ASP.NET, SharePoint


We have a feature of lookup columns in sharepoint with the help of which we can access the list items of one sharepoint list into another sharepoint list.I will present a couple of use cases related to lookup columns and stress their potential benefits.Use cases are explained below:

Use case 1: Simple lookup list

Below, I have created a SharePoint list named “Country” and added some items to its column named “Country Name”:

This list contains just the names of different countries. It will be used with “Customer Details” (a new Sharepoint list).

So, in another list called “Customer Details” we can reference “Country” list by creating a column with these settings:

  • Column name: Region
  • The type of information in this column is: Lookup (information already on this site)

  • Require that this column contains information: Yes
  • Get information from: Select list “Country” from drop-down
  • In this column: Country Name (this means that the name of the different countries will be displayed in the “Customer Details” list.)

Below is the Customer Details form (when user is adding a new customer):

Now, this use case looks pretty static and the data field could easily be set up as a choice column in list “Customer Details”. However, even for this case, there are a couple of benefits:

  • If any of the country name changes even slightly, we will not be able to group them easily with the data collected prior to this change.
  • System will not allow deleting of the country name which was used at least once
  • If any of the country names is changed/added, it will immediately show up as such on all the existing customer details.


Use case 2: Lookup list with additional attributes

Below is the list created with the name “Customer Contact Details”.It has a couple of attributes, it is not as simple as “Country”. The purpose of this example is to show that some attributes of this list, such as “Mobile Number” of the client, can be shown on the Customer details list. If we enter mobile number correctly for each client, it will automatically be shown on the  Customer details after client is selected.

So, when referencing this lookup column in invoice list, we have to pay attention to the section shown in the screenshot below. Just below caption “Add a column to show each of these additional fields:” you should select all the fields you want to be visible in the “Customer Details” list.

“Customer Details” list should then look similar to this screenshot:

The important benefit of this type of lookup column is that client’s data can be updated independently and consistently, while the customer details only contains the reference to client’s data. This means that if we change e.g. mobile number in “Customer Contact Details” list, it will automatically be updated in the “Customer Details” list, allowing you to sort invoices by mobile number, city etc.

Please let me know if there are any concerns regarding it , Happy to help 🙂

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