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Migrating from SharePoint Classic to Modern UI, Part 2

Last week, we began to take a look at both Modern and Classic UIs for SharePoint and see whether you should make the jump. Today, we continue the conversation.

Team sites

Team and Communication sites are exclusive to the Modern UI. These sites use Office 365 Groups to simplify the permissions model, and as we said above, come with news, quick links, and site activity. This goes on top of being optimized for mobile devices (unlike Classic.)

Although there’s no direct mapping between features on Classic and Modern, administrators can connect a classic site to a group, and update the home page to Modern as well. Here’s how you can connect a classic SharePoint site to an Office 365 Group.

You can also have a Modern page with web parts and keep your classic site without adding a group. Just create a new modern page and set it as the home of the classic site you want to keep.

Communication sites

Also exclusive to Modern, Communication sites are places where you can share news, reports, statuses, and other information with your peers. Its purpose is similar to that of publishing sites, but Communication sites are easier to create and don’t rely on publishing site infrastructure.

Communication site

As with Team Sites, there’s no direct mapping to move publishing sites to communication sites. The Modern UI is also not enabled on the SharePoint publishing portal by default. If you’re ready to make the jump, learn more about Communication Sites here.

Pages and web parts

Easier-to-build, and faster responsive pages are another perk of the Modern Experience. It should come as no surprise that Modern pages use Modern web parts, which are designed to be easier to use, faster, and pleasing to look at—and there’s also no need to code. Unfortunately (and this is due security reasons,) Modern web parts don’t support the insertion of custom code, and modern web parts cannot be used on Classic pages unless a developer creates a custom web part for the Classic page.

For more information on web parts, see how you can use web parts on SharePoint online. And don’t forget to look at which web parts have the same purposes, as well as which are the most popular web parts being used.

Hub sites

Hub sites essentially come to replace site collections. Both tie several sites together with the same branding and navigation—except hubs have a flat structure rather than the collections’ hierarchical one. This makes Hubs more flexible when it comes to adding and removing sites from the hub. And, unlike with site collections, when you associate a site to a hub, it will automatically adopt the same branding as the hub site, as well as common navigation and a search function across all sites within the hub.

Once your admin enables the creation of Hub sites, you can gradually move into a hub structure. Read more on how to plan for SharePoint Hub sites.

Microsoft Flow

We’ve talked about the differences between Microsoft Flow and SharePoint Workflow before. Essentially, both tools automate business processes, with Flow giving you an easier time in automating these tasks.

By default, Flow comes integrated with the Modern Sharepoint lists and libraries. It’s fully integrated with Office 365, as well as third-party services like DropBox. The graphical interface makes for a more effortless experience, all while running on mobile.

However, SharePoint workflow requires SharePoint Designer or Visual Studio. Thus, automating processes with SharePoint Workflow may require you to invest in developers. Although not all SharePoint workflow actions are available in Flow, more are being added over time, as Designer is being phased out, and Flow is intended to replace it.


The Search function has received an overhaul as well. It now includes auto-complete, with the results updating as you type. These modern search boxes can be found on the SharePoint home page, communication sites, and modern team sites.

However, certain features found in the Classic UI search are different or not available in the Modern UI at the moment. You can learn which ones differ here.

Great! How can I move from Classic to Modern?

Unfortunately, there’s no direct way without using a multi-step code solution. While this is doable for IT Admins and developers, it’s not so for regular users. If you want the Modern experience, it’s recommended you gradually start planning for and creating Modern pages now.

Although there are some features and customizations that still only work in SharePoint’s Classic Library, the Modern UI will simplify a lot of things for you. So unless you absolutely can’t go without the additional features and customizations Classic offers, switching to the Modern experience is the better option.