Click to Copy List Item to New

Often times, you have a SharePoint list item with all of the fields filled in, and want to simply copy that item to create a new one.  One way to go about it would be to put all of the columns in a datasheet view, and copy an entire row to another one, but that’s not always the most feasible solution.  In this post, I’ll show you another method, how to create a button on a list item which will “copy to new” and then automatically bring up the new item to edit.  This can be done in both SharePoint 2007 and 2010, but my example will be 2010.

Main components to make this work:

  • A SharePoint Designer workflow to copy the list item
  • A custom data view web part for a new list item
  • A custom button that runs the workflow and navigates you to the DVWP.
  1. Create a SharePoint Designer Workflow which can be manually started.  There will be one action: Create List Item
  2. Pick the same name as the current list.  You may want one of the fields to be unique when they create a new request, so you can leave it out of this list of fields.  Add all the different fields on this screen using the Add button, giving them each the same value as the current list item.
  3. Publish the workflow. (I’m naming my workflow “Copy Request” because I’m copying a help desk request.
  4. In SharePoint Designer, click Lists and Libraries on the left, and click the name of the list.  In this case, it’s Request Log.
  5. In the Forms section on the right, click NEW.  Fill the screen in as so, and click OK.
  6. Now, in the forms section, click the name of CustomEdit.aspx to open it.
  7. Hide the existing form web part that’s on the page, we’re not going to use it.  In the web part tab in the ribbon go to properties, then in layout choose Hidden.
  8. At the bottom of the page, click in the spot (at the very bottom of the other web part), to insert a new one.  Click the Insert tab in the ribbon, click the Data View drop-down, and choose Empty Data View.
  9. Click in the middle of this new web part to select a data source, and choose that same list you’re in, in this case, the Request Log.
  10. Use the CTRL key to select multiple fields that you’ll want in the form to be filled out, and click Insert Selected Fields As… and choose Single Item Form.
  11. Filter the data view web part by Created By is equal to [Current User]
  12. Sort the data view web part by Created (descending).  Because of our filter and sort, when users go to this page, it will automatically show them the last item that they just created, in edit mode.
  13. After users have created this duplicate item and clicked SAVE, where do you want them to be directed to?  By default, the Save button will save but not take you away from the page.  Right-click the Save button on this custom form, and choose Form Actions.
  14. After Commit, add Navigate to Page.  Click Settings on the right, and pick which page you want them to be directed to after saving.  After this, I usually have to go into the code and fix the hyperlink because it doesn’t work.  Just start with making it absolute and it’ll work like a charm.
  15. Now, we just need a button that, when clicked will run the workflow to copy the item and then take us to this page.
  16. Go back to the list you’re working on, click the drop-down box on any of the existing items in the list, and click Workflows.
  17. Right-click on the name of the workflow that you just created, and Copy Hyperlink.  This is the link to run the workflow, so paste it into Notepad so we can tweak it.  After the &Source, clear that out and paste in the URL of the CustomEdit.aspx form that you just created. Here’s an example:http://site/_layouts/IniWrkflIP.aspx?List={39dd263a-7b94-4d9b-86b7-a17b64498f9c}&ID=9&TemplateID={69c96028-e504-4317-8e2f-fd319c4cf669}&Source=/site/Lists/RequestLog/CustomEdit.aspx
  18. See the ID=9 that I highlighted in red?  That’s the ID of the item that you’re copying, which will need to vary according to which list item we’re copying.
  19. Back in SharePoint Designer in your list, click on the right side of the screen, putting your cursor INSIDE the Custom Actions section.
  20. Don’t click the New button here in the Custom Actions section, but look up in the ribbon and click the Custom Action drop-down box.  This lets you pick where you want the button to be, such as on the display form or list item menu.
  21. Call the custom action “Copy This”, and use the Navigate to URL option, and paste your customized URL you created at step 15.  In the ID= part, though, you have to replace the actual ID number with {ItemId}, and click OK.

Done.  Now click on an existing item in your list, and click on the “Copy This” button that you just created.  Click Start, and you’ll be taken to the Edit page of the item that you just created as a copy of the other item.  Make any needed changes and click Save.  Done.

This solution works in SharePoint 2007 and WSS 3.0 in addition to 2010.  Just in 2007 you don’t have the easy Custom Action button and you’d have to manually create the hyperlink instead, such as in a data view web part.

7/25/2014 update:  I wrote a new post showing another way to do this, which is slightly similar


  • Very clever! 🙂

  • Perfect as always Laura. I’ve done somethign similar for a purchasing site here and this is much more elegant. I’ll keep it dog-eared.

