There are numerous third party tools available in the market to migrate the content from SharePoint OnPremise to SharePoint Online. Sharegate is one of the most widely used migration tools.  In this article, we will discuss the tips and tricks that can be useful to carry out smoother migration and avoid any common mistakes.

Sharegate Migration Overview

From a SharePoint perspective, Sharegate supports two types of migration.
  1. Copy Structure
    This option helps to copy the site collections, sites, lists, libraries, permission and more directly from SharePoint (any version) to SharePoint (any version).
    This option is useful when we want to migrate the site from source to target environment as it is without any change in data or location.
  2. Copy Content
    Copy content is a more granular way of migrating the content to the target environment. It helps to copy documents, list items, folders, and document sets from SharePoint (any version) to SharePoint (any version).
    This option is useful when we want to migrate individual content (like document, list item) selectively from source to target environment.

Copying Document Libraries

Tip# 1: Missing Documents
This point is not specific to Sharegate but as a general perspective of SharePoint users. Even though after successful migration of documents, the number of documents appears less in the target location.
The major reason for this is SharePoint users who do not check-in any version of their files. Follow the below steps to avoid these kinds of situations,
  1. Open Document library in SharePoint source environment.
  2. Click Library Settings.
  3. Under “Permissions and Management”, click “Manage files which have no checked in version”.
  4. Select the listed documents.
  5. Click “Take ownership of selection”.

  6. Switch back to Sharegate, refresh the view.
  7. The missing documents should be now available to migrate.
Tip#2 – Insane mode for a document copy
It is always preferable to use the insane mode to copy documents faster to source SharePoint environment. Here, we can also specify the custom storage account to use. Also, the insane mode will help to maintain the IDs of items from the source environment.

Migration of Choice Fields

In SharePoint, we commonly use Choice fields as part of our information architecture. The major issue with using choice field is that it does not keep track of changed values.
As an example, if we create a choice field called Status with below values to start with,
  • Draft
  • Approved
  • Rejected
Over time, we realize that we need to drill down more into the business process and need more choices to support our business scenarios. We then change the choice values as below,
  • Draft
  • Approved by Manager
  • Approved by HR
  • Approved by all
  • Rejected
Notice how the Approved status is broken down to support the business process. In this scenario, the items in the list which were created before with Status as Approved remain as they were. SharePoint does not complain about it. But when it comes to migration as we are no longer supporting “Approved” status, the items tagged with the “Approved” status start to complain. At this point, it might not be feasible to go back and change all approval statuses.
A simple resolution to this is to set the problematic choice column to allow fill-in choices.
This will allow Sharegate to enter any value in the choice column and proceed with the migration.

Version Mismatch or missing versions of documents

When any document has huge versions, it might occur that a few versions go missing. Sharegate simply skips the versions. To resolve this kind of issue, simply re-migrate the document with any of the below options.
  • Copy and Replace
  • Copy if newer (incremental)
    Sharegate Tips And Tricks For Migration To SharePoint

Lookup Lists

Lists which have lookup are always troublesome to migrate. Firstly identify and start from parent list to avoid any reworking of migration.
Another solution is to set the default value in Sharegate to use when the source item contains an invalid value for the destination lookup column.

Support from Sharegate

Sharegate provides the best support to resolve our migration issues. For any outstanding issues, we can email and their representative will help us further.


Sharegate is one of the best migration tools available in the market. We cannot consider the migration will be always as easy as lifting and shifting the content. We may face few challenges due to data inconsistency. The above tips and tricks will definitely help to tackle common behaviors.

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