I have Sharepoint 2013 on-premises and our users have the following application installed inside their PC which they can use to sync with SharePoint lists:-

  1. OneDrive for Business which comes with Office 2013 & Office 2016
  2. the old version of OneDrive for Business, named SharePoint Workplace.

Now i have many sites and many list types such as:-

  1. Pages library.
  2. document library
  3. custom lists
  4. tracking lists

Now for all users the SYNC icon will not appear inside the SP UI, unless the user is inside a document library :-

enter image description here

so the first impression will be that we can only Sync document libraries. but here is the scenario our users are getting:-

  1. Users who are using SharePoint Workspace, can manually sync any list url as follow:-
    • open the work-space application.
    • Home >> New >> SharePoint workspace.
    • type the url for a custom list or tracking list . and they can sync, created & edit custom list items using the SP workspace.
  2. but users with OneDrive for business, when they try to manually sync a cusotm list or tracking list (any list which are not a document library list) they will get this error:- enter image description here

so can anyone adivce on these questions:-

  1. why SP workspace allow to sync non-document library lists, while OneDrvie will only allow syncing document libraries?

  2. why the SYNC icon will only appear in the SP UI, if the users are inside a document library?

  3. now seems creating items for custom lists or tracking lists using the SP workspace, can cause problem as the interface is totally different from the UI inside the create & edit aspx list forms.. so is it a normal behavior to set the "Offline Client Availability" option inside the lists to No for non-document library lists.. to avoid any problems??

2 Answers 2


The functionality of synchronizing lists is not available in ODfB. SharePoint Workspace is a legacy product with no support for modern versions of SharePoint; only Doc Libs can be synchronized by ODfB. Everything you're seeing is by design.

  • thanks for the reply.. so what is the reason that the new OneDrvie will not allow Syncing non-doc libraries? second point, To prevent users who have SP workspace from syncing non-document libraries,, is it a recommended option to set the "Offline Client Availability" = No for non-doc library lists such as custom and tracking lists ???
    – John John
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 16:58
  • 1
    You would need to pose the first question to Microsoft; we can only speculate that the synchronizing lists usage was low or too complex to implement. As far as preventing, you should remove SharePoint Workspace from your user's machines. This can be automated through various tooling, but is off topic for SharePoint StackExchange.
    – user6024
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 17:00

Microsoft has been trying for years to merge their different sync tools, both in consumer and professional worlds, with limited success so far. This probably explains why they focus on syncing files.

Back to your question: there is no more Out Of The Box way to synchronize offline a SharePoint list.

You can still sync a SharePoint list to... Excel with third-party software such as SharePoint List Synchronizer. It lets your users sync bi-directionnaly a SharePoint (online or on premises) list with an Excel file. Disclaimer: this product is edited by SoftFluent, my employer.

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