If you have list data that you want to use in another application, what are some ways to get to that data? That was the question posed by a recent requirement from a client. Fortunately, SharePoint presents us with some creative ways to get to the list data.
- Export to Excel. This is a good, and quick, way to export data out of SharePoint so that you can use it in other programs. Once you have it in Excel, you can further export it into different formats. The most common is as a comma-delimited text file. I am not an Excel expert but it is quite easy to Export To Spreadsheet from the Actions menu and then save the Excel file in, say, a CSV format. From there, many applications can import that text file. But what happens if one of the SharePoint fields are large text fields that could contain commas and line feeds?
- Export to Access. For quite a few data export requirements, I tend to use this way. Access has better import/export functionality. I can save the exported list data in many formats. How do you do this? From the Actions menu, select Open With Access. [Note: this isn’t available in Document Libraries]. From there you can decide whether you want to maintain a local copy or just link to the list. Once you have it open in Access, you can export it in a number of different formats.
- If your third part application can call Web Services, SharePoint exposes a lot of functionality via Web Service. Web Services are beyond the scope of this article but you can find plenty of information on MSDN, like Windows SharePoint Services Web Services.
What are some of the ways you deal with the requirement of external applications using list data? I would love to hear your comments!