How To: Step by Step Creation of External List in SharePoint 2010

Q: SharePoint Guys talking about External list, BCS, etc., which I never heard till SharePoint 2007, what is it?

BCS (Business Connectivity Services) is the successor of BDC (Business Data Catalog), but we have great features available in BCS. Now the data from External systems can be managed as a List in SharePoint and the data operations like create, edit, delete is made possible from the list.

wow…..That’s awesome J

Let’s see step by step creation of External List in SharePoint. In this Example am using SQL Table as External Source.

Open the Site in SharePoint Designer

Click on External Content Types

Click on External Content in Ribbon to create new content type

Specify the values for Name and Display Name, Click on “discover external data sources and define options.”

In the Data Connections Screen, Click on Add Connections

Select the Data Connection type, here I am trying to connect to “Adventure works” SQL Database.

In the next screen specify your connection settings to the database and click OK.

Now the screen will list the database and its tables. Choose the required table and right click to select the operations to be performed on the list.

In Wizard choose the input parameter fields.

In Filters section, you can specify the filter for records.

Now the External Content Field will be looks like below with operations, fields & parameters.

Click on Create Lists & Form for the External Content type in Ribbon.

Specify the list details, if you need to have InfoPath forms for list forms, select “Create InfoPath Form”

Now Set Permission for Business Data Connectivity Services in Central Admin:

Go to Central Administration -> Application Management -> Manage Service Applications -> Business Data Connectivity Service

Select the Store and Click on Set Metadata store permissions.

Select the User and choose appropriate permissions.

Open the list in site.

Now the data can be accessed from SharePoint list.

13 comments to How To: Step by Step Creation of External List in SharePoint 2010

  • Michael

    Thanks for the detailed walkthrough.

    I’m using SharePoint Foundation 2010 and I am successful in getting everything setup and configured using my admin account. My problem arises when I try to view the list with a non-admin account (user in the visitor’s group).

    I’ve tried adding the “all users” group in the Metadata Store Permissions, but only the admin account can view the data.

    Visitors received the following message: Cannot connect to the LobSystem (External System).

    I don’t know if this matters, but I’m using SQL Server Express 2008 R2, as this a proof of concept farm.


  • basma

    Hello My Problem, Relations if several tables ds my database and I want to make a save at the same time, you know a tutorial for this kind of problems

    Thank you

  • Rufino

    Really great article.

  • kumar

    Thanks it works for me

  • blasak


    very good tutorial.

    is it possible to put the data that is collected in a drop-down list ? (for example : fields have a drop-down list in a custom list that points to the external list)

    thank you in advance

  • Fetriana

    hi a have create external list , but the record canot display well. please help me

  • toehan

    Really good article. Thank you so much.

  • SQL Tablosundak; Datalar

    The data in colum names appear on the list, but I görünmür Yapdım
    Do you have an idea

  • Manjunath


  • Raghavender Garlapati

    Thanks alot

  • Lakshmi

    The article is excellent.Thanks a lot.Good job!!

  • Jeff

    still getting this error
    Cannot connect to the LobSystem (External System).

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