Introduction to Save List As Template in List Settings in SharePoint

In the previous article I have explained about form settings available in SharePoint lists and libraries. Now in this article I am going to explain about template settings for saving lists available in SharePoint.

In this article, I am going to cover following topics.

  • Background
  • Introduction to Save list as Template
  • Saving list as template
  • Adding list based on the saved template
  • Pros and Cons
  • Summary

Background

SharePoint provides functionality to create lists and libraries. By default SharePoint provides some of the default templates to create  lists such as Contacts, Calendar, Discussion etc. Whenever we need to create a list or library we just go to site contents and select the templates and create it. But now imagine a situation, you need to create list structure that is not available by default in SharePoint. Now you create a custom list. After creating a custom list you define your set of columns into the list and use it for your purpose.

But again imagine a situation when we need to create the same list structure again with a different name in another site or site collection. Then what a SharePoint beginner will do, he will create a new custom list in another site column and will define the same list columns again and again. If we have to replicate the list in 1 or 2 sites then sometimes it’s fine to follow this traditional way, but imagine if you have to recreate this to the 20 site collections or 20 subsites? Now this traditional solution will not work at all.

Introduction to Save list as template

In order to avoid the problem discussed in the background section, SharePoint provides a facility to create a list from the existing list definition. This can be done by saving the existing list as a template and reusing it again to create a new list with the same list structure.

I have taken the above scenario from SharePoint list as a reference, but this is the same with SharePoint libraries. You can save the document library also as a template and reuse it.

We can create a SharePoint list or library with predefined lists and library templates. For saving the SharePoint lists and libraries as a template, SharePoint provides an option in Lists Settings and Library Setting.

Saving list as template

Step 1

Open the list which you want to save as template, click on setting icon and then click on List Settings.

Step 2

This will open up the List Setting page. Locate and click on “Save list as template” option from the page.

Step 3

This will open up the Save list as template form.

Here you will have several options. Such as,

  • File Name
    Here you have to enter the name of your template file. The name you will enter here will be displayed in the list template gallery.
  • Name and Description
    The name you will enter here will be your template name and this template name will be displayed on the create site content page. Same for the description.
  • Include Content
    This is a very useful option. If you want to save your list as a template along with the data in it, then just check this checkbox, this will save your contents along with the list structure. So when you will create a new list based on this template, the data will be restored back. This option has several limitations like you cannot save the list template with contents that have more than 512MB data. When your data will exceed the limit, SharePoint will display an error message that template could not be saved.

Step 4

Click on OK. Once you have clicked on OK, SharePoint will display the success message and the link of the list template library where the template is stored. Just click on the link and you can find your template in the template list. This template list will be maintained per site collection. So if you are saving the list from subsite then also it will be stored it into the site collection associated with the subsite.

Adding list based on the saved template

We have successfully saved announcement list as a template. Now let’s see how we can add new list based on this template. Follow the below steps.

Step 1

Click on setting icon on the site and then click on Site Contents.

Step 2

This will open up Site Content page. Click on Add an app from this screen.

Step 3

This will open up the add an app screen. Now search our template name in the search box. And you will see the 1 result in search result.

Please note that here the name of the template is displayed, not the name of template file. This is the difference between template file name and template name while saving the list as template.

Step 4

Click on the icon and it will ask to enter the list name. Now the name you will be entering here will be the name of your new list.

Step 5

I have given the name “New Announcement”. And the list is created in the site with 1 item in it. Because while saving the list as template we have checked the checkbox to include the contents in template.

Note
Here we have seen that first we have saved the list as template with 1 item and then created a new list with the same template. Now a few beginners might have a question in mind — what if someone deletes the template from list template library? Does the list created based on the template also get deleted? The answer is No, deleting template will only delete the template from template gallery. It will not delete the created list.

Pros and Cons

Every approach has its own pros and cons. Saving list as template also has some pros and some cons. Let’s review in detail.

Pros

  • User can reuse the list templates to create new list based on existing lists.
  • Creating multiple lists with same structure can be easily done now.
  • List and library can be migrated from one site to another site. Also from one web application to another.
  • List can be migrated over different versions of SharePoint. For example SharePoint 2010 list template can be also used to create the same list in SharePoint Online.
  • We can migrate the list data from one site to another site.

Cons

  • Saving list as template with content will only work when the list size is less than 512 MB
  • If you have any look up columns created in the list then in that case the lookup columns will be not maintained because, lookup columns create relation by list guide and site guide, when we create new list then list guide gets changed and hence the lookup column is not maintained (I will cover lookup columns and how it works in upcoming articles).
  • If the list has some item level permissions applied then also it will not get saved in templates. The reason is the same as with lookup columns.

Summary

So, in this article we have seen how save as template works in list settings and how we can use it to migrate the list items, lists from one site to another and how to reuse the lists by creating a list templates.

In the next article I will explain regarding Permissions settings available in list settings.

Any question or feedback or suggestion, please do comment and let me know.

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s