Move documents from one library to the next in SharePoint 2010 using Open with Explorer

Learn how you can use the Open with Explorer option in SharePoint 2010 to move multiple documents at once from one SharePoint document library to another SharePoint document library on the same or a different SharePoint site.

Moving documents from one SharePoint document library to another either on the same SharePoint site or a different SharePoint site is an essential activity for document management in SharePoint.

There are several ways to move documents between SharePoint sites and document libraries, one of which is to use a SharePoint Designer workflow to move documents from one SharePoint library to the next.

Another easy way to move or copy documents – and especially multiple documents all at once - from one document library in SharePoint 2010 to another document library on the same or a different site is to use Windows Explorer.

The Open with Explorer button on the ribbon in SharePoint 2010 document libraries allow you to open SharePoint document libraries as standard Windows Explorer folders. You can then drag and drop files into the libraries, create folders, move and copy files, and delete multiple files at once.

Suppose you have two document libraries called OriginalDocLib and CopiesDocLib on a SharePoint 2010 site, and you want to move 2 documents that are located in OriginalDoc Lib to CopiesDocLib.

To move the documents from the one SharePoint document library (OriginalDocLib) to the other (CopiesDocLib):

  1. In SharePoint 2010, go to the SharePoint document library from which you want to move documents (here: OriginalDocLib).
  2. On the ribbon, click Library > Connect & Export > Open with Explorer.

    Open with Explorer option on a SharePoint 2010 document library

    Figure 1. Open with Explorer option on a SharePoint 2010 document library.

    Windows Explorer should open showing the documents in the SharePoint document library.

    SharePoint document library opened in Windows Explorer

    Figure 2. SharePoint document library opened in Windows Explorer.

  3. In Windows Explorer, select the documents you want to move, and press CTRL+X or right-click the documents and select Cut from the context menu.
  4. In Windows Explorer on the location bar, click the arrow behind site name. When the drop-down menu with all of the libraries on the site appears, select the SharePoint library to which you want to move the documents (here: CopiesDocLib).

    Moving documents to a different SharePoint document library via Windows Explorer

    Figure 3. Moving documents to a different SharePoint document library via Windows Explorer.

  5. In Windows Explorer, the destination SharePoint library folder should appear. When it does press CTRL+V or right-click in the folder and select Paste from the context menu.

    Documents moved to second SharePoint library in Windows Explorer

    Figure 4. Documents moved to second SharePoint library in Windows Explorer.

  6. Close Windows Explorer, and then in SharePoint 2010, go to the destination SharePoint document library (here: CopiesDocLib) to verify that the documents have been moved.

    Documents moved to new SharePoint 2010 document library

    Figure 5. Documents moved to new SharePoint 2010 document library.

While this article showed you how to move documents between SharePoint libraries on the same site, you can apply the same technique to move documents between SharePoint libraries on different sites by using the location bar in Windows Explorer to navigate between SharePoint sites and document libraries.

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