Adding a mini news feed (for example in a sidebar) to your SharePoint 2013 page is incredibly easy, and can be achieved using a custom list and a Content Query web part.
First off, let’s create the list. Go to the site on which you want to display the news feed, and create a Custom List in Site Contents. For my example, I named the list News and gave it the following columns:
|Headline||Single line of text (plain text)|
|Summary||Multiple lines of text (plain text)|
|Article||Multiple lines of text (enhanced rich text)|
|Thumbnail URL||Single line of text (plain text)|
This list will hold the entries that will display on the news feed. You can feel free to add additional columns that will give you greater control over what content from the list is actually shown on the site, such as dates, archive flags, and so on, but for the purpose of this example I’m going to keep it simple and display everything from the list.
One thing to note regarding the thumbnail URL – the Content Query web part doesn’t allow resizing of the images that are displayed, so, short of CSS hacks, you will need to ensure your thumbnails are all the same dimensions, at least in width. I find that 100 x 100 pixels thumbnails work nicely and give a decent amount of space for a short summary.
With that in mind, go ahead and add some sample content into the list. Keep the summary short, maybe two or three sentences, and once you have a few entries in the list let’s move on to adding and configuring the Content Query web part.
Add the Content Query web part to the page on which you want to display the news feed. If you’re using a column layout, this mini feed looks best on one of the sides, with around a 300 pixel width. With the web part added, go into edit mode and under Appearance, specify Yes for fixed width and set it to 300 pixels. If not already set, change Chrome Type to None.
Pulling the content from the Custom List is done in the Query section of the edit dialog. Select |Show items from the following list”, and browse for the list you just created. After you have selected the list, scroll down to the bottom of the Query section and expand the Presentation subsection, and feel free to customise the grouping and sort order. I personally leave grouping alone and sort items by Created in descending order. Set a limit if you want the mini feed to only display up to a certain number of items. Further down, make sure “Item style” is set to “Image on left”.
Before finishing, we need to configure the columns. In the “Fields to display” section, enter “ThumbnailURL;” for Image, “Headline;” for Title, and “Summary;” for Description. Do not include the quotes, but remember to put a semicolon at the end.
That’s it! Save the changes to the web part, and save the page, and enjoy your new mini feed.
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