SharePoint Online: Delete All List Items using PowerShell

Requirement: Delete All Items from SharePoint Online List using PowerShell

We have a list in SharePoint Online – Office 365 site with a bunch of items. Need them to be deleted in bulk rather than deleting one by one from SharePoint web UI. So, let us use SharePoint Online PowerShell to delete all list items.

delete all list items in sharepoint online using powershell

SharePoint Online: How to Delete All Items in a List?

How to delete all list items in SharePoint Online? To delete all items from a SharePoint Online list, do the following:

  • Browse to your list, select all items in the list by ticking the checkbox beside the first column on the list. This should highlight all items in the list view. 
  • Click the “Delete” button in the list’s menu bar.
    sharepoint online delete all list items
  • Confirm the prompt. The selected item will be sent to the recycle bin.

SharePoint allows you to select 100 items at once! However, in modern lists, you can select all items by scrolling to the bottom of the page – so that SharePoint loads and selects the remaining items. What if you have a very larger list? Well, PowerShell is the time-saver here!

If you don’t get the check boxes, Edit the list view >> Under the Tabular View section make sure “Allow individual item checkboxes” is selected!

Delete All List Items in Bulk in SharePoint Online using PowerShell:

Here is the script to delete all list items in SharePoint online Office 365 using the client-side object model (CSOM) with PowerShell.

#Load SharePoint CSOM Assemblies
Add-Type -Path "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\16\ISAPI\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.dll"
Add-Type -Path "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\16\ISAPI\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.Runtime.dll"
  
#Parameters
$SiteURL="https://crescent.sharepoint.com"
$ListName="Projects"

#Get Credentials to connect 
$Cred = Get-Credential

#Setup the context
$Ctx = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ClientContext($SiteURL)
$Ctx.Credentials = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.SharePointOnlineCredentials($Cred.Username, $Cred.Password)

#Get the List items to delete
$List = $Ctx.web.Lists.GetByTitle($ListName)
$ListItems = $List.GetItems([Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.CamlQuery]::CreateAllItemsQuery()) 
$Ctx.Load($ListItems)
$Ctx.ExecuteQuery()       
 
write-host "Total Number of List Items found:"$ListItems.Count
 
#SharePoint Online PowerShell to delete all list items
If($ListItems.Count -gt 0)
{
    #Loop through each item and delete
    For($i = $ListItems.Count-1; $i -ge 0; $i--)
    {
        $ListItems[$i].DeleteObject()
    } 
    $Ctx.ExecuteQuery()
         
    Write-Host "All List Items deleted Successfully!"
}
 

This PowerShell script deletes all items from the SharePoint Online list. Please note, these items are not moved to the Recycle Bin but deleted permanently! This PowerShell script could be quite helpful when dealing with deleting bulk items from a huge list.

PowerShell to Delete All Items from Large Lists in SharePoint Online

When you have a SharePoint Online list or library with a larger number of items (>5000), You may face a “The attempted operation is prohibited because it exceeds the list view threshold enforced by the administrator.” error. So, to mitigate this issue let us delete list items in the batch. Here is my PowerShell script to delete list items in the batch.

Add-Type -Path "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\16\ISAPI\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.dll"
Add-Type -Path "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\16\ISAPI\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.Runtime.dll"
    
#Config Parameters
$SiteURL="https://crescent.sharepoint.com"
$ListName="Projects"
$BatchSize = 500
  
#Setup Credentials to connect
$Cred = Get-Credential
  
Try {
    #Setup the context
    $Ctx = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ClientContext($SiteURL)
    $Ctx.Credentials = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.SharePointOnlineCredentials($Cred.UserName,$Cred.Password)
  
    #Get the web and List
    $Web = $Ctx.Web
    $List=$web.Lists.GetByTitle($ListName)
    $Ctx.Load($List)
    $Ctx.ExecuteQuery()
    Write-host "Total Number of Items Found in the List:"$List.ItemCount
 
    #Define CAML Query to get list items in batches
    $Query = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.CamlQuery
    $Query.ViewXml = "<View Scope='RecursiveAll'><RowLimit Paged='TRUE'>$BatchSize</RowLimit></View>"
 
    Do {  
        #Get items from the list in batches
        $ListItems = $List.GetItems($Query)
        $Ctx.Load($ListItems)
        $Ctx.ExecuteQuery()
         
        #Exit from Loop if No items found
        If($ListItems.count -eq 0) { Break; }
 
        Write-host Deleting $($ListItems.count) Items from the List...
 
