Tech

First Touches of SharePoint Spaces Preview

SharePoint Spaces – a new feature introduced back in 2018 is now available in preview on SharePoint Online. Spaces brings in mixed-reality experiences and possibilities to interact with content using mixed reality headsets. You can also look around and interact with Spaces without any headset, currently a mouse is preferred.

What is a SharePoint Space?

When new Space is created, it opens up a blank 3D canvas. Same saving, discard changes and publishing actions are available as on other modern pages. Save as template is not currently working with Spaces and it creates a standard modern page template.

Expand button on the right hides navigations and site header.

Headset button is found on the bottom right corner to open up Space in MR headset.

Space design

Space design panel

From Space design panel you can change name, description and structure of the Space, choose 360° background image from, a color or Custom 360° file and add a welcome audio message and select an ambient sound or bring your own audio file.

Create you own 360° background and add it to Space

You can create your own 360° images or background to Spaces easily. I used Google’s Street View app on Android to create a photosphere image, uploaded it to SharePoint site and just added it as background on Space.

Custom 360° background

Now, I have calming nearby forest as a space.

What can be added to Space?

Currently there are nine Spaces web parts available, which can be added to Space. You can start adding a web part to your Space by clicking + sign on top left corner of your space.

Spaces Web Parts

You can drag you web part anywhere on your Space, and resize and rotate them freely, also 2D web parts. More settings are available on edit icon underneath, and web part can be removed from recycle bin icon.

360° Image

Objects are also actionable, and there slightly different action on different objects. For example for 360° Image object trigger (left click) opens 360 image for viewing. With additional actions you can add link to another space, play audio file or link to a page or list item on SharePoint.

Actions

3D object can be picked for closer inspection and rotate them freely. There is a 3D catalog with lots of objects available, even found a Surface Pro with exact same setup like I have.

Surface Pro from 3D catalog

There are also animated 3d objects in the catalog.

3D catalog

Video web part is currently supporting video files inside your organization’s SharePoint, it would be nice to have Microsoft Stream as an option too.

Activating and Creating Spaces

SharePoint Spaces can be activated on modern sites by activating a “Spaces (Preview)” feature on site features.

After feature is actived, new Space can be created just like creating a new page or news post, and selecting “Space (Preview)”.

Just give it a name, optional description and select structure from four available options.

Creating new Space

After that you can start exploring!

Space Ideas

Where could you use Space in your organization?

  • Office virtual tours, for example adding a lobby as a starting Space and linking other spaces and 360° Images for other spaces in your office. Have an introduction videos for general practises and guidances, and some help texts on the way to tell people where everything is.
  • On-boarding process for new employees, including important documents, people and introduction videos. Introducing people with people web part, which displays browsable organization hierarchy.
  • Visual team introduction with people, roles and some fun facts.
  • Product info with documentation, links, demo videos and responsible people
  • Fun stuff, for example from company events and get togethers.

I didn’t have a mixed reality headset available for testing. Having a headset will definitely open up new possibilities for utilizing Spaces. Once I get a proper headset in my hands, I’ll write more about my experiences.

But so far this is looking and feeling good!

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