University of Southampton


Creating a site in SharePoint

This article guides you on creating a Communication or Team site in SharePoint. It also provides useful guidelines and links about managing your SharePoint site.

Before starting to create a new site

Decide whether you need a new site in SharePoint

Before starting to create and build your site, decide whether you need to create a new site or not.

You will probably not need a new SharePoint site if:

  • An existing team/communication site has the same (or similar) permissions
  • An existing team/communication site has the same (or similar) purpose
  • You need different permissions for storing a set of files. You can do this in SharePoint through separate document libraries

You will probably need a new team/communication site if:

  • You need to share information and content with a broad audience (communication site) or for collaborative working (team site)
  • You need space for a very specific task 
  • Your content needs different permissions

Decide the main purpose

There are currently two types of sites in SharePoint Online (SPO) that you can select from:

  • Communication sites 
  • Team sites

Communication sites

Communication sites are used to convey information to a wide audience. For example, many Faculties have a Communication site to inform staff and students about the Faculty.

Communication sites are rarely used for collaboration.

Team sites

Team sites are used for collaborative working; for example, bringing together project content.

Before creating a stand-alone Team SharePoint site, please consider whether a team in Teams is more appropriate. Remember that Teams gives you more collaboration opportunities such as:

  • Using posts instead of email
  • The ability to organise meetings within a Team channel


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Create your communication or team site in SharePoint

1. Sign into Microsoft 365 website

2. Select the app launcher icon App launcher icon

3. Select the SharePoint tile


4. At the top of the SharePoint home page, click "+ Create site"


5. Select the site option that fits better for you


6. Give your new site a name.

Please note:

  • We recommend keeping your site name short, for example using an acronym
  • Long site names may cause you problems with document library contents later
  • The site name at this stage becomes the URL of your site (see step 8), but you can change the site name later but not the URL without contacting iSolutions.

Please take in mind that when you create a team site, you can add it to a team in Teams. This may be a better option for collaborative communications within the team, rather than emailing.

7. This group email will appear under "Groups" in Outlook and works as a shared email. You can use this group email to:

  • Send emails from the site mailbox email address to every member
  • Receive emails from other member.

Team members who have the correct permissions can:

  • View group emails
  • Organize group emails
  • Respond to group emails.

8. You will see the field called "Site address*". This filed is automatically populated with the name added into the Site name (step 6). Change the site’s name if you need.  


Your site’s address will follow this structure: address (for example:

9. Add a description in the Site description box. This will help people know the purpose of your site.

10. Select how sensitive are your information between:

  • UOS_Internal_Only
  • UOS_Highly_Confidential
  • UOS_Confidential
  • UOS_Public

Please note: this choice has no effect on the site permissions for now and is informational only.

If you are creating a Team site, you will see another field asking to select one of the following privacy settings:

  • Private – only members can access this site
  • Public – anyone in the organisation can access this site

We suggest selecting "Private" as first option. If you say it is public, then everyone in the University (except externals) is automatically added to the site permissions.  You can always change its settings and open it up to everyone in the university once the site has been developed.

11. Select a language. "English" appears as default option, but remember to change it if the site has to be in another language.

If you are creating a Team site, you will need to:

  1. Select "Next"
  2. Add additional site owners and group members as needed.

You do not have to add all site owners during the setup – you can add them later once the site has been developed. 
Please remember:

  • Site owners have full control of site content, theme, permission settings, site settings, and hub associations.
  • Site members can edit and view site content, including files, pages, lists, and navigation.


12. Select "Finish". Your site will be created and will appear among the sites you are following. 

We recommend you "following" the site once created. You can follow a SharePoint site by selecting the icon start and the linked sentence "Not following" in the top-right corner of the page.

To unfollow a page, you just need to deselect the same option.


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Best practices and guidelines

Intro: SharePoint Online - Introduction

Instructions for site users: SharePoint Online - As a site user how do I ... ?

Instructions for site owners: SharePoint Online - As a site owner how do I ... ?

Guidance on managing site members and sharing permissions: Manage site members and sharing permissions


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Related content

Creating a SharePoint Online site - a best practice guide

Creating a Microsoft Team - a best practice guide

Guidance for SharePoint and Teams owners

Do I need a new Team (or SharePoint site)?

Share a site - SharePoint (external site)

Adding a non-University Colleague to a SharePoint Team-style site

Attached files:

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