We have two (2) types of columns in SharePoint:
- List Columns
- Site Columns
One is created at the List/Library level (list columns), and the other one at the Site level (site columns).
From a functionality perspective, they do the exact same thing. From a “re-usability” perspective… not so much…
The only difference between the two, Site Columns are “shared” between sites, but only hierarchically. See that as crescendo 🙂
- List columns are created at the list/library level and won’t be available outside that list/library. So you’ll have to manage them separately.
- Site columns are re-usable from the parent site crescendo to all the subsites.
Below is a basic representation of Site Columns (color coded) so you get the idea on the availability of each Site Column.
Now let’s create List Columns & Site Columns in SharePoint.
Despite minor differences in the interface, this is applicable to SharePoint Server 2013/2016, and also SharePoint Online (in Office 365).
Create List Columns
To create a list column, we need to have a list or library already created.
Navigate to your list or library, and choose one of the following 2 ways:
- Click on the “Library” tab in the ribbon >> Create a column
- Click on the “Library” tab in the ribbon >> Library Settings >> Create a column
And if you chose to add the column(s) to the default view, they will show up as follow:
If you wish to hide the column, simply modify the View.
If you wish to delete the column, go to List/Library Settings > Click on the column you wish to delete > Click Delete
Create Site Columns & assign to List/Library
Now remember, Site Columns are re-usable, but only hierarchically.
If I create a site column at the top-level site, this column will be available to re-use on all subsites.
If I create a site column in a subsite directly, this column will only be available to the subsite’s child.
To create a Site Column, navigate first at the level you wish the column to be available (i.e.: top-level site, or subsite1, or subsite2…)
- From at the correct level >> gear icon >> Site Settings
- Click on “Site Columns” under Web Designer Gallery
- Click “Create” and fill the information
Once the column has been created, let’s assign it to a list/library:
- Navigate to the list/library
- Under the List/Library tab >> click on List/Library Settings
- Under Columns >> click on “Add from existing site columns“
- Sort by Groups if you wish
- Select the site column(s) >> click on “Add“
- Add to Default View if you wish
- Click on “OK“
The columns will show up as follow if added to the default view:
Those 2 site columns were created at the top-level site, therefore they are available to all subsites! 🙂