  • Fascinating – I had no idea it was possible to run a workflow from a URL! Very useful.

  • Great post!

  • Hi Laura! Great post as usual. I’ve found your posts in the former site very useful. You said this also works for SP 2007, would it be possible for you to show it? Thanks and more power!

  • Awesome post Laura !! I’ve used similar kind of workflow button before for Register/Unregister events in a calendar before. This is another clever use of custom form actions.

  • Manu, Here’s the vid on how to customize a list form in 2007: Then, at the end, instead of being able to create a custom action, you’ll just have to form a hyperlink in the list item or something else. You can do this by creating a hyperlink field in the list, and then in a workflow have it set the value of the hyperlink when an item is created.

  • Please show me how to do this in SPD 2007 🙁 … I want to copy list items to another site location list. But can’t get it. I need to copy all items list to another site collection when the use enter new data and click on ok in the newform.aspx. Thank you.

  • Hey Laura, Thanks for this post. This is neat and helpful. I tried this and it works like a charm. BUT when i use this to copy a list item containing a spreadsheet, the spreadsheet created for the new item does not open. And the file size is less than the original one. Seems the file gets corrupted during the process. Any help on this. Thank you.

  • ngelay, Sorry I wouldn’t know how to do this copying to another site collection. prabir, This solution is just for a regular list item, and not a file or item attachment. I haven’t tried it that way.

  • Hi Laura, Can you please guide me for this solution on SP2007? “you’ll just have to form a hyperlink in the list item or something else. You can do this by creating a hyperlink field in the list, and then in a workflow have it set the value of the hyperlink when an item is created.” I have been trying create the hyperlink to run the Workflow and point back to the EditForm page with a new ID, but I cannot figure this out. Can you please walk me through this? Thanks!

  • I built a workflow in SP2007 to create a new copy of a list item with a modified title if the field MakeCopy had been checked to yes. Needless to say it would also update the existing item to uncheck that box, and the title was modified to Blahblahblah – Copy and two or three other fields were updated as appropriate. The logjam there, which still exists for me in 2010, was that the copy list item workflow action won’t let me specify a folder to land in. Would anyone have any ideas on how to designate an arrival folder for a list item? For library documents it is possible, but for lists I struck out. I am using folders in the list to apply permissions, one folder per sales region. Thank you! Elena

  • If you are using SharePoint 2010, another approach is to create a custom ribbon button and write ECMA Script to clone the items. Benefits: 1. You don’t need to create / update an item and then write the cloning functionality in its event handlers. 2. Permissions can be handled so that only eligible users see the button. 3. Asynchronous calls 4. The button can be limited to a single list or be applied to a list template Find more details here.

  • Elena, You can’t use the copy action to do what you’re trying to do, but you can use the “create new item” action instead. When you create new item, it lets you specify what folder to put it in, you just have to go in and specify every single value of every single field also. Rahul, I’m not a developer, but I’m sure that if a real dev happens to stumble upon my blog and reads your comment, it may be helpful. I have no idea what you’re talking about. 😉

  • Brilliant tutorial so far, but im using SPD 2007, so could you please expand the steps after step 15, about how to create the button, as on 2007, there is no Custom Action Creation window Thanks in advance

  • Jessica, Unfortunately, I don’t have time to write more instructions as to how to do it in 2007, as I’m currently writing a book. You’d have to create a data view web part, add a column to it, and then create a hyperlink in that new column, which would be formulated in the same syntax as in the custom action I described.

  • Hey Laura, great post! love it .. just what I needed .. I only have 1 issue He doesn’t show the customedit.aspx page when I run Copy This” workflow on the list item, he copies the item OK, but show the list not the form, any ideas? I’m sure the link after the &Source is correct.. really bizar thanks for your help 🙂

  • Vincent, At step 17, you put the link to the customedit.aspx form you created, but when you go to the link, it doesn’t take you to the page in the link? Remember that each time you change and re-publish the workflow, you’ll need to get the new URL for the workflow because it changes each time a new version of the workflow is published.

