Manually Importing SharePoint Term Sets


SharePoint applications provide a mechanism to import term sets by uploading an Excel spreadsheet to your SharePoint site. This article reviews the steps to perform such an import.


  1. Obtain a term set import template.
    • Go to your SharePoint site, then go to “Site Settings”
    • From “Site Settings”  go to “Term Store Management”
    • In “Term Store Management” there is a hierarchy of the site taxonomy. Click on “Managed Metadata Service” in the hierarchy.
    • In the pane to the right, under “Sample Import”, there is a link to “View a sample import file”. Click this link and save the file to a location of your choice. This file will function as the import template.


  1. Remove the sample import data from the template and populate the template rows.

A row should be added for each term to be imported.

Populate the template manually or script the process as needed. Note the columns in the spreadsheet.


 The columns of particular importance are:

Term Set Name: The name of a new or existing term set to import the terms into

Available for Tagging: Set this value to TRUE unless there is a specific reason not to

Level 1 – 7 Term: Simply populate the “Level 1 Term” column with the term to be imported if importing a flat set.

                Save the file


    • Upload the template to the site term store
    • Back in “Term Store Management”, in the taxonomy hierarchy, right click the “Term Group” into which the new term set should be added and select “Import Term Set”


    • Use the file dialog to navigate to the import template created above. Select the template and click “OK”
    • Expand the “Term Group” to which the set was uploaded, verify that the term set appears as expected.