How to Set Up a SharePoint Site

Teams of workers collaborating on projects in a white office with large windows

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SharePoint offers two different ways to share information: team sites and communication sites. Let's explore the differences and then learn how to create both types of Office 365 SharePoint sites.

The ability to create new SharePoint sites is only available in SharePoint Online. You cannot create new sites in the SharePoint mobile apps.

Team Sites Versus Communication Sites

SharePoint gives you the opportunity to create two different types of sites. Here’s the difference between the two types of SharePoint sites:

  • Team Sites: Use a team site when a group of people need to work together on a project. Team sites provide an effective way for a team to collaborate on projects and share files. Team sites also provide a calendar to organize team meetings and events.
  • Communications Sites: Use a communication site when you want to distribute information to people. Communication sites allow you to upload documents to a central location where readers can view the content.

You’ll need permission from your Office 365 administrator to create SharePoint sites.

How to Create a SharePoint Team Site

When you want to share files and information with people in your organization, use a SharePoint team site.

Here’s how to create a SharePoint team site:

  1. Open SharePoint. Sign in to your Office 365 account, open the Office 365 app launcher, and select SharePoint.

  2. Create the team site. Select Create site and choose Team site.

    Create site and Team site buttons on Sharepoint web page
  3. Describe the site. Here's how:

    1. Type the name of the site in the Site name text box.
    2. Type a description of the purpose of the site in the Site description text box.
    3. From the Privacy settings list, choose whether to make the site private or public.
    4. Select Next when you’re done.
    Next button in Site description panel on Sharepoint

    This also creates a group email account that has the same name as the team site.

  4. Invite people to the team site. Type the name or email address of people you want to notify about the site in the Add members text box. Select Finish when you’ve added everyone.

    Finish button in Sharepoint creation panel

    Don’t worry if you forget to add a member. You can always add more people later.

  5. Explore your new team site.

Add an App to a SharePoint Team Site

SharePoint team sites come with several apps that make teamwork more efficient. But, you may need other apps. For example, team sites do not come with a contact list. A contact list gives you a single place to find information about a group of people.

Here’s how to add an app to a SharePoint team site:

  1. Select New > App.

    New app category dropdown menu on Sharepoint creation page
  2. Choose an app from the list. For example, select the Contacts app to add a list of contacts that you can customize.

    Contacts App icon on Sharepoint creation page
  3. Give the app a name. Because you can use an app multiple times in a site, give the app a unique name. Select Create when you’re done.

    Create button for Adding Contacts to Sharepoint app
  4. Look for the newly added app in the Site Contents list.

Add an App to the Team Site Quick Launch

When you add an app to your SharePoint team site, the app appears in the Site contents page. You’ll find a link to the Site contents in the Quick Launch in the left navigation pane. If you want a quick way to access the app, add it to the Quick Launch.

Here’s how to create a Quick Launch link to an app:

  1. Select Site contents from the left navigation pane.

  2. Select Show actions next to the app you want to add to the navigation pane and choose Settings.

    Show actions button in Sharepoint creation page
  3. Select List name, description and navigation from the General Settings list.

  4. In the Navigation area, select Yes to display the list on the Quick Launch.

    Display this list on the Quick Launch, checkbox set to Yes
  5. Select Save when you’re finished.

How to Create a SharePoint Communications Site

When you want to share information with an audience, start with a SharePoint communications site.

Here’s how to create a SharePoint communications site:

  1. From your SharePoint home page, select Create site.

  2. Choose Communication site.

  3. Choose a design for the communications site. A preview of the design displays in the preview area.

  4. Describe your site. Type a site name and a description of the site’s purpose.

  5. Select Finish when you’re done.

    Finish button on Communication Site page

Edit the Communications Site Home Page

After you’ve created a communications site, update the home page. Create links to your latest news and announcements to tell your visitors what you’re up to. And add pictures that enhance your message. SharePoint makes it easy with the Hero web part.

Here’s how to make changes to a Hero web part:

  1. Open the SharePoint communications site that you want to edit.

  2. Select Edit.

    Edit button to the upper right of Sharepoint site creation
  3. Change the home page layout. Here's how:

    Pen icon and Hero panel on Sharepoint web page
    1. Select Edit web part.
    2. Select Tiles and choose a layout option.
    3. Select Layers and choose the number of layers to use.
    4. Select Close when you're done.

    As you select these options, you’ll see the changes on the home page.

  4. Change the look of a tile. Here's how:

    Pencil icon and Hero panel on Sharepoint creation page
    1. Select Edit details.
    2. Change the information for the Link, Title, Description, Image, and Options.
    3. Select Close when you’re done.
  5. When you’ve made all your changes, select Publish.

Share SharePoint Sites with Others

You can add new members to a site at any time. It’s as easy as sharing the site information with people who need to use your site.

To share a site with other people, open the site you want to share and do one of the following:

  • Add members to a team site: Select the member link, select Add members, and type the name or email address of the people who will have access to the site. Select Save when you're done.
  • Share a communications site: Select the Share site link, type the name or email address, and select Save when you're done.