Personalize team sites in Office 365 and amplify teamwork using MS Teams and Office 365 Groups

Published 05-16-2017 10:10 AM 46.6K Views

At work, people often participate across five or more groups. It becomes important for everyone involved to streamline their efforts and stay on the same page. With SharePoint team sites connected to Office 365 groups, every group gets a team site, and team sites you create from SharePoint home in Office 365 create a connected group. Over the last year, we modernized SharePoint team sites to increase usability. Today we announced additional enhancements that further unify collaboration experiences in Office 365, including the ability to:


  • Amplify your news and information via integration with Microsoft Teams & Office 365 Groups. (coming soon)
  • Personalize your team home page and site throughout with new theming and templating options. (coming this Summer)
  • Connect existing team sites to Office 365 Groups to standardize membership management and bring additional capabilities inline like the group’s calendar, Planner, and conversation. (coming later this year)

To view more of what team sites offer, please watch the new Microsoft Mechanics video, “New personalized, focused experiences across your SharePoint team sites,” and then continue reading for more detail below.



Now, let’s dive into the details.

Amplify your news and information via integration across Office 365


With the connection to Office 365 Groups, SharePoint team sites can become a configurable dashboard for your team to show the group’s calendar, Planner for task management, and conversations in a shared inbox or Yammer feed. You can configure the team’s home page to highlight the most relevant content, and add links to group resources to the left navigation of your team site, to streamline navigation and enhance discovery of all your group’s collaboration tools.


Socialize and discuss SharePoint news in Microsoft Teams

SharePoint team sites and Microsoft Teams are connected to the same Office 365 Group, so they share a common list of members, and a common set of files stored in SharePoint. It’s easy to start a group chat about a news post by simply pasting a link to the article into chat stream. We’ll be adding rich previews of SharePoint content, to drive engagement and encourage discussion. And you can be confident that the news post, and your chat, will be available for every group member to read and contribute to as needed – no matter when they join the team and the conversation.


A link to a SharePoint news item renders a preview of the image, title, preview text, date and author.A link to a SharePoint news item renders a preview of the image, title, preview text, date and author.

Show your group’s calendar on your SharePoint team site

As team members organize their work schedule in the group’s shared calendar, you can increase the visibility of upcoming and past team meetings on the site’s home page. The Calendar web part displays the full list right alongside team news, documents, people and more. And members can add one-time or recurring meetings into the group’s calendar from within Outlook.


The group Calendar web part in edit mode side-by-side the News web part.The group Calendar web part in edit mode side-by-side the News web part.

Streamline navigation to group resources across Office 365

You can now include links to Office 365 Group applications in the site’s left-hand navigation. Simply click Edit to modify the site’s navigation inline. With just two clicks, you can add the group’s conversation, calendar and Planner. It’s also possible to add links to any content or site, and to create menus that contain links by clicking “Make sub link”.

Adding group apps and custom links to the left-hand navigation.Adding group apps and custom links to the left-hand navigation.

Manage the look-and-feel of your team site with theming and designs

You own and manage your site, so make yourself at home and make it yours! We are updating the way we apply custom styling and colors to SharePoint sites and providing you the ability to use custom designs.


Site Theming | As a site owner, you’re just a few clicks away from seeing the themes your IT administrator has made available to your organization, and to quickly see preview a new theme on your site. Simply click Change the look, preview the various theme options in real-time, and when you find the one you like, and click Save. The new theme applies and is visible to all members.

Choose from six default site themes.Choose from six default site themes.


Site templates | We’ll also be making it easier for SharePoint administrators to control and expand design choices available to users when they create their team sites from SharePoint home in Office 365.  This means that when you click Create Site, you will have the option to pick the specific site design that matches the needs of your team, whether that’s SharePoint’s default design or a custom one built by your company.


Pick a design for a new team site in the Choose a design menu. Team site is the default site design provided by Microsoft. The Research & development project is a custom design at Contoso Adventure.Pick a design for a new team site in the Choose a design menu. Team site is the default site design provided by Microsoft. The Research & development project is a custom design at Contoso Adventure.

