Duplicate vs Copying: What’s the Difference?

I’m going to tackle another common Sitecore Author training question regarding the duplicate and copying commands in Sitecore. Many new authors have used these features trying to save some time, only to be confused when their pages don’t seem to work in the way they thought.
In this post, I’ll explain why this feature can sometimes trip authors up and how to adjust copied items in Sitecore when copies go bad.

Duplicate or Copying? Which one should I use?

I’ve heard many authors guess as to what the difference is between Duplicate and Copying, and the truth is they’re functionally the same with one tiny difference:

  • Duplicate creates a copy of an item in the same location as the original.
  • Copying (or “Copy To”) creates a copy of an item in a different location that you specify.
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Copying essentially combines Duplicate and Move into a single step. In some cases, this will be a huge timesaver that lets you create a page, customize its layout with components, and then make copies. So all you’ll need to do is edit a few local Items underneath your copy to get a new page, with new content, in the same layout as the original.

When copying goes bad…

Because Sitecore is a customizable framework, the way certain features operate can change based on how your instance of Sitecore is configured. In some configurations, a Copy of a page will maintain the relationships with the “local” page contents of the original instead of updating them to use the “local” page contents of the copy.

If this is what happens when you create a copy of a page, you will need to open the page in the Experience Editor and repoint each component.

Select the component, click the data check icon, then choose “Change associated content”. A window will open.

Select the correct “local” component, then click OK.

Sitecore will update the page to use the item that was copied instead of the original. Be sure to save your page to preserve your changes.

To duplicate or not to duplicate…

Ultimately, whether or not you can save time using the Duplicate feature on full pages depends on how many components or items you will need to repoint, and how long it will take to repoint them. For large pages, it may not be worth the effort. I would consider using Duplicate on individual items, like components, where relationships are not as complex.
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