Moving documents between SharePoint libraries

Last few weeks I came across a lot of SharePoint related questions and especially to document management in SharePoint and what happens when we move documents between libraries. One of the mains issues I heard about relate to document metadata, versions and DocumentID not beeing kept when a document is copied into another SharePoint library. So I thought to write down a few ideas on this topic that might be useful for SharePoint users.

First of all, I have to admit that this behavior is kind of expected since when we copy a document to another location, a new and fresh document is created. That’s why the copy will have fresh metadata, versions and a brand new DocumentID. 

This is vital from my point of view since if this would be otherwise, there would be a huge confusion on the latest version of the documents and 2 versions of the same document would be managed separately. So it could be that User 1 edits the document in the Library X and User 2 edits the document in Library Y. This would be a collaboration nightmare and it would be a total nonsense for a tools that is primarily a collaboration tool.

However, you would have the possibility to move a document across SharePoint libraries and in this case the document will keep all metadata, versions and DocumentID. However, if you move a document from “Library X” to “Library Y”, this document will be available only in the “Library Y”.

There are several options to move documents across SharePoint libraries. If you’re using SharePoint 2013 on a Windows 8.1 computer, than you have the option to use the drag and drop feature. To do this you have to “open with Explorer” the needed libraries and drag and drop the documents using the “Move” option (not the “Copy” option).

Another option to move documents between libraries is to do this via the Content and structure option in Site settings. Here is a step by step description on how to do this:

1.  Go to Site settings >> Click on “Content and structure” link under Site Administration section

2. Pick the items/files to be moved, Click on Actions >> Move 

3.  Select the target list or library and click “OK” to complete move operation

This operation should be possible in all SharePoint Server versions starting with MOSS 2007.
If you have any ideas on how to move documents across SharePoint libraries, please feel free to share them with me.

Dan Patrascu-Baba

Partner Technical Consultant at Microsoft
Azure PaaS and dev consultant, working for Microsoft. Mostly dealing with Microsoft Azure services, ASP.Net Core, AngularJS, Javascript. Helping partners and customers to write good code and to architect their cloud and hybrid solutions.

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