SharePoint Migration tricks: Migrate Word document properties without doing anything!

Create a column in the library that matches a custom document property and SharePoint’s metadata promotion-demotion feature does the rest.

You can even create the column AFTER you have migrated the documents.

The first time I used this trick we had already migrated 100,000 documents when someone mentioned this special custom property on a lot of their documents. We created a column of the same name, added it to the relevant libraries, and almost immediately the information showed up. Cool eh!!!

How does it work?

SharePoint’s metadata promotion-demotion mechanism ensures changes made to a document’s properties in Microsoft Word are automatically updated in the corresponding column in SharePoint, and vice-versa.


  • When you add a document to SharePoint all its custom properties are mapped to hidden (_vti) properties in the library. If you create a column of the same name it will be automatically populated with the data in the corresponding hidden column
  • Metadata promotion-demotion is typically ON by default
  • This works for Microsoft Office documents and some image file types
  • For a behind the scenes look try this article.

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