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Work with content in lists and libraries

Delete and restore list items and documents

When documents, list items, folders, or even entire lists are deleted, they are simply flagged as removed so that they no longer appear in the site from which they were deleted. By default, all sites in SharePoint 2016 are configured to display deleted items in the site’s Recycle Bin for 30 days. The Recycle Bin provides a safety net when you are deleting documents, document sets, list items, lists, folders, and files. If the user hasn’t restored the deleted item in that time period, it is then permanently expunged from the database. If the user empties the Recycle Bin before the 30 days have elapsed, the deleted item is still available to a site collection administrator from the site collection’s Recycle Bin.

However, the total size of the deleted items must remain below a specified percentage (50 percent by default) of the total size that a site is allowed to consume (the site quota). If a newly deleted item causes the total to exceed the configured size allowed by the SharePoint central administrator, the items that were deleted first are purged even if 30 days have not elapsed, to make room for the newly deleted item. In this way, SharePoint administrators can make disaster recovery plans based on the Recycle Bin’s allowable total maximum size. Of course, a SharePoint administrator can configure the number of days that the Recycle Bin retains deleted items, ranging from the default 30 days in SharePoint 2016 to a specific setting for a number of days, or to “never retain deleted items” or “never remove deleted items.”

To delete a list or library item

  1. Go to the list or library in which you want to delete an item.

  2. Select the item you want to delete. You can select multiple items.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • For a list item, do either of the following:

      • On the Items tab of the ribbon, in the Manage group, select Delete Items.

      • Select the ellipsis to the left of the item’s name, and in the callout that opens, select the ellipsis again, and then select Delete Item.

    • For a document, do either of the following:

      • On the Files tab of the ribbon, in the Manage group, select Delete Document.

      • Display the shortcut menu for the selected document, and select Delete.

  4. In the confirmation dialog, select OK.

To restore a list or library item

  1. Go to the site that the list or library item was deleted from.

  2. On the Quick Launch, select Recycle Bin to display the site Recycle Bin page.

  3. Select the list item or document by selecting the check boxes at their left. You can select multiple list items and documents.

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    The Recycle Bin selection

  5. At the top of the deleted items list, select Restore Selection to restore the selected items.

  6. Select OK to confirm.