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Office 365 SharePoint: How to Use & Customize SharePoint Sites & Libraries. Do you need help setting up Office 365 (Microsoft 365) SharePoint for your organization?

We start with a quick introduction for those new to Microsoft 365 SharePoint. It also explains various licensing options.

Next, we discuss its relationship with OneDrive and Microsoft Teams.

The remaining sections of the article concentrate on configuring the tool. We explore editing SharePoint Settings and managing sites. 

What is Office 365 SharePoint?

SharePoint in Microsoft 365 (“SharePoint Online”) is a cloud based intranet tool organizations use to manage information, content, and apps. Moreover it is closely related to OneDrive. 

So, SharePoint Online and OneDrive work to provide seamless cloud collaboration. While users store personal files on OneDrive, they save files they intend to share with team members on SharePoint.

Office 365 SharePoint: How to Use and Customize SharePoint Sites and Libraries
image credit: Microsoft

Beyond file storage and sharing, SharePoint provides other features. For example, it  hosts company’s portal and news site.

Additionally it is used to create pages and lists as well as host business apps.

Microsoft 365 SharePoint Licensing Requirements

You may purchase a license to access SharePoint Online without any other  Microsoft 365 product. 

Microsoft offers 2 SharePoint Online dedicated license options. Specifically, Plan 1 and 2 gives your business users SharePoint and OneDrive with varying features. 

We do not recommend buying SharePoint-only licenses as it does not deliver the best value for money. For instance, the SharePoint Plan 1 license costs $5.00 per user/month – on the annual plan and offers just SharePoint. 

In comparison, Microsoft 365 Business Basic annual subscription costs $6.00 per user/month. With this license, each user gets SharePoint online, business email, access to the online version of Microsoft Office apps, and more. 

Beyond these options, Microsoft offers Business Standard and Business Premium offers all the features of Basic and more at additional monthly fees. 

For more licensing options, visit Microsoft 365 enterprise licensing page. 

SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams integrates with SharePoint and OneDrive to maximize the benefits of the three collaboration tools. 

Starting with Teams, when you create a new team, the process creates a SharePoint Online site and document library to store the team files.

Similarly, SharePoint and OneDrive provide an environment for users to save, share files, and co-author documents within and outside an organization. 

To access your organization’s SharePoint Online admin center, sign in to the Microsoft 365 admin portal at  admin.microsoft.com.

Navigate the menu, click “Show all,” and scroll to the “Admin centers” section. Then, click “SharePoint.” 

Configure SharePoint Settings

Configure crucial settings like SharePoint Homepage, notifications, and Site creation options. 

Additionally, you set Site storage limits.

Not only that, but also configure OneDrive options on the SharePoint settings page. For instance, enable or disable OneDrive file activity notifications for users and configure a OneDrive retention period for users’ deleted files.

Additionally, the settings page offers the option to configure the OneDrive storage limit and control how OneDrive syncs files with SharePoint.

To access the SharePoint settings page, click Settings on the menu. 

Once the Settings page opens, click on the column name of the option you want to configure. For instance, to change the Home site for your organization’s intranet site, click “Home site.”

Create and Manage SharePoint Sites

Sites are at the root of SharePoint collaboration. They are created manually or automatically.

Creating a Microsoft team automatically creates a SharePoint site to store and save the team’s files and document libraries. 

All Sites created on SharePoint are under Sites -> Active Sites on the SharePoint admin center. 

To create a new site, click the “+ Create.” 

Then, on the first page of the “Create a site” workflow, select Team site, or Communication site to create sites based on pre defined templates. Alternatively, select “Other options” to customize your options. 

Beyond creating new sites, the Active sites page allows the management of existing sites. To edit the settings of an existing site, click it. 

When SharePoint opens the site’s settings, manage the settings by clicking on the tabs, starting with the “General” tab. 

On the General tab, view information about the site. Moreover, this tab has an option to add the site to Microsoft Teams.

To create a team for the SharePoint site, click “Add Teams.” To delete the site using the delete icon on this tab. 

When you delete a site, Microsoft 365 moves it to “Deleted sites.” We discuss how to manage deleted sites in the next section. 

Let’s explore the Membership and the Setting tabs. The membership tab allows the configuration of site owners, admins.

Click each sub-tab on the left to modify the settings on the tab.

Finally, the Settings tab has the option to allow external users to email the members of the SharePoint site. Additionally, configure whether to allow emails sent to the members to their individual emails as well. 

The settings tab also has the option to switch the SharePoint site to a private or public site and configure its external file sharing options. 

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Manage and Restore Deleted SharePoint

Microsoft 365 retains deleted SharePoint sites for 93 days before permanently deleting them. During the 93 days period, you can restore the site. 

