New Look! Document Libraries in Office 365

New Document Libraries

If you are in the first release cycle for Office 365, you may have noticed something very different about your document libraries within the past week.  Not only are document libraries getting a whole new look…. they way that you work with your files has been drastically improved!  Let’s take a look around!

First of all, when I click the Check it out button, it switches my library over to the new look and feel.

This may look familiar to you.  It looks more like a personal OneDrive, doesn’t it?  The traditional ribbon is gone, and all of the actions that I can take when I select a document are more obvious to me.

Before I select any files, the only buttons at the top are New, Upload, Sync, and Alert me.

I click the ellipsis on the expenses spreadsheet, and the properties of it are shown on the right.  A scrollable preview is displayed, with information about the file (metadata) and an Edit all button that takes me to the old-school edit properties screen.


With the file selected, there are several simple buttons at the top.


Open – Choose open in Excel Online, or open in Excel

Share – Our familiar screen for sharing a document, and the Get a link screen is more understandable, with descriptions:


It isn’t really obvious what (created) means in these, though.  Once I create a sharing link, I can then set an expiration and even click to remove the link.  On the Shared with page, there’s a nice Stop Sharing button

Get a Link – This just takes me to the Get a link page on the Sharing screen.

Download – This directly downloads the file to my default downloads folder, without any confusing prompts asking me where to download it to.

Delete – Of course, sends the file to the recycle bin (which is a handy link on the left navigation now)

Pin – This one is interesting!  The file is pinned to the top of the document library, so it looks sort of like a web part of the file/document.  After you pin it, you can then use the same button to Unpin if you’d like.


Move to – Nice! Gives you a panel on the right, to quickly move the file to another folder in the same library.  You can even select multiple files and choose Move to or Copy to.


Moving on to views.  There is a little ellipsis on the far right of all of the columns in that library.  Click it to get to the Edit View Columns pane.  Definitely much more simplistic than views have ever been.


What about all the other views, and more settings?  Look at the top right corner.  If you don’t see this, it’s because you have one or more files selected.  Unselect them.



Okay where in the heck are the good old library settings?  Click the Settings Gear at the top right, where you’d usually go to get to site settings.


One more thing, the ellipsis on each file opens up the drop-down box with all of this:


How do you control all of this new look stuff?  Go to the library’s settings, and advanced settings, and look for this:


There is a lot of documentation on this, very detailed documentation on Microsoft’s site, that will help you with everything you need to do:

What is a document library?

Introduction to libraries

Switch the default for document libraries from new or classic

Add a link in a document library

Randy Drisgill’s Blog: SharePoint Online Doc Lib UI Update April 2016 – Impact on Custom Branding?

Mark Rackley’s Blog: Changes to SharePoint Online Document Libraries & What They Mean

Oh, and don’t forget, big announcements are coming up on May 4th this year!  You won’t want to miss it, so register here to here about THE FUTURE OF SHAREPOINT.


  • The Workflow buttons and custom actions disappear.

  • We are in the first release cycle. But when I change List experience to “New Experience” in Library Settings it doesn’t change Library look. Am i missing any settings ?

    • Hi Mumtaz, that must be a bug. Mine just appeared the new way after I clicked the blue “check it out” button you see in the first screenshot in this post. I didn’t have to do anything extra.

  • Laura,

    Thank You for your reply. I have one more question regarding document library permissions.

    How Can I assign permissions to users where they can open the document (excel/word forms), fill it in word/word online and print it out the filled copy but should not be able to save the document back to library.

    Thanks in advance

    • Ooh, that’s an interesting question. I think the “Read” permission would allow for that. Have you tried that one?

    • “Read” permission opens the document as read only but we want staff to fill documents online and email it to the supervisor from devices where they do not have microsoft office installed. If I set “Edit” permission that modifies the original documents.

    • You can use settings inside of word. Insert form fields or quick parts, and then use the document protection feature to make it so that all they can do is fill out form fields, and you can lock the rest with a password.

  • Matthew Collins

    Laura, thank you for the article. With the “Classic Experience” we have required metadata properties that have to be a applied to uploaded files. A dialog box appears and the end user completes the necessary fields, no harm no foul. The “New Experience” setting does not appear to support this feature. Are you aware of any workarounds to force the dialog box to appear in the new look?

    • Yes, the new experience does have metadata properties. When you select “properties” for any file, they appear in a pane on the right side of the screen.

  • Is there a way to rollback to classic style for all users? Through some script or GP?

  • Hi WonderLaura,
    As Matthew Collins mentioned earlier, when uploading a new document in the ‘New view’ you need to upload it and then modify the meta-data. This is easy enough for advanced users but for my more simple users I preferred the option of having it all in one place (upload and then select content-type and meta-data). I’ve had to switch several libraries back to ‘Classic view’ to overcome this.
    Do you know if it’s possible to have this functionality for uploads in the ‘New view’ of libraries?


  • Hi WonderLaura. I work a lot with libraries that require check in/out. In Classic view, I could select multiple files and there was a pull down that let me check them all in at once. Is there a way to check in multiple files at once with the New view?

  • Hi Laura, is there any way i can follow documents in the new document view ? is it a Microsoft issue ? i cant find the follow button anywhere in this new view.

  • Hi Laura, I have the same question. I can no longer check in / out multiple files at once.

  • I had issues trying to get to the document library settings in the new view. I had to click on the view options (top right) in the dropdown select last option “Edit current view”. On the pathway (top left) click back one step from “Settings > Edit View” by clicking on ‘Settings’ which took me to the page I wanted to view all the settings options. shivers……..

  • great stuff but have you ever seen where New Experience was set at site and library level but some users still only see classic view? they swear they didn’t select the option to view classic and I even cleared cookies/cache but still no New Experience for them… what to do?

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