I need to activate publishing features on certain sites without losing their site content (lists and libraries). The publishing feature is activated in site collection. When I try to activate the publishing feature in one site I get the following error:

"A list, survey, discussion board, or document library with the specified title already exists in this Web site. Please choose another title"

I know I can delete the libraries or lists that are in conflict, but this way I might being losing content. How can I solve this?

  • 1
    Rename them instead of deleting them
    – Ralph W
    Dec 3, 2012 at 11:00
  • Yes, I think this should work. But it is not possible to maintain these lists? It will be easier to have one only list of each type than 2 differents.
    – Bargant
    Dec 3, 2012 at 11:26
  • I think you would have to duplicate the content and reapply it. You could always backup the entire site, and create a redeployment that includes publishing. If they are single sites, save the sites, download and import into visual studio, then add publishing into the onet file and test that. This process usually actually only goes wrong if publishing is enabled on the saved site, so it may work if you save the content as well.
    – Hugh Wood
    Dec 3, 2012 at 12:20
  • I'm planning to doy it for multiples sites, so the visual studio export is not an option. Thank you anyway.
    – Bargant
    Dec 4, 2012 at 15:30
  • 1
    By default, the only lists created that would be the same as your preexisting ones would be 'Documents', 'Images', 'Pages' and 'Workflow Tasks'. Those are the ones created by the publishing feature. I'd rename them. Then activate the publishing feature. Then move the old items to the new lists. A powershell script can do all this for you.
    – Ralph W
    Dec 5, 2012 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


Determine which lists are conflicting and rename the existing lists (sorry Grooverinthesouth, not trying to steal your answer, but yours is a comment :().

Depending on the list (columns) of the existing lists, you might also be able to export the list to Excel, and then import them back to a list with different name.

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