How to create Custom SharePoint site designs in O365

The much-awaited Custom SharePoint site designs are finally out there. This gives SharePoint users and admins the ability to further customize the SharePoint sites experiences in a repeatable and programmatic way. That would mean that you don’t have to work from scratch for customizing each of your SharePoint sites. They can be done programmatically, which obviously is a better alternative.

SharePoint team sites and Communication sites are becoming more organized. They should also get aligned with the branding of the company, where custom site themes and custom site designs comes into play. Custom site designs and custom site themes provides you with the flexibility that is required to make every customization you need. Let us now get into creating custom site designs.

Create and use custom site designs

SharePoint administrators will now be able to create and upload custom site scripts and site designs. This is new feature, although the ability to manage custom site themes is already present. When you apply a site design to a site, that not only sets up a site theme, but also helps create lists and columns, recording the new site URL to a log, sending emails to selected people or groups etc.

 These site themes will be stored in a central, tenant level gallery. From here, it can be applied to team sites as well as communication sites. If you are an approved user, you would see an option to choose Custom Site Design once you start creating a site.

 The new site design framework will allow your customers to create and apply site configurations programmatically and ensuring that sites are configured perfectly. However, you should be familiar with REST and PowerShell APIs to make use of this.


As a part of this custom site design, you can use site scripts and customize to see how SharePoint sites are being provisioned. The simple way to get this done is to construct a JSON object that describes the action to be taken when the site is being provisioned. You can also start external Microsoft Flows for any additional actions, in case you need. Site scripts are non-destructive, so when they run, they will ensure if the site matches the configuration provided in the script.

 Available actions might include:

  • Creating a new list
  • Applying a theme
  • Setting a site logo
  • Adding navigation
  • Triggering a Microsoft flow

SharePoint site owners have new options for applying custom color palettes to sites. That helps to define and manage themes across site collections easily. Now, you have eight configurable default themes that you can apply to all of your pages at a click. – both Team Sites & Communication sites. Not only that, you can even create custom themes and upload those to a customer’s theme gallery.

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