        #Loop through each item and delete
        ForEach($Item in $ListItems)
        {
            $List.GetItemById($Item.Id).DeleteObject()
        } 
        $Ctx.ExecuteQuery()
 
    } While ($True)
 
    Write-host -f Green "All Items Deleted!"
}
Catch {
    write-host -f Red "Error Deleting List Items!" $_.Exception.Message
}

This script deletes all list items in SharePoint Online using PowerShell.

The “DeleteObject()” method permanently deletes the item. Use “Recycle()” to send the item to recycle bin.

SharePoint Online PnP PowerShell to Delete All List Items

Here is the PnP PowerShell to empty list in SharePoint Online.

#Config Variables
$SiteURL = "https://crescenttech.sharepoint.com/sites/marketing"
$ListName ="Records"

#Get Credentials to connect
$Cred = Get-Credential

Try {
    #Connect to PnP Online
    Connect-PnPOnline -Url $SiteURL -Credentials $Cred
    
    #Get All List Items in Batch
    $ListItems = Get-PnPListItem -List $ListName -PageSize 1000 | Sort-Object ID -Descending

    #sharepoint online powershell delete all items in a list
    ForEach ($Item in $ListItems)
    {
        Remove-PnPListItem -List $ListName -Identity $Item.Id -Force
    }
}
catch {
    write-host "Error: $($_.Exception.Message)" -foregroundcolor Red
}

Use -Recycle parameter to send the items to the recycle bin instead of permanently deleting it!

Faster way to Delete List Items in Bulk

Found the above methods are slow and deletes one item in 1 second approx. However, the script block method below deletes the items faster.

Get-PnPList -Identity $ListName | Get-PnPListItem -PageSize 100 -ScriptBlock { 
    Param($items) Invoke-PnPQuery } | ForEach-Object {$_.Recycle()
 }

To delete all files from a SharePoint Online document library, use: SharePoint Online: Delete All Files in a Document Library using PowerShell

Salaudeen Rajack

Salaudeen Rajack is a SharePoint Architect with Two decades of SharePoint Experience. He loves sharing his knowledge and experiences with the SharePoint community, through his real-world articles!

14 thoughts on “SharePoint Online: Delete All List Items using PowerShell

  • July 6, 2020 at 4:23 PM

    How do i use this script if i have a 2FA enabled? Thank you

    Reply
  • June 26, 2020 at 5:59 PM

    Hi,

    Thank you very much for this script.

    Unfortunately, I am not able to use this for a Folder under a Documents Library.

    It works for Lists though, like a charm.

    Did I miss something here?

    Reply
    • June 27, 2020 at 8:14 PM

      Are you getting “Remove-PnPListItem : Item does not exist. It may have been deleted by another user.”? Try to sort the list items by ID field in descending order.
      $ListItems = Get-PnPListItem -List $ListName -PageSize 1000 | Sort-Object ID -Descending

      Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 7:20 PM

    I’m trying to use the batch mode script but it’s not limiting the view, I’m still getting the

    Error Deleting List Items! Exception calling “ExecuteQuery” with “0” argument(s): “The attempted operation is prohibited because it exceeds the list view threshold enforced by the administrator.”

    There are 174492 items in my sharepoint Document’s folder. Please advise.

    I tried adjusting from 500 to 100 but no change.

    Reply
    • July 7, 2020 at 7:47 PM

      Found HTML entities were removed in the rendered script in the site and fixed the same. Try now!

      Reply
  • May 26, 2019 at 10:35 AM

    Great article, helped me significantly

    Reply
  • March 4, 2019 at 3:56 PM

    Thank you for advice! I suppose error appears only at first several attempts while list had large amount of entries. After deleting several thousands, scripts started working more stably.

    Reply
  • March 4, 2019 at 2:44 PM

    Second script for large lists works fine except this error: “Error Deleting List Items! Exception calling “ExecuteQuery” with “0” argument(s): “The operation has timed out.” It makes me execute script constantly

    Reply
  • September 17, 2018 at 10:06 AM

    How do I delete all Files (Not Folders)?

    Reply
    • September 17, 2018 at 10:10 AM

      Add an If condition:
      If($ListItem.FileSystemObjectType -eq “File”)
      {
      #Delete the Item
      }

      Reply
  • April 20, 2018 at 12:29 PM

    Hi
    Great article really helped. When running the script it gave an error when the list items are greater than 5000. Any idea how we can overcome this?

    Reply

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