Create or add a column in a list or library

Columns help you group, categorize, and track information, in a list or library. Columns can include content types such as a single line of text, a drop-down list of options, a number that is calculated from other columns, or even the name and picture of a person on your site.

You can also 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.

Note: To create a column for a list or library, you must at least be a member of the default Designers SharePoint group for the site.

Thanks to customer feedback, this article was updated July 25, 2016.

Create a column in a list or library

For more info on the many column types, see Site column types and options.

Note: If your company uses Office 365 or SharePoint Online, you may not see a ribbon at the top of the page. See Create or add a column in an Office 365 list or library if you . You can still use these steps if you click Return to Classic SharePoint at the bottom of your Quick Launch bar. Lists or columns you create in Classic SharePoint will be visible in any SharePoint mode. To exit Classic SharePoint, close all browser windows, and then log back into SharePoint Online.

  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 library and browse tab on the ribbon
  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.

    Creat column dialog

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

  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. You can add validation to make sure the column entry matches what's expected. Click Column Validation to expand the section, and type the Formula that you want to use to validate the data. Add a User message that describes what valid data should look like to help users enter valid data. For information on validation and formula syntax see Examples of common formulas in SharePoint Lists.

    Column validation dialog with fields filled in with sample data

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

  8. Click OK to save.

Add an existing site column to a 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.

    Site contents page with list selected
  2. In the ribbon, click the List or Library tab.

    List tab selected on ribbon
  3. In the Settings group, click List Settings or Library Settings.

    SharePoint Library Settings buttons on Ribbon

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

    Closeup of Add existing column link in Settings page
  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.

    Add existing column page with 3 selected

    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. The columns appear in the Columns to add list box. 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.

To change a column to a list or library, see Change a column in a list or library.

To delete a column and its data from a list or library, see Delete a column from a list or library.

See Show or hide a column in a list or library on a page for the steps to show or hide a column in a list or library as an alterative to deleting from a page on a site.

See Manage lists and libraries with many items for the steps to manage a list or library with many items.

See Add, change, or delete a list or library on a page for the steps to add, change, or delete a list or library from a page on a site.

Customize the list beyond what's in SharePoint

SharePoint Designer 2013 can be used to do customization beyond what's in SharePoint. SharePoint designer is a developer tool, which requires some understanding of program structure and code. While it hasn't been updated since 2013, it can still be useful. To download , see Download SharePoint Designer 2013. For more information on SharePoint designer, search MSDN for SharePoint Designer 2013.

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