Use SharePoint's new site templates today!

Published May 04 2021 09:00 AM 34.5K Views
You might not see this feature yet. Some functionality is introduced gradually to organizations that have set up the Targeted release options in Microsoft 365.



Imagine you’re working on a project that needs a new SharePoint site to track deadlines, record progress, and serve as a central place to collaborate with your team. Perhaps you’ve been tasked with creating an onboarding portal for your organization complete with new hire checklists and key information to help them get startedMaybe you’re leading a training series where you need to store course files and post class announcements. Where do you begin when it comes to designing sites for these scenarios 

Now you have a starting point! We’ve made it even easier to begin on the right foot with site templates that are available to you in SharePoint. SharePoint site templates are flexible enough to address a variety of needs, make it easy to create and populate site content, and show you what’s possible. These complement those found in the SharePoint lookbook, which has been and continues to be an amazing source of inspiration for modern experiences you can build with out-of-the-box SharePoint components.   


SharePoint site template GIF.gif

Through customer conversations and user research, we identified 9 scenarios to start with that benefit from having a robust SharePoint site template. SharePoint customers can take advantage of the following SharePoint site templates:


Communication site templates

  • Department - Engage and connect viewers with departmental news and resources.
  • Leadership connection - Build community by connecting leadership and team members.
  • Learning central – Showcase learning and training opportunities.
  • New employee onboarding - Streamline and refine new hire onboarding process.
  • Crisis management - Share news and connect people to resources in a crisis.

Team site templates

  • Event planning - Coordinate and plan event details with your team.
  • Project management - Create a collaboration space for your project team.
  • Training and courses - Prepare course participants for learning opportunities.
  • Training and development team - Plan opportunities to help others learn and grow.

We will continue to build on these options in the future to address even more common scenarios.


Project managementProject management



Event planningEvent planning


Training and development teamTraining and development team
Training and coursesTraining and courses New employee onboardingNew employee onboarding

Learning centralLearning central


Leadership connectionLeadership connection DepartmentDepartment Crisis managementCrisis management


How to apply a template and what to expect


SharePoint site templates will be automatically available in SharePoint tenants and can be applied by users with site owner permissions or higher. When you create a new site, you will be asked if you’d like to use a template. Select Browse templates to see Microsoft templates and templates from your organization. Or apply a template to an existing site by navigating to Settings and then select Apply a site template.


Our site templates currently offer the following features:

  • Can be applied at the time of site creation or can be applied to existing sites.
  • Fully customizable home pages that come with pre-populated content and web parts.
  • News post templates that help users quickly and consistently publish news.
  • Pre-built pages, lists, and document library folders that make it easy to build sites and inspire your own custom content.
  • Each template has its own customization guidance to help site owners and editors get started.


What about my existing site designs?

If you’ve used site designs in the past, that experience has been incorporated into the site templates experience and will be referred to as site templates moving forward.

The Site designs entry point will be replaced by the Apply a site template entry point in the Site settings panel. You’ll find your organization’s existing site templates on the “From your organization” tab in the template gallery.


Additionally, as part of the new site template experience, a progress screen is displayed while the site template is being applied instead of a notification bar.

Learn more about how to create custom site templates for your organization using site scripts


Site template FAQs


Q: What happens when I apply a template to a site that is associated with a hub site?

A: If your site is associated with a hub, the site will inherit the theme from the hub. When you apply a template, it will automatically use the theme from the template, but will update to the hub's theme shortly after republishing.


Q: How can I undo a template I just applied?

A: There is no automatic method to undo the application of a site template. However, there is nothing that a template does that can't be manually applied or deleted. For example, pages and navigational elements can be deleted and themes can be update.



Q: I don't want to use a template. How can I quickly create a site?

A: There are several resources to inspire your next SharePoint site - like the SharePoint look book and Guided walkthroughs.



Q: How can I update the theme of the site template to a theme that has not been defined by my organization?

A: For themes that don't fit into your organization's custom or pre-defined themes, you can change the look of your site in the Settings panel to manually update the theme. 


Q: What happened to Site designs in the Settings panel?

A: In previous versions of SharePoint, site templates were called site designs but will be referred to as site templates moving forward. The Site designs entry point has been replaced by the Apply a site template entry point in the Settings panel.



Q: How can I create custom site templates for my organization?

A: You can create site templates to provide reusable lists, themes, layouts, pages, or custom actions so that your users can quickly build new SharePoint sites with the features they need. Learn more about how to create custom site templates for your organization



Q: How can I learn more about how to customize site templates created by my organization?

A: Site templates provided by your organization will appear in the From your organization tab when selecting a template type. Customization instructions will vary depending on the site template design. Review customization resources below to learn more about site personalization options. 


