Saving Lists and Libraries as Templates for Reuse


How do you “move” one list or library from one SharePoint site to another, or copy the list or library to re-use in the same parent / sub-site construct? Existing lists and libraries from one SharePoint site can be saved as templates (.STP files) and imported to different parent or sub-sites, after which they can be used to re-create the same list or library, keeping the same columns, fields, attributes, fonts, etc.  Depending on the size, you may also be able to save these templates with content (list items and files).

Saving Existing Lists and Libraries as Templates

To begin with, save the list or library from the first SharePoint site, with or without saving the list’s or library’s content, as a SharePoint site template (.STP) in order to import this later on to the new or different SharePoint site.  This example will focus on a list; the same applies to a (document) library.  Depending on your internal SharePoint server’s size limits, you may be able to save with content.

  • NOTE: When saving lists or libraries as templates from sub-sites, the templates are stored at the parent site level, not at the sub-site level.

Access List Settings followed by clicking on ‘Save list as template’, under Permissions and Management.

MS-SharePoint: Saving Lists and Libraries as Templates for Reuse (Save List as Template)

Give the template a File name, a Template name and Include Content if required and possible.

  • NOTE: By selecting ‘Include Content’, all entries from all columns / fields as well as font sizes, colors, etc. will be saved – this also includes views and their designs.  Creating templates without content provides you with an easier way to begin a new custom list instead of building the same design specifications from scratch.

MS-SharePoint: Saving Lists and Libraries as Templates for Reuse (Enter File and Template Name and Include Content if Required)

Once you have successfully saved your template, you can either click OK or link directly to the List Template Gallery.

  • NOTE: The List Template Gallery (available from the parent site, not a sub-site your list or library may be stored in) is the same location that library templates are saved within.

MS-SharePoint: Saving Lists and Libraries as Templates for Reuse (List Template Successfully Saved)

Depending on internal SharePoint server size restrictions and site size (content within the site’s lists and libraries), you can also save the entire SharePoint site as a template!  You may want to leverage this option to share (or reuse yourself) the design of your site(s), possibly also including specific lists and libraries (without content) for others to populate as required.

From the List Template Gallery, you’ll find the list and library template(s) you and others have created (from the parent and all sub-sites).  This includes any type of list or library.  Leaving this template within the List Template Gallery, means that it (the template) will be available for others to choose from, when creating new lists and libraries (from the parent and all sub-sites).  If that was your intention, there’s nothing else to do.  However, let’s assume you want this template available from a completely different parent / sub-site construct – we’ll therefore need to save the template to our hard-drive in order to upload it to the List Template Gallery of that different parent site.

MS-SharePoint: Saving Lists and Libraries as Templates for Reuse (Download a Copy of the Template)

  • NOTE: This is a great way to additionally and locally archive / save templates of lists and libraries.

Importing Templates and Creating New Lists and Libraries

Now that the template has been created and also contains the content from the previous list, assuming we may be deleting the old site, creating a new site that should contain this list with content, we’ll import the template into the List Template Gallery of the new site.

  • >Site Actions >Site Settings >Galleries >List templates

MS-SharePoint: Saving Lists and Libraries as Templates for Reuse (Site Actions, Site Settings, Galleries, List templates)

MS-SharePoint: Saving Lists and Libraries as Templates for Reuse (Upload .STP File to List Template Gallery)

Now that you have imported the template (.STP file) to the parent site, you can create a list from this template either from the parent site or any sub-site (or sub-sites of sub-sites).

MS-SharePoint: Saving Lists and Libraries as Templates for Reuse (Create New List Using Uploaded Template's Design)

  • BEST PRACTICE: When creating a new list or library, use a short, technical name at inception, updating with the full and proper title after the list or library has been created.
  • BEST PRACTICE: If you and your end-users do not need to create additional lists (or libraries) based on the template (.STP file) you uploaded then return to the List Template Gallery afterward and delete the file.

From any SharePoint site, click ‘Help’ to view further instructions on managing SharePoint sites; the following are direct links to’s details pertaining to list and library templates:

Please contact us with any questions.

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