One of the key features in SharePoint is the ability to create customized sites and to save these as “Site Templates”. You can take a site that you have spent hours configuring to a specific customize format including creating document libraries, lists, pages, etc. and save all of that work to a site template. Now when you go to create a new site, your template allows you to pre-fabricate sites that reflect your specific recipe. We use this approach all the time for creating intranets and these are especially useful for creating collaboration sites in a organization specific context such as:
- Project Sites
- Department Sites
- Community Sites
Here is an example of what can be included through the Save as Template feature in SharePoint 2013.
Creating Our “Custom Site”
Let’s create a “Policy Site” template. Our policy site will be based on the standard team site but will have a few additional features:
- Our default document library will have a Policy content type preconfigured with the appropriate metadata, document templates, etc.
- We’ll add a few content elements to the default home page.
Creating a Policy Content Type
Let’s create a policy content type that has a custom column called “classification”. We’ll add a few more of existing columns such as author, title, etc. as well. To create a custom column, go to the Site Settings and under Wed Designer Galleries click on Site columns. Let’s create a new column called classification that’s a choice (e.g. a drop down):
Under Additional Column Settings, you can type in some values for the drop down menu:
Now let’s create a new content type. Under site settings, go to Site Content types under Web Designer Galleries and create a Policy content type:
If you click on add from existing columns, you can add some metadata fields to this created content type including our classification column.
We can also add a document template under the advanced settings for this content template – when a new Policy is created it will use this template.
Creating a Custom Site
Let’s now create a custom site that we can use as a site template. We can use a basic team site template and then customize it from there.
To create a new custom site, go to Site Contents and click on new subsite:
Once we have created this, we can customize the site to include our new content types, change the home page, etc.
To add the Policy content type, under Advanced Settings, turn on management of content types and then add the Policy content type.
Let’s now also customize the default home page to add some Policy specific content and remove some of the existing content:
Saving as a Site Template
Now that we have customized our site, let’s save it as a template. Under Site Settings, click on Save site as template:
Creating a Policy Site
Now that the site template has been saved, we can create a new site based on this template!