Create, change, or delete a column in a list or library

Columns help you group, categorize, and track information, such as the department name or project number. From a browser, you can create, change, or delete column in your lists or libraries. These columns can include types such as a single line of text, a drop-down list of options, and a number that is calculated from other columns, or even the name and picture of a person on your site.

There are columns for a site, just like there are columns for lists and libraries. You can add a site column to a list or library. You might do this if the column that you want for a list or library already exists as a site column.

To create a column for a list or library you must have at least the permissions obtained by being added to the default Designers SharePoint group for the site. On all settings, you need to click OK for them to be reflected in the display.

Note: SharePoint Designer offers extensive custom settings such as specifying column width. For more info see Create a custom list view using SharePoint Designer. SharePoint Designer is a developer tool, and not intended for end users.

What do you want to do?

Create a column in a list or library

Add a site column to a list or library

Change the order of how the columns are displayed

Change the settings for a column in a list or library

Delete a column from a list or library

Show or hide a column in a list or library

Create a column in a list or library

The following procedure starts from the list or library page to which you want to add the column. If the list or library is not already open, click its name on the Quick Launch. If the name of your list or library does not appear, click Site Contents, and then click the name of your list or library.

  1. If the list or library is not already open, click its name on the page or in the Quick Launch.

    If the name of your list or library does not appear on a page, click settings Office 365 Settings button, click Site Contents, and then click the name of your list or library.

  2. In the ribbon, click the List or Library tab.

  3. In the Manage Views group, click Create Column.

    SharePoint Online Library create column link
  4. In the Name and Type section, type the name that you want for the column in the Column name box.

  5. Under The type of information in this column is, select the type of information that you want to appear in the column.

    Creat column dialog

  6. In the Additional Column Settings section, type a description in the Description box to help people understand the purpose of the column and what data it should contain. This description is optional.

    Depending on the type of column that you selected, more options may appear in the Additional Column Settings section. Select the additional settings that you want.

  7. If you want the data in the column validated, click Column Validation to expand, and type the Formula that you want to use to validate the data, and type the User message that you want to provide users to help them type valid data. For information on validation and formula syntax see Examples of common formulas in SharePoint Lists.

    The Column Validation section is not available for all types of columns.

  8. Click OK to save.

Add a site column to a list or library

You can add columns that were created elsewhere on the SharePoint site. When you use an existing column, you're getting the benefit of columns created in other pages. You can also hide or delete an existing column from your current list or library as you can a column you created. See Delete a column from a list or library for more info.

  1. If the list or library is not already open, click its name on the page or in the Quick Launch.

    If the name of your list or library does not appear on a page, click settings Office 365 Settings button, click Site Contents, and then click the name of your list or library.

  2. In the ribbon, click the List or Library tab.

  3. In the Settings group, click List Settings or Library Settings.

    Library Settings

  4. On the Settings page, in the Columns section, click Add from existing site columns.

  5. On the Add Columns from Site Columns page, in the Select Columns section, select the group of site columns to choose from in the Select site columns from drop-down list.

    When you select a column group from the list, the available site columns appear in the Available site columns list.

    Add Columns from Site Columns

  6. Select the site columns you want to add and click Add. To add the column to the default view, which people on your site automatically see when they first open a list or library, make sure Add to default view is selected. Some lists such as the Tasks list also have the option Add to all content types, which is selected by default. If you want to add the column to all content types, make sure Add to all content types remains selected.

    Depending on the type list or library, there may be more settings in the Options section. Select the additional options that you want.

  7. Click OK to save.

Change the order of how the columns are displayed

You can change the order of columns easily. For example, in a product list, you might want to change the item number or price's position in the list. To change the order that columns appear, follow these steps:

  1. If the list or library is not already open, click its name on the page or in the Quick Launch.

    If the name of your list or library does not appear on a page, click settings Office 365 Settings button, click Site Contents, and then click the name of your list or library.

  2. In the ribbon, click the List or Library tab.

  3. In the Manage Views group, click Modify View..

    SharePoint Online Ribbon Library tab modify view option
  4. Click the down arrow under Position from Left in the columns section of the Modify View page for the column name you want to change.

    Reorder Library columns in Modify view dialog

  5. Repeat step 4 to change the order of all columns you want, and then click OK to save.

Change the settings for a column in a list or library

You can change the settings for a column, such as the name of the column. Depending on the type of column and the type of list, you can make additional changes, such as how much text a user can enter. Certain settings, such as column width, can't be set without using SharePoint Designer. For more info see Create a custom list view using SharePoint Designer.

  1. If the list or library is not already open, click its name on the page or in the Quick Launch.

    If the name of your list or library does not appear on a page, click settings Office 365 Settings button, click Site Contents, and then click the name of your list or library.

  2. In the ribbon, click the List or Library tab.

  3. In the Settings group, click List Settings or Library Settings.

  4. Click the name of the column that you want to change in the Columns section on the List Settings or Library Settings page.

    Select column

  5. Change the settings that you want, and then click OK to save.

Delete a column from a list or library

Important:  This procedure deletes the column and any data in the column. Once you delete a column, you cannot restore the column from the Recycle Bin.

  1. If the list or library is not already open, click its name on the page or in the Quick Launch.

    If the name of your list or library does not appear on a page, click settings Office 365 Settings button, click Site Contents, and then click the name of your list or library.

  2. In the ribbon, click the List or Library tab. The name of the tab may vary depending on the type of list or library. For example, if your list is a calendar, the name of the tab is Calendar.

  3. In the Settings group, click List Settings or Library Settings.

  4. On the List Settings or Library Settings page, in the Columns section, click the name of the column that you want to delete.

  5. Scroll to the bottom of the Change Column page and then click Delete.

    Note:  Lists and libraries contain required columns that can’t be deleted, such as the Title or Name. If the column can’t be deleted, the Delete button is not available. If you can’t delete a column, but you don’t want the column to appear in a view, you can hide it from the view.

  6. When prompted, click OK to save.

To learn how to format the text under column headings in lists, see Format the text under column headings in lists.

Show or hide a column in a list or library

Rather than add and delete columns, you can choose which columns are shown in a list or library. This can be done with added or default columns.

  1. If the list or library is not already open, click its name on the page or in the Quick Launch.

    If the name of your list or library does not appear on a page, click settings Office 365 Settings button, click Site Contents, and then click the name of your list or library.

  2. In the ribbon, click the List or Library tab.

    SharePoint Online Ribbon Library tab modify view option
  3. In the Manage Views group, click Modify View.

  4. In the Columns section, check or clear the box under the Display heading next to the column you want to show or hide.

  5. Click OK to save.

See Also

Add, change, or delete a list or library on a page

Manage lists and libraries with many items



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