Creating Site Templates in SharePoint 2013

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With SharePoint 2013 users can re-purpose existing sites, by creating a site template that allows new sites to be quickly created.  These site templates can include libraries, lists, views, workflows etc. This can be very useful where a business has a need for multiple sites to meet specific requirements e.g. a series of review sites,  a number of project sites etc. 

Creating a Site Template

Creating a site template allows you to capture your customisations, so that they can be applied to other SharePoint environments, or even use the template as the basis for multiple sites within the same environment. The Diagram below demonstrates the workflow process when creating a SharePoint site template.

Sharepoint workflow template

When saving a SharePoint site as a template, you are saving the overall framework of the site’s lists, libraries, views, forms, and workflows. The table below shows several features that are supported and what is not supported by the site template:

Sharepoint table

The user can package the site into a Web Solution Package file (.wsp) to open the site in other environments such as visual studio to customise the sites.

User can save a site template in two ways:

1) Graphical User Interface (GUI)
2) Command Line Interface (CLI)

Please see the step by step process on how to turn a site into a solution in GUI (i.e. saving a site as a template).

GUI – Saving a site as a template

1) Go to Settings (SharePoint - settings icon ) -> click Site settings -> Under Site Actions -> Save site as template
2) If your customised SharePoint site uses “Publishing portal” or “Team site” templates, and you cannot find this “Save site as template” option on the site settings page then see the workaround below:

            Open the customised site in SharePoint designer

                     a. Click Site Options under Site menu

SharePoint Sites Options

                     b. Search for “SaveSiteAsTemplateEnabled” -> and set this to true

SharePoint - Save As Template

3) Once you have completed the above steps, go to the URL mentioned below
E.g. siteURL/_layouts/15/savetmpl.aspx 

Sharepoint pic 5

4) Enter Filename, Template name and Template description on the page
5) Click Include Content if you want your template to have lists, libraries etc. Click OK
6) Once you’ve completed step 5, go to the solution Gallery Site settings -> Under Web Designer Galleries -> Solutions
7) Click on your newly created solution and Click Activate
8) If you want them as a (WSP) file - click solution to download the WSP file.

CLI - Saving site as a template

Run the following command in SharePoint PowerShell

Saving site as a template

Creating a site with the new template

Once the template is created in SharePoint it will be available in the list of sites to choose from when creating a new site or sub-site in SharePoint. 

For more information on Site templates in SharePoint, please Contact Us for a consultation and assistance.

18 Feb 2016

About the Author

James CTwo is our blogging alter ego for the Dynamics CRM and Web experts here at C2. We have a passion for anything CRM, Web Design or Social Media. We love writing about it! Find us on YouTube & Twitter.

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