Workaround: Export to Excel not working in Safari, Chrome, or other non-IE browsers for SharePoint server list exports

The problem

If you’re using SharePoint online (O365) you won’t run into this issue. But for those of you, like me, who are still on SharePoint 2013 or 2016 you may have tried to use “Export to Excel” on a SharePoint list or library and received the following error message:

To export a list, you must have a Microsoft SharePoint Foundation-compatible application.

Clicking “OK” only redirects you to page that is most definitely not an Excel export:

The workaround

Using Internet Explorer to open and export your SharePoint list might be the simplest way to export your list. However, some are unable to use IE.

If you can’t download or use Internet Explorer (IE) you can still get your lists exported to Excel by working in reverse. Rather than export from SharePoint we are going to open Excel and import from SharePoint.

1. Open a blank workbook in Excel

2. Navigate to the Data ribbon –> Get Data > From Other Sources > From SharePoint List

Note: There are two SharePoint list options under Get Data. Do not select From Online Services > From SharePoint Online list (this option would be for O365 only and O365 users will not need this post’s workaround).

3. Paste the URL to your SharePoint site. You can paste the URL to the list you’re wanting to import, but delete everything after the site’s name in the URL.

4. Click OK.

5. Select Windows and leave credentials as the default “Use my current credentials” unless you have reason to access the list as another account (perhaps a service account which may be able to retrieve all items even with restricted item-level permissions).

6. Click Connect.

7. Find the name of the list you want to import, select it, and click Load.

Click to enlarge

8. Depending on the size of your list, this may take a while. Once imported, you’ll find all of your data as well as some SharePoint metadata associated with your list items.

Click to enlarge

While not ideal, it doesn’t take long to do and you do get the result you’re looking for (with a bit of cleanup, deleting unnecessary columns and such).

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Exporting from SharePoint using IE allows you to export a view.
  • Importing from SharePoint using Excel imports every single list item and column, regardless of view.
  • You’re only able to import items to which you at least have view permissions.

3 Replies to “Workaround: Export to Excel not working in Safari, Chrome, or other non-IE browsers for SharePoint server list exports”

  1. I personally prefer to use “Get Data” because I can selectively choose what to retrieve from the list in the query editor/transform window in PowerQuery. But hey here’s a trick: That text you get when you try to export (the browser page of text beginning with “WEB”) is an Excel query definition. If you take that text and dump it into Notepad and save it with a .iqy file name, you can double-click it to import that SharePoint list into Excel normally.

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