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I am creating a new site and the business hasn't requested anything specific for publishing with workflow needs, so at the moment the default top level site is a Team Site.

What is the best practice going forward to safeguard myself against the potential need for publishing with workflow needs for the future? Should I create all subsites as from the "Publishing with workflows" template or can existing sites be modified to include that functionality?

What is the major difference between Publishing with Workflows as opposed to a Sharepoint Publising portal type? I have read comparisons of both but still don't understand the pros and cons, so would like to hear from anybody with personal experience of these scenarios?

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As with any template the difference is in the activated features. In order to best prepare yourself for future needs of the business I would use the teamsite template and then activate the publishing infrastructure. After that activate the publishing feature at the site levels where you will need them.

This ensures that you have the workflow, managed metadata, lists, libraries etc that the business needs, but they will still be able to have the functionality that comes with a publishing portal.

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The publishing site with workflow template is used similarly to the publishing site template to create sites designed to present web-based content. However, The publishing site with workflow template extends these capabilities by provisioning the resources need when content must be approved before it is made available to site users.once you create a site from this template you can configure the appropriate approval workflow to manage the content approval process.

The approval workflow is enabled by default only in the Publishing Site with Workflow site template. It can be used for content approval on a Web Site or an Intranet solution where the content must be reviewed before publication.

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"Publishing Site with Workflow" is not available at Site Collection level.

But there are two types of templates one that is marked with SubWebOnly=TRUE and others that are marked as RootSiteOnly="True" as the name say it will be visible at that particular level.

Being said that "Publishing Site with Workflow" is marked with SubWebOnly=TRUE so it will be visible when you create a Sub Web not the site collection

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