A Basic Guide to Site Templates in SharePoint Online

Topics: SharePoint Online, SharePoint Site, SharePoint Blog

Written by Quentin Russell

SharePoint Online is a powerful, multifaceted tool that can help companies with a wide variety of business activities. One of the primary ways it enables users is through the use of SharePoint sites. SharePoint Online sites are powerful, but they can be difficult to use if you're not sure what you're doing. That's why Microsoft offers SharePoint users a wide range of pre-built site templates that they can use without having to make too many adjustments.


While some templates are self-explanatory, some site templates can be a bit harder to understand. That's why we've put together a handy guide to the different kinds of site templates in SharePoint Online. With that said, let's take a look at the different types of SharePoint Online site templates.


Team Sites

A SharePoint team site is a type of site template that allows teams to stay connected to the content, information, and applications they use on a daily basis. You can use this to store and collaborate on files or create and manage lists of information. Using a home page, you can view links to important team files, apps, and web pages as well as seeing recent site activity in the activity feed. There are two kinds of team sites in SharePoint Online.

1 - Modern Team Site

A Modern team site in SharePoint Online is a team site that uses Modern pages for its UI. Modern pages feature Office 365 Groups integration which allows users to create calendar lists, tasks lists, announcement lists and more while still having access to SharePoint Online's content storage and management. Modern team sites offer you the fully integrated Modern SharePoint Online experience.

2 - Classic Team Site

A Classic team site in SharePoint Online is a team site that uses Classic pages for its UI. This is the old-fashioned way of using SharePoint Online that has been available since it first launched. While classic sites have their uses, most SharePoint experts recommend modernizing classic team sites in SharePoint Online as Modern team sites offer a far more superior experience.


Blog Site

A blog site in SharePoint Online is a type of site template that can be used to quickly and effectively share information within a company. Users can create and catalog announcements, ideas, observations, expertise, and more. These operate much like a normal blog, but instead of being shared with the rest of the world, you're only sharing information with people within your business. These are great for making internal announcements and providing updates on company events.


Project Site

A project site in SharePoint Online is a type of site template that can be used to effectively manage projects. While project sites function like team sites, a project site comes with a Projects Summary web part that is connected to a default Task list. This makes it so that items added to the task list are automatically displayed in the Project Summary. This makes it super easy to track your progress and visualize the timeline of the projects you are working on.


Community Site

A community site is a type of site template in SharePoint Online that provides users a space to discuss different assorted topics. These act as discussion boards where users can comment on different threads and then access them later for review. Posts are categorized so users have the ability to go back through and search for old posts that they may want to reference later. Community sites are great for discussing projects and brainstorming new ideas.


Document Center Site

A document center site is a type of site template in SharePoint Online that allows you to manage a large number of documents. Users can upload and access documents quickly and easily. This allows you to build a large knowledge base wiki that you can customize for your needs. A document center site in SharePoint Online has the potential to hold up to 10 million files, meaning that it should easily be able to work for you.


Records Center Site

A records center site is a type of site template in SharePoint Online that allows you to organize, store, and manage different types of records. These generally focus on essential legal and financial documents. This site supports the whole record management process from collection, to management, to disposition. A records center site is great for companies that want to make sure that their important records are organized and easy to find.

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Business Intelligence (BI) Center Site

A business intelligence center site is a type of site template in SharePoint Online that allows companies to store, manage, share, and view business reports, scorecards, and dashboards. A BI center site comes with pre-built lists and libraries designed specifically for business intelligence content, sample files, and links to helpful information about BI tools. This is great for companies that need up to date reports of what their ongoing business activities.


Search Center (Enterprise or Basic) Site

A search center site is a type of site template that allows users to search the site and view search results. This is usually the top-level site of a site collection that an administrator creates. By default, SharePoint Online comes with a Basic Search Center site. However, you can replace your basic site with an Enterprise Search Center site that allows you to customize how users use the site to search.


Publishing Site

A publishing site is a type of site template in SharePoint Online that allows companies to build enterprise intranets, communication portals, and public websites (in SharePoint Server). A publishing site makes it easy to work through the page authoring, approving, and publishing process. By using this template you gain access to page layouts, column types, web parts, lists, and document/image libraries for storing web publishing assets.


Publishing Site with Workflow

A publishing site with workflow is a type of site template in SharePoint Online that allows you to publish pages on a schedule using approval workflows. You can include document/image libraries for storing web publishing assets. Using this template, a publishing approval workflow will automate the routing of content for review and approval. This makes it so that publishing new or updated pages it highly controlled. No new content is able to be published until it has been approved by those designated by the workflow.


Enterprise Wiki

An enterprise wiki is a type of site template in SharePoint Online that makes it easy to share and update large amounts of information across your whole company. This template can be used as a central repository for all of your business's knowledge including tutorials, handbooks, and employee guides. This is a great tool for promoting internal learning and sharing tips among teammates which can help reduce the need for more formal training procedures and practices.



SharePoint Online is a powerful tool that any company can benefit from. With the different types of site templates that are offered, all kinds of users can get started making their SharePoint Online investment work for them.

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