Import a Spreadsheet as a List in SharePoint 2010 - dummies

Import a Spreadsheet as a List in SharePoint 2010

Already have data in a spreadsheet that you want to be a SharePoint 2010 list? You’re halfway there! Before you start, make sure you do the following:

  • Clean the list. Make sure your list looks like a table, with no blank columns or rows.

  • Make sure your list has headers. All columns should have a column title.

  • Make sure your column data is consistent. For example, if a column has a comment in what would otherwise be a Date column, remove the text.

  • Make sure your first row is representative of the rest of the data. SharePoint reads that first row and makes assumptions about the information in that column. Here is an example of a clean spreadsheet ready for importing.


SharePoint looks for what it believes is the first text column and uses it as the pseudo-title field (the primary field in the list that has the Edit menu attached to it).

Therefore, try to place a text field with unique data in the first column position. Unfortunately, if your unique field is a number, such as a serial number, this can cause issues. To work around the problem, create the list and copy and paste the data from the spreadsheet.

A good example of a first column is a unique name of a person or an item, such as Event Name.

A bad example of a first column is the category of an item or a department of an employee.

To import your spreadsheet into a custom list:

  1. Choose Site Actions→View All Site Content.

    Other options include View All Site Content Link on the Quick Launch toolbar or the Create Option Link on the Site Actions menu.

  2. Select the Create command and then select the Import Spreadsheet option from the List category and click the Create button.

  3. In the Name text box, enter a name for your list.

    Follow the naming conventions for list names: keep them short and eliminate spaces.

  4. (Optional) In the Description text box, enter a description of the list.

  5. Click the Browse button, browse to your spreadsheet, select it, and click the Import button.

    A dialog box appears that asks how your range is designated. The default is Table Range, but other options are Named Range or Range of Cells. If you haven’t named your range in Excel or set as a table, select the Range of Cells option.

  6. If you chose the Range of Cells option, click the Select Range field in the dialog box, and then click your spreadsheet and highlight the desired range.

  7. Click the Import button in the dialog box.

After you import your spreadsheet, verify the column types SharePoint chose for you. Generally SharePoint assumes text, number, and dates. You may want to change some text fields to Choice, Yes/No, and so forth.

Don’t have the patience to create all your custom columns one by one — but you don’t have a current list in another format either? Create a spreadsheet with your column headers and at least one row of data, and then import this spreadsheet and modify the column properties as necessary.