How to Migrate a SharePoint List While Preserving its Metadata Properties

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Generally you open a document library in Windows Explorer view to move items/ documents in bulk to other document libraries. This approach doesn’t maintain the current item/document’s metadata properties like "Modified" (DateTime) & "Modified by". The list items will get the current Date Time as "Modified" (DateTime) and the user who does the migration as the Modified By.

So what do you do to preserve list item Metadata Properties while migrating the list within the site collection?


You would think of using Datasheet view to move list items but that doesn’t preserve item Metadata Properties.

You may even think of saving the list as template with content included and create your new list at the desired location out of this list template. But this doesn’t preserve the metadata properties either. The list items will take the current time in the "Modified" (DateTime) field and "Created by" as the user who created the new list.

The simplest solution is to use "Site Content and Structure" to migrate Lists!

Follow the steps to move your SharePoint List along with its Metadata properties:

1. Create the document library or your custom list at the destination. You don’t have to worry about the custom fields and list structure. The move process will take care of it.

2. Lets create a source custom list with a custom field "Comments" as shown below:


3. Create some dummy data. Note the Modified date and time field values (Metadata properties)

custom list

4. Go to Site Actions → Site Settings → "Content and Structure" under site administration as shown below:

content and structure

Or for a publishing site, you can go to Site Actions → "Manage Content and Structure" as shown below:

site actions

5. Open your source custom list and select all items to be moved, as shown below:

site content

6. This opens up the Move dialog box. Select the Destination Custom list in which you want to move your list items
Note: "Destination_CustomList" list doesn’t have custom field "Comments"

webpage dialog
move operation

7. Go to the destination list → you will see that all content has been moved and custom fields have been created. Add the custom field "Comments" in your view.

Below is the "Destination_CustomList" snapshot:

custom list

As shown in the above figure, you can see that this process preserved Metadata properties of listitems and also created the new custom fields.

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Shishir Bhandari Shishir Bhandari

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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Comments For This Article

Friday, June 21, 2019 - 2:56:19 PM - MothraMoon Back To Top (81544)

This is pretty close to what I wanted.  However, I was looking to preserve the metadata outside of Sharepoint.   What happened was they closed down our old site and are moving to an Office 365 Environment.  I have to copy all the assets into this site and there seems to be no easy way to do it without retyping and recreating everything.  There should be a way to at least export it to Excel so I but I am not "allowed."

Therefore I was hoping to do some sort of a list if not move the entire folder with the metadata into the New Sharepoint.

I would need to get it to my desktop or OneDrive and then put it in Sharepoint (metadata and all).  Why is this not a thing???  I would love to move it from one sharepoint to the other, but I can't (something to do with "old" sharepoint being integrated into the school's local servers....I reallly don't understand it).  All I know is my corner of it worked fine until now I have had the rug completely pulled out from under me and I may have to abandon 6 years worth of work and find something to do instead of a web site.  I cannot even tell you how angry this makes me.  Basically it was 650 html pages navigable by a table of contents and it is a mess.

My PDFs were all searchable by columns (title, author, etc.) and that is all gone too.  I have to sit here and retype the metadata for over 1000 commmercial scripts.

It also won't work with my html files the way it used to. Technology is going backwards.

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