Export & Archive Your SharePoint Content

Archiving your SharePoint Content without losing the metadata, ownership, etc. can serve multiple purposes, but is easier said than done. Sharegate makes the task a walk in the park! Benjamin Niaulin, Office 365 MVP, gives us a walk-through of how to use Sharegate to export and archive SharePoint content.


During some migrations, I like to export something that's in my old SharePoint, but not necessarily migrate it. I don't want to keep it in the old SharePoint because I plan to take down the server. Let me give you an example. Say I'm going from SharePoint 2007 to 2013, or 2016, or even to Office 365. There are some libraries that I don't really want to migrate, but I don't necessarily want to completely destroy it with the server, and I could create a backup, but that means I would have to go through the whole restore procedure.

Archive SharePoint Content for further use

Sometimes what I like to do is export a document library and all of its content, or a list and all of its content, keep all the metadata, keep all the versions, keep all the security applied to it, know everything about it, and put it on a share drive, or maybe even put it in read-only and allow people to access it, if they still need to after the migration. Of course, there are tons of other reasons why you would want to archive or export something from SharePoint. This is my most common scenario, of course.

To do this, I'm going to jump from the Explorer in Sharegate where I manage security and run my reports on my environment, and I'm going to go to the migration experience. Once the migration experience launches at the bottom, we have something called Export from SharePoint right here. The Export from SharePoint, like it says, allows you to export content from a document library or from a list and put it on your file share. The way that it works is very straightforward. You click on Export, and you choose what you plan on exporting. I'm going to take that large document library, with 100 some odd items in there, because I know I have tons of metadata and lots of cool things that I know I need to grab.

Drag and drop your content

Great. I'm going to select the site (there are no sub-sites in this one). You're going to see, on the left hand side, the source - which, in this case, is the SharePoint environment in which you want to export something from. On the right hand side you'll have your computer, your desktop, when your file shares are connected. I'm going to go into my desktop. What I'll do, in fact, is I'm going to create a folder in it so that I can export everything there. I'm going to open up my files, go to my desktop, and create a new folder. I'll call it Export. You can call this whatever you like, of course.

Once that's done, I'm going to choose the document library. In this case, it's the Documents Library. Of course, I need to refresh my computer here, open up my Export folder, and I'm going to drag and drop, just like before. You could also click on the Export button here. Once that's done, it's going to ask you if you want to preserve the versioning, if you want to limit the versioning, and if you want to flatten the folder hierarchy. That's it. You press on Export, and everything will get exported into the Share drive, file share, or desktop. Wherever you wish to export that document library.

Let's check out what happened with the results. I'll go into my files and folder on my desktop where I created that folder called Export. I'll open it up, and you'll see that you have the folder that represents the name of the document library, or list, that you had exported. Of course, if you had exported an entire site or site collection, it would be presented in a folder structure as well. I'll double click on the Documents Library, and you'll see that there's a folder for the documents where you'll find all the content that has been exported.

Don't be alarmed if you see that the modified date is exactly the one in which you had exported, and not the original, because all of that information is actually stored in the Excel file that's associated with this document library. Why? Because we want to be able to import it back, perhaps in the future.

At least, you still have the entire source path, destination path, the version when it was exported, the document, the metadata. Everything is still available, including the content types. Everything is right here, created dates, created by. Everything you need so that you can know everything about your content, and if you need to import it back with our import from file share to SharePoint.

Definitely very useful. If you're not sure you want to bring something in during the migration, but not really convinced that you want to let it go with the server either, definitely check it out.

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