How to Move and Copy Files with Metadata Tags in SharePoint – Efficient Way to Organize Data

Stephen King ~ Modified: July 4th, 2024 ~ Migration, SharePoint ~ 7 Minutes Reading

Have you ever tried to copy or move files in SharePoint? If you have done this, then you would know that while moving files the metadata tags got lost. Have you ever questioned yourself about how to move and copy files with metadata tags in SharePoint online?

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This guide is here to help you! We will dive into how moving and copying files in SharePoint is done. While ensuring their crucial metadata tags are also copied with them. Therefore, we will explore three methods and things to keep in mind when moving documents with metadata tags. Additionally, we will also introduce an automation technique to streamline your workflow. Go through this guide to expand your knowledge dimensions!

What are the Metadata Tags in SharePoint Online?

Before understanding how to move and copy files with metadata tags in SharePoint online. Let’s understand what are the metadata and tags in SharePoint online.
Metadata: information about data. Tags: terms to categorize data.

Metadata tags are the information that describes the content and status of files in SharePoint Online. You can assume it as another piece of information that describes the nature, features, and type.

Types of Metadata Tags in SharePoint Online

Let’s see what are the available categories of metadata tags in SharePoint Online. In SharePoint, there are two main categories of Metadata:

1. Managed Metadata: These metadata are controlled and have pre-defined terms that users can choose when tagging content. This also helps to ensure accuracy in how metadata is categorized. SharePoint implements this through a system called “Term Sets”, which are collections of related terms. For example, assume you have a Term Set for “Project Status” with dropdown terms(tags) like “Not Started,” “In Progress,” and “Completed.”

2. Custom Metadata: This metadata has user-defined terms, a user can define a keyword or phrase to categorize the content state and status. There is more flexibility than managed metadata but, this can also lead to inconsistency when not managed properly.

Metadata helps better filter Content and files, which can enhance the search of files and easy access to files. For example, a user can filter out the files based on tags like “In progress”, “Completed”, and “Not started”.

How to Move and Copy Files with Metadata Tags in SharePoint – Different Methods

Let’s see different methods to understand how to move and copy files with metadata tags in SharePoint online. Moving and copying files with metadata in SharePoint can be tricky. Because, while moving the files you have to ensure that the destination has the same structure of metadata as the source. Therefore, you need to create a destination site if you don’t know how to create a SharePoint site you can read it from the given link.

We are going to discuss three easy ways through which you can move and copy your files with metadata tags.

Move and Copy Using the SharePoint Site

Step 1. Go to the SharePoint site 

Step 2. Navigate to the source document library. Select the files you want to move and copy.

Step 3. In Modern SharePoint locate Move to and Copy to on the command bar. click on that according to your action. In classic SharePoint, these options are available under the ellipsis menu.

Step 4. Select the destination where you want to move or copy your files.
Step 5. Click on Move here and copy here to initiate it.

Note: Make sure the metadata tags of source files are being created in the destination file with the same terms.

By following these steps your query about how to move and copy files with metadata tags in SharePoint online should be solved.

By leveraging Microsoft Power Automate

You can use Microsoft Power Automate.

Step 1. Go to Power Automate and create a flow using the SharePoint Create File action.

Step 2. Specify the source and destination library.

Step 3. Incorporate steps to copy metadata values with Terms set from the source file to corresponding columns in the destination library.

Note: All these steps are required to be performed in the presence of admin.

Use PnP PowerShell to Move and Copy Files

You can use an Open-Source PnP PowerShell tool to easily migrate or move the file with metadata and automate this process.

Step 1. Install PnP PowerShell using the official installation guide.

Step 2. Copy and Paste the code into PnP PowerShell.

#Connect to SharePoint Using cmdlets
Connect-PnPOnline -Url of the site collection
#copy the SharePoint file with metadata tags
Copy-PnPFile -Path "Source file" -TargetFolder "destination file" -Force
#Move the SharePoint file
Move-PnPFile -Path "Source file" -TargetFolder "Destination file" -Force

After performing this step your query regarding how to move and copy files with metadata tags in SharePoint online should be solved.

All these steps and methods require lots of effort time and expertise and have the risk of data inconsistency due to errors in following these steps. So, you have to be very careful while performing these steps. However, there is a tool to automate this process which requires minimum human intervention while performing migration in SharePoint Online.

Read More: Move SharePoint Site to Another Site 

Proficient Tool For Moving Files with Metadata Tags in SharePoint Online

To minimize the risk and efforts associated with how to move and copy files with metadata tags in SharePoint online many SharePoint admins have recommended Migrator Wizard SharePoint Online Migration Tool. Because it can easily transfer the document library to another site with metadata tags. Additionally, saves time for admins to create a copy of metadata tags in the destination.

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Steps to Perform Migration Using Recommended Tool

Let’s see the steps to perform SharePoint migration using this tool.

  • Firstly, Install the software from the above link and  >> Go down to the Workload>>select some Categories(Sites), document libraries, and generic lists to migrate
  • Secondly, use the Date Filter option if you have to move a specific file >> Now go to the Source screen.
  • Fill in the Application ID and Source Admin Email ID and enter it carefully.
  • Now click on validate>> and click on the Next button.
  • Navigate to the Destination and provide the Application ID and the Admin email ID.>>  and click on Validate in the upper left box.
  • For importing sites, it provides 3 methods Fetch sites, import sites, and download templates.
  • Finally, you have to Import a Mapping file >> Now click on Validate >> click Start migration.


In conclusion, we have mentioned all the steps and methods to resolve your query regarding how to move and copy files with metadata tags in SharePoint online. However, we have also mentioned the basic definitions of metadata tags to understand the process flow. Additionally, we have mentioned an efficient tool to automate this process and defined its steps.


Q1. What is the difference between metadata and tagging?

Metadata is mainly used for defining extra information for the contents of files and folders, while tags are used for organizing files and folders.

Q2. Why use metadata instead of folders in SharePoint?

No matter how many files are in the SharePoint library, metadata management makes organizing and searching documents faster. Therefore, it is better suited to organizations having excessive documents, contents, and files.

Q3.What is the purpose of a metadata tag?

Meta tags are text fields that you can use to provide more information about your page and its contents to both search engines (in the case of websites) and site visitors.

Q4. How do I enable metadata in SharePoint?

To configure metadata navigation for a list or library in SharePoint, navigate to it >>Click its title >>Then select List Settings or Library Settings >> Permissions and Management>>Enterprise Metadata and Keywords Settings >> Check the Enterprise Keywords checkbox>>Click On Okay.

Note: Most sites have metadata navigation and filtering enabled by default.

Q5. What are the different types of metadata in SharePoint?

The following common metadata choices are available in SharePoint: author, file name, creation date, content type, and file type. Custom metadata can also be created by users.