Microsoft technet states that document libraries have a file limit of 30 million items:


In practice, numerous features seem to break once there are more than 5000 items in a Document library - not just in the initial directory listing - but as a recursive total. For example, you may be able to list folders, but setting permissions or deleting files is met with errors.

Are there any configuration options or optimizations that can be used to relax these limits?

A workaround would be to split folders into separate document libraries, but in our case, with over 5 million files, this would result in a minimum of 1000, 5000 file document libraries and likely many more. At that point we're likely shifting the problem into the library view.

A major showstopper is the effect this has on Sharing - a user trying to share a folder with more than 5000 aggregate items simply fails. I'm investigating the effect (if any) the resource throttling suggestion below has on this.

  • Stephanie has written an excellent article about how to deal with list items over 5000. en.share-gate.com/blog/…
    – Aveenav
    Jul 8, 2014 at 13:36
  • What sort of errors do you get in relation to permissions? We have a library with close to 1M items and haven't encountered any errors.
    – Stuart C
    Jul 9, 2014 at 10:15
  • I've run into the same issue. We've been trying to move over staff shared drives into SharePoint Online. We found a bulk upload tool which works fine. In SharePoint online I can see all files and folders fine (31000 list items). But the issue I am experiencing is the Explorer viewing of the mapped document library. The folders appear fine but the files in some of the folders are not appearing. Do you know if this is related to the 5000 limit? Cheers
    – Andy_G
    Aug 14, 2017 at 7:49

4 Answers 4


In our SharePoint implementation, we try to avoid breaching the list view threshold (which we’ve left at 5000) by designing our views with it in mind.

We don’t have libraries quite as large as yours, but in those that are above the list view threshold we have set the default view to ‘1 Week View’, ‘1 Month View’ etc. which show files which have been created or modified within those times. This may not be an ideal view for your implementation but the general idea is to reduce the results returned for the initial query for the view so it may require some creativity on your part to determine how to do this using the metadata you have available. We have found that this works fine as long as the first filter you use in your view is indexed.

Alternatively, you could make use of managed metadata so that users can filter the list/library using indexed metadata. I would also suggest that you could look into ways of presenting data to your users through Search as when you get to the size of your SharePoint implementation, it can be a far more efficient way for finding information in your system. Hope this helps and is some food for thought.


You have to change the List View Threshold to the number of items returnd in one database query.

  1. You do that in Centra Administration > Application Management > Manage Web applications. In the ribbon
  2. select the Web application you want to edit
  3. select General Settings
  4. edit List View Threshold item limit.

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The issue is that the view is scanning all items to determine which are folders so that they can be displayed. The fix is to modify the default view so that it does not show folders (under view settings, folders section).

  • So the default view will continue to show immediate children? Can you then create a custom view for day to day file navigation while employing this as a workaround to enable tasks such as mass deletion of a folder?
    – Koobz
    Jul 8, 2014 at 22:08
  • Are there other consequences to this workaround?
    – Koobz
    Jul 8, 2014 at 22:08
  • Setting the view to display items outside of folders is still an issue if the total number of items returned is greater than the list view threshold. You will see a yellow bar which tells you that the data shown in the view may be incomplete.
    – Stuart C
    Nov 18, 2014 at 10:14

As far as I understood only a 'View' of a list ran into problems at 5000 items. If you can filter the view to only ever show less than 5000 I think you would be fine.

  • If you select a directory and attempt to do any operation on it with over 5000 items Sharepoint will throw errors. This limits the usability and ability to effectively administrate the folder.
    – Koobz
    Jul 7, 2014 at 19:42
  • Well damn, I read those articles wrong. Annoying how they give the max list size as 30 000 000 but 5000 seems to be the real one
    – falaskaman
    Jul 7, 2014 at 20:23

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