Don’t delete the default library

You need a place to store

The title is not the most catchy one, but the default library is super important. If you’re not interested why you shouldn’t delete the default documents library in your SharePoint site, but always wondered if you should delete it or not, you’re already done. Don’t delete it. Seriously, no joke, don’t delete it 🙂 You get it in a few minutes.

The why gets answered in the following parts. For the reason, take a few minutes and learn why you shouldn’t delete it.

Essential part – The library

When you create, let’s say a team site or communication site in SharePoint, you get a bunch of things already. One of them is the documents library. It also has the embedded web part on the start page, so you could think “Well, Microsoft just wants to make it easy to get going” or “That must be an important library”. I never really thought of the second one to be honest, until recently when I watched the Community Call Demo – Latest capabilities and improvements on the SharePoint oob modern web parts. You can find that video at:

Default Team site with documents library
Team of Jokes – Demo Team site

Upload of files to pages and libraries

Let’s now upload a document to our start page. We’re going into the edit mode of the page and adding an file viewer web part to our section on the right.

file viewer web part
Adding a file viewer web part

After we added the file viewer web part a new screen pops up where we can upload a document from the recent files, OneDrive, from the site, from our local PC and from a link. The important part for this article is the Upload button you also see in the picture below.

Upload section
Upload a file from your machine

For this purpose I choose a Word document. After uploaded, click on the republish button to see your embedded Word document.

Selected document and republish
Uploaded document and republish

I’m now guessing, but I assume not everybody really cared about “where is this document now stored”, right? If you guessed “in the default document library” you are absolutely right!

file upload to default documents library
File upload to the default document library

As you now see in the picture above, the file you uploaded get’s stored in you default document library which obviously makes kind of sense, but even if you have multiple libraries it still get’s saved there and not as you pictures in your site assets library.

What happens if you delete the default library?

I’m now trying to delete the default documents library in a team site:

Trying to delete the default documents library
You can’t remove the default document library on team sites

Well, you can’t remove the default documents library on team sites by default. So, what’s the point of this whole article you might ask? I mentioned team sites specifically. Let’s take a look at a communication sites below:

Communication sites allow the deletion of the documents library
You CAN remove the document library on communication sites

Let’s take now a look at the previous file viewer web part (keep in mind, that now the default documents library is deleted):

You're unable to upload files from you machine
You can’t upload files from you machine anymore

You see, that you are not able to upload files from your machine anymore as the files normally go into that default document library, but if there is no place to save the file, you are not able to upload in the first place.

Let’s restore the documents library and check the menu again:

Restore of document library from Recycle bin
Restore of document library from Recycle bin

If we now try again to upload something into our file viewer web part, you will find a surprise:

Upload available from file viewer webpart
Upload is available again in your file viewer web part

Tadaaa! You are now able to upload files again from you machine and Joker is happy to upload files from his local machine.

Joker is happy
That’s how we like our file viewer and Arthur Fleck 😉


The default library is the place where you documents get stored after you upload them to your site. Don’t be confused, your pictures still go into the site assets library and in there, into the specific folder.

On team sites, the end user is not able to delete the default document library, but he / she is on communication sites!

If you the default location is deleted, you are not able to upload files to your site in the e.g. file viewer, as there is no place the files get’s stored.

I think this is a very important note for your users as they are maybe thinking about deleting the default document library. Hope this article was useful to you and I would love to see your comments below or a follow or message on my social channel.

If you want to find all my SharePoint related articles, go to my blog page to find all my content including SharePoint and check out my newest page about infographics.

Until the next one, don’t be afraIT and I hope to see a few of you stopping by on my social media channels!

2 responses to “Don’t delete the default library”

  1. Hello
    Thanks for this article. I managed to delete my Document Library, and after reading this decided to restore it from my recycle bin.
    However, it didn’t restore it back into my site contents, oh dear! Any ideas?

    • Hey Kay, the document library should be again visible after the restore in your site contents of that site. You sure, checked the correct site?

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