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?

  • What to do if we need child items of the lists also in this XML export?
    – user12902
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 13:28

2 Answers 2


You can retrieve the XML 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 in all versions of SharePoint (2007, 2010, 2013, 2016).


  • Ooo - I like that!
    – Andy Burns
    Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 14:58
  • 1
    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
    Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 16:15
  • didn't know that either!
    – Colin
    Commented Jun 24, 2011 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
    Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 18:42
  • 4
    Confirmed it works with 2013 as well
    – Raymund
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 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.

  • Wow! You are right. I hadn't noticed that before. Awesome!
    – JohnFx
    Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 13:47

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