How to: Connect an External List to SharePoint Workspace

SharePoint 2010

Last modified: April 16, 2010

Applies to: SharePoint Server 2010

You can connect an external list in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 to Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010 to surface external data in SharePoint Workspace 2010. Then, users can work on the external data inside SharePoint Workspace 2010 just like any other native list. Any changes or additions to external data made inside SharePoint Workspace are propagated to the external system, without compromising data integrity in the external system.

Note: You can also take an external list offline in Microsoft Outlook 2010.

In this topic, let’s take the Customer external list created in How to: Create External Lists in SharePoint offline to SharePoint Workspace.


  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or later installed on the server running SharePoint Server.

  • The Northwind SQL Server 2000 database installed on the server running SharePoint Server.

  • An external list has been created based on the Customer table in the Northwind sample database as described in How to: Create External Lists in SharePoint.

  • The client computer has been set up with Microsoft Office 2010, including Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 and SharePoint Workspace 2010. And a valid account has been configured in SharePoint Workspace 2010.

Show External Data in SharePoint Workspace by Taking an External List Offline

  1. From the client computer, navigate to the Customer external list.

  2. To take the list to SharePoint Workspace 2010, on the SharePoint Server Ribbon, in the List tab, click Sync to SharePoint Workspace as shown below.

    Sync external list to SharePoint Workspace
  3. SharePoint Workspace 2010 will now create a local cached copy of the external list. Click the OK to button to confirm that you want to sync the external list to your computer.

    Create a local cached copy of the external list
  4. When the Microsoft Office Customization Installer is displayed, click the Install button.

    Publisher cannot be verified warning
  5. Finally click the Close button and then click the Open Workspace button as shown below to open the workspace in SharePoint Workspace 2010.

    Open the workspace in SharePoint Workspace 2010
  6. You can now read, create, update, and delete customers directly from SharePoint Workspace 2010 just as you would create and update native SharePoint Workspace 2010 list items. The changes you make in SharePoint Workspace 2010 will automatically sync with the external list. Since the data is cached, you will be able to access it even when you are offline.