Apply and customize SharePoint site templates

SharePoint now offers several site templates that contain pre-populated content, pages, and web parts that can be customized to fit the needs of your organization. 

In this article:

  • Learn how to apply a SharePoint site template to a new or existing site

  • Understand how to customize SharePoint site templates

  • Review site template FAQs

Notes: 

  • 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. 

  • You need site owner permissions or higher in order to apply SharePoint site templates.

  • In previous versions of SharePoint, site templates were called site designs but will be referred to as site templates moving forward.

Apply and customize SharePoint site templates

Use a SharePoint site template when you create a new site, or apply a template to an existing site.

Apply a template when you create a new site

Image of the SharePoint site template picker

  1. After selecting the type of site you want to create, a window will appear asking you if you want to use a template - select Browse site templates.

  2. Select a site template that meets your business objective and then select Details, and then Apply.

  3. Browse your new site, review pre-populated content, and get customization guidance below.

  4. Republish edits and share your site with others to make new content available to viewers.

Apply a template to an existing site

Image of the SharePoint settings panel with Apply site template highlighted

Important: When you apply a template to an existing site, your content will not automatically merge with the new template. Instead, a new default home page will be created along with other new content. Existing pages, libraries, and lists will be saved and can be accessed in Site contents

  1. Navigate to site Settings and then select Apply a site template.

  2. Select a site template that meets your business objective and then select Apply.

  3. Browse your new site, review existing content in Site contents, and get customization guidance below.

  4. Republish site edits to make new content available to viewers.

Customize your site template

Select your template from the list below for step-by-step guidance on how to customize your site to align with your business objectives and organizational branding.

Important: 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. 

Image of the department site template

Department

Engage and connect viewers with departmental news, highlight upcoming events, and provide easy access to frequently accessed files.

Image of the leadership site template

Leadership connection

Build organizational culture by connecting leadership and team members through engaging in conversation, news, and events.

Image of the learning site template

Learning central

Provide an internal landing experience for your organization that serves as the single place where events, news, and extra-curricular resources are showcased.

image of the new employee onboarding site template

New employee onboarding 

Streamline and refine new hire onboarding by engaging and guiding new employees through your onboarding process. 

image of the showcase communication site template

Showcase 

Spotlight a product, event, or team using visual content like images and video. 

image of the topic communication site template

Topic 

Engage viewers with informative content like news, announcements, and events. 

image of a blank communication site

Blank 

Create your own custom site starting with a blank home page. 

Image of the event management site template

Event planning

Coordinate and plan event details with your team. Use ready-made event recap and event status news post templates to quickly get your team up to date.

Image of the project site template

Project management

Create a collaboration space for your team where you can access frequent tools, share project updates, post meeting notes, and upload team documents.

Image of the training site

Training and courses

Prepare course participants and students for specific learning opportunities by sharing course resources, news, and events.

Image of the development team site template

Training and development team 

Brainstorm and plan opportunities to help others learn and grow.

image of a basic team site template

Team collaboration

Manage projects, share content, and stay connected with your team.

Site templates created by your organization, also known as third-party templates, can be found in the tab titled From your organization when selecting a site template. Customization instructions will vary depending on the site template design. 

Image of the tab in the site template picker that says "From your organization"

Create site templates for your organization to provide reusable lists, themes, layouts, and pages so that users can quickly build new SharePoint sites. 

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

Notes: 

  • 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 will be replaced by the Apply a site template entry point in the Setting panel.

  • In this new site template experience, a progress screen is displayed while the site template is being applied instead of a notification bar.

  • Today, the new site template experience cannot be disabled and you cannot view template version history but will be included in future updates.

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 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 pane to manually update the theme. 

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 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. 

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 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 updated.

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 Setting panel.

More site customization resources

Customize your SharePoint site

Customize the navigation on your SharePoint site

Target navigation, news, and files to specific audiences 

Associate a SharePoint site with a hub

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