We are using, i think, SharePoint Online as a part of Office 365. Perhaps I have the terminology correct, it is confusing.

When I go to the SharePoint Admin Center and lick on site collections I noticed that all of our site collections are Version 2013.

When I go to create a new site collection the window says: "2013 experience version will be used".

Is 2013 the newest version? I have read about 2016. Can you create a site collection using a 2016 experience? It seems as though even though we user SharePoint through Office 365 there are still versions that match up with the on-prem versions?

My questions:

1) Can I create a site collection using 2016

2) What do the versions mean, and will there always be a version even though we are using SharePoint through Office 365.

2 Answers 2


yes it is confusing. They use the terminology '2013 version' to make people understand it is the very latest version in terms of look and feel of the site. There is a 2016 version (although it is not correct to talk about versions in O365 since you are not installing anything new from version to version but it is Microsoft upgrading the interface at their convenience) but the differences in look and feel with the 2013 are minimal, while for example the look and feel of 2010 was very different and 2007 to 2010.

You could claim that the 'new experience' document library is part of 2016 as opposed to the 2013 'classic' one, however nobody on earth on O365 still has the '2013' version, it was changed globally sometime this year.

I suppose when they will make major changes the version of the site collection will be 2020 (as example) and you will have the chance to upgrade your 2013 versions to 2020.

  • Thanks for the explanation. Just a bit a clarification however. You said no one on O365 has 2013, but yet ours say 2013. Does this mean we should upgrade something or that we are missing features available in 2016?
    – kralco626
    Nov 17, 2016 at 21:56
  • no, I did not say 'nobody has 2013', as a matter of fact everybody has that 2013 next to every site collection, but for the people who remember the look and feel that there was in 2013 (or the features that were present back then) nobody can return to that era. In SP on premise 2013 you can still create a site that has a template of 2010. This is not possible in O365
    – susan
    Nov 18, 2016 at 8:58
  • So how do I get 2016?
    – kralco626
    Nov 18, 2016 at 19:17
  • It is by definition the most current type. However you will always read 2013 in admin center. In O365 you get 'new' things only when everybody else gets them unless it is a specific new feature that they open only to people who subscribe in advance to the project as preview users.
    – susan
    Nov 21, 2016 at 9:35

We have the latest version of SharePoint at the time (e.g currently we have SharePoint 2016 in SP Online). However we have SharePoint 2013 look and feel (site experience) to avoid any compatibility issues. MS will upgrade to 2016 experience in near future.


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