Feature Pack 1- Create App Launcher Custom Tiles In SharePoint Server 2016

In this article, you will learn about Feature Pack 1 and how to create app launcher custom tiles in SharePoint Server 2016.

SharePoint 2016 App Launcher provides Out of the Box tiles which take the users  to their respective pages upon clicking them. By default, there are only 3 tiles in the On Premise version - for Newsfeed, OneDrive and Sites.

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However, if you can configure Hybrid Team Sitesyou will get an extensible app launcher which contains Delve and Video Tiles from Office 365. Moreover, if there are any custom tiles defined in Office 365 App Launcher, they will also be synced with SharePoint Server 2016. These custom tiles however could not be edited from On Premise as it comes directly from Office 365. With Feature Pack1, a solution to this problem has been delivered to SharePoint 2016. We can now create Custom Tiles in SharePoint Server 2016 as well.

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Feature Pack is an innovative step taken by Microsoft to add new features to SharePoint Product line which were not really announced as part of the initial Product release. Earlier a new feature made its way to SharePoint only as part of Product Launch which happened in 3 year intervals. SharePoint Team will now be taking feed back and new features will be deployed as feature packs to SharePoint Server at regular intervals. This will keep SharePoint Server updated with new Cloud features introduced in SharePoint Online.

As promised, Feature Pack 1 aka November 2016 CU for SharePoint Server 2016 has been made publicly available on November 8. The build number for this release is 16.0.4456.1002.

You can download the Feature Pack 1 from here . Once you have installed the Feature Pack, let’s try to set up Custom Tiles. The custom tile feature is not enabled by default. To enable the feature, we have to do the below steps.

Enable Custom Tile Creation

Spin up SharePoint 2016 Management Shell as Administrator.

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We will have to first check if the Custom Tiles Feature is available in the Farm. In order to do that run the below command.

Get-SPFeature -Identity CustomTiles

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Once you have confirmed the Custom Tiles Feature availability, run the below command to enable Custom Tiles

Enable-SPFeature -Identity CustomTiles -Url "http://vm03-sp2016" -Force

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This will create a hidden list which will act as the configuration list for SharePoint 2016 Custom Tiles. The list will be located at the location http://WebApplication/Lists/Custom Tiles

Create Custom Tile

Let’s head over to the Custom Tiles List:

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Here we can create new custom tiles and add the information by clicking on new item. Fill up the below values for the List Column

  • Title
    Custom Tile Title

  • Tile Order
    The order in which it will come up in the app launcher

  • Url
    The Redirection URL for the Custom Tile

  • IconUrl
    The icon that will be used for the Custom Tile

  • Audiences
    The custom tile can be targeted for a specific audience (Group/user)

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Click on Save to update the Custom Tile.

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The Custom Tile will not come up in the App Launcher instantaneously due to caching design. It might take up to 24 hours for it to come up. However if you want it to come up as soon as you create it, you can run ClearSuiteLinksCache() command in the developer’s browser console which you can get by pressing F12. Add the command and press Enter .

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Now heading over to the App launcher, we can see the custom tile available.

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Clicking on it will navigate to the redirection URL which was specified in the List Item.

Summary

Thus we saw how to create a Custom Tile in SharePoint Server 2016 using the newly released Feature Pack 1.