Customising the App Launcher– Part Two–Custom Tiles.

Back in December I wrote about the ability to customise the App Launcher, or Waffle as it lovingly known. The options were relatively limited unless you built your own app in Azure and deployed it to the organisation. However one request came up again and again, the ability to create a shortcut tile to a specific site or location inside the Office 365 tenant. Imagine being able to have a dedicated waffle link for the Marketing site, or perhaps a dedicated link through to a specific PWA instance.

Well in the past few weeks, a new feature has been added to Office 365 to allow an admin to create a link that they can then push out to everyone in the organisation. The feature is a little hidden, but incredibly valuable. For this post, we are going to create a dedicated link to one of my Project Online instances in my tenant.

The first thing we need to do is navigate to the Office 365 Admin Portal.

Office 365 Admin Center

In the portal, choose COMPANY PROFILE. You will be presented with some information about your institution, however we want to pick the Custom Tiles option on the left hand side.

Choose custom tiles

In this page we can add new custom tiles for use in our Office 365 tenant. Click on the + to add a new one.

Click Add

To add the custom tile, all you need to do is fill in the relevant information. The only tricky one is the Image URL, which needs to be a image that everyone in your Office 365 tenant can see. In this case, reading the help can really pay off as it tells you the icon should be 50 x 50 pixels and stored in SharePoint Online. Specifically the help suggests putting the image in a team site and generating an anonymous guest link that you can put in the Image Url section.

Configure the tile

Once you’ve pressed save, the custom tile is now ready for your users to pick up. By default the tile won’t be displayed in the App Launcher, each user will have to click on the My Apps link.

Choose my apps

 

find the tile and then click on the … and add it to the launcher.

Our Tile!

And tada!!

Tada!

Customising the Nav Bar & App Launcher in Office 365

A while back Microsoft announced the release of the App Launcher in Office 365, also lovingly christened the Waffle by many due to it’s resemblance to the popular food. In the last few weeks the Waffle has started to appear across Office 365 tenants providing a much cleaner way of navigating to the various bits of Office 365 you care about.

The new app launcher

However, even with this cool new capability, I miss the old Projects and OneDrive links that used to be on the Navigation Bar and often find myself cursing having to go over to the top left and clicking on what I want.

Where is everything?

This weekend, I discovered that MS had indeed catered for this situation and have given the user the ability to pin items to the Nav Bar instead of having to access them through the Waffle.

To pin an item to the toolbar, click on the Waffle.

Click on the Waffle

Hover on the item you want to pin and then click on the ellipses and choose ‘Pin to Nav Bar’

Pin to the nav bar

Low and behold the item will now be available on the Nav bar.

Pinned Project Online

If you change your mind or make a mistake, you can remove the item from the nav bar by repeating the above and choosing Unpin from Nav bar.

Unpin from App Launcher

You’ll also notice from the screenshot above that you can also choose to remove items from the App Launcher completely to customise the launcher to only show the things you care about. Never fear if you accidently do this, you can always re-add the item by clicking on My Apps in the bottom right hand corner of the launcher to open up all the items you can add to the launcher. The name is a little confusing at the moment, as the apps displayed are more items in the Office 365 service with additional apps from partners and ISV’s coming in the future. None of your SharePoint apps you may already have installed are visible in here.

My Apps

Finally to add the item back to the app launcher, however on the item your interested in, click on the ellipses displayed and click on ‘Pin to App Launcher’’

Pin to App Launcher

Happy customising your Office 365 and Project Online Smile