Office 365

SharePoint Online introduces the Touch Design mobile experience

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Mark Kashman (@mkashman) is a senior product manager on the SharePoint team.

With the new SharePoint we brought important innovations for how users interact with SharePoint sites and content on mobile devices: contemporary views, device channels, and new native apps (SkyDrive Pro apps and SharePoint Newsfeed apps). From the start, touch has been a key area of investment across all of the products in the new Office, and SharePoint is no exception. Now we’re making SharePoint even more touch friendly.

The new Touch Design mobile pages enhance the touch experience of two core SharePoint components, SkyDrive Pro and Sites. Now, when you access SharePoint Online from smaller devices-from 11-inch screens down to 4-inch-you have a new app-like experience that enables you to work your best with your documents and team sites.

Office 365 business users will see the new Touch Design pages over the next few week as we roll out worldwide.

The Touch Design view of “my documents” in SkyDrive Pro on an 11-inch touch tablet device.

Backstage of the Touch Design experience on a 11-inch screen showing navigation access to Office 365 tiles.

See the lists of supported mobile device browsers in SharePoint 2013.

Let’s take a closer look at how the Touch Design pages work.

SharePoint Online and the new Touch Design experience

Touch Design creates new and improved mobile browser views and experiences for SkyDrive Pro and Sites in Office 365. The app-like design, with documents displayed as big touchable tiles on the screen, was first introduced with the recently announced OWA for iPhone and iPad. With the new Touch Design pages in SkyDrive Pro and Sites, you touch tiles to view your documents, documents shared with you, or documents you follow. You can also open documents or share the URL of a document with other users using touch.

After reviewing a document or site, the next action you might want to take is share. So we made it super easy to share documents. To share a document, simply tap the share icon in the upper right (as pictured below), and then enter the recipient’s email address, the level of access (view or edit) you want to provide, and whether you require sign-in. This is the same external sharing process that has been of great value to Office 365 customers since we launched Office 365.

You can share a document (internally or externally) from the backstage view in Touch Design. To open the backstage, tap the ellipsis next to the document.

The new Touch Design pages will load by default on most devices. If you’re working on a Surface or other Windows tablet, Windows Phone, an iPhone or iPad, or an Android phone or tablet, when you land on SkyDrive Pro or Sites, the new Touch Design interface automatically appears.


Once signed in, you can switch between SkyDrive Pro and Sites by tapping the navigation icon in the bottom left corner of the page. You may also see tiles for other components of Office 365 you subscribe to: mail, calendar, and contacts.

Tap the icon in the lower left to access the backstage, which shows tiles you can tap to reach SkyDrive Pro or Sites.

Touch Design scales to smaller devices

Touch Design was developed to scale to the optimal experience on smaller devices, from 11-inch devices down to 4-inch screens. The user experience is exactly the same for pages displayed on devices smaller than 11 inches as it is for pages displayed on 11-inch devices, which we described above. You have the same access to your documents and sites on smaller devices, too.

Here’s how Touch Design looks like on a 4-inch screen when you perform four common actions.

Backstage of the Touch Design experience on a 4-inch screen showing navigation access to Office 365 tiles.  After clicking into the SkyDrive Pro tile, you see a “shared with me” documents pivot.

After clicking into the SkyDrive Pro tile, you see a “followed” documents pivot.  After clicking into the Sites tile, you see a list of sites you’re following.

You are more mobile than ever

Today’s announcement brings greater touchability to core SharePoint destinations in Office 365-SkyDrive Pro and Sites-across your devices. And there’s more to come. Fingers ready…set…GO!


–Mark Kashman, @mkashman


Q:  Which Office 365 plans will receive the new Touch Design mobile pages?

A:  The new Touch Design mobile pages are now available for all Office 365 for business users. Specifically, these plans are: Office 365 Small Business (P1), Office 365 Small Business Premium (P2), Office 365 Midsize Business, Office 365 Enterprise E1, E3, and E4, Office 365 Education A2, A3, and A4, Office 365 government G1, G3, and G4, and Office 365 Enterprise E3 for Nonprofits.

Q. Does this announcement apply to Office 365 dedicated subscribers?

A. No. The Office 365 dedicated plans are not receiving this same update at this time, because they are managed in a unique, isolated infrastructure.

Q. Does this announcement apply to customers who have deployed SharePoint 2013 on-premises?

A. No. This update applies only to the Office 365 service instance of SharePoint Online.

  1. vidura.liyanage

    What will happen to Yammer or SharePoint newsfeed in this new mobile experience?

    • Mark Kashman User">

      See reply to SPEelco above.

  2. Kevin Crossman

    Great news (would be helpful if "SkyDrive" on that big icon was labeled "SkyDrive Pro" though, we still have lots of confusion with our users about these two similarly named services).

    After you click on the Sites list, and then click on one of the sites, does the UI for those sites change at all after this update? Or is the same contemporary view (for phones) and standard UI (for tablets)?

    • Mark Kashman User">

      It is the SharePoint 2013 Contemporary View.

  3. Kevin Crossman

    Yeah, where’s Newsfeed?

    • Mark Kashman User">

      See replay to SPEelco above.

  4. Great news. Thanks for your continued development on making SPO even better on all mobile devices. This is an area of great interest for many of our customers.

    • Mark Kashman User">

      Great to hear, Jesper. Drop us a line with what your customers think. We’re eager to know. Until then, touch away…

  5. Frederic Forest

    Looking forward to tyring it.

    • Mark Kashman User">

      Let us know once you do.

  6. Looking forward to it. Also wondering what’s in for the newsfeed/Yammer options.

    • Mark Kashman User">

      We certainly are planning more breadth to the Touch Design experience. We don’t have anything specific about the Newsfeed/Yammer experience in this area to share today. But we are interested in your thoughts as you shared, and layer on more if you have it like a Seven-Layer Dobos Torte.

      • Kevin Crossman

        I can appreciate the difficulty of the Newsfeed/Yammer question, politically. And I’d be foolish to believe there wasn’t any sort of strategy tax anywhere.

        That said, if Newsfeed is invoked there really should be a way to get to it from the Touch interface, like you can today from the desktop UI. As for the UI if less time is spent there "touching it up" then that’s okay.

  7. DarrellCWebster

    Good job Team SharePoint. Will you be adding the new Get-a-Link to the touch sharing choices?

    • Mark Kashman User">

      Good feedback – consider it passed along. We do have sharing built in to the Touch Design experience. And we do tap into the real external sharing plumbing if a site collection has external sharing enabled.

  8. Can’t wait to see the Yammer interface!

  9. rao_aravin

    how does this work and how is it advantageous , can someone explain in detail plzz

  10. Anshul_Shrivastava

    Looks great Mark!

    I tried it on an IPad, but did not see. I guess not yet rolled out to my tenant (as you indicated "over the next few week as we roll out worldwide").

    Eager to see and subsequently show this to my customers!

    The pace of releases at O365 is awesome! Way to go!

  11. Seems to work ok, until you attempt to use the email client on the android browser. The email client looks just like the old email client and you lose the ability to navigate back to the touch interface. Also, if you attempt to use the touch navigation interface in another tab while the email client is open, the email client style overrides the touch interface and you get the old hyperlink navigation interface.

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