SharePoint Online- Enable New Modern experience on root site collection

I really enjoy the new Modern experience of SharePoint Online communication sites; however, this requires creating a new SharePoint Online site collection at /sites/new site for the path. The client requested to have the root site branded with the Modern experience. However, while I was able to get the page to appear as the modern experience, I could not match it to the new modern communication sites template 100%. Please post any comments if you have any suggestions to convert the root site to match the communication site look and feel.

SharePoint Online Admin center settings

In the SharePoint Online Admin Center, make sure these settings are all default:

SharePoint Lists and Libraries experience

New experience (auto detect)

SharePoint Online root site settings

Next, navigate to your root site,

Note how the Modern Experiences is only enabled on lists and libraries by default now days:

To create your first modern page, go to your Pages library. From here, you can create a new “Site Page” which contains all of the new modern page experiences:

Now you can add modern web parts, edit layouts, etc.:

Once finished, publish the page.

Setting modern page as homepage

Go to the pages library, then set the new modern page you published as the homepage by clicking “Make homepage”:

Removing left Quick Launch navigation, attempting to match a classic site to a modern communication site (fail)

The page is now modern, but the quick launch is showing. Modern communication sites do not have this.

This is not easy, unless you want to cheat with CSS. But my goal is to replicate the OOTB new Modern communication site experience on classic pages.

I compared the Site Features between a Classic site and a New Modern Communication Site:

The classic site has the following Site Features activated:

Classic Feature


Getting Started


Mobile Browser View


SharePoint Server Enterprise Site features


SharePoint Server Publishing


SharePoint Server Standard Site features


Site Feed


Site Notebook


Team Collaboration Lists


Wiki Page Home Page



Maybe some of these features are the culprit, but nothing stood out.

When I compared the navigation, I found that the Communication sites use Current navigation across the top.

I thought this can be set by swapping the masterpage from “Seattle” to “Oslo” on the Classic site, but it did not affect the modern page I created on the classic site. Crazy.

I also noticed there is no Full Width web part on the modern experience:

So as close as you can get it OOTB is:

Closing thoughts

If anyone knows how to move the left Quick Launch to under the Site title to match the Communication site template, let me know. Also post any comments about other differences you find between the Modern page on a classic site vs the new Modern communication sites (aside from the O365 group).


2 thoughts

  1. also, when you set a Modern page as the home page on the root site collection, your search (on the quick launch) only searches within the root site and not across the site collection. So Strange that Microsoft would let us create all of the Modern subsites but leave us with a Classic only home. It’s like they are working from the bottom up.

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