ExcelDatasheet-LogoSome time ago I was working with an Excel-loving crowd who had to share their data in a SharePoint list.
I wanted to make the transition as smoothly as possible, so I created a special “Data Import View” (a Datasheet View) to make it as easy as possible to copy their Excel data into the list.

There were too many people involved with too many different PC configurations, to trust a Data Connection. So a one-time copy-paste action it had to be!

After some tests I gave them the following instructions:

1. Sort the columns in your Excel sheet in exactly the same order (left-to-right) as the Data Import View (I listed all columns in the correct order)

2. Use the exact same words and spelling as the values in the dropdown fields in the SharePoint list (I listed all the words – we used “color” and not “colour”, for instance)

3. Check your cells have exactly the same formatting as SharePoint (sometimes text fields gave errors while copying – copying the text from the dropdown field and paste that into the Excel file often solved that)

4. Use the correct date-and-time format. (I had to test a few different notations to know what worked and what not in our multinational organization)

5. Select the first (utter left) cell before you start pasting. (The Data Import View contained many columns, and needed horizontal scrolling to see all columns, and sometimes people forgot to scroll back).

Error message
This is the error message if you do not start on the correct cell

6. Start pasting only when the first cell is ready. It shows a bold line around it.

Bold line around cell
This is what the bold line looks like
If your fist cell looks like this, please click it, otherwise you get the below error message when you paste.
If your first cell looks like this, please click it, otherwise you get the below error message when you paste.
Error message if you paste into a cell without a bold line around it
Error message if you paste into a cell without a bold line around it

7. Do a test-run with one line. Adjust your data and check again when you encounter issues.

Next time your users say that “they can not copy -paste their Excel data into a Datasheet View”, these tips may point you towards a solution.

I could have made things slightly easier by using a single-line-of-text for each column. Single-line-of-text is like bloodtype AB: it can receive anything :-) . But because I had originally designed the list for adding new items via “New Item” in the Standard View we had to create these instructions. And single-line-of-text columns lead to more deviations in spelling.

Do you have any other tips or experienced other errors? Please share!

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