SharePoint Migration Tool – Part 1

Lately there has been more and more demand for migrations from SharePoint on-premises to Microsoft cloud solutions, specifically SharePoint Online. In the past we relied primarily on third-party products but now I think the time has come to describe how to use Microsoft’s content migration tool.


SharePoint Migration Tool is a free tool you can download from Microsoft from the following link:

On the website you have 2 installation options, “Stable” and the less tested “Public preview” edition, which is a working edition with new functionalities, but it is possible to encounter more bugs than in the “Stable” edition.

The product installation itself is very simple and follows the “Next, Next, Finish” principle. When the SPMT tool is installed, the fun with preparing to migrate to the cloud can begin.

Data Source

When you start the product, a dialogue box appears that prompts us to start the first migration. When we click “Start your first migration” a dialogue box appears that asks us where the content we would like to migrate to SharePoint Online is located.

It is worth mentioning that content can be migrated from the following locations:

  • File shares, that can be either
    • Local or
    • Network
  • SharePoint 2013 or newer

If the content is located on SharePoint server, there are certain limitations:

When we select a data source, in our case SharePoint 2013, we must first enter the source Url address and credentials, which we will use to connect to the current SharePoint site.

In the next step, we select the final destination of migrated data. Sadly, SPMT allows us to select only locations in O365, not any SharePoint version.

In the last step, the tool offers some additional settings. We can for example set up advanced filter settings, such as if we don’t want to migrate a certain library or list or if we wanted to migrate only certain types of files, only changes made after a certain date (which allows for incremental updates …).

When we set up all the additional options, we just need to decide if we want to run the migration at once or save it for a later time.

In this post we saw how easy it is to set up the SPMT for the first migration through the user interface. But, as we know, real-life scenarios are not that simple so in the next post we will take a look at options for scripting migrations to Office 365 with the SharePoint Migration Tool.

Robi Vončina

Author: Robi Vončina

Office Servers and Services MVP, MCT

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