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I have a custom content type with many required columns. The UI does not allow me to change a column from required to non-required (at least, I can't find a way to do it).

Is there a way to achieve this in the database or another means?

Otherwise, it seems all the fields have to be recreated -- a major pain with dozens of fields.

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I found the solution. To achieve it via the UI, I go to Site Settings, Site Content Types, click on the custom content type, then click each field and voila! – udog Apr 26 '12 at 7:03
    
publish your solution as an answer and mark it as solved. – MOI Apr 26 '12 at 7:21
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I found the solution. To achieve it via the UI, I go to

Site Settings > Site Content Types > click on the custom content type,

then click each field and voila!

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If it's not there, try going to the list > List Settings > Click on the content type > Click on the column name > change if it's required or optional – maggix Nov 18 '15 at 22:30

A more recent solution for a SharePoint 2010 website:

  1. Select 'All Site Content' (also via Site Actions link at top left)
  2. Select your document library
  3. Ribbon Bar 'Library Tools', select 'Library' tab
  4. Ribbon Bar select 'Library Settings' button
  5. Under section 'Content Types', select 'Document' link
  6. Under section 'Columns', select your column to change
  7. Under section 'Column Settings', select radio button you want change your column to. Options = {Required, Optional, Hidden}
  8. Click 'Ok' when done
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