Create SharePoint list from Excel spreadsheet and import table

Legacy SharePoint versions have provided the capability to create a custom list using excel file. This feature is enhanced a bit in SharePoint Online Modern interface and helps importing your excel data into a custom list with all required columns in a matter of few minutes.

You can choose the excel file either from your site or upload from your computer/laptop.

Steps to create custom list from excel spreadsheet

Make sure you define a table in excel which has the data, including headers/columns. You need to define tables to import as a list.

  1. Navigate to you SharePoint site (modern interface).
  2. Go to Settings --> Site Contents.
  3. Click New --> List (you can also do this from the modern home page).
  4. Click From Excel.
  5. List name - Enter a name for your new list.
  6. Show in site navigation - Yes/No.
  7. Choose file location
    • 'Choose a file already on this site' - if the excel spreadsheet is present in a Documents library
    • Upload file - to upload from device. The Excel file will be uploaded to the Site Assets library. If the Upload file button is greyed out, you don't have permission to create a list from a spreadsheet.
  8. Next, you will be asked to 'Select a table form this file' - there could be multiple tables, select the one you want to use.
  9. If there are no tables defined in your excel, you will see a message 'You don't have any tables defined in this file. You need to define tables to import as a list.'.
    Follow the on screen instructions to define a table and select required cells
    • Open the excel document
    • Select the cells to include
    • Select the data, and click 'Format as Table'
    • After saving, return here and click 'Refresh'
  10. Check the column types below and choose a new type if the current selection is incorrect - Inspect and select column type for each of your header/column, leave default or select do not import.
  11. Click Create and your list is ready.

Few important points to consider

  1. Format and define Tables in the Excel, excel without tables cannot be imported.
  2. Restrict excel rows to 20000. If there are more entries, you will receive a message 'This table exceeds the maximum number of supported rows'.
  3. Excel should not have empty rows.
  4. Use Quick Edit to add more entries to the list, that's the most convenient.
  5. Title column is always mandatory. Choose your Title column wisely.
  6. Column chosen as Title field cannot have blank values. If there are blank values, you will receive a message 'An error occurred while creating your items. Title: You must specify a value for this required field'.
  7. You need to manually add values to choice column.
  8. Once rows imported to SharePoint list, you can work directly with List settings like versioning, views, filters, workflows, etc.
  9. 32-bit browser like Microsoft Edgeis recommended as this feature relies on ActiveX filtering. But it will work with other browsers like Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox as well.

There are other options like copying excel data in Quick Edit mode or even import directly from Excel, but the "Import Spreadsheet" is the most convenient and quick one.

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