You may or may not have noticed a star near the top right of any SharePoint team or communication site that you have navigated to in SharePoint Online. Over the years there have been various versions of this kind of favoriting and follow feature, so why would you want to follow a specific site in your environment now?
Quicker Access to Followed Sites in Office Products
One of my favorite benefits of following a site is that it makes saving files easier. When you are in the Office products like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. you will see the sites you follow right away once you select that you intend to save the file in a Site within your Microsoft 365 tenant. If you are using the client application, you will luckily also see those sites you frequent even if you don’t follow them yet. Please note that it can take up to a day after a new site is created for these programs to pick up on them and show the site in your saved options.
This is the main reason I not only follow sites, but also eventually un-follow sites I no longer need, such as completed project sites, so that my saved to list is my most active sites.
Word – Client App
Word – Web App
Followed Sites Get a Boost in Your Search Results
When searching for content in SharePoint, the Office 365 landing page, or Delve, the sites that you follow are given priority over other sites you have access to but do not follow. Microsoft has never shared the exact ‘secret sauce’ of the search algorithm, but we know some of the things that affect it, and followed sites is one of them.
Copy or Move Files Quickly Between Sites
While you can browse for any site that you have access to when using the Copy or Move commands in SharePoint, the sites which you follow will be much quicker to get to. The sites you follow show up in the ‘Quick Access’ area as shown below in the new layout of the ‘Move/Copy to’ screen that launched March 2022.
Followed Sites Appear in Personalized Navigation Areas
Finally, if you use the SharePoint Start page to help you navigate to your SharePoint related content, then having the sites that you follow and frequent quickly at hand can be quite useful.
About the Author
Productivity Analyst II
Sarah has been working with SharePoint for the last 15 years starting with SharePoint 2007 and now working with SharePoint Online and related Microsoft 365 tools. She works directly with clients to help them get business value out of SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Office 365 Groups, and OneDrive. She loves to work with site owners to plan, organize and build areas for team collaboration and focused communication.