Understanding Description Field in SharePoint: Top 7 Facts
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SharePoint Online
Oct 19, 2022 8:29 PM

Understanding Description Field in SharePoint: Top 7 Facts

by HubSite 365 about Ellen van Aken

Pro UserSharePoint OnlineLearning Selection

Unlock SharePoints potential: Learn how to effectively use the Description field for SEO optimization and targeted search results.

Unlocking Value from the Description Field in SharePoint Pages and News

Certain blogs highlight the usefulness of the Description field, a lesser-known feature of SharePoint pages and news. The author of one such blog, Ellen van Aken, advises creators to leverage this tool when creating new posts or pages on SharePoint.

Typically found by clicking on "Page Details", the Description field lies directly under the thumbnail of the header image on a freshly opened page. The position might require some scrolling for visibility, though. The field's primary function is automatically populating with an excerpt from the body text upon publishing, containing maximum 255 characters to provide a semantic summary.

Interestingly, the description can be altered post publishing, potentially for the two reasons which the text predominantly brings to light:

  • It uniquely adds context to the News web part in SharePoint-- for instance, editing your Description to provide a succinct abstract to your readers. The amount of content displayed depends on the web part configuration, such provide basis for better discoverability.
  • Moreover, it synthesizes navigation during Search operations- the Description text exposes around the searched keywords, thereby enhancing Search results. You can thus add important keywords or metadata to the Description, without crowding your title or body text.

However, the Description text isn't dynamic and doesn't adjust post-publication. Be aware, particularly if you edit the first paragraph of your post. A link to a post on SharePoint named 'Holmes and the not-so-dynamic Description' within the blog discusses this more. You can retain the original summary or update it with the new lead. Alternatively, replace it entirely with an abridged version of your post for immediate comprehension

Other uses include the representation of the Description in the SharePoint Newsletter beneath the title, and its asset to page templates regarding displayed content. It's vital to note the description is static-- it doesn’t change after you edit and republish. If you modify the first section of your post, be warned. You can keep the description, substitute it with the new introduction, or better yet, guise it with a summary of your post presenting the essence directly.

To sum up, the value of the Description field in Page Details goes beyond routine functionality. It can provide a one-liner introduction on SharePoint's News page or Newsletters, ensure the page or post shows up in Search results, and permit the addition of relevant keywords for better reach. More about SharePoint and its features can be discovered at this link.

Read the full article 7 things to know about the Description field in SharePoint pages and news

SharePoint Online - Understanding Description Field in SharePoint: Top 7 Facts

Learn about 7 things to know about the Description field in SharePoint pages and news

The Description field in SharePoint Online's pages and news feature is a multi-faceted tool that assists users in various ways. Amongst other things, it allows users to add metadata or tags to their posts or pages for better navigation and discoverability. However, there's more depth to the Description field than it appears to offer at first glance. Here are some key aspects to remember.

Firstly, the Description field sits near the top of the popup, below the thumbnail of the header image. You can find it by clicking on "Page Details" during or after the creation of a new post or page. The popup often opens somewhere in the middle, so you might need to scroll up to see it.

Another important characteristic is that the Description field auto-populates after publishing. Specifically, it fills up with the first 255 characters of the body text, informing you how many characters you are left with.

  • You can alter or remove the text after publishing, opening opportunities to refine the post. Given below are the reasons why you might want to do this.
  • The Description text will be visible in the News web part, therefore you might want to modify it to give a succinct summary to your readers.
  • The Description field is displayed in Search results, leading to more relevant search outcomes.
  • The Description text is searchable, allowing you to add keywords or metadata to it without needing to include them in the title or body of the post or page.
  • The Description doesn't dynamically adjust when you modify your post after publication. You can leave the description as is, replace it with the new introduction or give a summary of your post.
  • The Description also features in the Newsletter, giving your audience a better context about the post or title.
  • The Description is vital for choosing the correct template, especially for page templates as its content is shown in the dialog for selecting a template for editors.

The aforementioned points emphasize the utility of the Description field in SharePoint Online pages and news. It not only contributes to enhancing Search results and providing a brief of your news post, but does much more. So, conscious usage of this field can yield desirable results, whether it's providing a one-sentence summary of your news post, making the post easier to find in Search results, or linked to a specific project or topic without overusing a keyword. If you have any other scenarios where the Description field comes handy or you utilize it in a unique way, we'd love to hear about it!

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