Today one of my Office 365 customers mentioned to me a problem with copying files. When copying files they got the following message:

SharePoint Online - 5000 documents and the library is full, well it might be or maybe not kind of bug Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft SharePoint error1

But this Sorry, we couldn’t get the list of sites message is a red herring. It simply means that you don’t have any sites connected to Groups. e.g. Microsoft teams sites.


When you click on the browse sites link and select your site and the the document library you might get the following warning:


Sorry, this is taking a little longer than usual


SharePoint Online - 5000 documents and the library is full, well it might be or maybe not kind of bug Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft SharePoint error2

This will however take forever!

I also tried the copying of documents in a few of my test environments and it is working in all of them. So it might be something related to these specific libraries in this Office 365 environment.

I tried the classic experienced instead and that one did work successfully. But the interface for copying documents is a lot less friendly. However while the modern one isn’t working for you it might be the only option.

I even tried copying the files using Microsoft Flow and there is no issue. Just the modern list experience can’t copy or move documents to these large libraries.

Then I tried to copy a document to a different library and all seem to work. After while the reason for the hanging copies became clearer. When the destination library exceeds the 5000 documents you will see this error.


From Microsoft I got the following:

We informed you of the expected performance related behavioral issues in case the List View Threshold exceeds. We recommended you to reduce the number of items in the library for all the functions to work as expected. Please refer to the below provided support article to know and manage large lists and libraries.

Not great!

I understand that displaying many document can be a problem. But when you have a large number of documents in a library it is impossible to add any more document if you use the modern interface, but when you use Flow or the traditional interface things don’t work that is just not right! I asked Marc ‘5000 items in a list expert’ Anderson and he also agreed that this is simply a bug! Now we just need to get Microsoft to agree.




I received the following email from Zach Rosenfield, Principal Group Program Manager, SharePoint & OneDrive at Microsoft:

I wanted to give a quick follow-up.  We have determined the root cause of the bug and know roughly what we need to do to fix it.

We can’t give any type of ETA here; only confirm that we do believe this is a bug we need to fix and will consider it against our overall backlog for June (or in future months if we can’t fit it then).

Thanks again for reporting the issue!

So hopefully we can see a fix for this soon.

Avatar for Pieter Veenstra

By Pieter Veenstra

Business Applications and Office Apps & Services Microsoft MVP working as a Microsoft Productivity Principal Consultant at HybrIT Services. You can contact me using

4 thoughts on “SharePoint Online – 5000 documents and the library is full, well it might be or maybe not kind of bug”
  1. A few months ago we encountered this issue same issue at a customer site…while being investigated by MS at some point it went away. Very strange. 100% sure it had nothing to do with libraries exceeding 5.000 documents. Hmmm. Thnx for the update!

    1. The odd thing is that is is failing in the modern experience only when we copy it to 2 libraries (out of about 20) and both of these 2 libraries have over 7000 documents.

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