Features enabled in a SharePoint Online publishing site

This article explains the features available when you activate the publishing infrastructure in a SharePoint Online site.

In this article


A SharePoint publishing site is a site that’s built using the Publishing Portal Site Template or Enterprise Wiki Template. The Publishing Portal Site Template is highly structured and lets you control page layouts, authoring practices, and publishing schedules. The Enterprise Wiki is less structured and is intended for easy authoring when formal content management processes are not required.

Before you can create a publishing site, activate the publishing infrastructure feature at the top-level site in your collection. Once the publishing features are activated, subsites inherit them automatically.

Activate the publishing infrastructure feature

 Note    If you created your site or site collection using one of the publishing site templates, the publishing infrastructure is already active, and the publishing features are ready to use.

  1. From the root of your site collection, click Settings Small Settings gear that took the place of Site Settings. > Site settings.
  2. On the Site Settings page, under Site Collection Administration, click Site collection features.
  3. On the Site Collection Features page, next to SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure, click Activate.

activate the publishing infrastructure feature

Publishing features

This section introduces the features that are available once publishing is enabled in a SharePoint Online site collection. Some features are prominent on the ribbon and immediately obvious. Others require a little more sleuthing, because they are visible only through the links on the Site Settings page or in galleries or libraries.

Navigation and ribbon

When you edit a page, in the Edit group of the Format Text tab on the ribbon you’ll find Check In/Check Out buttons that allow you to edit the page content while maintaining version control. This feature is available on both the Publishing Portal and Enterprise Wiki.

check-in and check-out buttons on the ribbon


On sites that use approval workflows, you’ll find a Publish tab, which includes Publish, Approve, and Reject buttons. These are all part of the approval workflow that ensures nothing is published on your site without the approval of designated reviewers. The Publish button lists several options, including Submit, which kicks off the workflow by routing the current page to one or more approvers for review.

publishing tab


The Schedule button opens a dialog box where you can specify when the page should be published and when, if ever, it should be retired.

Approval workflows and scheduling are not available for public-facing website collections.

Lists and libraries

When you enable the publishing infrastructure feature, a set of lists and libraries is added to your publishing site at the site collection level:

  • Content and Structure Reports list    Lets you customize the queries that appear in the View list in the Site Content and Structure tool.
  • Reusable Content list    Contains HTML or text content that can be inserted into webpages.
  • Site Collection Documents library    Stores documents that are used throughout the site collection.
  • Site Collection Images library    Stores images that are used throughout the site collection.

In addition, four libraries have been added at the site level for storing site content:

  • Pages library    Stores site pages.
  • Images library    Holds images used on site pages.
  • Documents library    Contains all documents used on site pages.
  • Workflow tasks    Stores the workflow tasks that are created for the site.

Web parts

Publishing sites include a variety of web parts that enable authors to insert video, rich text, forms, and dynamic content onto a site page. These four web parts, which are unique to publishing sites, are available at the site collection level and for all subsites in the site collection:

  • Content Query Web Part    Displays a dynamic view of content on your site based on a query you build within the properties pane of the web part.
  • Media Web Part    Used to embed media clips (video and audio) in a webpage.
  • Summary Links Web Part    Allows authors to create links that can be grouped and styled.
  • Table of Contents Web Part    Used to automatically generate a site map that points to various parts of your site collection.

Master pages, page layouts, content types, and columns

Master pages and page layouts dictate the overall look and feel of your SharePoint site. Master pages contain controls that are shared across multiple page layouts, such as navigation, search, or language preference for multilingual sites. Page layouts contain field controls and web parts. Page layouts and master pages work together to create the layout for a webpage.

In a publishing site, the master page is updated to include a Publishing tab, where you can find the scheduling and workflow buttons shown earlier in this article. Along with the updated master page come the following elements.

Item Description
Content types The Publishing Portal publishing portal template includes Article Page, Project Page, Welcome Page, Enterprise Wiki Page, Rollup Page, and Redirect Page.
Page layouts Image on Left, Image on Right, and Splash. These page layouts are automatically associated with the content types mentioned above when the publishing features are enabled. For the Enterprise Wiki, page layouts include Basic Page, Basic Project Page, and Redirect Page.
Columns
  • Page layout columns are Byline and Page Content.
  • Publishing columns added at the site collection level are Article Date, Scheduling Start Date, and Scheduling End Date.
  • A custom Wiki Categories column that uses managed metadata for Wiki pages is also added at the site collection level.

 Note    Master pages and page layouts for the public-facing website are handled differently and are not included in this article.

Users and permissions

To let you easily assign users to specific publishing-related roles, The Publishing Portal site includes Approvers, Designers, Hierarchy Managers, Restricted Readers, and Style Resource Readers groups. Enterprise Wiki has these same groups, plus Viewers. In addition, three permission levels are added to the site collection: Approve, Manage Hierarchy, and Restricted Read. By default, sites that are created below the site collection level use, or inherit, the groups and permission levels from the parent site.

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Applies to:
SharePoint Online Enterprise (E1), SharePoint Online Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online Midsized Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E1 & E2), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Midsized Business