Connect existing team sites to Office 365 Groups

After providing every Office 365 group with the full power of a SharePoint Online team site, and giving every new team site a group, we want to ensure that existing team sites get the modern user experiences and can benefit from groups and team sites linking.


Today, document libraries and lists have been modernized in all SharePoint Online team sites, even ones not yet connected to Office 365 Groups. You, too, can create a modern page in an existing team site and make it your home page if you wish (create your page and save it, then go to the Pages library, right-click and select Make homepage).


Later this year, we will let you connect an existing SharePoint team site to an Office 365 group, bringing the full power of Office 365 Groups collaboration to your team site.


 A simple wizard menu to connect an existing SharePoint Online team site to an Office 365 Group.A simple wizard menu to connect an existing SharePoint Online team site to an Office 365 Group.

The new site will retain the existing URL, settings and permissions so that it’s easy for site owners, members and viewers to keep working without interruption. And the new site will benefit from a group conversation, calendar, planner and more.


While we won’t automatically convert existing pages to the new user experience, you can begin modernizing your team site already, today. You can create new pages and even make one of the new pages the home page of your site.

Work together and stay connected

Additional integration between SharePoint, Teams, and Office 365 Groups is coming as we enable diverse teams to work in the experience that best suits their unique workstyles, without sacrificing power or flexibility.  You can take advantage of many of the features listed above soon. Create new Office365 groups from SharePoint home. Connect with your peers using Microsoft Teams, and highlight important updates by authoring and sharing team news.


We want to empower you and every person on your team to achieve more. Let us know what you need next. We are always open to feedback via UserVoice and continued dialog in the SharePoint community in the Microsoft Tech Community.



Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When will I see the new team site enhancements in my Office 365 environment?

A: The various team site innovation will come in phases to Office 365 First Release customers, and then continue to full, worldwide production rollout. The Microsoft Teams news preview integration is coming later this year. The ability to personalize your sites will be coming this Summer. And the ability to take existing team sites in SharePoint Online and connect them to Office 365 Groups will come later this year.


Q: What roles do Office 365 Groups, SharePoint team sites, and Microsoft Teams all play when used together?

A: Office 365 Groups helps manage the list of team members who work together (group objects are stored in Azure Active Directory (AAD)); members can be a part of numerous groups. They then leverage team sites to manage their content and information by using news, pages, document libraries, lists and business apps. Microsoft Teams comes into play for the team’s ongoing conversation. It’s possible to share a document stored in the team site directly into the chat as a link. Members can also showcase news articles, pages, or the full site from within the tabs of Microsoft Teams channels.

Former Employee

There is a word "year" missing at the end of a "Connect" item in the list above. It should be 

  • Connect existing team sites ... (coming later this year)

@Dragan Panjkov #fixed and #thankyou.

Occasional Contributor

Connect an existing SharePoint team site to an Office 365 Group.  This is what I have been waiting for. Thanks.

These are great announcements! I especially like seeing how easy it will become to select a design for a new site and being able to connect Office 365 Groups to existing sites.


We want to plan as best we can for these changes as we are currently in the midst of a rollout of Office 365 and Sharepoint and theses new capabilities will have serious impact on how we go about doing things.


My first question is: will the new "designs" be a kind of template? As in: will they only contain visual components or will they also control other aspects such as menu structure, types of apps within a site, columns in a given document library, etc?


Second question: will designs be available for new sites across site collections?


Third question: When connecting an Office 365 Group to an existing site, will it work for any site in any site collection? Or will we have to make sure we only have one site per site collection - like those sites that are rolled out automatically with an Office 365 Group?


Glad to hear it, @Peter Gniewek. I'm certain, @Tejas Mehta, will be pleased to know. :) He's spec'ing the how and making nice progress in planning, design and development :-).


