How to export and import SharePoint web parts
I’m often working on increasing the data flow between areas of our organization – using SharePoint as my channel. In the old days, if you wanted to make a web page that loaded dynamically and displayed information from a table of some kind, you pretty much had to be a developer. Not so any more! SharePoint has the facility to make web pages that are comprised of different building blocks called “web parts”. When you make a new web part page, you simply select web part templates and you then configure them using the “modify web part” option. These blocks are all stacked together on a single page like a newspaper. Often, I have several different pages that display information from the same source, only altered a little bit to display it differently for different people.
For example, say I have a List called “Employee Information”. I might display this List in a web part on a page designed for a manager that would filter the List by their team members so they could wish them a Happy Birthday. I might make another page for a receptionist that wouldn’t filter by anything so they would see all the employee birthdays so they could order cakes. These two pages would be fundamentally different, but they would both require the same web part: same columns, same view, same List data.
Making different pages with similar information can result in a number of repeated tasks, especially when it comes to configuring views and web parts. I learned early on that creating a view for the List instead of just the web part saved me a lot of time – I could re-use that same view for any web part I’d make from the same List. Unfortunately, it never occurred to me to take it a step further to find a way to “copy” web parts between pages.
If you are like me and tend to work with similar data on different pages with slight changes for the audience, then you’ll really appreciate this article on how to export and import a web part – essentially copying and pasting the web part. A word to the wise – not all web parts can be exported by default. If your web part isn’t displaying the export options, the workaround is incredibly simple (thanks to Chris’ comment on this post):
- Open the page in SharePoint Designer (I find “split” mode works best for this type of thing)
- Select the web part you want to export and look in the code to find the following: false
- Change false to true
Not all web parts are worth exporting, but if it’s going on more than one page and takes more than 5 steps to set up, I would seriously consider adding it to your web parts list.