Configuring SharePoint Solutions: Site Collection Templates

SharePoint: A site collection is a top-level site that you can set up both to serve a particular function and to host several subsites underneath it.

By Anthony Baratta

When you build a site collection in SharePoint, you must use one of the site collection templates that Microsoft initially gives you. A site collection is a top-level site that you can set up both to serve a particular function and to host several subsites underneath it. SharePoint also has subsite templates, which you can use for these lower-level sites. However, for this particular blog post, we will be looking exclusively at site collection templates and how to use them.

The Templates

Depending on which SharePoint version you are using, you will have a slightly different set of site collection templates available to you. This blog will look at the templates that are currently available in SharePoint Online. Read on for a brief and basic rundown of the templates that you can use to build top-level sites in SharePoint, presented by related category.


  • Blog: A blog template is hopefully self-explanatory. It works more or less like any other type of blog page, giving administrators the ability to write and publish posts. Other team members or site visitors can then comment on those posts. From tutorials to articles to conversational postings, there are plenty of reasons to use a blog template.
  • Community Site: The community site template is useful if you want to build a forum where employees can discuss topics with one another. If you've ever used an online discussion forum in the past, you know basically what this template looks like. You'll get discussion categories, the option to make and reply to threads, and various other features for group communication and interaction.
  • Developer Site: A more technical site template than many of the others available. If your team is made up of programmers or developers, a develop site template will give them a space to build and test apps for Office356 and SharePoint Online. This template comes with an App Catalog Library.
  • Project Site: Many of these site templates can be utilized, with some variation, for project management. There is also this template, which is designed specifically for project sites. Using this template, you can build a site where your team members can communicate, upload, and edit project documents, give status updates, and more.
  • Team Site: The workhorse is the Team Site template. This template is the all-around / generic feature setup that most team, departmental and project groups will use. When in doubt, start here and activate any additional features you might need.


  • Business Intelligence Center: Big data is becoming more & more important for organizations of all sizes. The Business Intelligence Center is the SharePoint site you would use to store big data visualizations, reports, metrics, analytics, dashboards, and more.
  • Community Portal: If your SharePoint intranet has multiple forum communities—one for each department or division, perhaps—you would use the community portal template to list all of them in one central location.
  • Compliance Policy Center: File Deletion policies for Content Types, Site Templates, and even One Drive are administered via this template. Unlike all the other templates you only need one of these sites for your whole SharePoint site.
  • Document Center: The document center template is the template you will use to build a central document repository for your SharePoint site. This site is more than a website to store and organize Combined with meta data and faceted search you can organize your company documents for easy discovery and encourage wide spread adoption of company information.
  • eDiscovery Center: The template you'll use for document and email retention related to court cases, investigations, and other legal matters. If your organization were under investigation, you would use this site collection to discover and preserve documents and emails from deletion and make them easily searchable and accessible to investigators.
  • Records Center: If the document center is where you organize current files, then the records center is where you store older, inactive files. You'd use this template to build a place to organize your company's archives. The record center could then be your place to store data for posterity, reference, or retention policy compliance.
  • Search Center: This site would essentially be the Google page for your SharePoint setup. With it, users would be able to submit searches and view results for all SharePoint sites and lists they have access to. There are two different template options here. The first, Basic Search Center, would allow users to search just within specific lists or sites. The second, Enterprise Search Center, is more powerful and would allow searches of the entire SharePoint intranet
  • Visio Process Repository: When you need a specialized library just for Visio documents. One of the benefits of this template is that it comes with a library packed with a dozen Visio Templates that you can use to start building with.


  • Enterprise Wiki: Build a wiki site for your enterprise. Many companies use this site type to create a FAQ section, How-To’s, and/or other internal documentation for their users to check for reference.
  • Publishing Portal: There are several publishing-related site templates that you can use in SharePoint. The publishing portal is essentially the top of the publishing hierarchy. You need to have one to enable cross-site publishing to any other sites or subsites. The publishing site template allows you to build sites where contributors can write, craft, and publish new webpages. There is also another publishing site template, publishing site with workflows, which allows you to schedule posting times for new pages. Both templates include libraries where you can store images or other assets that are relevant to your pages.

With so many templates to choose from, starting a new SharePoint site—or building your SharePoint intranet from scratch—can be daunting, overwhelming work. You may have a relatively good idea of what you want to do with your site, but be confused about which template is the best option to provide the features you need. Alternatively, you might not have a fully formed idea yet of what you want out of a new team or department site.

Either way, 2 Plus 2 can help. Our team has assisted enterprises like yours in constructing SharePoint intranets, and we can lend a hand in helping you choose the right template for your site. Call us at 510-652-7700 or fill out the form to arrange a free consultation.

Anthony Baratta
Anthony Baratta – Chief Technology Officer
Anthony helps the company realize it's mission - Real results. Every time. Fluent in technology, Anthony breaks down complex problems into scalable solutions and manageable automated tasks.
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