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How to Create a Site Column in SharePoint?

SharePoint, Microsoft’s collaborative platform, allows organizations to manage and share content efficiently. One of its fundamental building blocks is the site column. In this guide, we learn what SharePoint site columns are and their significance. Also, will learn how you can create, edit, and delete SharePoint site columns and the best practices for using them effectively.


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Table of Contents:

1. What are SharePoint Site Columns?

SharePoint Site Columns vs List Columns

2. Create a SharePoint Site Column

Add a site column to the List or library

Edit a SharePoint Site Column

Delete a SharePoint Site Column

3. Best Practices for Using Site Columns

4. Conclusion

Let us check it out in detail.

What are SharePoint Site Columns?

A SharePoint Site Column is like a pre-made template for a column that you can use in different parts of your SharePoint site. It's a way to keep information consistent across documents, list items, or pages.


When you create a Site Column, you're making a reusable piece of information that you don't have to set up again each time you want to use it. So, if you're adding a new column to a list or library, you can either create a new one from scratch or choose one that you've already made before. If you pick the second option, it adds a copy of the Site Column to where you're working.


Site Columns each have a field type

  1. A single line of text

  2. Multiple lines of text

  3. Choice (menu to choose from)

  4. Currency ($, ¥, €)

  5. Date and Time, etc.


Each Site Column also has the settings we can use whenever we add a column to a list or library directly, such as whether the Date/Time column should be Date only or Date & Time or whether the column should be required.


SharePoint Site Columns vs List Columns

Understanding the differences between SharePoint Site columns and SharePoint List Columns is crucial for several factors, such as Data Consistency, usage, search or management, and maintenance. You can make more informed decisions when designing and managing your SharePoint environment.


It helps you choose the right type of column based on your specific needs, whether it’s for a single list/library or multiple sites. This can lead to more efficient data management and a more effective use of SharePoint’s capabilities.

Aspect

SharePoint Site Columns

SharePoint List Columns

Scope

Created at the site level. Available across multiple lists and libraries within that site collection.

Created at the list or library level. Specific to the list or library where they are created.

Reusability

Can be reused across multiple lists and libraries within the site.

They are not reusable outside of the list or library where they are created.

Search

Creates a Search managed property automatically which can be used to search for content.

Does not create a managed property, but column contents can still be searched.

Use Case

Good choice when you want to ensure data consistency across multiple lists and libraries.

It is a suitable choice when you need a column for a specific list or library.


Create a SharePoint Site Column

Follow the below steps to create a SharePoint site column.

Step 1: Open your SharePoint site and click "Site content".


Create a SharePoint Site Column

Step 2: Now, click on "Site settings" on the top right.

Step 3: Click on "Site columns".


Create a SharePoint Site Column 2

Step 3: Click on Create.


Create a SharePoint Site Column 3

Step 4: In the create column page.

  • Give your column a name (e.g., "Department Name").

  • Choose the type of information for the column (e.g., "Choice").


Create a SharePoint Site Column 4

Step 5:  Set the following options:

  • In the "Group" section, choose an existing group or create a new one (e.g., "Department Group").

  • Add a description for the site column.

  • If applicable, type each choice on a separate line (e.g., "HR, Finance, Engineering").


Create a SharePoint Site Column 5

Step 6: Further customize:

  • Choose how choices should be displayed (e.g., Radio Buttons).

  • Decide whether to allow fill-in choices (default is often "NO").

  • Set a default value if needed (e.g., "HR").


Create a SharePoint Site Column 6

Click "OK" to save your settings.


Step 7: You will see there is a drop-down list of Show Groups. You can see your site columns group name "Department Group".

Create a SharePoint Site Column 7

That's it! You've successfully created a SharePoint Site Column.


Add SharePoint Site Column to the List or Document Library

In the above section, you have learned to create a SharePoint Site Column. Here, you will learn to add a SharePoint Site Column to a list or document library.


Follow the below steps:

Step 1: Go back to your list. After that click on the gear icon and then select "List settings".

Add a SharePoint Site Column to the list 1

Step 2: Scroll down and click on the "Add from existing site columns" option.


Add a SharePoint Site Column to the list 2

Step 3: On the next page, select your site column group in the "Select the site column from" section.


Then, click on "Add".


Add a SharePoint Site Column to the list 3

Step 4: Click "OK."

Step 5: Back on the Employee List page, you'll find your site column (highlighted).


Add a SharePoint Site Column to the list 4

Step-6: When you click on "New Item," you'll see a page where you can enter details.


For example, in the "Employee Name" field, provide a name, and in the "Department Name" field, you'll have a dropdown.


Add a SharePoint Site Column to the list 5

Click "Save".


Edit a SharePoint site column

Follow the steps to edit a SharePoint site column:

Step 1: Navigate to "Site content => Site settings => Site Columns".


Look for your "Department Group" in the show group.


Edit a SharePoint Site Column 1

Step 2: Click on the name of the column you want to edit. This will open the edit column page.


Make your edits, for example, adding a new "Department name" like "IT."


Edit a SharePoint Site Column 2

Click on "OK" to save.


Delete a SharePoint Site Column

To delete a Site Column in SharePoint, you can follow these steps:


Step 1: Navigate to "Site contents => Site settings => Site Columns.


Step 2: Select the name of the column that you want to delete.


Delete a SharePoint Site Column

Step 3: Select Delete.


Delete a SharePoint Site Column 2

Best Practices for Using Site Columns

  1. Plan Ahead: Before creating site columns, consider their purpose, potential reusability, and naming conventions. A little planning prevents future headaches.

  2. Avoid Spaces in Names: Refrain from using spaces in site column names. Spaces can lead to issues with underlying system-generated characters.

  3. Provide Clear Descriptions: Add meaningful descriptions to site columns. Users should understand their purpose and usage.

  4. Logical Grouping: Organize site columns into logical groups. Consider using underscores or special characters to group names for easy identification.


Conclusion

Site columns play a crucial role in maintaining consistency and efficiency within SharePoint. By following best practices, you can harness their power to enhance data management and collaboration across your organization. Remember to adapt these practices to your specific SharePoint implementation. Happy column crafting! 😊

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