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How to export SharePoint to Excel

Posted on April 21, 2016

“Can you export this to Excel?” I bet you hear this request all the time. If you are an avid Excel user or just prefer to visualize things in Excel, you are in luck. Being a Microsoft product, SharePoint has native integration with Excel. And any content can easily be exported to Excel.

What can I export from SharePoint to Excel?

Any information contained in any list can be exported to Excel. This includes the following Out of the Box web parts:

  • Contacts
  • Calendar
  • Tasks
  • Issues
  • Custom List
  • Discussion Board
  • Document Library

Yes, you can also export document libraries (metadata, not the actual files) to Excel, since they are also lists.

How do I export from SharePoint to Excel?

It is quite easy. Here are detailed instructions:

  1. Make sure you use Internet Explorer Browser. Export to Excel does not work from Google Chrome
  2. Go to the list you want to export to Excel (i.e. Calendar)
  3. Navigate to the view you would like to export. The way it works with export to Excel, what you see in SharePoint is what you get in Excel. In other words, if you are exporting a particular view and you only see 5 columns, you will get that view/those columns exported. So if you are looking to export the completed List (database), make sure you have all the columns visible in your view (i.e. All Items View). Also make sure your view is not grouped! (Grouped columns will not get exported to Excel)
  4. Click on List tab up top, select Export to Excel in the middle of the ribbon exporttoexcel1
  5. You might get a warning message from the browser – just click OK or proceed
  6. Excel will open up, but you might get another warning – just click Enable exporttoexcel2
  7. Your Excel will open up now with data exported! excel tasks

Refresh the Data in Excel without doing another Export

One important thing to know about export to SharePoint is that the Excel file you exported to still maintains a connection to SharePoint. That means that any changes in the list in SharePoint will propagate down to your Excel file on a computer. Excel will not change automatically. You have to refresh it for changes to trickle down. Here is how to do this:

  1. From Excel, click on Data Tab, then Connections excel10
  2. On the pop-up screen that appears, click Refresh button, then Close excel11
  3. Your data in Excel has been updated!

This refresh functionality is really cool if you let’s say build some sort of pivot tables/charts based off SharePoint data and want to update your chart based on changes in SharePoint. This way, you do not need to reinvent the wheel and re-export data, build charts, etc. All you have to do is just click that Refresh button. Very powerful!

Important to note that the connection between SharePoint and Excel is 1-way. In other words, information flows form SharePoint to Excel, not the other way around! So any changes in Excel will not go back to SharePoint. Once you click on Refresh, SharePoint will overwrite whatever you did in Excel.

Break the connection between Excel and SharePoint

Unless you specifically refresh using instructions above, your data in Excel will remain as it was at the time of the export. If, for whatever reason, you would like to remove that connection permanently, please follow the instructions below:

  1. From Excel, click on Data Tab, then Connections excel10
  2. On the pop-up screen that appears, click Remove excel12
  3. On the warning message that appears, click OK excel13

About Me

I’m Greg Zelfond, a U.S. based SharePoint consultant, and I provide affordable out-of-the-box SharePoint consulting, training, and configuration assistance to small and medium-sized businesses all over the world.

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