Sync and Share. Microsoft was placed in the “Leaders” position and it was ranked highest in current offering and tied for second in strategy. [Read More]

Support Articles:

OneDrive on UserVoice

I didn’t come across any specific support articles worth sharing here on the preview feature, however there are some requests for additional file type support within UserVoice. I am constantly referring customers to UserVoice to formally request features — and in case you weren’t aware, it only takes 10 votes for Microsoft to take notice and formally respond. So if there is a file type that is missing from the OneDrive and SharePoint previewer and it is essential to your business, search for it on Tech Community and UserVoice, and if it’s missing — post the suggestion and ask community member to vote for it!

Relevant Videos:

Major OneDrive updates at Ignite 2016 include SharePoint Online sync preview [Office Videos on YouTube]

Microsoft Tech Community Discussions:

“Beautifully useful: Introducing a new look for OneDrive”

Every day, millions of people rely on OneDrive and SharePoint to share documents, pictures, and countless other kinds of digital content. We’ve listened to your feedback and worked to create a refreshed experience to help you be even more productive. Today we’re proud to announce a new experience across web and mobile that makes finding what’s important to you easier, while keeping you better up to date with what is going on with your files. You will see all these changes hit your device and browser before the end of the year. [Read More]

“Announcing New File Viewers Available for OneDrive For Business”

In the past, if you had native Adobe formats like Photoshop and Illustrator, 3D files, DICOM images, or even some of our own formats like Visio, you would have to resort to a separate viewer (or worse, pay for a third-party solution to manage these files when your organization may already be getting OneDrive with Office 365). Today, we are excited to announce support for these formats, and more. [Read more]

“Announcing new Word and PowerPoint previewers for OneDrive and SharePoint”

Today we are excited to announce a new, streamlined web experience for instantly viewing Word and PowerPoint files in OneDrive and SharePoint document libraries. In April, we announced viewer support for over 250 file types and we are building on top of that momentum with an optimized viewing experience for two of our most popular file types: .docx & .pptx [Read More]

“Sharing Links will open in Modern Previewers”

Today, we’re announcing that newly created Sharing Links will take advantage of our previewers. This update will roll out in the following weeks, completing by the end of January. Users will not need to do anything for this change to take effect.

A few things to be aware of:

  • Office files will continue to open using our Office Online applications.
  • Existing sharing links will work like they always have. However, with this update, you will not be able to use Sharing Link URLs as HTML-embeddable site resources.
  • We know that sometimes users just want a link to the file. For those cases, you can continue to use the Share Dialog to retrieve the link and use it like you always have. These links may work as HTML-embeddable site resources.
  • If you’re building pages with assets already in SharePoint, you can use the modern page editing experience like below. [Read More]

“Announcing New File Viewers Available for OneDrive For Business”

Our vision here on the OneDrive for Business and SharePoint team has always been to give you the best experience for all your files. While you’ve always been able to store basically any file with us, we have been investing heavily in our web viewing technology and now view over 250 different file formats (see below for the full list) in OneDrive and SharePoint!

In the past, if you had native Adobe formats like Photoshop and Illustrator, 3D files, DICOM images, or even some of our own formats like Visio, you would have to resort to a separate viewer (or worse, pay for a third-party solution to manage these files when your organization may already be getting OneDrive with Office 365). Today, we are excited to announce support for these formats, and more. [Read More]

 

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Apps & Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and fractional-CMO for revealit.io, tyGraph, and Extranet User Manager.