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Work with content in lists and libraries

Organize lists and libraries

When a list or a library grows to large number of items, you often need to organize the content so that you and other users can quickly find information.

You can organize your content into folders. In SharePoint 2016, you can create folders in libraries and lists.

You can also use columns in lists or libraries to group, categorize, sort, and filter information. You can create, change, hide, and delete the list and library columns. These columns can be of multiple types, such as a single line of text, a drop-down list of options, a number that is calculated from other columns, and many others. You can create custom views to save the column and filter setup.

Create folders in a list or a library

Using folders is a common way to organize documents efficiently. SharePoint 2016 provides other mechanisms for organization of your documents, including views and filters. However, many people are most familiar with folders and thus find it easier to create a folder structure.

To create a new folder

  1. Go to a library where you want to create a folder.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • On the Files tab, in the New group, select New Folder.

    • In the body of the page, select New, and then select New Folder.

  3. In the Create a folder dialog that opens, in the Name box, enter the name for the new folder, and then select Create.

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    The Create A Folder dialog

Add, edit, and remove list and library columns

The list and library apps in SharePoint 2016 provide an easy way to generate a list or a library with very little effort. And if you need to customize the list and library views, you can easily add, edit, and remove list and library columns in addition to creating additional custom columns by using the Settings page for the list or library. In addition, for a list, you can use Quick Edit view to add new columns, without leaving the list page.

There are many types of columns that can be added to a list or a library, including columns for a single line of text, currency values, date and time, a Yes/No check box, and a drop-down list of options. You can hide a column from being displayed in a list or a library view, and most columns in a list or library can be deleted. However, there are some columns that you cannot delete. All lists have at least one column that cannot be deleted. For instance, the Title column can be renamed but not deleted. Some lists also prevent the deletion of certain columns, so that the list can be displayed properly or integrate with Office programs properly. For example, the Assigned To, Status, and Category columns of any list based on the Issues list app cannot be deleted, and none of the default columns in any list based on the Calendar list app can be deleted.

There are five columns that are automatically created and populated for each list item or file in a library that cannot be changed: ID, Created, Created By, Modified, and Modified By. The ID column ensures that the list or library item is unique in the list or library. It contains a sequential number beginning with 1 and increments by 1 for each new list or library item. SharePoint automatically captures when the list or library item was created, who it was created by, when it was last modified, and who it was last modified by. Initially, the Created and Modified columns are equal, as are the Created By and Modified By columns.

You can choose which columns are displayed in a list or library. This can be done both with custom and default columns. You can also change the order in which columns are displayed in a list or a library. When you remove a column from the view, it hides the column but does not delete it or the data it contains. If you want to delete a column and the data within the column (versus just hiding the column from the view), you can permanently delete the column from a list or a library.

To create a new column in a list or a library

  1. Go to the list or library where you want to create a new column.

  2. On the List or Library tab, in the Manage Views group, select Create Column to open the Create Column page.

  3. In the Name and Type section, in the Column name box, enter the name that you want for the column.

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    The Create Column page

  5. Under The type of information in this column is, select the type of information that the new column will contain.

  6. In the Additional Column Settings section, in the Description box, provide a description (this is optional).

  7. If the data in the column must be validated, select Column Validation to expand the Column Validation section.

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    The Column Validation section of the Create Column page

  9. Provide the formula that you want to use to validate the data, and the user message that you want to display to the users to help them provide the valid data.

  10. Select OK to create the new column and return to the list or library page.

To create a new column in the Quick Edit view

  1. Go to a list or a library where you want to create a new column.

  2. To switch to the Quick Edit view and display the list in a grid, do either of the following:

    • For a list, do one of the following:

      • At the top of the list, select edit.

      • Select List to open the ribbon, and then on the List tab, in the View Format group, select Quick Edit.

    • For a library, select Library to open the ribbon, and then on the Library tab, in the View Format group, select Quick Edit.

  3. In the list or library header row, at the top of the rightmost column (which is empty), select the plus sign (+) to display the menu of column types.

  4. Select the type of information that the new column will contain.

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    The menu of column types in the Quick Edit view

    The new column is created and is named after its type (for example, Number). The name is displayed highlighted and boxed, showing that you can rename the column.

  6. If you want, position your cursor within the box and enter a new name for the column.

To modify how the list and library columns are displayed

  1. Go to a list or a library where you want to change columns.

  2. On the List tab or Library tab, in the Manage Views group, select Modify View to go to the Edit View page.

  3. In the Columns section, do either of the following:

    • To change whether a column is displayed in a list or a library page or hidden from view, under the Display heading to the left of the name of the column you want to change, select or clear the check box.

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      The Columns section of the Edit View page

    • To change the order that a column appears on the list or library page, under the Position from Left heading for the column you want to change select the arrow to open the position number list, and then select the number that would show the new position of this column on the list or library page, counted from the left.

  4. Repeat step 3 for all columns you want to modify, and then select OK to save your changes and return to the list or library page.

To permanently delete a column and its data from a list or a library

  1. On the List Settings or Library Settings page for the list or library, display the Columns section.

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

  3. Scroll to the bottom of the Change Column page, and select Delete.

  4. In the confirmation box, select OK.

Sort and filter lists and libraries

As a list or library grows, it eventually becomes difficult to see the entire list or library on a single page. To this end, SharePoint provides built-in sorting and filtering capabilities. On any standard list and library view page, individual column headings can be used to alphabetically sort the entire list in ascending or descending order.

Filtering on list and library pages works much like an Excel AutoFilter works. Each column has a filtering arrow in its upper-right corner, which appears when you point to the column heading. When you select the arrow, a unique list of the values for each column is generated and presented as a drop-down list above that column.

A list or library view is a selection of columns on a page that displays items in a list or library, and often defines a specific sort order, filter, grouping, and custom layout. Filters are cumulative but temporal; the next time a list view is chosen, its settings, including filters, will be applied to the list regardless of what was previously chosen. You can save the view that you have created by sorting and filtering a list or a library so that you can keep the sorting orders and filters and come back to it again.

To sort a list or a library

  1. In a list or a library in which you want to sort the items, do one of the following:

    • Select the column name. If the column has not had a sorting order applied, selecting its name will sort it in ascending order. To change the sort order, select the column name again.

    • Point to the name of the column by which you want to sort, select the arrow to the right of the column name, and select the sort order.

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    The Sorting menu

A thin arrow appears to the right of the column name, indicating that the list is sorted by this column. The arrow points up for ascending order, and down for descending order.

To filter a list or a library

  1. In a list or a library in which you want to filter the items, point to the name of the column that contains the data you want to filter, select the arrow next to the name, and then, from the list of the values, select the items you want to display.

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    Filtering a column

  2. When you are done, select Close.

To remove a filter from a list or library

  1. Go to the list or library that you want to remove filtering from.

  2. Locate the filtered column that you want to remove a filter from, point to the column heading, select the arrow at the right to display the filtering menu, and then select Clear Filters from Column Name.