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First published on TECHNET on May 08, 2018
Hello All,

Did this research for a customer and wanted to put it here for you and myself...

As we had discussed to be able to create a custom Site Collection template there are a few steps you need to consider after you perform ‘Save as Template’. As well I have added a second method for consideration.

Method #1

Create your Template by ‘Save as Template’, then edit the solution so that you can change it from Sandbox solution to a Farm solution.

NOTE: A little bit of information about Site Templates https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/general-development/save-download-and-upload-a-s... , this method does not work in O365.

How to manually edit a SharePoint wsp file
https://academy.bindtuning.com/how-to-manually-edit-a-sharepoint-wsp-file/

SharePoint 2010 and web templates      (This is true for SP2016)
https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/vesku/2010/10/14/sharepoint-2010-and-web-templates/

How to Build a Site Collection Template from A Web Template in SharePoint 2010
https://whitepages.unlimitedviz.com/2010/10/how-to-build-a-site-collection-template-from-a-web-t...

Method #2

Instead of creating separate templates for different functionalities you can create an add-in to run and add the desired objects ie List or WebPart.  I recommend you start with this article to understand the basics, then you can start digging into the articles below.

NOTE: This method is supported in O365.

SharePoint Add-ins compared with SharePoint solutions
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/general-development/sharepoint-add-ins-compared-...

SharePoint Add-ins
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/sp-add-ins/sharepoint-add-ins

Get started creating SharePoint-hosted SharePoint Add-ins
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/sp-add-ins/get-started-creating-sharepoint-hoste...

SharePoint List in SharePoint hosted Add-in
https://www.sharepoint-journey.com/sharepoint-list-in-sharepoint-hosted-add-in.html
Pax