Fix Import-SPWeb Errors on Modern Lists and Libraries

One of the features of the Modern List and Library view in SharePoint Server 2019 is the custom column width – these column width changes can be saved to the default All Items view or a new view for the List/Library. If a user makes the change and saves the view, if an administrator exports the Web or List/Library using Export-SPWeb, when performing an Import-SPWeb an error will be generated, similar to the below.

Import-SPWeb : The element 'WebPart' in namespace 'urn:deployment-manifest-schema' has invalid child element
'ColumnWidth' in namespace 'urn:deployment-manifest-schema'. List of possible elements expected: 'Script, PagedRowset,
PagedClientCallbackRowset, PagedRecurrenceRowset, ViewFields, ViewData, Query, RowLimit, RowLimitExceeded, Toolbar,
Formats, Aggregations, List, MetaData, View, ViewStyle, ViewBody, ViewEmpty, ViewFooter, ViewHeader, ViewBidiHeader,
GroupByFooter, GroupByHeader, CalendarViewStyles, CalendarSettings, ListFormBody, Xsl, XslLink, JS, JSLink,
ParameterBindings, OpenApplicationExtension, Mobile, MobileItemLimit, Method, WebParts, InlineEdit, Joins,
ProjectedFields, SpotlightInfo, Visualization' in namespace 'urn:deployment-manifest-schema'.
At line:1 char:1
+ Import-SPWeb -Path C:\exp ...
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidData: (Microsoft.Share...CmdletImportWeb:SPCmdletImportWeb) [Import-SPWeb], XmlSc
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell.SPCmdletImportWeb

Based on this error, it is clear that the XML schema defined by SharePoint Server does not match the XML schema in the binary file containing the List in our saved export. Obviously, this is a bug, but one that is easy to work around until the SharePoint Product Group can implement a fix.

As always, what we’re going to do is unsupported because we are modifying a file in the 16 hive. Make a copy of this file prior to making the modification. We are going to edit the file %CommonProgramFiles%\microsoft shared\Web Server Extensions\16\TEMPLATE\XML\DeploymentManifest.xsd. Open this file in Notepad or your favorite XML/text editor.

Find the line that reads <!-- SPView definition -->. Within that section is a line <xs:element name="CustomFormatter" minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="1" />. We are going to add the new line immediately below the CustomFormatter line item.

<xs:element name="ColumnWidth" minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="1" />

The section of the file will look like the below.

        <xs:element name="Visualization" minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" />
        <xs:element name="CustomFormatter" minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="1" />
        <xs:element name="ColumnWidth" minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="1" />

Notice how we are adding the line containing ColumnWidth. This will tell SharePoint to accept that element as part of the valid XML schema to import the List/Library view. With your modified file, overwrite %CommonProgramFiles%\microsoft shared\Web Server Extensions\16\TEMPLATE\XML\DeploymentManifest.xsd. Re-try your import, it should not require restarting any processes or even PowerShell.

If you still encounter the error after making this change, please let me know on Twitter.

Trevor Seward is a Microsoft Office Apps and Services MVP who specializes in SharePoint Server administration, hybrid scenarios, and SharePoint Online. He has been working with SharePoint for 16 years from SharePoint 2003 on up, managing environments with terabytes of content for 150,000+ user organizations. Trevor is an author of Deploying SharePoint 2016 and Deploying SharePoint 2019. You can find him on Twitter and in /r/sharepoint.