Save site as template in SharePoint 2013/2016/Online

save list as template sharepoint online

This SharePoint customization tutorial we will discuss Save site as template in SharePoint 2013/2016/Online. What are site templates in SharePoint? What are the things supported and not supported in site template in SharePoint 2013/2016? How we can save site as a template in SharePoint 2013? And how we can create a new SharePoint site by using the SharePoint site template?


This will be a very details step by step tutorial on how to work with Save site as template in SharePoint 2013/2016/Online.

What are SharePoint Site Templates?

A site template is like a blueprint for the site. SharePoint site templates are prebuilt definitions designed around a particular business need. There are default site templates like Team Site, Project Site, and Communities Site, publishing site etc. but you can also create your own site template based on a site you’ve created and customized.

You can customize a SharePoint site like, add libraries, lists, views, workflows, logos, and other elements that you require for your business, then Save the Site as a template and reuse the site template to create different sites. Custom site templates are often used to deploy solutions in other sites or to provide site consistency within your organization. You can also package the site into a Web Solution Package file (.wsp) and open it in another environment or application such as Visual Studio and further customize it there.

When you save a SharePoint site as a template, you’re saving the overall framework of the site, its lists and libraries, views and forms, and workflows. In addition to these components, you can also include the contents of the site in the template; for example, the documents stored in the document libraries or data in the lists in SharePoint.

What is Supported in SharePoint 2013 save site as template?

Below are the things which are supported when you Save SharePoint 2013/Online site as a template.

Lists, libraries, external lists, data source connections, list views and data views, custom forms, workflows, content types, custom actions, navigation, site pages, master pages, modules, and web templates.

What is Unsupported in SharePoint 2013 save site as template?

Below are the things which are unsupported when you Save SharePoint 2013/Online site as a template. These things will not come along with the template.

Customized permissions, running workflow instances, list item version history, workflow tasks associated with running workflows, people or group field values, taxonomy field values, publishing sites and pages, and stapled features.

How save site as template works in SharePoint online/2013/2016?

When you create a site template, information about site features and content types is also saved. When you use the site template in a different site collection, those features must be available and activated for the site template to work.

The size of the template should not beyond 50 MB site template limit.

When you Save a list as a template it will save as a .wsp file will store it in the site collection’s Solution Gallery. After it saved it can be used to create subsites within that same site collection. If you want to use the site template to create sites in a different site collection, you can browse to the Solution Gallery and download the solution. You can then upload the solution in a different site to make the site template available there.

The Save Site As Template functionality uses the web template technique behind the scenes. It generates an ONET.xml file and an elements.xml file containing a WebTemplateelement. When a site is saved as a template, SharePoint has to make sure that everything that was available in the original site is also available in a new site that is created by using the site template. To ensure this, SharePoint packages all the features, site columns, content types, property bag values, and much more from the original site into the site template.

They can only be used on sites that don’t have the publishing features enabled. Activating the publishing features on a site will make the Save Site As Template link disappears from the site settings page. But you can access it from URL which is not recommended form Microsoft. This can sometimes cause major issues.

Save site as template in SharePoint 2013/2016/Online

There is no difference between creating a Site template in SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online. To create a site template, open your SharePoint 2016/2013 site, click on the gear icon and then click on Site settings like below:

sharepoint 2013 save site as template
SharePoint 2013/2016 save site as template

In the Site Settings page click on “Save site as template” which is under the Site Actions section.

Save Site As Template SharePoint 2013
Save Site As Template SharePoint 2013

Then it will open the Save as Template page, Give a file name, template name, description as well as if you want to include the content, check the checkbox “include content” as shown in the fig below:

Save site as template in SharePoint 2013
Save site as template in SharePoint 2013

Once the operation completed successfully, it will display a successful message. The template will be saved in the solution gallery of the site collection.

save site as template sharepoint online
save site as template SharePoint online

Now if you will visit the solution gallery you can see the template must be saved and activated there. It will display like below: (To visit the solution gallery from the site settings page click on Solutions which is under Web Designer Galleries)

how to Save Site As Template in SharePoint 2013/2016
how to Save Site As Template in SharePoint 2013/2016

Create Sub Site using SharePoint Custom Site Template

Once we save the SharePoint site as a template, we can create a site or subsite using the custom SharePoint template.

Now if you will go to the Site Contents page of SharePoint 2013/2016/Online site and try to create a new subsite you can see the template appears under the Custom tab.

steps to Save Site As Template in SharePoint 2016
steps to Save Site As Template in SharePoint 2016

Once you create the site using the template, the new site will be created based on the same template. As you can see in the example, the new site has the logo which was there in the template as well as one Employee list is also there which was there in the existing template. The new site looks like below:

save site as template sharepoint 2016
save site as template SharePoint 2016

Upload Site Template to Other Site Collection in SharePoint 2013/2016/Online

As we have discussed the site template will be available to that SharePoint site collection only. If you will check in any other site collection then the template will not available. Here it is how looks in another site collection.

Save Site As Template in SharePoint 2016
Save Site As Template in SharePoint 2016

So first go to the source site collection and then from site settings page click on Solutions to open the Solution Gallery. There click on the solution file which will ask you to Save the file in local drive. Save the file.

Now come back to the SharePoint site collection where you want to upload the solution, your destination site collection. Click on the gear icon and then Site Settings link. In the Site Settings page click on Solutions which is under “Web Designer Galleries“.

In the Solution Gallery, click on the Upload Solution button to upload the solution which we have saved in our local drive.

Save site as template in SharePoint 2013
Save site as template in SharePoint 2013
save site as template sharepoint online
save site as template SharePoint online

Then browse the file and click on OK. It will add the solution and it will ask you to activate the solution. Click on the Activate button to activate the solution like below:

sharepoint 2013 save site as template
sharepoint 2013 save site as template

Once it is activated in the Solution Gallery like below the template will be available in the site collection to use.

save site as template sharepoint online
save site as template sharepoint online

Now go to Site Contents page and try to create a new subsite, in the templates you can see the site template will appear like below:

Save Site As Template in SharePoint 2013/2016/Online
Save Site As Template in SharePoint 2013/2016/Online

SharePoint 2013 save site as template url

We can also directly access the SharePoint 2013 save site template url. Suppose you are trying to Save site as a template in SharePoint 2013/2016/Online, then you will not see the “Save site as template” option in SharePoint site settings page. But you can directly access SharePoint 2013 save site as template url:

<You SharePoint Site URL>/_layouts/savetmpl.aspx
or
<You SharePoint Site URL>/_layouts/15/savetmpl.aspx

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Conclusion

In this SharePoint tutorial, I have explained how to work with SharePoint 2013 save site as a template? How can we save site as template in SharePoint 2013/2016/Online?

Also, I have explained how we can create a site or subsite using SharePoint 2013 custom site template? How we can use the SharePoint site template in another SharePoint site collection?

What are the things which are supported in site template and not supported in SharePoint 2013/2016/Online site template?



We also saw SharePoint 2013 save site as template url. The URL is same for SharePoint 2016 or SharePoint Online.

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About Bijay Kumar

I am Bijay from Odisha, India. Currently working in my own venture TSInfo Technologies in Bangalore, India. I am Microsoft Office Servers and Services (SharePoint) MVP (5 times). I works in SharePoint 2016/2013/2010, SharePoint Online Office 365 etc. Check out My MVP Profile.. I also run popular SharePoint web site SharePointSky.com

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