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I active the publishing features in many of the sites I use to gain access to things like master pages, page layouts, check-in/check-out on pages, etc.

Here is a list of what features get added for SharePoint Online.

By activating the publishing infrastructure what features am I losing out on / being deactivated? The main thing that I know of is the ability to create a site template. What else is there? Or even a broader question, why shouldn't I use the publishing features?

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You will not lose any functionality if you enable it on team site. Rather it will add more features in your site i.e Site templates, new Groups and permission levels, Navigation, Theme changes, Master pages and page layouts, Images and style sheets, Document libraries and lists, Content types, Columns, Web Parts, Page editing menu, Timer jobs etc.

Other than Save as template, couple of people reported this "you will also lose the Quick Launch and Top Link Bar menu items from the Site Settings menu" other than no big issue.

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