Recent SharePoint Updates: Creating a List from a List

Article Updated: July 23, 2019

Series Introduction

As a Twitter, blog, and M365 Roadmap junkie, I spend a lot of time looking at the new features in SharePoint Online and related O365 technologies. Some of these updates are straightforward and just appear, some require early adopters to use the admin center or PowerShell. I have decided to document a few of the new features and how I implemented them.

This series is in no way meant as an exhaustive list of new features. It’s simply a few of the features that I have tracked most closely and/or have implemented in my tenant.

Your Mileage May Vary

I should preface this with a note that the features I am talking about are in my O365 development tenant. This tenant is set to Targeted release, which means that it’s set to get updates as early as (publicly) possible. You may not see all these features in your tenant (even if your tenant is set to Targeted release, as there is a “random order” applied to the feature deployment). 

Articles in this Series

  1. Recent SharePoint Updates: Organization Updates
  2. Recent SharePoint Updates: Modern Document Sets
  3. Recent SharePoint Updates: Creating a List from a List

Creating a List from a List

Creating a list from an existing list has always been somewhat of a pain in SharePoint. It involved saving the list as a template, moving the template to another site, then creating a new list from that template. No more…

This is the most recent feature to arrive in my development tenant. It showed up on July 22, 2019.

To use this feature, you (currently) must be on the Site Contents page of the site. Once there, you can use the +New>List button to launch the Create a List panel.

From the Create a List panel, give the List a name, select From an existing list, select the site, select the list, and click the Create button.

And BOOM! You have a copy of the source list on your site.

But does it _____ ?

There were a few things I was wondering when this feature showed up:

  1. Does it work with Views?
  2. Does it work with Column Formatting?
  3. Does it work with View Formatting?
  4. Does it copy Content Types?
  5. Does it copy Site Columns?
  6. Does it work with Lookup Columns/Lists?

The Setup for Testing

To test the above questions, I set up a source site with the following:

Site Columns

Note: ColumnC had custom formatting applied.

Content Types

Note: MyContentType contained ColumnA, ColumnB, and ColumnC.

Lists

  1. SourceList1
    • Set Allow Content Types: Yes
    • Added MyContentType
    • Removed Item (original default Content Type)
    • Added Columns to the Default View (All Items)
    • Created a couple of views (Compact View and ColB Grouped)
  2. SourceList2 – No modifications
  3. SourceList3
    • Added a list column called LookupSourceList2. This was a Lookup column pointed to the SourceList2 Title column.
    • Added the site column ColumnD
    • Created a view called Alternating with a custom View Formatting applied.

Does it work with Views?

Yes.

When I selected SourceList1 as my source list and created a list on the destination site called DestList1, all views created on the destination list.

Does it work with Column Formatting?

Yes.

When I selected SourceList1 as my source list and created a list on the destination site called DestList1, the column formatting for ColumnC was preserved.

Does it work with View Formatting?

Yes.

When I selected SourceList3 as my source list and created a list on the destination site called DestList3, the view formatting was preserved.

Does it copy Content Types?

Yes.

When I selected SourceList1 as my source list and created a list on the destination site called DestList1, the content type MyContentType was added to the destination site and DestList1.

Note: I did get a strange popup when using a list with a custom content type.

Does it copy Site Columns?

Yes/No.

When I selected SourceList1 as my source list and created a list on the destination site called DestList1, the site columns in content type MyContentType were added to the destination site and DestList1.

When I selected SourceList3 as my source list and created a list on the destination site called DestList3, the site column ColumnD was added to the destination list but not the destination site. So, it was added as a list column, not a site column.

Note: If you want to preserve site columns as site columns, they need to be placed in a custom content type and added to the list through the content type.

Does it work with Lookup Columns/Lists?

Yes.

When I selected SourceList3 as my source list and attempted to create a list on the destination site called DestList3, I received the following message:

After selecting Yes, DestList3 and SourceList2 were created on my destination site. The LookupSourceList2 column was successfully targeted at the Title column for SourceList2 on the destination site.  

Note: There is no way to change the name of the Lookup list during the process. You can change the name after through the UI, but the URL will stay fixed.

Conclusion

As with Document Sets, there are still a few issues to iron out while this feature is in Targeted Release, but from my initial testing, the feature seems very solid. I hope that Site Columns will work at some point, and it would be nice to see a “copy content” option. I would love to see this on Document Libraries as well.

Author: Mike Hatheway

I'm a husband, father of twins, and a digital transformation consultant specializing in Office 365. Generally focused on SharePoint, PowerApps, Flow, Teams, and PowerBI. I hold several Microsoft certifications including MCSD: App Builder and MCSE: Data management and Analyics. I work at Bulletproof Solutions.

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