Learn more

Apply and customize SharePoint site templates

SharePoint site design and site script overview

SharePoint Roadmap Pitstop April 2021 (

Senior Member

Really good initiative! Very cool ideas to get inspired by. My personal favourite is the new employee onboarding - in the new hybrid workspace it is definitely needed :)


Thanks for sharing!!!


Happy Azure Stacking!!!

Senior Member

What about subsites? Can I use custom site templates when creating a new sub site?

This was long needed. Thank you Microsoft (and Cathy).


I will refer to this new and innovative idea going forward as the "Fab 8" ;)


PS. For those who joined the SharePoint community fairly recently...

Senior Member

How to disable Site Templates?


What would be nice is to have the Yammer All Company Community site’s SharePoint site is connected to a communication site rather than a team site.  This is so overdue to have the yammer be used properly for communitarian purposes company wide. 

Frequent Visitor

it mentions that "SharePoint site templates will be automatically available in SharePoint tenants...". we still dont see this as an option in creating SharePoint online site. is there any feature that needs to be turned on (Publishing feature is turned on). 


@P_ITGeek_CA : This feature seems to getting introduced gradually. It's mentioned at the top of the blog. So this might not have been enabled at your tenant level yet. Once it's fully rolled out, you will start to see this option.


"You might not see this feature yet. Some functionality is introduced gradually to organizations that have set up the Targeted release options in Microsoft 365."

That's correct @Dhiren Mehta & @P_ITGeek_CA . Most tenants still don't have this feature yet. 

Frequent Visitor

Thanks @Asif Rehmani , @Dhiren Mehta .. I have also been following the roadmap Microsoft 365 Roadmap | Microsoft 365 . The date till last week was MayCY21, which just got changed to JunCY21. 


Frequent Contributor

We've been using the classic template feature to create custom templates for 2 years with modern sites, and my guess is most users have been doing the same. Nice to have some predefined options for some folks I suppose, but this isn't really "new" and it would be more useful if Msft had spent their efforts on modernizing and simplifying the custom template building option. 



Frequent Contributor

@Dhiren Mehta The article is misleadingly titled "Use SharePoint's new site templates today!" which doesn't reflect your comment: "This feature seems to getting introduced gradually." Should probably be changed.


New Contributor



I'm trying to understand how this is different than Site Designs?  And, how is it similar to the legacy site templates that we were used to for SharePoint on-prem?  Also, is there still a limit of 100 "site templates" just like there is a limit of 100 Site Scripts and 100 Site Designs in a tenant?  


Further, can you build a "site template" based of a current site that has been customized, including the web parts, pages, and even content?




Frequent Contributor


"can you build a "site template" based of a current site that has been customized, including the web parts, pages, and even content?"

As I mentioned above, that's what we've been doing. We layout/design a site with dummy content for various usages/channels and then create a template to speed up deployment and "encourage" compliance with company standards. The process for modern sites is a little clunky, but it's way more useful and flexible than the "site in a box" templates touted here. 

There's a how to guide here: 

So by classifying types of sites, and using templates we built, we're already doing what Msft's big announcement is offering here. And I never used site designs as they seemed way too limited in terms of customization options.....


New Contributor

I'm sorry, Matt.  Are you referring to SharePoint Online or on-prem.  Because, this article  - no go for SPO. 


Also, yes, I'm fully aware that you can save site as template since WSS 3.0 but I thought for SPO, Microsoft introduced the "Site Design" feature which now they are changing back to Site Template:  SharePoint site design and site script overview | Microsoft Docs


I just tried the /_layouts/15/savetmpl.aspx and that's a no go.




New Contributor

@matt howell 

so sorry, Matt.  But, I'm well aware that you could create save site or save list as template as far back as WSS 3.0.  But, the link you provide  to save site as a template is no go for modern site or for SPO.


this /_layouts/15/savetmpl.aspx is no go in SPO or on-prem modern sites.


Microsoft introduced Site Designs  here SharePoint site design and site script overview | Microsoft Docs which they are indicating they are going back to Site Templates.  


SharePoint site design and site script overview | Microsoft Docs


check out the screenshots.








New Contributor

@matt howell 

(for some reason I replied twice but neither one got posted, so, I'm going to try this again)

So sorry, Matt but I am well aware that "Save as Site Template" or "save as list template" have been around since WSS 3.0 (or possibly earlier).  But, this option is no go in SPO for modern sites.  I tried and no you cannot do so according to the article .  The /_layouts/15/savetmpl.aspx will NOT work (see screenshot from my tenant).  


