I'm having trouble using a "Lookup" type field to lookup values from another list.

I have two lists.

  • 'Invoices' list shows all the invoices' being entered by colleagues with all the general information.

  • 'Problems' list shows a list of the problematic invoice numbers (it's alpha numeric) and a description of the problem entered by another "audit" team.

What I'd like to do: Add a "lookup" column in the 'Invoice' list that shows the description of the problem (IF any exist in the 'Problem' list) once a new item is added (or updated later since some items don't always have an invoice number).

What I did so far:

  • I added a "lookup" column called "Invoice Check" (which also added 'Invoice Check:Problem Description').
  • I created a workflow to "Set 'Invoice Check' to 'Invoice#'"

Unfortunately, the workflow did not seem to work because I don't think it's returning the intended value.

My Google search results were very confusing as I am still a junior level in SP, so I'm hoping someone could help me figure this out.

Your help is greatly appreciated.

EDIT: Corrected the first sentence to make more sense.

1 Answer 1


Why not add the lookup in the Problems list to the invoice number from invoices? That way you could add the related list web part to the display and edit form of the invoices list and see all related problems. You could also add new problems directly from that invoice record.

  • The idea was for the audit team to have an easy list for them to plug in all problem invoice numbers with their description, and it would somehow link back to the 'invoice' table which is available to all the other staff.
    – Humble Val
    Sep 24, 2014 at 13:02
  • You could still do this using a data sheet view. Create a data sheet view of the problems list that has the lookup to the invoice # as the first column and the description as the second column. Then they can enter them in quickly and when they are entering the invoice number that cell should start to autopopulate based on the lookup options. Sep 24, 2014 at 21:48
  • What about the folks looking at the 'invoice' list? I would like them to see which of the 'invoices' were problematic without manually looking them up in the 'problem' list.
    – Humble Val
    Sep 25, 2014 at 17:55
  • Well they'd see them in the display and edit form in the invoices list if you added the related list web part, but they would have to look the display form for the invoice. In my experience it is almost always best practice to have the children lookup to the parent and not the parent lookup to the children. Sep 26, 2014 at 5:45
  • However, that being said, for the original workflow, I think you'd need to set that field to the ID of the problem. Which means that you'd need to open the little fx option in the set to, and choose the Problems list instead of current item. Then, use the invoice # to identify the item in the problems list you wish to pull the id of. Does that make sense? Sep 26, 2014 at 5:51

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