'I'm a site collection admin, with no access to Central Admin. I'm having to remove the 255 character limit from a multi-line text column, to accommodate some very long scientific article formal titles. So, I found I can do it (in my test library) this way, but don't understand the warning message:

In Library Settings/Change Column/Additional Column Settings/ Allow unlimited length in document libraries - change from default No, to Yes.

Gives this warning about uploading through website:

"Columns with long text are not supported by most applications for editing documents and could result in a loss of data. Only remove this limit if users will be uploading documents through the website, and not saving directly from the application."

I know this is probably very basic, but I thought all uploads were "through the website" because SharePoint is basically a website. I can't find any articles to explain this basic point. So, first half of question - what does that phrase mean? How do I tell my users to not to "save directly from the application"?

In production, we are anticipating several hundred to a few thousand scientific articles in this library. This column will only be used for a metadata export using "Export to Excel". There will be absolutely no editing of docs in this library, just upload, enter metadata, and export (to a non-ShPt site). So second half of question is - will this very long text field be a problem performance wise?

Thanks - keep it simple! Delighted to get this far - and thanks for previous help.


This warning is just saying that if you increase the 255 character limit on the multi-line text field that if someone opens the document after it's been uploaded from SharePoint for editing in an application (like Word, for example) then the application (i.e. Word) may not save any characters past the 255 character limit in that multi-line text field. That's why the warning suggests just uploading documents to the SharePoint library, but not checking them out and editing them directly from the library. So it sounds like if you're just uploading documents to SharePoint and not editing them after they've been uploaded, then setting this field to an unlimited character length won't be an issue.

As far as performance goes, as long as these text fields don't have MBs of data, then it sounds like you'll be fine. It looks like the SharePoint database can store 1,073,741,823 characters in an unlimited multi-line text field, which is equivalent to 2 GB of characters (for example, if those scientific paper titles are even 1,000 characters, that will equal about 1,000 KB). For more info about how SharePoint stores these unlimited multi-line fields and performance you can check out these articles:

What is the max limit for number of characters in multiline text in Sharepoint?

Document libraries and multiple lines of text column

Maximum characters in Multiple lines of text Column

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