Create a lookup site column to a list in SharePoint 2010

Learn how you can use data from a SharePoint list as input for a site column that can then be added to content types to create a lookup column.

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As you may already know, site columns can be used on content types in SharePoint to define metadata in SharePoint for documents.

And unlike list columns, site columns can be created once and then reused across as many SharePoint content types, lists, or libraries as you want.

Suppose you want to create a site column that displays the items from a SharePoint list, so that you can use this site column to add a lookup column to SharePoint 2010 content types, lists, or libraries.

One example would be adding a column that contains a list of absence types to a content type that represents an absence request document type.

Before you can create a site column that looks up data in a SharePoint list, you must first create or have a SharePoint list available.

To create a custom SharePoint 2010 list that contains absence types:

  1. In SharePoint 2010, go to the SharePoint site on which you want to create the site column.
  2. Select Site Actions > More Options.
  3. On the Create dialog box, select List from the Filter By category on the left, click Custom List to select it, type AbsenceType in the Name text box, and click Create.
  4. Once the SharePoint list has been created, click Add new item.
  5. On the AbsenceType - New Item dialog box, type an absence type (e.g. "Paid vacation", "Sick leave", "Unpaid leave", "Bereavement", "Other") in the Title text box, and click Save.
  6. Repeat step 5 to add as many absence types as you like.

Once you have created the SharePoint list, you can now create the site column and reference the SharePoint list as the list to use to lookup data.

To create the site column to lookup data in the SharePoint list:

  1. In SharePoint 2010, go to the SharePoint site on which you want to create the site column and on which the SharePoint list is located.
  2. Select Site Actions > Site Settings.
  3. On the Site Settings page under Galleries, click Site columns.
  4. On the Site Columns page, click Create.
  5. On the New Site Column page, type a name for the site column in the Column name text box, select Lookup (information already on this site), leave Custom Columns selected in the Existing group drop-down list box, select AbsenceType from the Get information from drop-down list box, leave Title selected in the In this column drop-down list box, and click OK.

You should now be able to add the site column to a SharePoint site content type, SharePoint list, or SharePoint library and use it as a lookup column.

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