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Recently, I needed to move many files that had custom metadata from one SharePoint site to a different SharePoint site.

  • I do not have access to the SharePoint server interface, so using PowerShell was not an option.
  • My permissions for each library are Full Control.
  • Some of the individual files were larger than 50MB, which exceeds the file size that SharePoint allows.
  • Some metadata used Managed Term Stores*.

Here are the steps I used to move about two hundred files and their metadata to a different SharePoint site:

  1. Export the library by creating a library template.
    1. Note the instructions about checking the box to include content!
    2. The library that I was moving was too large to include the content (files). If this happens to you, follow steps 3 through 6 to migrate the content.
  2. In a separate browser window, create a new library based on the template from step 1.
    1. Go to Site actions and select Site Settings. From there, under Galleries, click List templates
       List Templates in SharePoint
    2. Click the Library tab, and then select Open with Windows Explorer in the Ribbon.
      SharePoint ribbon
    3. Copy the Library template that you saved in Step 1 into the List template window.
    4. Go to All site Content
      SharePoint 2010 All Site Content
    5. Click Create. Then filter by Library and look for the Library Template you just added.
      Library Template
    6. Name your new library and click Create. SharePoint will display a processing window.
  3. Now you have an empty library without any files. There are column headers in place for your metadata.
    New empty library
  4. Open the old library in Windows Explorer view.
    SharePoint ribbon
  5. In a separate window, open the new library in Windows Explorer view.
  6. Copy the files from the old library folder and paste them into the new library folder
  7. Check your work!

    I created an Excel spreadsheet from each library and compared the two spreadsheets to be sure that all the files and their metadata had been migrated.

    1. From the Library tab, choose Export to Excel in the ribbon
      SharePoint Ribbon
    2. Click OK and open the file in Excel
      Excel Alert
    3. Accept the security warning
      Excel Security Notice
    4. Select Table and import the data into a new workbook
      Excel Data Import
    5. Save the file
  8. In my case, I needed to manually enter metadata for PDF and text files. The metadata for other file types migrated when I copied and pasted the files in Step 6.
  9. Archive or delete the old files from the old library to reduce problems with version control and to keep everything tidy.

Note that this solution will not migrate managed metadata that uses term stores.