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SharePoint Online tenant-level classic mode is passing away – be aware


Delivering SharePoint modern experiences

This week Microsoft posted a blog called ‘Delivering SharePoint modern experiences‘. The title itself may not ring a bell directly and big chance you missed the interesting announcement made in this blog:
"We’re making it easier for users to get to our latest feature updates. Starting April 1, 2019, it will no longer be possible to restrict an entire organization (tenant) to classic mode for lists and libraries."
So what does this mean for your organisation?

I have customisations or use functionalities which are not supported yet in modern list and libraries

Ok, so in the past you have created some customisations. You have created some custom ribbon actions, you use Document sets or calendar views. Because your organisation uses this in many sites, you have decided to turn off the modern lists and libraries experience at tenant level and use 1 experience, the classic experience. This way your customisations can still be used and users get 1 experience.
Tenant level switch in the SharePoint Admin center for lists and libraries experience
Well in this case, starting at April 1, 2019 this tenant level option is switched off by Microsoft and you will get the modern experience everywhere. EVERYWHERE? Well…lists and libraries using customisations which are not supported or uses views which are not supported, will switch back automatically to the classic experience. This means your users will end up in a mixed experience mode. In some libraries they will have the modern experience and in some the classic one. Be aware of this and inform your users about this change if it affects your organisation.

So now what?

As stated in the blog post, if you still want to restrict users to the classic experience, you have several tools to help you:
  • Identify the impact. The SharePoint Modernization scanner identifies sites and lists that have customizations that are not supported by modern UI.  Although many of these lists will automatically remain in classic mode even after this change, you may wish to keep some sites running entirely in classic to avoid users switching between different experience modes within a single site.
  • Disable modern experience for specific site collections. Administrators can use a PowerShell script to enable or disable the modern experience for a single site collection or for a list of site collections as provided by the SharePoint Modernization scanner.  Alternately, users can still use the “return to classic” option on modern views of lists or libraries to temporary return to classic, and list owners can use List Settings to configure that list to use the classic experience for all users.


Microsoft is pushing us more and more in the direction of modern experiences. For lists and libraries the tenant switch to use the classic experience for lists and libraries will be removed and will be set by default to modern experience. This will really help in getting users to use the modern experience. But what if you are not ready yet? Identify the impact using tools Microsoft delivers. Worst case you will have to use some PowerShell scripts to turn back the lists and libraries classic mode at site or list/library level. The scripts are also delivered by Microsoft. Be aware!