Creating and managing new columns in your libraries and lists provides a greater view of the information within.

The image below shows a newly created SharePoint library with its default columns. This will be similar in a newly created SharePoint list. This library contains files of various programs, including Excel, PDF, PowerPoint, and Word that will be used as an example for creating a column.

Create a column for a library

  1. On the Library tab, click Library Settings.

    If you are adding a column in a list, on the List tab, click List Settings.
  2. Scroll down to the Columns section and choose Create column.
  3. In Settings, you will find a number of column options to choose from.
    NOTE: There will be different options available under each column type. For this example, Choice was used to demonstrate the process of column creation and to provide a further look at categorizing your information in Create view.

    • Column name: Choose a specific column name to differentiate it from any others you have already created and that it is applicable to your information. This example is named Program, as the information will be grouped by the program.
    • Column type: Choose the column type specific to your information. The most common are: single or multiple lines for information, number or currency for numerical information, date and time for specific timeframes for your data, and hyperlink or picture for added metadata of your information. In this example, the Choice type has been selected.
    • Require information: The default is set to no, but you can choose yes, to require others to add information in this particular column.
    • Column choices: In this example with the Choice column, you add the choices in any order you wish. Here it is alphabetical: Excel, PDF, PowerPoint, and Word.
    • Display choices: Display choices for Choice include the Drop‑Down Menu, Radio Buttons, or Checkboxes to allow multiple selections. This example uses the Drop‑Down menu.
    • Fill‑in choice: The Fill‑in choice allows for a blank option, similar to “other” in a list of options, where you add information not already provided. The default is set to no, but you may choose yes to allow another option to be entered.
    • Default value: Choose which item you would like to be the default whenever someone adds a new file or item. If you do not choose one, the first item in your choice list will become the default.
  4. Click OK when finished.

This is the same library with the newly added column named Program on the right‑hand side.

NOTE: Whenever you upload a new file to a library or add an item to a list, you will increase the ability to search for those files and items with this new column type and its properties.

Edit the properties of an existing file

After you have created a new column, any existing files in your library or items in your list will need their properties updated using the new column criteria.

  1. Click to the left of the file where you would like to edit the properties, and then on the Files tab, click Edit Properties.
  2. Update the properties as needed for your column, and then click Save.

    Once back in your library or list you will see the added properties in the new column on the right‑hand side. In this example, Word is in the Program column for the first file. Continue this process until all existing files or items have updated properties.

The program column has been populated for each document and you can see how much easier it would be to locate a specific file type.

For a further look at categorizing your information click on Create View.

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