  • Hey Laura, Thx for your reply! I can go to the page just fine, entering it in the URL field of the browser: http://site/Lists/listname/customedit.aspx The workflow runs, it creates a new item in the list, but after creating it, it doesn’t open the customedit.aspx page, it just takes me back to the initial list view, it seems like it doesn’t matter what I use after &source= it just takes me back to the list, doesn’t open the form On the custom action page I’m sure that the navigate to URL is correct with the URL of the latest published workflow http://site/_layouts/IniWrkflIP.aspx?List={39dd263a-7b94-4d9b-86b7-a17b64498f9c}&ID={ItemId}&TemplateID={69c96028-e504-4317-8e2f-fd319c4cf669}&Source=/site/Lists/RequestLog/CustomEdit.aspx i’ve tried every possible combination after &source= /site/Lists/listname/CustomEdit.aspx http://site/list/listname/customedit.aspx http%3A%2F%2Fsite%2FBD%2Fsitename%2FLists%2Flistname%2FAcustomedit%2Easpx even tried some other forms just to make sure that it wasn’t the problem of that form, but nothing seems to work, it just takes me back to the original list seems like it ignores what happen after &source= however when I remove the &source completely it fires up and workflow error when I start it Redid your instructions serveral times, just to make sure.. really bizar .. and really need this to work actually :s many thx for your help !! Kind Regards, Vincent

  • Hi Laura, I have list item with nested data view web part. Now I need to copy the item with nested web part. Is it possible to copy the web part content also? Please suggest me Thanks, Gomathy

  • Hi Laura, thank you alot for this tutorial. I wolud like to use it with a SP 2010 list wit a customized New/Edit form (infopath), now a have an editifs.aspx. If i use this link I get an “unexpected error”. Could you help Kinds regards britta

  • Vincent, Hi, I’ve never seen &source just not work. Sorry, I don’t know. Gomathy, No, I wouldn’t know how to do that. Britta, This doesn’t apply to InfoPath forms. This solution only uses a data view web part.

  • Wonderful post, All works as expected except the CustomEdit form. After starting the workflow, I get to the start page, press start, my CustomEdit form appears, I use drop downs to enter the information and click save. I am then directed to the page I designated. However the copy of the list item is not populated with the changes or addtitons from the CustomEdit form to the list after save?

  • Connie, That’s weird, I’ve never seen that happen. To test, try filling out the custom edit form just without the workflow or any of that, and see if maybe the save button isn’t working at all? You can right clilck on the button and choose “form button actions” (or something like that) and it will let you see what the button does when pressed.

  • Hello Laura, I tried using “copy item” but the problem what I’m facing is, let’s assume I’ve 3 lists called List A, List B and List C. In which, List A has several columns say, Region (LA/NA), SKU #, SKU Description, Workflow, Initial Date and End Date. Now, I want to to validate, if the Region says LA the first three columns (SKU#, SKU Des…. and Workflow) should copy in List B and if regions says NA the same columns should get update in List C. I tired using “if” condition and “copy item” action, I am able to bring only SKU # not the other 2 columns. Also, when I edit it’s getting duplicate. I am stuck here Laura – Please help me were I’m going wrong!! Thank you.

  • Praveen, That’s way complicated. I’d have to have more information or a screenshot of your workflow or something.

  • Hi Laura, Great post, but i’m having the same issue as Vincent. I have looked over my url and everything is correct but when I start the workflow it copies but doesn’t open my customedit.aspx page. Any suggestions? Here is the url that I am entering into the custom action. http://site/_layouts/IniWrkflIP.aspx?List={ebe6fc71-9d7c-496a-9215-e4d9a32db01c}&ID={ItemId}&TemplateID={5878908e-02f2-402a-af4c-950c55c52922}&Source=http://site/testdev/Lists/Test%20Migration%20Request/CustomEdit.aspx

  • Jewell, You’re putting your own site where it says “http://site”, right?

  • Laura, My requirement is to be able to copy calendar events from one calendar to another, via a button or checkbox, as creation or edit. They are in the same site collection, but in different subsites. It seems this solution should work, except: Do I need to paste in the ID URL for every ITEM? Not for the LIST? If the item hasn’t been created yet, and there may be hundreds, this will not work. Am I reading this correctly?

  • KC, A SharePoint designer workflow will not let you copy from one subsite to another. Can you guys just connect the calendars to Outlook, and drag stuff from calendar to calendar to copy them?

  • Hi Laura, The custom button (copy) runs the workflow but not navigating to the DVWP. My list is in a sub-site. Is it an issue? http://SiteName/sites/home/subsite/_layouts/IniWrkflIP.aspx?List={f4f00dcf-63aa-4572-b2c4-4c289895d111}&ID={ItemId}&TemplateID={7e6c2a68-ffbb-4617-9502-284b66cc1c2b}&Source=/sites/Lists/TestReview/CustomEdit.aspx

  • Hi Laura, The workflow works just fine and new item created. But am not navigated to the ‘customedit’ form. My list is in a subsite. Can you please give little more details on the url? BR, John

  • John, A sharepoint designer workflow will not let you copy an item to another site, so this solution won’t work for you if that’s the case.