To manage deleted sites on SharePoint Online, expand “Sites” and click “Deleted sites.” Next, restore the site by selecting it and clicking the “Restore” button and confirm the restore. 

Configure Office 365 SharePoint Policies

The Policies menu allows the configuration of Sharing rules for SharePoint and OneDrive. Additionally, manage access control settings in this menu. 

Manage SharePoint and OneDrive Sharing Policies

The “Sharing” page allows the configuration of organizational level external file sharing setting for SharePoint and OneDrive. 

After setting the external content sharing policy, configure more sharing settings by expanding “More external sharing settings.” Fine-tune external file sharing permissions is allowed. 

Further down the “Sharing” page, configure more sharing options. For more info, click sharing settings link. 

Configure Access Control Policies for SharePoint and OneDrive

The “Access control” page allows the management of “Unmanaged devices.” 

Depending on your organization’s policy, allow full, limited or block access for unmanaged devices

In addition to configuring unmanaged devices, this page offers more options to secure a SharePoint site and reduce its vulnerability to cyberattacks. For instance, the “Idle session sign-out” settings allows the configuration of automatic idle sign out policy. 

Furthermore, the “Network location” feature enables the configuration of IPs allowed to access SharePoint sites and OneDrive. Finally, certain third-party apps and previous versions of Office that don’t use modern authentication is blocked using the “Apps that don’t use modern authentication” settings. 

Manage Content Type Gallery

SharePoint Online allows creation of “content types” to enable consistency across a site. Moreover, when users click “+ New” drop-down on a SharePoint site home page, Documents, Pages, or “Site content” menus, they create content types.

Furthermore, the items shown in (2) refer to these “content types.”

Admins control the “+ New” drop-down options by creating and managing content types on the SharePoint Online admin portal. 

To create and manage content types, expand the “Content services menu” and select “Content type gallery.”

The content type gallery page allows the management of existing or the creation of new types. Check if the existing ones do not meet your requirements before doing that. 

To manage an existing item, click on it. Then, on the item’s details page, perform tasks like delete, publish, unpublish, or edit the item. 

Moreover, this page allows adding and managing the site columns that are a part of the content type. You can do this on the “Site columns” section. 

To create new content types,  click the “+ Create content type” button. 

Then, enter the details and click Create.

Migrate from other Services to Microsoft 365

Use the SharePoint Online Migration Manager if your organization needs to move from third-party services, copy on-premises file shares, or from SharePoint Server to Microsoft 365. As of June 2023, this tool supports copying on-premises file shares to Microsoft 365.

Additionally, the migration of Box, Stream (Classic), Google Workspace, Dropbox, and Egnyte are supported. Also, SharePoint Server 2010, 2013, and 2016 is transferred using the SharePoint Migration tool. 

Click “Migration” to migrate these services and resources. Scroll to the service you want to migrate and click “Get started.”

If you’re transferring files from on-premises SharePoint Server, locate the SharePoint Migration tool at the bottom of the page. 

Customize Microsoft 365 SharePoint Navigation Menu

SharePoint Online admins customize the items displayed on their menu. However, other admins won’t not see your menu customization. 

To determine the items shown on your SharePoint Online menu, click the “Customize  navigation” item. Uncheck the menu items you wish to remove and click Save. 

Thank you for reading Office 365 SharePoint: How to Use & Customize SharePoint Sites & Libraries. We shall conclude this article now. 

Office 365 SharePoint: How to Use & Customize SharePoint Sites & Libraries Conclusion

Microsoft 365 SharePoint offers a complete intranet solution to manage content, information, and apps. To introduce this Microsoft collaboration tool to beginners, this article explained how it integrates with OneDrive. 

Specifically, it explained that users store personal files on OneDrive, while SharePoint is designed to store shared files. Additionally, we highlighted the relationship between SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams. 

Moving on from the intro, the article discussed the licensing options for subscribing to this Microsoft’s cloud intranet solution. After that, it explored configuring and managing various sections of SharePoint, starting with its Settings. 

Additionally, it explained Sites and showed how to create and configure deleted sites,  share and access policies, and much more. 

We’re confident you have successfully configured SharePoint Online for your organization by following this detailed guide. 

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Victor Ashiedu

Victor Ashiedu

Victor is an IT pro based in Manchester, UK. With over 22 years of experience managing Windows Server, Active Directory, and Powershell, and 7 years of expertise in Azure AD and Office 365, he's a seasoned expert in his field. When he's not working, he loves spending time with his family - a wife and a 5-year-old. Victor is passionate about helping businesses succeed in today's fast-changing tech landscape.

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