Unleashing Office 365 PowerShell for SharePoint

Office 365 PowerShell is a powerful management tool that complements and augments the Office 365 Admin center. In a nutshell, PowerShell for Office 365 gives you Office 365 on steroids – it unlocks new Office 365 features, simplifies bulk operations, and provides enhanced management of Exchange, Skype for Business, and SharePoint Online; and that is just picking a few features. In this blog, I focus on its numerous advantages with respect to SharePoint – particularly site templates and provisioning.

Using PowerShell to Simplify Site Creation

While you can create new sites in Office 365, having templates drastically eases the process. It enables you to:

  • Create sites faster for quicker delivery of proof of concepts.
  • Standardize your sites with uniform branding and standard functionality.
  • Recycle success by basing templates on existing successful sites created by users like projects and events.

Here are some of the options PowerShell for Office 365 provides to create beautiful customized sites:

  1. Hand Roll the Script: Create PowerShell Scripts that are purpose-built for specific processes such as provisioning a new team site. Use this option when the level of customization is high.
  2. Use SharePoint PnP: SharePoint Patterns and Practices (PnP) is a community-lead, Microsoft-guided initiative for SharePoint Online. PnP PowerShell, contains a library of PowerShell commands for complex fine-tuning provisioning for SharePoint sites. It works both with SharePoint Online as well as SharePoint On-Premises.

Go Easy with SharePoint Online Provisioning:  This open source community-hosted service provides samples, templates, and solutions to your Office 365 tenant. Browse from a selection of elegant, OOTB templates that can be used as a framework for your sites.

Example: Provisioning Sites using PnP PowerShell

The workflow to provision a site using PnP PowerShell would be as follows:

  1. First, create the New Site that you will use as the source for your template from the SharePoint Admin Center.
  2. Modify the new site adding lists and libraries as needed.
  3. Provision a new Site that you will apply the template to using PnP PowerShell (refer to the sample script below). The script essentially will:
    1. Provision the Site
    2. Extract the required Lists and Libraries and create the template.
  4. Create a local “template” file and edit as required.
  5. Create a new site.
  6. Apply the “template” from the local “template” file.
Sample Script to Provision a Site from a Template using PnP PowerShell

And watch your beautiful site go live from 0 to 60 in minutes.

Next Steps: Site Themes, Scripts and Designs

For further details on designing your site using site themes, site designs, and site scripts, watch my webinar Unleashing the Power of PowerShell for Office 365.

If you have any questions, do add a comment below or tweet me at @MatthewMcD.

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