Hi @Allan With Sørensen, I'll take a crack at each, and loop in my friend, @Sean Squires, who is close to the planning and design of these components:

  1. They may start out more simply with page layouts, desired web parts, and mature quickly with use of content type hub, pre-added content, and not sure about nav elements, apps or columns... Sean, thought?
  2. Each new site is a site collection, and it's more at run time, but are you asking about when you programmatically establish each in a bulk creation motion, or from a rollup type site that contains nav, design and such down to sub-site collections?
  3. It is per site collection - not targetting subsites within; that gets complex quick. So when you associate a group to an existing "site", it's to a site collelction at the parent level. (Cc: @Tejas Mehta as FYI).



Hi @Mark Kashman and thank you for your reply.


What I am actually trying to grok is how to roll out new sites going forward. Should we stick them all in one site collection as we have sort of begun to do already or should we start to have only one site per site collection. I understand that you cannot give a definitive answer to that question, but I am just trying to convey what I am ultimately searching for an answer to.


So here are my comments to your answers:

1. That is good to know. We definitely need something to replace the old style templates with something that doesn't require a lot of coding.


2. I think I am more on the rollup type scenario. Today, as I understand it, the old style templates can only be used within the same site collection, but with each site getting its own sc, that model is no longer sustainable - as you are probably well aware. So I'd like to be able to offer my users a number of choices when they want to create a new site (in its own sc perhaps with a connected o365 group), between different kinds of sites for different purposes with different kinds of content and setup. It could even go so far as to include a setup for Planner and Teams connected to the same O365 Group.


3. OK, again, good to know. Our challenge is that in some cases we want to control membership through AD (synced from onprem) and in some cases we want to let somebody in the group manage group memberships. Also, this means that if we have existing sites that are subsides and that we want to connect to an o365 group we need to have them separated out into individual site collections. Will you offer some tools that will let us do that? An official way to move content in bulk between sites would be good too. There are third party tools for that, of course, but really this should be something users could do themselves. The existing feature to move content doesn't seem fit to move large amounts of data.


Thank you again for listening!



Excellent stuff on its way, big thanks to the team making it possible.


I have a question on "Connecting existing team sites to office 365 groups". I understand this will be at site collection level and after the connection is eastablished the site can benefit from all the collaboration tools like calendar, conversation and planner etc. What will happen to existing team site (default group specific) for that group?




Hi @Usman Afzal. When you connect an existing team site to an Office 365 Group, that existing team site becomes the group-connected team site; all lists, libraries, pages, etc. will carry forward, and you'll get the chance to establish a new modern home page, or keep current one; easy to change at any time, too. And then as you said, we'll add the modern connections to navigate to the group's members page, planner plan, shared inbox/calendar, etc..


Cc @Tejas Mehta


Hope that helps,



Hope this is coming soon...  Will you also be able to connect existing SharePoint team sites with a Yammer group rather than an Office 365 group?  Currently the new SharePoint Communication Sites are confusing as we thought this what Yammer was for, but there doesn't appear to be a way to comment/communicate without embedding a Yammer page to yet a different group (which has its own separate Sharepoint site!)...


BTW - What technology is this?  Sure would be nice if our own intranets could look and work like this...

Not applicable

@Mark Kashman I came back to this to see what the plans were and I have a specific question about existing SP sites being upgraded/connected to Groups. Let's say I have a team site that's well set up, organized, and very graphic-heavy. Think lots of pages, each with lots of images that link to libraries and folders. (Makes navigation easier for the very many users in the site.) This uses content editor web parts to pull off. So, no modern aspects other than the libraries/lists.


Am I correct in reading your post that this site will not be forced to be a modern site, and these classic pages can remain classic and not be "upgraded"? The benefits of connecting to a Group will give folks a great way to communicate in Teams (or Outlook, but thinking specifically about Teams), but that benefit likely won't overcome the loss if the site were automatically "upgraded" to a type that doesn't support such an open page layout/design process (or needs to be rebuilt from scratch).


Basically, I'm looking to have my cake and eat it too. Will that be possible? :)


Also, any update on the timing of this rolling out, or is your immediate thought, "Just wait a week"?

New Contributor

@Mark Kashman Any update on when we'll be able to connect existing SP team sites to Office 365 Groups?

Occasional Visitor

Hi, Great Job :)  Just a question,

On the site of my Groups : how to add a link on a picture ? 


