Creating Your First SharePoint Site on O365

I was recently asked if I had done anything with Office 365. At the time I hadn’t, but I do have the opportunity to try it. So starting this week, we will take a series of looks at working with SharePoint online.

Obviously, the first thing you might want to do if you have Office 365 is to create a small collaboration site for you and your friends to share documents, calendars, tasks, etc. So let’s start at the beginning by opening Office 365.


The number of office tools/apps displayed in the Office 365 banner is a function of your screen design. So as in the above case, you may not see anything that looks like it might be SharePoint. However, notice the three dots (called ellipses) to the right of the work Outlook. Just as in SharePoint 2013, this icon means that other options exist and you just need to click on it to view them.


The resulting dropdown menu shows the other tools/apps available. Scroll down and click on the command Sites. This action opens a window showing you SharePoint sites you may have access to as well as sites that you may have created.


In future weeks, I will look at working with existing sites and how to share your site with others, but for today, I will create a new site by clicking on the New button in the upper left portion of the screen. As you can see below, the first thing you need to do is to assign a name to your site. For demo site, why not call it: SharePointMike and then just click Create.


You will first see a dialog on the screen informing you that this should not take too long. After a few seconds (or perhaps a minute or so), you should be returned to the initial screen you saw after clicking on the command Sites. Only now, you should see a listing for your new site that looks something like the following:


In fact, that is all you need to do to create a basic site. To enter the site to start adding content, simply click on the SharePoint icon or by clicking on the site name. When the site opens, you should see a set of icons across the top of the screen that help take you to common tasks you probably want to do in your new site.


Also notice that by default, the site include a Newsfeed web part and a web part to list the items in your Documents library. Of course, both of these are initially empty. I will come back to these in later weeks.

Let’s first click on the icon that displays the text: Your site. Your brand. This icon is the second from the right in the above image.


This page looks very familiar if you have ever worked in SharePoint on the premise. It displays sections to let you change the site title, create a site description, change the site logo from the default SharePoint logo, and even reset the web site address.

Recommendation: When I create a new site, the initial name that I enter for the site is actually the name I want to use in the URL. Then I come to this screen and change the Site Title to something that might be more user friendly.

If you have a logo you want to use for your site, now is the time to set it. If the site is going to be a personal site, you may want to upload a picture of yourself as the site logo so people coming to your site recognize you. Notice that in the section where you can insert a logo, you can upload the logo directly from your computer. You do not have to first upload the image to an images library in SharePoint before you use it. SharePoint can do that work for you. So for example, if I want to grab a logo from my local machine, the next dialog which lets me browse to my desired logo looks like the following.


I can click OK to close this dialog and then click OK on the dialog that displays the site settings to complete this set of actions. Next I might want to change the site style or color scheme. I can do this by clicking the What’s your style? Button from my site’s home page.


This first opens a page that displays a selection of different templates for your site. The following image shows only a portion of them.


After you select one of these templates you can further customize the color scheme by choosing from the available color combinations along the left side of the screen.


You may also have some options for the Site Layout and Fonts used by the pages. I will let you explore some of the different options yourself. The following image displays the options I chose to customize my site.


When I am done, I can save my changes and return to my site’s home page by clicking Home in the top banner to display my new home page which now looks something like the following.


That’s all for this week. Next time, I will drill down into using more of the features of this site such as how to use Word Online to create documents that I will then save into my SharePoint document library.

C’ya then.



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