Use the SharePoint Department site template

The Department site template is a communication site designed to serve as an internal home page for departments, divisions, or regions of your organization. Engage and connect viewers with leadership teams, departmental news, highlight upcoming events, and provide easy access to frequently accessed files.

In this article, you can learn how to use the elements that are on the SharePoint Department site template and how you can customize the site to fit the needs of your organization and objectives.

Image of the department site template landing page

Site features

  • Customizable site that comes with pre-populated images, web parts, and content to inspire site editors when making customizations to fit the need of your organization.

  • Ready-to-use news post templates that make it easily to publish and share departmental news.

  • Pre-populated pages and web parts that showcase leadership, teams, department profiles, company culture, and access to departmental lists, documents, and resources.

Notes: 

  • Some functionality is introduced gradually to organizations that have opted in to the Targeted release program. This means that you may not yet see this feature or it may look different than what is described in the help articles.

  • When you apply a template to an existing site, your content will not automatically merge with the new template. Instead, existing content will be stored as a duplicate page in Site contents

First, follow instructions on how to add the template to a new or existing site.

Note: You must have site owner permissions to add this template to your site. 

Explore pre-populated site content, web parts, and pages and decide what site customizations will be necessary to align with your organization's brand, voice, and overall business objective. 

Pre-populated site pages and page templates:

  • Home page - Provides a landing place for viewers to engage in departmental news, events, conversation and learn more about leadership and vision.

  • Our leadership - Introduction to departmental leadership profiles. Customize this page by editing Image and Text web parts.

  • Our teams - Overview of teams that work together within the department or division. Customize this page by editing Image, Text, and Quick Links web parts.

  • Vision and priorities - Displays organizational values and priorities at a department level. Customize this page by editing Text web parts.

  • Culture - Highlights departmental culture and ways of working. Customize this page by editing Text and Hero web parts.

  • Documents - Document library provides easy access to departmental resources.

  • Pages - Stores site pages and page template content.

  • News post templates - Use ready-made news post templates for events recaps and monthly newsletters to quickly share departmental news. Customize these news post templates by editing the Text, Image, People, and Quick Link web parts.

Once you've added the Department site template, it's time to customize it and make it your own.

Note: To edit a SharePoint site you must be a site owner or site member.

  1. Showcase news and announcements - Use the Hero web part to highlight important information.

  2. Highlight resources - Use the Quick links web part to provide easy access to department resources.

  3. Build culture and community - Use the Events web part to connect teams to each other, interest groups, and events.

  4. Save time using ready-made page templates - Use page templates for newsletters and event recaps.

  5. Engage teams with leadership - Use the People web part to showcase teams and leadership profiles.

  6. Connect people with each other - Use the Yammer Conversations web part to start and join conversations.

Image of the department template

Customize your site's look, site navigation, web parts, and content to fit the needs of your viewers and organization. Start editing the site in edit mode by selecting Edit in the top right of the site. As you work, Save as a draft, or Republish changes to make edits visible to viewers.

1. Use the Hero web part web part to showcase news and announcements

Image of the hero web part on the department site template

  1. Begin by selecting the Hero web part and select Edit Web part edit button.

  2. Then, choose the layer and tile options that best fits the organization’s needs.

Learn more about editing the Hero web part.

2. Use the Quick Links web part to provide quick access to department resources

Image of the quick links web part on the department site

  1. Navigate the the Quick Links web part and select the link, and then Edit Web part edit button.

  2. Edit the link, title, icon, and description if needed.

  3. To add a link, select + Add links.

See different types of layouts and editing options for the Quick Links web part.

3. Use the Events web part to display upcoming events

Image of the events web part in the Department site

  1.  Edit Web part edit button  the Events web part to determine the event source and layout.

  2. To add or edit events in the Event web part, navigate to the Event web part and select + Add event.

Learn more about using and editing the Events web part.

4. Use the News web part to display new and announcements

Image of the news web part on the department site template

  1. Begin by selecting the News web part and choose Edit Web part edit button.

  2. Then, select the news source that contains the information you would like to display.

  3. Select the layout, viewing options, and filter that best displays the members of the organization’s team.

  4. In the Organize section, determine the order in which the news should be displayed.

Learn more about using the News web part.

Use ready-made page templates for newsletters and event recaps

Image of the page templates in the department site

  1. To view newsletter and news post templates, navigate to Settings and then select Site content, and then Site pages.

  2. Select the Templates folder to view the news post templates.

  3. Make edits to the templates and then select Save page template.

Use page templates for news posts and event recaps

Image of the page template picker the department site

  1. To use one of the templates in a new news post, start by selecting New in the top left corner, then select News post.

  2. Select the news post template you'd like to use, and then start writing your news post.

Learn more about creating and using page templates.

5. Use the People web part to display key departmental contacts

image of the People web part on the department site template

  1. Start by deleting the image of the People web part.

  2. Then, add the People web part in place by selecting the line with a circled +:

    Plus sign for adding web parts to a page

  3. Select Edit Web part edit button  on the People web part.

  4. Enter the name of a person or group then select Save.

Learn more about the People web part.

6. Use the Yammer Conversations web part to connect people with each other

Notes: 

  • The Yammer Conversations web part will only appear if your organization has a license for Yammer.

  • The Yammer Conversations web part uses the original domain name (example, contoso.onmicrosoft.com) and cannot be used when the SharePoint site uses a vanity domain name.

Image of the Yammer web part on the department site

  1. Select Edit Web part edit button  on the Yammer conversations web part.

  2. Select a Conversation source and Number of conversations to display.

Learn more about the Yammer Conversations web part.

Customize the following pages within the site:

Image of the leadership page in the Department site

  • Our leadership - Customize this page by editing the Image and Text web parts.

  • Our teams - Customize this page by editing the Image, Text, and Quick Links web parts.

  • Vision and priorities - Customize this page by editing Text web parts.

  • Culture - Customize this page by editing the Text and Hero web part.

  • News post templates - From the home page navigate to Settings, and then select Site contents. There you can view ready-made news post templates. Customize these news post templates by editing the TextImage, People, and Quick Links web parts.

Customize the look and site navigation

Before you share your site with others, put the finishing touches on your site by ensuring users can find the site, navigate through links and pages easily, and quickly access content on the site.

Share your site with others after you've customized your site, reviewed for accuracy, and published the final draft. 

  1. Select Share site from the right hand corner.

  2. Get help managing your site by adding site owners and members who will have permission to edit site content.

  3. In the Share site pane, enter the names of people you want to share the site with. You can choose Everyone (except external users) if you would like everyone in your organization to have access to the site. The default permission level is Read only.

    Adding a person in the Share site pane

  4. Enter an optional message to send with the email notification that will be sent when the site is shared, or clear the Send email checkbox if you don't want to send an email.

  5. Select Share.

After you create and launch your site, the next important phase is maintaining site content. Ensure you have a plan to keep content and web parts up to date. 

Site maintenance best practices:

  • Plan for site maintenance - Establish a schedule to review the site content as often as needed to ensure content is still accurate and relevant.

  • Regularly post news - Distribute the latest announcements, information, and status across the organization.  Learn how to add a News post on a team site or communication site, and show others who will be posting announcements how they can use SharePoint news.

  • Check links and web parts - Keep links and web parts updated to ensure you are leveraging the full value of your site.

  • Use analytics to improve engagement - View site usage by using the built-in usage data report to get information on popular content, site visits, and more.

  • Periodically review your site settings - Once you've created a site in SharePoint, you can make changes to the settings, site information, and permissions for the site.

More customization resources

Learn more about planning, building, and maintaining SharePoint sites.

See more SharePoint site templates.

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