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October 21
Importing an Excel Spreadsheet as a List in SharePoint 2013

​The ability to upload an Excel spreadsheet as a list within SharePoint 2013 has proven to be quite useful for those who don’t always have the time to create a robust list from the ground up, column by column, line by line. The mere thought of creating lists like these can be daunting…especially if your spreadsheet has a thousand items in it. Fear not. I am here to help.  

In this tutorial we will be uploading an “Employee Contacts” excel spreadsheet…this spreadsheet is fairly simple for the purposes of the demonstration, but this approach can be used for larger lists as well.

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Although this functionality can be very useful for certain cases, this is not a cure-all for painful list creation. There are a few things to take note of that might change your approach, so read carefully.

Things to Know:

Make sure your columns are properly formatted from within excel before importing them to your list. For this purpose, I have created all single line of text columns with the exception of Phone, and Hire Date columns. The phone column has been formatted as a phone number and the Hire Date column was formatted as a date column (d/m/yyyy) from within excel prior to uploading.

Once the list has been imported, columns can only be updated to the following column types: 

o Single line of text

o Multiple lines of text

o Choice (menu to choose from)

o Number (1, 1.0, 100)

o Currency ($)

o Date and Time

If additional columns are needed outside of these parameters, you will need to create those columns at the root of the site, and attach them to your list via “list settings” after the upload is complete. 

Preparing for Upload: 

Before uploading your document, ensure that you have done the following: 

1. Use Internet Explorer browser only

2. Add your website to the “Trusted Sites” list, in ie by clicking the gear icon, and selecting “Internet Options” from the dropdown. 

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3. Select the security tab and click “Trusted Sites”.  Then click the “Sites” button to open your list of trusted sites.

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4. Add your website to the list of trusted sites and click “Add”.

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ERROR Note:  If you do not add your website to the trusted sites lists, you will receive the following error and be unable to upload your file successfully. 

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Now that you’ve added your site to the trusted sites list, let’s get started with the upload.

Uploading Your Excel Spreadsheet:

1. Navigate to “Site Contents” from the gear icon.

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2. Click the “Add an app” button.  

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3. Scroll down through your apps until you see “Import Spreadsheet”. Click the “Import Spreadsheet” button to begin the upload process. 

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4. Give your list a name. For this exercise I will name my list “Employee Contacts”. Feel free to fill out description information for your list, browse to your excel for upload, and click “Import.”

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5. Once you’ve clicked the “Import” button, you will likely be prompted to confirm your site credentials, once again. Once credentials have been confirmed, a “Range Type” picker will pop up. Make sure to select the “Range of Cells” Range Type, and then highlight the range of cells needed for upload and click “Import”.

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Voila! As you can see, your excel spreadsheet has now been uploaded as a list within SharePoint.  Remember that if you need to edit your columns after the upload has been completed, this can be done from within “List Settings” in the ribbon.

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Note: You cannot overwrite your uploaded list simply by re-uploading the document…you must delete your original list and start again. SharePoint will not update and overwrite the list if you upload another document with the same name (like it does for images). The upload will simply fail, and then ask you to rename the list before attempting another upload. 

In closing, uploading excel spreadsheets is a quick and easy way to upload a lot of content at once. Just remember that there are limitations as to what types of columns can be configured when choosing to upload a document versus creating the list columns from scratch. Depending on the requirements of your list, you may find that this approach won’t work for you…but in many other less complex cases it can be a great solution.  

Happy list creating!


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