Export-Import Site Columns in SharePoint using PowerShell

Its a frequent requirement to copy site columns between SharePoint environments, isn't it? Today had a requirement to copy bunch of site columns from development environment to staging environment.

We used to package site columns as a WSP Solution package in such requirements: Create Site Column Feature for SharePoint 2010 ,This time, Lets use PowerShell to Export and Import Site Columns!

PowerShell Script to Export Site columns:
    #Get the Source Web
    $sourceWeb = Get-SPWeb "http://dev.crescent.com"
    #Create a XML File to Export Fields
    $xmlFile = "C:\SiteColumns.xml"
    New-Item $xmlFile -type file -force

    #Wrap Field Schema XML inside <Fields> Element 
    Add-Content $xmlFile "`n<Fields>"
    #Export All Site Columns of specific Group to XML file
    $sourceWeb.Fields | ForEach-Object {
        if ($_.Group -eq "Crescent Travel Request") {
            Add-Content $xmlFile $_.SchemaXml
    #Closing Wrapper
    Add-Content $xmlFile "</Fields>"
    #Dispose the web object

PowerShell Script to Import Site Columns from XML:
  #Get the Target Web
  $TargetWeb = Get-SPWeb "http://test.crescent.com"
  #Get XML file exported
  [xml]$fieldsXML = Get-Content("C:\SiteColumns.xml")
  #Loop Through Each Field
  $fieldsXML.Fields.Field | ForEach-Object {
  #Check if the target web has the field already!
  if ($TargetWeb.Fields.ContainsField( $_.Name) -Eq $false){ 
   #Add Site column to Target Web
Thanks Phil for the idea: http://get-spscripts.com/2011/01/export-and-importcreate-site-columns-in.html
Export-Import Site Columns in SharePoint using PowerShell Export-Import Site Columns in SharePoint using PowerShell Reviewed by Salaudeen Rajack on March 25, 2013 Rating: 5


  1. Does not work for me... Empty XML...

    1. Check your Site columns Group! I've used "Crescent Travel Request", Update it accordingly!!

  2. thanks, the only script that worked for me :)

  3. How can I restrict the export only the selected column from the group? Not all the columns of the entire group?

  4. I did try to put the if {$_.Name -eq "ColumnName" } within the if ($_.Group -eq "GroupName"). But it is not exporting the selected column.

    1. Khushi,

      There is no "Name" property in SPField class. Use properties such as: Title, StaticName, InternalName.

  5. Thank you so much Salaudeen!! I tried $_.Name didn't work I tried $_.DisplayName didn't work!
    You are the Best StaticName did work!!!

    Appreciate your help.

  6. Exactly what I was looking for!!

  7. Thank you.
    You didn't dispose web in import script ;)

    #Dispose the web object

  8. Thank you a million!
    I sincerely appreciate your help.


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