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Saving SharePoint Document Library/List Settings as a Template

Have you ever spent 20-minutes setting up a document library in SharePoint with multiple views, a folder structure, default column values, some custom columns, content types, and perhaps some default content, then struggled to copy the settings to another library? Fear not, brave SharePoint Site Owner, there’s a simple and sometimes hidden route to awesome…

Have a think about the settings you might want copied across to new libraries on your site; as once you’ve started using the template, you can’t easily run any changes to it across any new libraries without using PowerShell or starting from scratch:

  • Library content types
  • Available columns and any column default values
  • Folder structure
  • Views and view formatting
  • Versioning settings
  • Rating settings
  • Enterprise keyword settings

Once you’re happy with the configuration – perhaps run it past some users to check – head to the library settings. You may have a link to ‘save as a document library template’; if not, you’ll notice the URL is something like this:

https://<tenant/site>/_layouts/15/listedit.aspx?List=%7B<List ID>%7D

Change the ‘listedit’ part of that URL to ‘savetmp’ so it’s like this:

https://<tenant/site>/_layouts/15/savetmpl.aspx?List=<List ID>

You should be taken to a form like this:

Give your template a name; it’s a good idea to add a high level overview of the settings you’re using into the description for other’s benefit. If you’re expecting to copy across a standard folder structure, ensure ‘Include content’ is checked. Click OK and your template will be saved to the site.

To create another library using this template, either from the homepage or the cog, click ‘Add app’; where you’ll find your template listed as an app you can add to the site.

Not everything copies across perfectly; if you’ve set up default column values, you’ll notice they’re not working. There’s a quick way to correct this however; using Internet Explorer, under the views drop-down click ‘View in File Explorer’. From there, open the ‘Forms’ folder then the client_LocationBasedDefaults.html file in a text editing application (notepad, or what have you). At the top of that file, you’ll notice the library URL it’s referencing is the original library the template was saved from; simply change the URL of the library to the one you’ve just created and save it.

Voila, you’ll have saved yourself a pile of work recreating all those complex library settings, as well as ensuring they’re copied across accurately.

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