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2 ways to copy a SharePoint list to Microsoft 365

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Wondering how to copy a SharePoint list in SharePoint Server to the classic experience of SharePoint Online? We explain two ways to copy a SharePoint list: the Microsoft way, and the ShareGate way.

Anyone looking to copy a SharePoint list to a version of SharePoint Server or the classic experience of SharePoint Online is obviously looking for the most straightforward approach.

Here at ShareGate, we spent a lot of time exploring different options as part of the planning of our Microsoft 365 management solution, ShareGate.

Learn SharePoint Online: best practices, tips, and tricks.

Based on our findings, we hereby present you with two ways to copy a list in SharePoint Server or the classic experience of SharePoint Online.

Note: Group-connected SharePoint team sites do not currently support list templates. For other SharePoint sites, you need to enable scripting in order to use list templates. You can find more details on allowing or preventing custom script in the official Microsoft documentation.


Option 1: Copy a SharePoint list the Microsoft way

Quick overview

  1. Open the list you want to copy. Select Settings, then List Settings
  2. In the Permissions and Management column, click on Save list as template
  3. Enter a file name in the File name text field and enter a title for the template in the Template name field. Then check the Include Content option and click OK.
  4. Click the Download a Copy button (it’ll generate a .stp file)
  5. Access the List templates on your Site Settings page
  6. Upload the template you just generated to your Microsoft 365 list template gallery
  7. Repeat for every single list

The most basic, and somewhat dirty, way of copying a SharePoint list consists of exporting your list as a template that includes your content. You can accomplish this by going into your list’s List Settings page and clicking on Save list as template.

SharePoint list Settings page

Since the whole point of this exercise is to make a copy your SharePoint list, it’s obviously important to check off the Include Content option so that when you re-create your list its content follows as well.

sharepoint include content option

This will save your list’s structure and content as a template in your SharePoint list template gallery—which is exactly the page you’ll need to access to be able to download a copy of your list to your hard drive. To see the new list template in the list template gallery, select the list template gallery link on the confirmation screen.

From here, you can save your list template by clicking on the Download a Copy button: this will generate a .stp file containing both your list’s structure and content.

Sharepoint list download a copy

Next, you need to upload the template you just generated to your destination list template gallery.

If you’re uploading your list template to a classic site in SharePoint Online, this can be accessed by going to your Site Settings page and selecting List templates. Then, click on Upload Document and select the .stp file you created in the last step. Click OK.

sharepoint office 365 list templates

This will allow you to create a list based off the template when you click on Add an app from your Site contents page (you should see a list icon with the title you’ve given your template in the available apps).

copy Sharepoint list add app page

Creating a list based on your template this way will copy the list with its content to your classic SharePoint Online site in a very basic—dare I even say dirty?—way: key list elements such as authors, timestamps, and permission settings are not copied to Microsoft 365, and no regard is given to any dependencies that are included in your list (lookup columns, people picker fields, etc).

This entire process will then need to be repeated for every single SharePoint list you’re looking to copy, making this a very involved, lengthy, and repetitive process.

Check out the official Microsoft documentation for more details on how to export a list in SharePoint Server the Microsoft way.

Option 2: Copy a SharePoint list with ShareGate

  1. In ShareGate, go to the Copy tab in the left navigation, then select the Copy structure and content option
  2. Connect your source environment and select the site that contains the list you want to copy
  3. Connect the destination environment and select the site where you want your copy to appear
  4. Select Lists and libraries from Site Objects, then drag & drop your lists from your source to your destination

Since you’re probably looking for the best way to copy a list in SharePoint Server and move it to a classic SharePoint site in Microsoft 365, ShareGate’s here to help!

ShareGate lets you preserve authors, timestamps, and permissions—as well as resolve and automatically migrate any other elements your list depends on.

ShareGate also prevents you from needlessly polluting your template gallery and completes the whole process in just a few clicks! All you need to do is connect to your source and destination sites and select the lists you want copied over, and ShareGate will take care of the rest.

Remember, ShareGate keeps IT simple!

Click Copy on ShareGate’s main menu to see all of the available copy options. On this screen, select Copy structure and content since we want to copy a SharePoint list.

Copy screen in ShareGate Desktop.

We start by connecting to the source environment. Enter the source site’s address and your credentials, then click Connect. ShareGate will use these to connect to your source environment and return a list of available web applications, site collections, and subsites. Find where the list you want to copy resides, then select it and click Next.

Select source in ShareGate Desktop.

The next step is very similar to the last one, but this time we connect ShareGate to the destination environment. Then, select the destination web application, site collection, or subsite for the copy we are about to create. Click Next when you’ve selected your destination.

Select destination in ShareGate Desktop.

Finally, on the “Copy structure” screen, select the Lists and libraries icon in the left panel. This will filter the content of the Source and Destination panels to only show lists and libraries. You should see the list that you want to copy appear in the Source panel. Select it and either drag and drop it into the Destination panel, or click Start copy.

Select the Lists and libraries icon in ShareGate Desktop.

ShareGate will copy the list quickly and efficiently—all while preserving important metadata properties like authors, timestamps, and any others you may have set up in this particular list. Once the action is completed, the migration report will show any warning or errors that might have occurred.

You can also configure advanced options when copying a list, such as choosing how dependencies are handled, or selecting which items are preserved during the copy. You can learn more about advanced copy options on our support site.

How cool is that? How often have you tried copying a SharePoint list without a tool? Try ShareGate out for yourself!

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