@Mark Kashman: As always your information is helpful.


Do you have any update on the Groupification (connect existing site with a new O365 Group) and when customers can expect this to be available. The O365 roadmap says by March 2018.


Once again, thanks for helping drive community questions.

Occasional Contributor

Roadmap has been updated to April 2018. Wonder if this is the month we've all been waiting for... This missing feature is the main show stopper we need to tackle, before we can start to fully implement MS Teams. 4000+ existing "legacy" Team Sites waiting for groupification.


Hi @Deleted - first looping in @Tejas Mehta to keep me honest.


That's right, you will not be forced to go modern, but this feature will help connect you to the breadth of apps across Office 365 groups. If you don't connect it to an new Office 365 group, then the site remains as you intended. And if you do connect it to a new Office 365 group, we'll connect it to the other apps as they provision, give you a new home page that you can revert off of (classic home page is in the pages library, just select it), and the rest is above. 


This is not an upgrade. The last upgrade in SPO was for sites to move from 2013 look & feel to 2016, and we're nearly 100% beyond that era. 


Hth, Mark.


Hi @Lawrence Dwight@Miiko Kytöharju, and @Usman Afzal - as you are asking about timing, I thought I place you all on my same reply, and Cc my peer @Tejas Mehta as well.


We are nearing release, targeting to begin roll out prior to the SharePoint Conference NA (May 2018). That said, we are making progress internally, which is where we first ship the feature in testing mode, and then once the team is feeling good about it, will initially move to Targeted Release ... I do plan to make an announcement about it once we begin (similar to our recent stake in the ground for hub sites as they moved into Targeted Release), and if you follow me or @SharePoint on Twitter - you'll not be able to miss the announcement.




New Contributor

Great news, but I think the ability to only Groupify an entire site collection and not individual team sites within a site collection will be very limiting to us.


I'd consider a data migration to new Office 365 Group sites, but we have issues with lists which are used across different team sites for lookup columns. BCS isn't an option given we would want to move/copy documents between groups (can you even do that?) with metadata intact and they are multi select lookup columns. FYI These lookup columns are populated from an on-premises SQL Server using the SharePoint API. In hindsight we should have used the global term store and found a way to populate and update it with the API (if even possible?) and setup the content type in the content type hub, but obviously we had no idea Office 365 Groups would be coming down the line.


I suspect what we will do is create Microsoft Teams enabled Office 365 Groups, but keep using the existing team sites in addition and just provide navigation links between the two.


I would be interested to hear from anyone else tackling similar issues.



Not applicable

Cool beans. Thanks, @Mark Kashman.

Regular Visitor

Is this applicable for classic Team 'site collections' ? What happens to the existing site associated?

Occasional Contributor

Looks like they get a new modern look, and the old look is stored as a sub-menu called "Previous home".


I just groupified my first test site, and it seems to work as intended. Only the odd error messages in PowerShell made me think it didn't work.


Set-SPOSiteOffice365Group : Data Exception.
At line:1 char:1
+ Set-SPOSiteOffice365Group
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : NotSpecified: (:) [Set-SPOSiteOffice365Group], ServerException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ServerException,Microsoft.Online.SharePoint.PowerShell.SetSPOOffice365Group

New Contributor

Hi Mark,


Exciting News! We currently have Departmental Sites (Classic Team Sites) under one Departments Site Collection. For this conversion, would it be essentially changing the Site Collection itself to Office 365 Groups? Also do the Classic Team "Subsites" receive the modern experience as well? If not, do you know if the update to Classic Team Sites to the modern experience is coming?


Thank you,


Occasional Visitor

@Miiko Kytöharjuhow were you able to connect the old site? Is there documentation for this somewhere?

Occasional Contributor

@Michael Carrthe old "home" page exists as a sub-page to the new one, and is named "Previous home". You can find it by clicking the arrow next to the "Home" link.


Occasional Visitor

I still can't connect my Team Site to an new office group..... is this feature still rolling out... or am i missing something?

Regular Visitor

@Michael Lakemond We received the feature at the beginning of this week. So it's in the state of being rolling out.

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