The formatting options for a multi-line text field in SharePoint Online are plain text, rich text and enhanced rich text. For some reason rich text isn't available when you first create a column.

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Plain text is self explanitory, as is enhanced rich text, since additional formatting tools are made available with this option. I'm confused about what what the rich text option brings.

The options in the list settings suggest that rich text fits somewhere in between plain text and enhanced rich text, but it seems that text entered into a rich text field is saved in the database in plain text. The helpful Click for help about adding basic HTML formatting link that 's displayed below the input field doesn't work, however this help article suggests that users should be supplying their own HTML tags.

Is this correct?

1 Answer 1


When you render the text added to the field when it's set to Rich Text, it will be surrounded by a div tag by default, and everything that you enter inside will be dealt with as HTML, so you can really type HTML code and it will be rendered as HTML, however it's different from the Enhanced text as it doesn't have the other functionalities available from the tool menu that appears when you use the Enhanced rich text, but both will use HTML.

  • Thanks for clearing that up. I feel that the name, description and position in the list of options are misleading, and could be much clearer than they are. Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 5:45
  • The way it's added, is to make it as a level between just real basic text, and heavily used HTML like in the content editor webpart (Enhanced Rich Text). Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 5:47

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