Exporting and Importing SharePoint 2010 Content

Written By: Arshad Ali -- 11/11/2010 -- join -- contribute -- (4796) comments -- printer friendly version

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Categories: Infrastructure, SharePoint 2010, System Administration

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As a SharePoint Administrator, you would often need to deploy content from one site to another. So what are different options available to export the contents of a site, library, or list from SharePoint and to import it back whenever required?


Granular Backup and Restore functionalities in SharePoint 2010 have grown up tremendously from previous versions. Now you can export sites, libraries, and lists from the Central Administration tool itself.

You can even use new PowerShell cmdlets to script out export and import operations. PowerShell cmdlets are optimized and provide more new features and options than the old STSADM tool.

Exporting a Site, Library or List using Central Administration

The SharePoint 2010 Central Administration UI allows you to export the site, library and list to the file system. Note that to import them back you need to use a PowerShell cmdlet or the STSADM tool. Central Administration does not have provision for importing it back.

Go to START -> All Programs -> Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products -> SharePoint 2010 Central Administration, on the left side click on Backup and Restore link, then in the detail pane, click on Export a Site or list link under the Granular Backup section as shown below:

On the next screen you need to select the site collection which contains the site to be exported, and then select the site to export. If you want to export only a specific library or list, select it as well (shown below). For example I am exporting the Shared Documents document library of HR site.

Next you need to specify the location and name of the file to be created and whether you want to overwrite a file with the same name. You can choose to export the associated security with the site which includes users in the site, authors of documents, etc.

You can specify what versions of the documents/list items you want to export, whether to export current versions, last major versions, last major or minor versions or all versions:

On the Granular Backup Job Status screen, you can see the status of the export operation. This page gets refreshed automatically in every 30 seconds though you can refresh it on-demand by clicking on the Refresh link as shown below (You need to make sure SharePoint 2010 Timer windows service is running before starting the export operation using Central Administration):

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