  • Laura,
    I want to use a infopath instead of regular sharepoint form.
    How can I do the same?

    I actually tried it and it works as well but only thing is when I start workflow a blank form is opened like new item form and when I close it the item gets saved.

    Can you pls help me in this.

  • Akash,
    To do this in InfoPath would require a completely different method. I’ll have to write a new blog post about this when I get a chance.

  • Read through your article and found it intriguing. Then I read through the comments. I have an off subject question. I have been given the task of launching SharePoint 2010 for a large corporation. I didn’t even know what SharePoint was 4 months ago. What cram course would you recommend for a true novice that really needs knowledge? I am interested in workflows, libraries, lists, etc. but I don’t even know where to start.

  • Laura,
    I’m getting stuck on the Navigate to URL section. I’m running Foundations and when I put https://site/_layouts/IniWrkflIP.aspx….into the Custom Action section and then run the “Copy This” link, I get a log error saying ‘/_layouts/IniWrkflIP.aspx’ does not exist…..Does this not work in Sharepoint Foundations?

  • KC,
    You can read my book: Beginning SharePoint 2010 Builiding Business solutions with SharePoint.

    I recommend trying it as an absolute (full) URL instead of relative.

  • Can you perform this function in an entirely separate list? How would you amend the above instructions to do so?

  • Jaime,
    Sure, at step 1, just pick a different list from the drop-down box. Then, that customedit form needs to be created in that other list.

  • Hi Laura,
    I implement your “Click to Copy List Item to New” to one of my list and I have a problem since, for all the items been created by the new copy button, none of my other Workflow work on these item. My already existing workflow still work on my previous item and any new item created manually but not on any new item created by this Copy item button.
    Can you please let me know what is the issue?

  • Howdy!
    Thanks for writing this – it is very helpful 🙂

    Is there a way to duplicate a list item and maintain the permissions of the source item? The copy item action doesn’t seem to do this. I see the replace permissions action in designer, but I’m not sure how to grab the permissions from the copied item.

    Thanks a bunch! Hope you have a great day!

  • Eric,
    I’m not sure off the top of my head, I’d have to look at the workflow logs and what is running when, to determine why/what is happening or not happening. Is the other workflow simply not triggering at all? Is it set to trigger on create? on change? both?

    Yes, you can do this. Create an impersonation step in your workflow. When the new list item gets created, it gives you a variable in your workflow (default is called “create”). This is the ID of the item it just created. Use a permissions action inside of an impersonation step to set the perms of this specific item ID.

  • Thanks Laura but how can I achieve this with ECT knowing you can’t use a workflow with external content types.

  • deammy,
    Sorry, you can’t do this with an external item picker involved.

  • Hi Laura, Awesome post! you have a ton of great tips and suggestions for OOTB SharePoint solutions.

    I have everything working fine with this solution except I am unable to create custom edit pages. I keep throwing a correlation error. Is there a way to use the standard “editform.aspx” either through the workflow or with a filtered url string?

  • Hey Laura,
    That’s good work !! However, I quick concern. Wondering about the filtering and sorting logic. If the user/Admin decided to copy an existing item which is not created recently, then how do we filter that data view to show the values of whichever item the user prefers to copy to a new item?

  • Mike,
    You can use the standard editform. Open that aspx page up, and just start at number 7.

    I think I’ll write about an InfoPath way to do that.

  • Hi Laura,

    This is my scenario:

    In my initiation form for List 1, I have 5 fields for the user to fill. I need these fields replicated in List 2. To add to these 5 fields, I need additional list columns in List 2 which needs to be filled only while editing the list item. So these additional fields will not captured during the initial form, but added later by a different user.

    Is this possible?

  • I am Using SPD 2013 and i cannot make use of the Data View Web part. It is disabled. 🙁

  • I followed your instructions using SharePoint 2010. When my custom edit form displays it displays it for the first item in the list rather than the item that was just created from the workflow. I’ve replaced the specific ID in the Navigate to URL with {ItemId}. Any thoughts on why this is happening?

  • ching,
    I wrote a blog post about that: Sue,
    Make sure you did step 12.

  • Hello, thank you for taking the time to put together this helpful tutorial as well as answer so many questions!

