In SharePoint 2010 I've made a lot of Site Columns that I use in different content types. When I make a calculated column, that involves a calculation based on other columns, something goes wrong.

This is what I type in the formula box:


This is what I get after clicking "ok" and reopening the site column:


I've tried a lot of things: changing the column names, changing the order in which I made the site columns...I've searched for some features that need to be enabled/disabled. I don't know, Nothing works!

The strangest thing is, that one of the columns is accepted (412-Cost.Mat), I haven't found any difference between this column and the other ones.

What am I missing here? Can anyone help?

  • Are all of the columns in error valid columns in the list? – Eric Alexander Sep 12 '11 at 13:30
  • Thank you for the fast response! I will try this, although it doesn't explain, why one of the columns maintains its proper name (412-Cost.Mat). It has these special characters as well. I'll get back to you on this! Best, Matthijs – M.Netten Sep 14 '11 at 8:19
  • Welcome to SharePoint Stack Exchange! Please tag by feature or topic and not by version or product. This helps to attract more attention to your question and keep it relevant. See How do I use tags for general guidelines. – Alex Angas Sep 14 '11 at 11:06

Remove the special characters from the column names so that it ends up being something like:


  • Not just in the formula, the column names shouldn't have special characters in them if you are using them for calculations. – John Chapman Sep 12 '11 at 15:11

@John, you were (almost) right! You put me on the right track.

The solution to the problem was to FIRST create the (site) Columns WITHOUT any special characters. After you've created the (site)column you can change it into the name you want, with special characters.

John, I was put on the right track by your remark! As I see it and excuse me for my laymen's explanation Sharepoint creates an address (on the server? can be seen in the address bar of the browser) based on the first name you give to the column. After changing the name (adding special characters) this address remains the same. So removing special characters didn't work.

When using special characters it produces a different address that Sharepoint is apparently unable to use in formulas.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.