Microsoft introduced Site Scripts and Site Designs as a way to automate provisioning new or existing modern SharePoint sites that use your own custom configuration.  And, now (according to this article)  Microsoft, once again, will refer to Site Designs as Site Templates.  And, so far, even though I have setup targeted release, I still do not see the option of "Apply a Site Template" yet in my tenant.  


Therefore, my original question still stands:  I'm still trying to understand how this new "site template" is different than "Site Designs".  Will it allow us to create a template like it did in earlier versions of SP similar to "Save site as template"?






Frequent Contributor

@rumispoint1  Looks like all your replies eventually got posted! Yes, this works on SPO - you probably have to allow custom scripting on sites, and some people have claimed it ONLY works for team sites which isn't correct and can be worked around. These are some of the ways Msft pointlessly tries to make our lives more difficult. It may also require elevated permissions - I'm an SP admin, though I imagine it would work for a full control user or site collection admin too. So far, we've built 150+ sites using this technique.

New Contributor

@matt howell 


if we just leave the Microsoft bashing alone for a minute and focus on the issue please.  This thread is based on new functionality that MS is adding (despite your belief that it existed before).  My question was around this particular thread in regards to the what the authors of this thread have posted.  So, if you don't have input around what I'm asking, that's fine.  I'm hoping someone else does.


But, your claim that you can "save site as template" per some hack that was written in 2019 in this link:  is not valid.  Save as site template is not supported in modern sites.  Period.  I have tried this with all the workarounds.  And, we simply cannot.


Further, MS clearly posts this here:





Frequent Contributor

@rumispoint1  Sorry it doesn't work for you. I just tried it again with one of our template sites and it still works fine here. I also noticed the save as template option still appears for sites with custom scripting enabled in SP Designer, so though Msft may say it's "not supported", the functionality hasn't actually changed.



New Contributor

@matt howell 

For classic sites in SPO, this works.  Yes, I can certainly get to this for classic sites.  But, no go on modern sites.  




and, yes the options for allowing custom scripts are allowed (just for kicks to test this) in my tenant.  




Frequent Contributor

@rumispoint1  One other thing occurred to me that may be preventing the site template feature from working.  I recalled one site I couldn't save a template of, and the fix was to open the site in SP Designer. look at "site options" and check the "SaveSiteAsTemplateEnabled" feature if it's set to "false", change it to "true" I don't think this is documented anywhere, but I'll spare you another rant about Msft.




@Morten Therkildsen - Microsoft-provided site templates can be applied to subsites. If you are applying a custom site template, note that it needs to be set up for the site types allowed through subsite creation. More information about the -WebTemplate value here: Get started creating SharePoint site designs and site scripts | Microsoft Docs We recommend leveraging hubs and not subsites moving forward.


@Mirosław_IECM - The new site template experience currently cannot be disabled.


@rumispoint1 - Customer site templates are what we are calling site designs moving forward. Yes, there is still a limit of 100 customer site templates - how many would you expect to be supported?


You can build a customer site template that includes libraries, lists, schema, navigation, and branding - pages and webparts are not supported at this time. There's currently no UI to create a template from an existing site, but you can refer to the following documentation to help you get started with creating site script syntax from an existing SharePoint site: 

Get-SPOSiteScriptFromWeb (SharePointOnlinePowerShell) | Microsoft Docs

Site design JSON schema | Microsoft Docs

New Contributor

Thank you for mention me and addressing my questions @Nicole Woon !


I have a few things I still need to clarify around this:


First, on terminology, we are going to refer to Site Designs as Site Templates going forward, correct?  Please see MS Docs documentation screenshot:

SharePoint site design and site script overview | Microsoft Docs


Second, you mention that "pages and webparts are not supported at this time" but this documentation indicates that "Pages" is supported.  can you please confirm?

Get started creating SharePoint site designs and site scripts | Microsoft Docs


Third, regarding the number of site designs supported in a tenant, some organizations were used to the concept of "Save as Site Template" to quickly create a new site based on that template.  Some large organizations has different functional or regional areas where each area may required a list of Site Templates.  These organizations may quickly hit this 100 limitation.  Is there a reason why there is a limit of 100 site templates per tenant?


Fourth, if pages and webparts are not supported, what is the best way to create sites based off a site that has been customized for the organization?  Say, the Sales team creates a site for a product and they want to create exact same site for other products, how would they handle this?


Finally, despite what others are saying about "save site as template" feature for modern sites, can you please confirm whether this is supported/possible for modern sites or not?  I have not been successful with "save site as template" for modern sites. 


Thank you!



New Contributor

@Nicole Woon - one last item:

when is the site template option available?  I still do not see it in my tenant.


