Provision O365 Groups with custom SharePoint site template possible?

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While traditional team sites can be provisioned using a customized self-service site provisioning wizard to create a customized team sites (e.g. with custom home page, doclibs, lists, folder structure etc), can do the same with the Office 365 Groups' modern team site? Like to seek what's the best practice if we want to do this. Thank you!


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Hi this should be possible aldo i never done it. Curious going to find it out real soon as i am going to provision groups and sites using pnp

No, this is currently not possible...every Group Site uses the same site template. However, this is going to change in the future when we have the ability to attach a Group to an existing SPO site.

Hi Juan Carlos,

Do you know when this feature will arrive?



No ETA defined yet, but we should have this feature before the end of the year

I tried to use this to save a list as a template for groups but didn't work.


Has anyone else tried it? 

Vital for one use I have. At a town council every single document is associated with a meeting date (nothing can be done by a council without a meeting and votes) so we need to add a meetingdate column to every document library there is - incredibly tedious with every single group in its own site. Even the ability to have something like site columns without templates would help.


I would like to do something similar, have additional columns in the document library for allocation and categorisation purposes.  Did you find out if this was possible?

At the moment, you will need to build a provisioning solution using either custom code using CSOM and the PnP or Flow and the Microsoft Graph API. Using either of these methods, you can build your own group request form and then control the creation process and provision site assets like content types, columns and lists. I got POC working using Flow and the Graph API to create the group but haven't got to configuring the created site yet.
The other option coming up is the use of a Site Design that is defined in JSON with all the attributes mentioned in this conversation, this was announced at Ignite in a session on the theming of sites.

Hi Alan,


Do you have any more information on this? I'm looking to hook into the automatic group site creation process to apply a custom template, whether the group site is created via SharePoint, or from O365 / Outlook. Sounds like you've poc'd this, and I'd love to learn more about how you did it.



If you are in Targetted release you can now use the new Site Design scripts, and customise the default templates as per :-


Thanks Stephen. That's exactly what I was looking for, with one exception. While this is possible when creating team sites from SharePoint, is there any way to apply this to sites that are automatically created when creating a new group elsewhere, such as Outlook? SharePoint automatically creates a new team site for this group, but doesn't provide the option to chose a template, so I'm wondering if I can tap into a webhook, or how I would be able to apply this to that scenario. Any info is appreciated!



The documentation says you can update the default design for team site template, I havent tested it but it would certainly seem reasonable that it should apply if that was created from other workloads.

Same thing can be done through remote provisioning...indeed remote provisioning is much more powerful to extend an existing SPO Site (no matter the template of from where it was created) compared with what you can do Today with Site Scripts....Although I'm expecting that in the future there will be a parity between both approaches

Yes, but you need to know to trigger it. Site Designs apply automatically, you can even use them to trigger a Flow that could then use the SharepPoint PnP Powershell to customise the site further than is possible in Site Designs.

I have a related requirement (I think) which I'm hoping for some advice with (I'm no SP expert).


I have found it extremely useful to configure a label called {Version} against the Document Content Type in a SP document library such that I can then expose this as a QuickPart in a Word document.  This works like a charm in the Team Site document library created automatically when I originally subscribed to O365 a few years ago.  It allows me to display the SP document version number in the Word document itself, and is automatically updated.


I then found Office365 Groups extremely useful for external client projects - it provides an email address the client can use to contact the team, a document library, a calendar etc.  However, the document library that is created by default with a site created with an O365 Group differs from my Team Site doc library, and indeed from one which I get when I create a sub-site from that Team Site in Sharepoint directly.  Specifically, under "General Settings" the former is missing Metadata navigation settings and Per-location view settings (no drama there), but critically, under "Permissions and Management", there is no link to "Information management policy settings", which is what I used to add the label to the Document content type.


Not even vaguely knowledgable about Sharepoint as you can probably tell, but this little feature (to expose the Sharepoint version number in a Word doc) is invaluable and it's extremely frustrating not to be able to get it to work in Group site document libraries.  Might this be solved by applying a different template to the default site that's created with the group as detailed in your blog?






@Steven Collier I've answered my own question by further exploration of the myriad settings pages, and a bit of more targeted Googling.


Site Collection Features -> Site Policy -> activate.  The "Information management policy settings" link then appears in the library settings in my Group site Document Libraries and I can enable labels, and the magic {Version} label and expose the SP doc version in Word.  


Now I just need to tinker with the level at which I can apply this so it automatically works on any new doc library that gets created anywhere in my O365 world.


Further update if it's of interest - I found that I couldn't apply this label to the site collection itself - it seems that it only decodes the {Version} label correctly when you apply the policy to a content type within a doc library.  I get an identical page from "Site Content Types" in the top level Site Settings page for the Group Site Collection, but when I try to apply the {Version} label it tells me "The label reference, Version, could not be found." 


I'm sure there is a solution with templates but for now I can live with applying this change to each doc library when I create them.


Through this exercise I also learned that each Office365 Group creates an entire site collection, and that site collection is outside the scope of the "Site Collections" view in Sharepoint admin.  


I am frankly astonished that MS has managed to make this whole thing work so satisfactorily, in the main.  It strikes me that the complexity of integrating all these products together in a self-managed environment is staggering.  Easy to criticise - it is frustrating, for example, that I have nowhere to look for ALL SP site collections as an administrator, but one has to be impressed by the sheer will and effort that's gone into all these things.   Would be nice, though, if they could make Group sites default to the correct locale settings...


@Nick Handel wrote

... Through this exercise I also learned that each Office365 Group creates an entire site collection, and that site collection is outside the scope of the "Site Collections" view in Sharepoint admin.  

You can now see those site collections that have been created for a Group in the new Admin Centre. I have it in Preview and it is looking good.