SharePoint 2010 Slide Libraries CAN be used in SharePoint 2016 — at least old ones

I am working with a customer who has been on SharePoint 2010 for so long they've now decided to skip the upgrade to SharePoint 2013 and move straight to SharePoint 2016. It's actually not "straight" since we have to upgrade the DBs to SharePoint 2013 and then to SharePoint 2016.

While doing some testing this week, I was able to verify one important issue for this customer: Will the existing SharePoint 2010 Slide Libraries "make it" to SharePoint 2016? The answer is yes. But it's important to make sure that "yes" is understood correctly.

First some level setting on what has to happen:

  • Create a new SharePoint 2013 Farm, connected to SQL 2014. (Technically you could use SQL 2012, but if you're going to use the same SQL instance/server for your SharePoint 2016 farm, you might want to save yourself some trouble and get to SQL 2014 right away. Or if you are planning this after around early May 2016, you might be ready to run on SQL 2016)
  • Backup your SharePoint 2010 databases.
  • Restore your databases to your new SQL server
  • Create a Web Application in SharePoint 2013
  • Attach Mount your databases to SharePoint 2013
  • At this point you will have your databases in "2010-Mode" which you need to fix before you can move to SharePoint 2016.
  • If you're doing this as a quick test, you can use the UI to upgrade the site collection(s), but you'll want to get familiar with the PowerShell command, and to make sure you know how long this will take when you're ready to do this for production. Something like: "Get-SPSite -ContentDatabase <DBName> -Limit All | Upgrade-SPSite -VersionUpgrade -QueueOnly" as noted in is what you will use.
  • Now you have your database with only SP 2013 site collections, you're ready to move to SharePoint 2016. You can test at this point that your slide libraries are still there, but you cannot make any new ones without doing some other magic with copying the template.
  • Backup your database
  • Build a SharePoint 2016 farm
  • Create a web application
  • Restore your database and mount it to your SharePoint 2016 Farm.
  • Test that you can see your slide libraries and that you can publish new slides.
  • Success! You have your SharePoint 2010 Slide Libraries on your SharePoint 2016 farm!

Key things to remember:

This "kicks the can down the road a little further": You are going to have to leave your slide libraries some day.

PowerPoint 2016 has no idea what a Slide Library is. There's no way to publish slides from Office 2016. That's OK for my current customer since they're staying with Office 2013 while moving to SharePoint 2016. I'll have more to say on that later on the things that may not work so well.

You cannot make any new slide libraries in SharePoint 2016. There's no template for that. Sure, there's some guidance out there on how to copy over the "old" template and make it available in the gallery, but you have no assurances that will continue to work with any patches/service packs.

CoAuthoring in PowerPoint 2010 or 2013 or 2016 is likely a better way to manage your slide content than a slide library. That may be a difficult concept for some folks to understand, but if you start with the idea that the Slide Library provided functionality which didn't exist in Office 2007, but now in Office 2010/2013/2016 with SharePoint 2010/2013/2016 you have that same functionality (multiple authors creating a single presentation), perhaps that makes it clearer. I know that some users have built a business process around slide libraries and love the feature of creating weekly briefings or sales presentations from a larger number of slides. But that functionality just doesn't exist any more.

Screen Shots to follow soon, but wanted to share what I've already tested.

Comments (2)

  1. Dennis Gaida says:

    You said “PowerPoint 2016 has no idea what a Slide Library is”, but PowerPoint does know?! New > Reuse slides > Open a Slide Library. And that is with newest Insider build of PPT.

    You are correct that co-authoring helps with some use cases, but your latter point of putting together a new presentation from an existing larger number of slides is more important here I think. No feature to replace this. Opening another presentation also isn’t a replacement because I don’t have metadata for filtering.

    1. Aaron Bator says:

      Dennis — thanks for the comment, and I’ve updated the blog to reflect that you can publish slides to an existing library. Sorry for the long delay in approving your comment, I just didn’t see the notification. Thanks again for your feedback!

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