Thank you,

Occasional Visitor

Nor do I, @rumispoint1.  I do not see it yet either, if you're looking for validation & confirmation.  :smile:

Senior Member

Checked just now on 2 tenants and I cannot see the new templates on either.

Frequent Visitor

The roadmap shows that it is rolling out. 

Microsoft 365 Roadmap | Microsoft 365

I still dont see it in our tenant too

New Contributor

This feature has appeared in 3 of my tenants today, but why am I not seeing the option to choose a template when I create a new site?

Senior Member


I am getting the same as you. Doesn't seem to be fully implemented yet.

I presume that the roll-out is not yet completed:



Senior Member

@Nicole Woon 


Whilst this is a great new feature, it does represent some issues for us, namely that we have tried very hard to standardize our site designs which are applied when SPO sites are created (we have an automated process). however, with the advent of this feature, a whole bunch of site templates which have not been reviewed by our in-house branding and UX team are now available to our users.


So.. a couple of questions...


- What is the roadmap for offering a way to disable this feature at the tenant level? OR at least hide the 'From Microsoft' tab? (And please don't say it isn't on the roadmap)


- Will there be a way to curate the templates on offer? For Example, we want to hide/remove the 'departmental' and 'learning' templates


BTW, I am already seeing this enabled in one of our tenants which is set to "targeted release' for the whole tenant. We are now struggling to prepare for this appearing in our production tenant - whether we want it or not :(  


@rumispoint1 Thanks for your patience. For your questions: 


  1. Yes, site designs will be referred to as customer site templates moving forward.
  2. Pages are not supported at this time for customer site templates. We are updating documentation to reflect the correct answer. 
  3. Based on our research and many conversations with customers, the 100 site template limit has been sufficient for their tenant needs. If we get additional customer feedback in the future that we need to increase this limit, we can revisit doing so.
  4. Your best bet would be to write a site script for non-page-related items (e.g. lists, libraries, etc.) and apply that customer site template, then manually create page content. We know that's not ideal for the scenario you mentioned and hear your feedback!
  5. Using classic save site as template on a modern site is not supported.
  6. This feature is being introduced gradually to Targeted Release before going to Standard Release, so you might not see the experience yet in your tenant. 


@Giuliano De Luca - Thank you for reporting this. We've seen reports of this error and the team is investigating. 


@alongoldberg - Thanks for sharing your organization's scenario and sorry that it's causing some trouble for your team. For both your questions, we are working on admin controls for site templates so that you have the ability to manage this for your tenants. I can't share further details or an ETA at this time, but stay tuned. 

Senior Member

@Nicole Woon 

One question here, I see in the article that you mentioned, users will have the option to select the site template/design on the creation form. But at the moment this option is not available and we confirmed it in 3 other test tenants. Is this just a temporary glitch or applying the template through the site settings menu going to be the only way forward for the sites?

I mean the drop down in the following screenshot:





@Mohammad Khatibi With the introduction of site templates, there is no more dropdown during site creation - any template (either OOB or customer-provided) will need to be applied through the template gallery. If the customer has set up a template to be applied to sites by default through PowerShell or associates a site to a hub, then those changes will still apply to the new site as expected. 

New Contributor

@Nicole Woon 


Could you please confirm if the below statement is still correct? 

@Nicole Woon wrote:

When you create a new site, you will be asked if you’d like to use a template.

Users in my tenant are not being asked for template selection at the time of site creation. 

Senior Member

@Nicole Woon 


oh no! We were almost done with the change management for our new solution at our client for using exactly this way of creating a site by using their department template! We are targeting first-line workers here and reducing even one click is a win for us. We intended to use this nice feature and our solution will die before launch!!! :sad::facepalm:

New Contributor



Is there any way to force these templates down to my Tenant?






@Saurabh7019  - Because we are releasing this to Targeted Release first, you may not see the full experience yet in your tenant.


@Mohammad Khatibi - Thank you for your feedback and for sharing your scenario. We'll continue to make improvements in this area based on feedback we receive.


@Eric Henderson  - If you have a tenant that is set up for Targeted Release, you should be able to see the feature. If your tenant is set up for Standard Release, then you will see the feature once we complete rollout in the upcoming weeks.

Senior Member

@Nicole Woon 


Thank Nicole for considering feedbacks. But based on your answer to @Saurabh7019 I understand that you have some plans to let the users select the template at the creation moment. Would you please share some insights on how this interface will look like? Some screenshots maybe? Is it at the first, second screens? I'm curious to know earlier because as I explained above this has a huge impact on our soon-to-be-released solution for a client with 55000 users. So, we need to plan and decide on change ASAP.  


@Mohammad Khatibi If you see the GIF at the beginning of this article, you'll see what the dialog looks like. Copying below for your reference:




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