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I am creating a new site collection to serve as an intranet on the SP2016 foundation.

For our portal sites, I want to design a handful of sites which will be reused as templates. There's nothing fancy here -- just particular web parts laid out in a particular way, like Summary links with headers I want to be standardized across all sites, a CQWB that pulls filtered data from lists, a site contact web part, a list of links that would be the same on all the sites.

I want the publishing feature enabled for all these sites. With that enabled, however, the "save site as a template" option is not allowed or supported. The most common workarounds I've found suggest that there are pitfalls and things can fail. (These warnings tend to be vague but you see them enough I'm convinced I want to avoid them.)

In my testing, though, I have successfully just gone to "Manage Content and Structure" and just used the COPY operation to copy one of these sites and paste that copy in a new location.

Are there any problems with this approach? If it works, I'm just going to create a site collection called "Site Types" or something like that, design each of my site types as a subsite there, and when I need to create a new one elsewhere in the site collection, perform this copy from Manage Content and Structure.

Any pitfalls with this? Thanks.

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It sounds great workaround, but I suggest before you go ahead with this solution, you should be aware of the following:

  • Copy site through Site Content & Structure can't be done within the same site collection or a subsite in the same site collection, you will get this error.

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I think it's your scenario that you need to do where you need to create a site collection and subsite with publishing feature then copy this site to the same site collection to can create a new site from this copy. so this method does not help in your case, it working in case you will move to another site collection.

  • Site Content & Structure requires SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure The publishing site should be activated to can find Content & structure that you already have.

But I suggest before you decide to activate the SharePoint Server Publishing feature, you should first be aware of the following:

  • Once the publishing feature is activated the ‘Save site as a template‘ option will be unavailable below Site Action.
  • Deactivate publishing features will not show back the ‘Save site as a template‘ option.
  • You’ll not be able to ‘Save site as a template‘ by any means.
  • Any workaround on the internet to ‘Save site as a template‘ from Publishing Site or from a site that has ever had publishing features enabled is unsupported and often doesn’t work.

so I suggested if you need to use save as template with publishing feature you should plan from beginning to do the following:

  • Create your team site.
  • Finalize first all the customization that you need in your team site without enablingpublishing feature.
  • Save the site as a template and consider it this the Master template.
  • You can now create sites from this Master template as you need. Meanwhile, you can enable the publishing features on the sites that created from this master team site template.
  • In a case of you need to continue customization, you could do that for a site created from Master Template that not has a publishing feature enabled. then save it again as a new Master Template version.

For more details check my article at MISSING SAVE SITE AS TEMPLATE IN SHAREPOINT

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