Office 365 Group or SharePoint Team Site: Which to Create

Microsoft 365 Group or SharePoint Team Site: Which to Create

Are you confused between a Microsoft 365 Group and SharePoint team site?

Some of my clients have the same question as well, especially those who aren’t that familiar or well-versed with the Microsoft 365 ecosystem.

In this article, I’ll share my two cents on Microsoft 365 Group vs SharePoint team site and which one to create in certain situations.

Let’s get started.

What is a SharePoint team site?

Team sites are one type of site that you can create in SharePoint Online.

They are named as such since it’s a place where teams can collaborate with each other and even use different apps together.

Example Team Site in SharePoint

As such, there are two types of team sites:

  1. Team sites with Microsoft 365 Group
  2. Team sites without Microsoft 365 Group

From the name itself, the type depends on whether or not the site comes with an associated Microsoft 365 Group.

Note: For more information on team sites and other sites, check out my article on the different types of sites in SharePoint.

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    What is an Microsoft 365 Group?

    A Microsoft 365 Group is basically an email-enabled security group with access to various apps for collaboration.

    When you create a Microsoft 365 Group, it usually comes with most of the following:

    • SharePoint site collection
    • Outlook Group calendar
    • Outlook email distribution list
    • Planner
    • Teams
    • Yammer conversation

    The different combination of the tools and apps you get when you create a Microsoft 365 Group depends on how the group was created.

    Below is a good representation (source) of what I mean:

    Different entry ways for creating Office 365 groups in Microsoft

    Note: For more information on creating a group, check out my article on the different ways to create a Microsoft 365 Group.

    Microsoft 365 Group or SharePoint team site?

    In a nutshell, a team site is simply a piece of what you get when you create a Microsoft 365 Group.

    That’s the case — unless the team site you create is one that doesn’t come with its own associated Microsoft 365 Group.

    Note: When you create a SharePoint team site with a Microsoft 365 Group, you automatically gain a group as well.

    If you think about it, the final showdown is actually between Microsoft 365 Group vs SharePoint team site without a Microsoft 365 Group.

    Here are situations where creating a Microsoft 365 Group makes more sense:

    • Collaboration purposes
    • Short projects with more than one person
    • Access to apps and team spaces

    On the other hand, there are times when creating a team site without a Microsoft 365 group makes more sense:

    • No need for collaboration with others
    • You only need a place for your documents, images, and files

    Common questions about Microsoft 365 Group or SharePoint team site

    Here are answers to some of the common questions you may be having regarding this topic:

    1. What is the difference between Microsoft 365 Group and SharePoint Group?

    Well, technically, a Microsoft 365 Group and a SharePoint Group are the same.

    It’s easier to explain when you see this in the admin center:

    The different active teams and groups in Microsoft 365

    All the teams and groups are:

    • Microsoft 365
    • Distribution list
    • Mail-enabled security
    • Security

    2. Does a Microsoft 365 Group create a SharePoint site?

    Yes, a Microsoft 365 Group always comes with a SharePoint site collection.

    In fact, all the methods to create a Microsoft 365 Group always come with a SharePoint site collection and a few other things.

    3. Is a SharePoint team site the same as Teams?

    Not exactly.

    While all the methods of creating a Microsoft 365 Group yield a site collection, it doesn’t always provide a team.

    On the other hand, you can always create a team from a SharePoint team site that comes with an associated Microsoft 365 Group.

    On the team site, the “Conversations” button creates a team:

    Click the conversations button from a team site's home page

    Similarly, you can create a team from the Microsoft Teams app from an existing group:

    Click the from a group or team option when creating a new Microsoft Team

    Do you have more questions regarding Microsoft 365 Group vs SharePoint team site? Please share those in the comment section.

    For inquiries and other concerns, please use the site’s contact form and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

    About Ryan Clark

    As the Principal Solutions Architect at Mr. SharePoint, I help companies of all sizes better leverage Modern Workplace and Digital Process Automation investments. I am also a Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP) for Office Apps & Services.

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