How to customize a SharePoint Online public-facing website

In my previous post you saw how the default SharePoint Online public-facing site looks like. You can see it below on the left side.

Also, on the right side you can see customized version of the very same site. As you can see it looks completely different, but what’s more important, all customizations were performed using built-in tools only. Another fact clear from the images below is the fact I have no talent for design, but do me a favor and ignore that fact. Winking smile

Original public facing websiteCustomized public facing website

Now let’s see the list of customizations we performed in order to create a new version of the public website.

Page properties

Modified through the Setup and Properties dialogs.

Page setup dialog

Using the Setup dialog you’ll be able to set Page width and alignment. Additionally, there you can decide to show Bing Search box and/or “Member Login” button in navigation.

Properties dialog defines major page properties, such as page and navigation titles, navigation position or SEO meta tags.

Page layout and navigation zones

Page layout      Navigation bar location

Using the Layout command located on the Design ribbon tab you can predefine page layout. There are 11 predefined layouts available for you in order to define your page layout. Location command is used to set the position of the page navigation bar.

Header text & logo, footer, style

Already described in my previous post. Additionally, let me give you few tips for setting the logo image.

While uploading new logo image there will be a checkbox called “Optimize my images” which is selected by default. If you prepared your image before the upload and calculated its size in advance, you’d like to unselect that checkbox, otherwise your image may not be displayed in desired size due to automatic optimization performed during the upload.

Also, in order to display it in original size you’ll need to select the “Large (Full size” option on the Header customization dialog.

Footer is updated using the Footer ribbon command. Using this dialog you can set footer link(s) and additional information located in the footer area.

Footer definition

Style command is used to define header section design. There are multiple predefined header layouts to choose from.

Page theme, color scheme and  background

Page theme option gives you opportunity to set the header image. There are many available categories and 4-5 images in each of the categories. Additionally, you can upload your own header image (typically you’ll set here your logo) or remove the image from the header.

Color command defines the page color schemes. It’s used to define header, body, navigation and footer section colors. For each section there are 2-3 additional colors you can set (e.g. body background or content background). There are 42 predefined color schemes together with the Create custom color scheme options which gives you an option to define each color manually.

Custom color scheme definition

Background property is used to set page background image. Since there are no transparency settings, you’ll have to ensure that your potential background image is already transparent, or defined as watermark.

Style sheet

Last option you can use is overriding the default CSS styles. By using the Style Sheet command you’ll get the Style sheet dialog which is used to customize the cascading style sheet (CSS) that is applied to the web site.

If you don’t know what is the name of the CSS element you’d like to override, there are Internet Explorer F12 Developer Tools to help you solve this issue.

Developer Tools

While on the page, hit the F12 key and Developer Tool window will appear. Using the arrow button (marked as yellow) select the page area you’d like to inspect. Using the very same tool you can play with the element attributes in order to see what will happen if you modify any. Once you find the right element and appropriate attributes, you’re ready for the page customization. While in edit mode, click on the Style Sheet ribbon command and you’ll get the page style sheet editor.

Style Sheet

First, you need to enable the Apply custom CSS code to my Web site option. After that you’ll be able to write down the custom CSS styles that will override default CSS styles. In my example I decided to hide the default navigation bar. In real life, you can do magic using just this command in order to customize your web site.

Customized web site

Finally, once again here is what we got after all performed modifications:

Final result

Happy customizing!

3 thoughts on “How to customize a SharePoint Online public-facing website

  1. Sasa Tomicic Post author

    Nope Leo,
    this blog is hosted on a non SharePoint environment.
    In a bklog post, I just customized a public facing web site to look like my blog site.
    Kind regards


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