The default serialization format

When you serialize items, Sitecore creates a separate text file for each item it processes. The files are stored under the root folder that the serialization setting specifies, for example: C:\inetpub\wwwroot\sc92\App_Data\serialization\master\sitecore\content\Home.item.

Each text file contains the following information:

  • Item definition: version, ID, path, and so on

  • Shared fields

  • Item versions:

    • Version definition, including language version, numbered version, and revision number

    • Non-shared fields

A serialized item looks like this:

version: 1
id: {110D559F-DEA5-42EA-9C1C-8A5DF7E70EF9}
database: master
path: /sitecore/content/Home
parent: {0DE95AE4-41AB-4D01-9EB0-67441B7C2450}
name: Home
master: {00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}
template: {76036F5E-CBCE-46D1-AF0A-4143F9B557AA}
templatekey: Sample Item
created: 20190425T171954Z

field: {A0CB3965-8884-4C7A-8815-B6B2E5CED162}
name: __Editors
key: __editors
content-length: 0


field: {A4F985D9-98B3-4B52-AAAF-4344F6E747C6}
name: __Workflow
key: __workflow
content-length: 38

field: {CA9B9F52-4FB0-4F87-A79F-24DEA62CDA65}
name: __Default workflow
key: __default workflow
content-length: 0

language: en
version: 1
revision: 38ea58d9-bd7f-4a73-b431-27ecce83b8f7

field: {75577384-3C97-45DA-A847-81B00500E250}
name: Title
key: title
content-length: 28

Sitecore Experience Platform
field: {A60ACD61-A6DB-4182-8329-C957982CEC74}
name: Text
key: text
content-length: 788

<p style="line-height: 22px;">From a single connected platform that also integrates with other customer-facing platforms, to a single view of the customer in a big data marketing repository, to completely eliminating much of the complexity that has previously held marketers back, the latest version of Sitecore makes customer experience highly achievable. Learn how the latest version of Sitecore gives marketers the complete data, integrated tools, and automation capabilities to engage customers throughout an iterative lifecycle &ndash; the technology foundation absolutely necessary to win customers for life.</p>
<p>For further information, please go to the <a href="" target="_blank" title="Sitecore Documentation site">Sitecore Documentation site</a></p>

field: {B5E02AD9-D56F-4C41-A065-A133DB87BDEB}
name: __Display name
key: __display name
content-length: 0

field: {577F1689-7DE4-4AD2-A15F-7FDC1759285F}
name: __Long description
key: __long description
content-length: 58


field: {25BED78C-4957-4165-998A-CA1B52F67497}
name: __Created
key: __created
content-length: 16

field: {5DD74568-4D4B-44C1-B513-0AF5F4CDA34F}
name: __Created by
key: __created by
content-length: 14

field: {8CDC337E-A112-42FB-BBB4-4143751E123F}
name: __Revision
key: __revision
content-length: 36

field: {D9CF14B1-FA16-4BA6-9288-E8A174D4D522}
name: __Updated
key: __updated
content-length: 16

field: {BADD9CF9-53E0-4D0C-BCC0-2D784C282F6A}
name: __Updated by
key: __updated by
content-length: 14



Each ----field---- section in the text file has a content-length parameter that specifies the length of the corresponding item field value.

Deeply nested items

In Windows, the length of a single path to a file cannot be more than 255 characters. For content trees with multiple nested levels, this limitation can cause items in nested folders to be omitted during the serialization process.

To work around this limitation and serialize all of the requested items, Sitecore sometimes shortens the paths when items are deeply nested. Sitecore stores the serialization output text files for these items in auxiliary file folders with random names under the $dataFolder\serialization folder.


To be able to revert to the full content tree in another Sitecore environment, you must copy both the database folders and the auxiliary folders to the new destination.