What does a site template do?
Saving a SharePoint site as a template saves you a time by making it so you don’t have to recreate similar apps (lists and libraries) and views for multiple sites that are mostly the same in structure and function. You can even save a site as template including its content (documents/items) so that you don’t need to re-upload the same content to each (such as blank worksheets, forms, guides, etc. you’ll complete/utilize on each site).
Examples of what to use site templates for
Frequently people might use site templates for project sites, where each project is going to have the same needs for communication and collaboration, and sometimes the same content such as project and budget worksheets or documents. You may also wish to use site templates for regular committee or group work such as annual event or semi-annual review processes and projects where you want a separate site to archive for each regular iteration of the group’s function.
How to create site templates
There are two methods I use to create templates of SharePoint sites. Either via Site Settings, or by simply modifying the URL of the site. Once created using one of the these methods, the template is saved to your site’s solution gallery and available to users creating new sites on the “Custom” tab of site template selection:
Save SharePoint site as template URL modification
To save a site as template, add _layouts/15/savetmpl.aspx to the end of the specific site or subsite’s URL. For example if you wanted Subsite C to be a reusable site template, you’d modify:
Then complete the fields (file name, template name, description, etc.) and choose whether or not the template should include the site’s existing content (documents and items) or if the lists/libraries should be empty on sites created using the template.
If you get the error The “Save site as template” action is not supported on this site, follow these steps then try again.
Save SharePoint site as template via settings
This requires the site to have never had SharePoint Server Publishing (site feature) activated on the site. See next section if it already has.
To save a site as a template via site settings:
1. Click on the settings wheel (upper right corner)
2. Click site settings (if classic) or site information > view all site settings (if modern).
3. Choose Save site as template from under Site Actions
Save site as template option missing from Site settings?
The option is removed when users activate SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure (site collection feature) or SharePoint Server Publishing (site feature). You can still activate the “save site as template” ability separately via PowerShell for the site then follow the steps for URL modification above to get to the “Save as template” form.