BCS External Content Type Configuration


BCS (Business Connectivity Services) allows interfacing to data that does not live in SharePoint. For example, we can connect to external databases, OData Sources, etc.

When to Use BCS

The ideal scenarios to use BCS are:

  • To leverage an existing SQL Server table containing data. BCS would free us from duplicating the table in SharePoint. BCS also saves the cost involved in synchronizing data if there are users working on updating the source table.

  • The next scenario is internal SharePoint application requiring data from external application. In this case we can create custom .NET BCS Providers.

BCS Example

In our example we are creating a BCS List pointing to SQL Server table. Please follow the steps below to create the BCS List in SharePoint. After the List creation, you will be able to Add/Edit/Delete items in the List & everything will reflect back in the SQL Server table.

Step 1: Create a new SQL Server table named Customer.

SQL Server table

Use the following structure:

  1. Id Integer Identity
  2. Name Nvarchar (max)
  3. Address Nvarchar (max)

Fill the table with some data as shown below.


Step 2: Open SharePoint Designer 2013 & go to External Content Types pane as shown below. 

External Content Type

Choose the External Content Type button from the left pane for creating a new External Content Type. (External Content Type is the keyword for referring BCS Content Types).

Enter the Name for the Content Type and click the highlighted area below to configure External Data Source.

External Data Source

You will get the following dialog. Choose Add Connection option.

Add Connection option

In the appearing dialog choose SQL Server.

 dialog choose SQL Server

Enter the Credentials to SQL Server.

Enter the Credentials to SQL Server

Choose our table. Right click and choose Create All Operations.

Create All Operations

You will get the following wizard.


Click Next with default values.

Step 3: Now we need to create the List Instance. Go to LISTS AND LIBRARIES in Designer and click the External List ribbon item.

External List

Choose our Content Type from the appearing dialog box.

Enter the name as Customers

Click OK to continue. Enter the name Customers for the list. Now you have successfully created the List Instance of our External Content Type.

Step 4: Now we can Test our new List. Open SharePoint & you should be able to see the Customers list in the Quick Launch. Click on it to see the items below.

Customers list

Once you can see the data like above - You have successfully configured BCS External Content Type.


It is not surprising that you may get the following errors. You can refer the associated links to resolve them.



In this article we have explored how to configure BCS External Content Type in SharePoint 2013.

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