Don't Panic - Moving Documents in SharePoint

Don't Panic - Moving Documents in SharePoint

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When I first started on SharePoint and I realized I couldn’t move files by dragging them, I panicked a little bit. My first instinct was to save the file to my desktop and then upload it again to the new folder. Talk about a gigantic waste of time! In case there are others out there who panicked, let me show you the easy way to move documents to a new location in SharePoint.


  1. In a document library, hover the mouse pointer over the document you want to move. A check box appears on the left and a list arrow on the right. You can click the list arrow and select Send To; or you can select the check box and then on the Documents contextual tab, in the Copies group, click the Send To button.
  2. Select Other Location.
  3. The Copy dialog box appears. Type the destination or paste the URL, and then click the (Click here to test) link to make sure you’re sending the document to the right place.
  4. Next you can modify the document settings. You can rename the document or add “_copy” to the end of the file name, select whether to prompt the author to send updates when the document is checked in, and decide whether to create an alert when changes are made to the source document.
  5. Click OK. You’ll be prompted to double-check your information; if it looks correct, click OK again.
  6. When the copying is complete, click Done.

Now you’ll be able to see the document in its original spot, and you’ll see a copy in the new location as well. Once you send the document copy to another location, it becomes a separate document; that is, changes to it do not affect the original document.

Because you can receive alerts when changes are made to the source document, you can know if and when you need to update all versions. If you don’t want different versions hanging around, just delete the document in the original location.

  • This is good.. never tried it, time to play around moving docs.. Thanks for sharing David.

  • Hi David,

    I have tried to use this method to move files from one SharePoint site to another, and also from within the same SharePoint site. However, each time I do this I receive and error message that the URL is too long. Is there a way to overcome this? I've thought about using bitly but not sure if it would work.



  • Unfortunately I don't think there's a way to shorten the URLs within SharePoint. However, I believe if your site is externally available you can use a service like bitly.


  • Getting the URL of the location you want to move the document to is not easy. You can't just go there and copy the URL, since it appears with way too many %%%, etc. It seems to me that the properties of a document should include its URL. Moving documents is one of my major complaints about Sharepoint.

  • Can this method also work with moving folders?

  • Yes, you can shorten the URL in SharePoint. Look for the breadcrumb trail and include only those pieces. Usually you can cut back to "/Folders"

  • Everytime i get this URL error, i need to change the name of the file, so to shorten it and then it's woking again...

  • just a short question, is this workinh for SharePoint 2007 as well?

  • You can also click the Library tab and choose "Open with Explorer" item in the Connect & Export category. If you then do the same in your destination library you can then use drag and drop and do so for multiple files.

  • There is an easier way to doing this. Click on the "Library" tab under Library Tools of the documents library you are trying to open. Click on "Open with Explorer" in the Connect & Export section of the ribbon. Once the library opens in the Windows Explorer, drag and drop files into your destination folder.

  • It works for me if I just type the generic file path. For example:

  • Why doesn't list work the same way - so irritated!  Moving numerous list via a template is so burdensome!

  • if share point cant do this better than its basically useless to me an my organization

  • Hmayan: thanks for the helpful tip! I had a huge mess to clean up and this tip saved me several minutes if not a couple of hours!

  • It's much simpler if you choose " explorer view ". See the link below.

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