How to Update Read-only Fields in SharePoint Lists with List Bulk Import 2.5

Update: List Bulk Import is now available from the Bamboo Solutions storefront.

List Bulk Import allows users to easily migrate documents, pictures, and list data into SharePoint from: legacy databases; spreadsheets; SharePoint to SharePoint Server; Office 365; Claims-based and Forms-based Authentication environments; and/or any SharePoint document management application with large volumes of data and/or documents that need to be widely accessed. List Bulk Import allows you to retain valuable index information when importing to SharePoint, while eliminating the need for data re-entry. The import program has the option of running in the background, allowing users to continue to work while the application uploads documents and other data to SharePoint.

In this post, I will demonstrate how to import data into a SharePoint list while maintaining the Created and Modified details.  There are two ways you can maintain historical data:

  1. Merge the source Created and Modified columns and import the results into a single column in the target list (Note: This option is only available if your source is a SharePoint List or Library); or,
  2. Map the source of the individual Created and Modified columns to individual columns in the target list, including the read-only fields Created, Created , Modified, and Modified By.

Merging History Fields

As mentioned, if your data source is a SharePoint List or Library, you can optionally merge the history fields (Created, Created , Modified, Modified ) into a single source column, thus importing the history data into a single target list column.

To achieve this, on the step where you define the Source Information, you may select accordingly if you wish to include the read-only source columns:

Select the columns you want to include.  During the column mapping step, you can then map this as a source column to the target column of your choice (Note: Must be Single Line of Text or Multiple Lines of Text).

Map Individual Historical Source Columns to Individual Target Columns

Alternatively, you can map the individual source historical columns to individual columns in your target SharePoint List.  This option is available for all data sources and can even be mapped to the source list’s read-only fields (Created, Created By, Modified, Modified By). Below is a list of the supported data types:

For Created or Modified columns (Date values):

  • Date and time
  • Single Line of Text
  • Multiple Lines of Text
    • Enhanced
    • Rich
    • Plain
  • Created
  • Modified

For Created or Modified columns:

  • People and Group
  • Single Line of Text
  • Multiple Lines of Text
    • Enhanced
    • Rich
    • Plain
  • Created By
  • Modified By

As you configure your import, on the step where you map the Target and Source columns, in the Target Columns list, you will notice that the columns Created, Created By, Modfiied, and Modified By are listed as options.  Similarly, if your source is SharePoint List, you will see these columns available there as well:

Simply map the columns to suit your needs. If a source column is not mapped to a target’s historical column, the historical column in the target will still be updated using the following logic:

  • Created | Modified By: Updated based on the account configured in the initial connection screen to Target SharePoint Site.
  • Created | Modified: Updated based on the date and time of import.


In the next screen, if you mapped the Created By and Modified By to a Choice, Lookup, or Created By/Modified By in the target, they will be listed here for value mapping:

Select Edit Mapping to map the values from the source to the target values.

NOTE: If mapped to the Created By or Modified By columns in the target, a profile for the accounts must exist to be able to map them.  This means that the user has to be a member of the target SharePoint site.  If you added permission to the site using Active Directory Security Groups, the user will not have a profile created until they login to that site for the first time.

After mapping the values, complete the configuration of the import and, finally, run List Bulk Import.

Looking for a walk through from start to finish? See this post: How to Import an Excel File with List Bulk Import 2.5.

If you’re ready to give release 2.5 of List Bulk Import a try, it’s available in Bamboo Labs as a free download today! With this Beta version, there is a 15-item limit, and the trial is good for 30 days. If you like what you see, you can purchase a license key from the storefront to fully activate the product and circumvent the 15-item limit. Please note that this Labs version of the product is still in Beta and we ask for your patience if you experience any issues. To report any problems you may encounter, please go to the List Bulk Import 2.5 forum and post your feedback there.

Happy importing!

Read the entire series celebrating the release to Bamboo Labs of List Bulk Import 2.5: