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I've been troubleshooting my schema.xml file for a list definition and getting more and more frustrated.

So I thought, "Hey, I'll just get it to look right in the UI and then export that and compare it to my current schema.XML file!"

Well, unless I am missing something obvious, this is easier said than done. I've tried installing various tools that Google turned up and none helped.

Can anyone give me a simple answer as to how to export the definition of a list from a SharePoint 2010 site into a schema.xml file?

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What to do if we need child items of the lists also in this XML export? – user12902 Nov 8 '12 at 13:28
up vote 19 down vote accepted

You can retrieve the schema of any list by using the owssvr.dll call from your browser. Following is the syntax:


By replacing the Server and List GUID in above url will return you the XML Schema of the list.

This works on both 2010 and 2007.


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Ooo - I like that! – Andy Burns Jun 24 '11 at 14:58
It didn't work for me until I included the path to the actual site where the list lives (it wasn't at the root). I edited your answer. Hope you don't mind. – JohnFx Jun 24 '11 at 16:15
didn't know that either! – Colin Jun 24 '11 at 17:11
Thanks John. Yeah, the path needs to be there in case you're in a subsite (just leave it blank if you're at the root). – Bil Simser Jun 28 '11 at 18:42
Confirmed it works with 2013 as well – Raymund Oct 30 '13 at 22:27

Well ... SharePoint Manager 2010 lets you see the Schema for a list - that'd be my first stop.

Alternatively, save the site as a template, download the WSP to disk, and import into Visual Studio.

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Wow! You are right. I hadn't noticed that before. Awesome! – JohnFx Jun 24 '11 at 13:47

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