I have a big document library with lots of column and data. I want to create a new library where I migrate them. Is there a way to copy over the files from old Document Library to new one and still have all the info from Columns values come over?

I am trying to do this in order to set off a workflow. Apparently, workflow goes into effect for each NEW file I am uploading and I would need to effect a manual change to each old file to enforce the workflow on them. Thoughts?

  • So there is no real reason for the content migration other than getting a workflow to run on all the old content? If so, can you set the workflow to be started manually, and then run a script to start the workflow for all the old docs? Or alternatively use a script to trigger an update on all the old docs to then start the workflow? Nov 28, 2016 at 20:14
  • Apologies, what script are you referring to? I have the workflow set up as "manual" and auto for new items and changed items. No effect. Thoughts? Nov 28, 2016 at 20:54
  • It would be a Powershell script that you would have to write, or alternatively, you can start workflows that are enabled for manual start through Javascript/REST API as well. Also, if you have the workflow set up to enable manual start, you don't have to "change" each old file, you just have to start the workflow on it. Meaning you don't need to update the file or it's list item to trigger the auto start on change, you can just go in and start the workflow. That's still a tedious process to do all manually, which is why I am suggesting writing a script. Nov 28, 2016 at 21:00
  • Ouch, that's beyond my novice experience. But I am willing to try. Where do I start on Powershell script? Nov 28, 2016 at 21:11
  • Here's an answer on this site that shows how to start a workflow for all items. If you need to avoid starting the workflow for the newer items for which it's already run, you will have to figure out some way of discriminating which ones need to have it run and which ones don't. Also, just Googling "sharepoint powershell start workflow" gives plenty of results. Nov 28, 2016 at 21:17

1 Answer 1


There are many options to migrate records (items or document) together with metadata (colums).

If possible in your case, the best is to save the original library as a template choosing the appropriate option to save also the content, then create the new library that will maintain all previous columns, metadata and also content type (if used).

If you have already created the new library and you cannot start from scratch, 1st you have to ensure that the destination library has the same columns (or you create the same), than you open both libraries using explore view and you copu (or cut) and paste: alternatively you can use move option for each document (more heavy job if you have many items)

If these 2 options are not feasible in your case, then think at powershell scripts and/or workflows, but keeping in mind that original copied documents will maintain their metadata, but these will be not visible in destination library if the destination library will not have the same columns

Hope this help to clarify the basics

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.