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Connect a classic experience SharePoint team site to a new Office 365 Group

A site collection administrator can connect an existing SharePoint team site to a new Office 365 Group. This connection helps to improve your team’s productivity with the content and resources of an Office 365 Group. These resources include the following:

  • A shared mailbox to use for group conversations in Outlook

  • A shared calendar where you can track deadlines, events, and team vacations

  • Task management tools that are available with the new Planner web part

  • The option to add a team with Microsoft Teams for real-time persistent chat

  • A single shared group identity with associated lifecycle and policy across Office 365 resources

Note: This is a new feature that is just starting to roll out to customers so not everyone will have it. It could be several weeks before you see it in your environment.

Site Collection Administrator

A site collection administrator can connect an existing team site to an Office 365 Group. The administrator can only connect top-level site collections or collaboration sites that use the classic team site template (STS#0), to an Office 365 Group. You can't connect subsites to new Office 365 Groups. After connecting to a group, the existing team site keeps the same URL, settings, and permissions. The administrator can then add other owners and members to the connected group.

If your administrator enables this feature, site owners can start the process to connect to a new Office 365 Group. The following list explains this process.

  • Click the gear icon in the top suite navigation header, and then choose "Connect to new Office 365 Group" on the menu. This launches the group connection experience panels on your existing team site.

  • The first panel may show warnings if your site has provided permissions to security groups or to 'Everyone except external users'.

  • The next panel asks for additional information required to create the group. This includes group name, email address, privacy, and classification (if required by your administrators). Some fields are pre-populated with information from your existing site. For more information about group creation and settings, see Learn about Office 365 Groups.

  • Next you're prompted to add additional group owners and members to the new Office 365 Group. A proposed list of owners and members is provided, based on an inspection of your existing site. You can add new owners and members, or remove people from the proposed lists. When you're done, just click "Finish" and the new modern home page that was created for your site appears. You can manage your new group's membership at any time.

When an existing SharePoint team site is connected to a new Office 365 Group, its URL, settings, and permissions don't change. This means that site owners, members, and visitors can continue to work without interruption. While existing pages aren't automatically updated, you can begin to modernize your team site. This means that your existing pages aren't changed but a new modern team site home page is added. A link to the previous home page is added to the site's navigation under "Home" in the left navigation bar. This link to your previous home page is there if you want to move any customizations to the new modern team site home page. Additionally you can create new pages and even make one of these new pages the home page of your site. For more information, see Work better together with SharePoint team sites Office 365 app integrations and Learn about Office 365 Groups.

To connect an existing site to a new Office 365 Group   

  1. Open the Settings menu in the top suite navigation header, and click Connect to a new Office 365 Group.

    This image shows the Gear icon menu and selected Connect to new Office 365 Group.
  2. The group creation experience appears. Optionally, update the group name and email alias, and select the group's privacy and classification (if enabled in your tenant). Then click Connect Group.

    This is the New O365 Group properties page.

    Note: When there are security groups in the team site that you connect to an Office 365 Group, a warning appears that says you need to add each member individually to the new group members. This provides these members access to other group workloads.

    This image shows the first screen of the new Office 365 creation wizard.
  3. The Add and assign people panel appears. Here, you add additional owners and members, and then click Finish.

    Add additional owners and members to the new O365 Group.
  4. The New site Home Page appears.

    Your new modern home page includes the following:

    • a link to the previous home page in the left navigation bar under 'Home'

    • a link to 'Conversations' in left navigation bar which navigates to the group's Outlook mailbox

    • a site activity web part that will show real, current usage in the site

    • a modern page layout that can easily be modified to suit needs

    • group information in the header, including privacy, classification (if set), and member photos

    This shows the team site after you've connected a new Office 365 Group and includes links to your old team site.

Site permissions and group membership

Site permissions and group membership are managed separately. Group members always have access to the team site, however the team site itself can be shared with additional users who are not group members.

Sites and groups have different types of permissions. The following lists show the relationship between site permissions and group membership:

Site Collection   

These are the default permissions groups (with their default permissions levels) for a site collection:

  • Team Site Owners (Full control)

  • Team Site Members (Edit)

  • Team Site Visitors (Read)

These groups support nested membership, such as Azure Active Directory groups or Office 365 Security Groups.

Office 365 Group   

These are the group roles (with their permission levels):

  • Group Owners (Full control)

  • Group Members (Edit)

These roles do not support nested membership, such as Azure Active Directory groups or Office 365 Security Groups. When you add users to these roles, they are automatically added to the related site collection permission groups: group owners become site owners and group members become site members.

Connecting a group to an existing site    

When you connect an existing team site to a new Office 365 Group, the following permission changes happen:

  • The site collection administrator that connects the team site to a new group becomes an owner of the group.

  • SharePoint Online will suggest users to be added to the Group Owners and Group Members group based on the site's current users. If the site permissions groups contain security groups or Azure Active Directory groups, SharePoint Online is not able to suggest group members based on the contents of these groups - you must add these users to the group manually.

  • Any new group members you specify are added to the associated site collection permissions groups - Group Owners are added to the Team Site Owners group, and Group Members are added to the Team Site Members group.

    These changes are made at the site collection level. If you have subsites and you have broken permissions inheritance, your permissions model remains unchanged. Permissions filter down from the site collection level according to the model that you created, including the new group owners and members.

  • If you set the privacy level of the new group to Public, then everyone in your organization - except external users - will have Group Member access to the group.

Assess if your site collections are ready to be connected to Office 365 Groups

You can use the Modernization Readiness tool to generate a report about the site collections in your tenant and includes information about the sites that are ready to be connected to Office 365 Groups. The report will also identify those site collections that might need attention prior to connection to Office 365 Groups.

See Also

Manage connecting classic team sites to new Office 365 groups

What is a SharePoint team site?

Create a team site in SharePoint Online

Manage your SharePoint team site settings

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