    I was able to successfully run through these steps in SharePoint 2010 but I have a question. We have an alert setup for all new items that get created so other employees are able to see the new list item without going into sharepoint. When you click “copy item” to copy an existing item, it actually creates the item first which generates the alert. Is there any workaround that would not create the item until the user saves the copied form with the new data?

  • Brad,
    No, I don’t think there would be a way to get around the alert doing that. You could just have them not use alerts, and use a SharePoint Designer workflow to run only when an item is changed (instead of when it is first created), which should send them at the right time.

  • Is this possible to do in InfoPath 2010?

    I’ve tried to follow this steps, its great and its working ^^
    but I got a trouble when I use to Map the Look Up fields on the Workflow it results to error every time I try to run the Workflow.

    This blog is really helpful for me Hope to get your response soonest Mam 🙂

    Thank You so Much! 🙂

  • Laura the Wonder,

    I have followed all the steps, but I am not able to create new item, also If I do it manually (without copy button), it is allowing me to do that but vice versa mode, for example, If I choose Item number 24 and start my workflow then after modification it will change the ID 24 and create a new record with old ID 24 values.
    also when I am copying the link from workflow, it consist Item GUID, and I guess because of that it is not working in auto mode.

    I am using office 365 and creating SP2010 designer workflow for this but not getting any luck on this, could you please guide me.

    Thanks in advance

  • Hey Laura,
    Can we do the same thing in SP 2013? I tried it but unfortunately it is updating/editing the existing i.e. the old list item instead of editing the new item that is created. Not sure what is going wrong there.. Can you please check what cld be going wrong that the existing item is getting edited instead of the new item created from workflow? I did sort and Filter the Dataview webpart.

  • Hi Laura,

    This looks great but I need it to link to a new InfoPath view (Copiedform) when it opens. Please can you write an Infopath version for copying items?

  • I wrote a new blog post on another way to do this:

  • super ! works perfectly 🙂

  • Hello – Question on SharePoint Designer 2010 and Copy List Item …

    Unlike Create List Item, Copy List Item does not provide an output variable with the newly created (copy of) item ID so a follow-on update can occur to the new item… .Is there a way to get the new item ID from Copy List Item?


  • For those who are not being re-directed back to the custom edit page, it appears that it’s unable to open up in the modal (popup) window. As a result, it defaults back to the initial page it was launched from, in my case allitems.aspx.

    We can confirm this by right clicking on any list item and selecting “Open in new window” (or tab if you like) which will then break you out of modal window mode. From here click on your new “copy this” (or whatever you’ve labeled it) button and follow the routine, you will then be automatically redirected to the custom edit form with the fields populated as designed.

    This appears to be an issue with the workflow and as of now I have no solution for this, but it’s a workaround.

  • Thanks for the post, the copy work great. Bu when I configure my Source parameter (e.g. &Source=/sites/Lists/TestReview/CustomEdit.aspx) with the redirect URL of the custom edit form and then save the changes I get a Save Conflict error .. as if the workflow has not terminated by the time my edits are saved .. do you know anything about that?

    [I’m using Sharepoint 2010]

  • Jeff, no, there isn’t a way to do that.

    Eric, would the solution be to turn off the modal dialog setting?

    Dav76, all I can think is that maybe the workflow is running super slow in that environment? That’s not normal behavior.

  • Hi, Laura,
    If I use &ID={ItemId} in the url, then I get to the start workflow screen, but nothing happens when I click the start button. If I use a specific ID number instead of {ItemId}, then it works perfectly. Any idea what I’m doing wrong?

  • Hi, Laura,

    Same Zach. I solved my issue. Used {SelectedItemId} instead of {ItemId} and it works perfectly. Thanks so much for this excellent blog!

  • Oh that’s great that you figured it out Zach, I definitely wouldn’t have known that. You taught me something!

  • Hey Laura. That is a nice solution. However, I’m trying to clone items in a list where list items could be one of 4 different content types.

    And the first hurdle I face is in trying to set the content type in the “Create List Item” dialog box – I’m forced to pick 1 out of the 4 content types instead of the workflow being able to pick out the content type on its own.

  • Hey Laura. That is a nice solution. However, I’m trying to clone items in a list where list items could be one of 4 different content types.

    And the first hurdle I face is in trying to set the content type in the “Create List Item” dialog box – I’m forced to pick 1 out of the 4 content types instead of the workflow being able to pick out the content type on its own.

  • Hi Laura,

    Our company does not make SP Designer available. Is there another way to copy and paste a record – then editing the new record?

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