How to Build a SharePoint Online Site (Part 0)

March 5, 2012  |  No Comments  |  by Thomas   |  Blog, News

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Note: SharePoint has been updated since this blog was posted! This means that the instructions provided through these links may not apply to the latest version. The same general ideas and concepts still apply, but specific instructions have changed. To learn more about using the most up-to-date version of SharePoint, visit our latest SharePoint Blogs, and check back soon, because we have more How-To’s, Guides, and Articles on the way!

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A How-To Guide for New SharePoint Admins

As I needed to build out a site that I would use to demo SharePoint Online to customers, I figured I might as well wrap it up in a blog and share the know-how. This will only cover a few basic items to get your brain juices flowing and is targeted to people who have little to no SharePoint experience. I Hope you may find it helpful.

Note: This is a multi-part guide. You are on Part 0: Setting up and understanding site collections.

Click here to skip ahead to Part 1: Creating a TeamSite Homepage.


Part 0: Setup Admins & Site Collections

“So you just purchased Office 365 SharePoint Online… now what?”

  • Log in. Go to your main Office 365 Portal –> Quick link here. Make sure you are logging in as someone who has global administrator access (you can get by with less, but this guide assumes you have it). Also, I recommend you always do SharePoint editing in Internet Explorer 9 as you’ll run into the least amount of error issues.
  • Go to the Admin Center. When you logged in as a global administrator, it will have dumped you on the admin tab by default. On this page there are several links that say “Manage”, click the one that is beneath the heading “SharePoint Online”. (see image below)
  • Click Image to Enlarge

  • Manage Site Collections. This will open a new window with several administrative options. Click the top link, which says “Manage Site Collections”.
  • Check on Default Site Collections. By default your account will come with two default site collections. (See image below)
  • Click Image to Enlarge

    What is a Site collection?

    • A site collection is a place where you will keep multiple SharePoint sites.
    • Lets consider an analogy: Before you paint anything, you pick what you will paint on and how big that canvas will be. If you are painting and suddenly you run out of room, then you will need more canvas space. In the same way, when you make a SharePoint site, you will make it “on” a site collection. If you put too much data on that collection, you will run out of room and need to expand the collection.
    • Therefore we can conclude that a site collection is the vessel that holds our SharePoint info. And we need to make sure that the vessel is big enough for its purpose.


  • Check on Site Collection Ownership: If you see more than the two default site collections, someone else has been busy in here. You’ll want to know who so that you can ask them what they did (as we don’t want to screw up anything they’ve created). To see who is the “owner” of a site collection, click on the hyperlink associated with that collection. A pop-up box will appear and the third line down will read “Primary Administrator”, that is who is responsible for the site collection in question.
  • Adding Admins/Owners:If you want to add a second admin to the overall site collection, you can do that now. Click the checkbox next to the site collection, click “owners”, then click “manage Administrators”.

    Click Image to Enlarge


    This will create a popup screen, the top section is for the Primary Site Collection Owner (there can only be one name here), the bottom section can have any number of Site Collection Administrators. To add a name, type the first part of their email (everything before the @ symbol), then click icon of a person on the right of the box. To add multiple people put a semicolon in between For Example, to add me and my coworker Tracy you would type “thomasa; tracyw” then click the check names button (icon of a person with a check mark). (see image)
  • Click Image to Enlarge

  • Enter your teamsite. We are now done with the boring setup stuff. Now click on the link for the site you want to enter (in our case it is the default teamsite which should look something like: http://*yourdomainname*.sharepoint.com.
    This will cause a pop-up window to appear, there is a second link in this window, clicking that will take you directly to your teamsite homepage
    (note that you can also get to the site from the Office 365 Portal. At the top of the screenat the Office 365 portal, one of the options says Teamsite, clicking that will also take you to your default Teamsite homepage).

Proceed to next guide. Part 1: Creating your homepage


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