If you used a site template (such as the Document Center template) and wish to use a different template (such as a Team Site), how can you accomplish this? More importantly, how do you do this without losing permissions that have been setup on the document libraries, lists, etc?

  • So how easy is it to add a navigation menu in a publishing site? – user32072 Jul 31 '14 at 22:59
up vote 16 down vote accepted

Unfortunately it is not possible to change the site template after you create the site. In some cases you can manually change things to make something look like something else, but the underlying site will still be based off of the original site template.

If you chose a Document Center and don't like it and want to switch to a Team Site template you will need to provision a new site and then manually copy the data or find a tool that can migrate the content for you. Some of those migration tools can also move permissions as well.

  • I am hoping that with the next iteration of SharePoint they implement a way to toggle between templates if you need to change a template. Thanks Mike for your answer though as through my own research I have also concluded this. – MAllen22842 Nov 29 '11 at 16:47
  • 2
    The core purpose of a template is to define some basic structure and content sources. In almost all cases those can be added to any site after the fact so it typically is not a big deal. – Mike Oryszak Nov 29 '11 at 16:50
  • Some functionality is hard-coded into the template, such as the "Edit Links" functionality: sharepintblog.com/2013/04/26/… It's certainly a challenge to create consistent experience for users when every site and list has subtle but fundamental differences. Made worse during upgrades when old templates and lists aren't updated to match the new templates, etc. SharePoint is such a pain in the ass. – TomWardrop Aug 16 '16 at 1:43
  • In this case, you would export the spweb and then re-import into a new site with a new template. Site templates are like custom interiors in a car. You can't use one, then expect everything to fit into a completely different custom interior. It's custom for a reason. I wouldn't call SharePoint a pain in the ass here. People are, sure. It's documented in SharePoint planning guides that you need to consider which site template you are choosing because it cannot be changed afterwards. If you are in doubt, pick blank and create your own so you get exactly what you want is my suggestion. – DubStep Oct 6 '16 at 17:35

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