I'm working with SharePoint 2013 and recently take over and learn how to do stuff in it, and had to migrate some old project databases to sharepoint. I currently have our old databases uploaded in an access app, a project list, and a drawing list. Both lists being exported from the access file.

The project list has around 11000 items in it and has a unique column of project number being Year-XXX and the drawing list (around 7000 items, i get some kind of 5000 limit message) has a unique column of drawing number NXXXX and a column for Project number corresponding to the project list. I'm looking for a way to link the two together like how the lookup column works, but automatically. I've tried making a new column in the drawing list set to lookup from the project list and autofill from the existing project number list and that didn't work.

Is there a way to do this that isn't too complicated? Would it be easier to make a completely new list?

My ultimate goal on this is to make a search where my team can search through our old projects and be able to quickly see the associated project form associated with the drawing.

1 Answer 1


You get the good old 5000 Limit message because you make the same mistake
most (non-SharePoint) Developers do.

SharePoint is NOT a relational database

The thing to understand is that SharePoint (basically) stores all your data into one SQL Server table.
So all 'relations' are managed by the (SharePoint) Application layer,
not by the (SQL server) database layer.
That means SharePoint is sslllloowww, and explains the 5000 items limit for "queries/views"

Trying to store large amounts of relational data in SharePoint is like 'developing' a large family with 3 or more children, and then buying a Fiat 500 to go on holiday.

Sure, your Use Case can be done in SharePoint, but you have to work with SharePoint,
not trying to force a relational model on it.

5000 items

Read everything by Marc Anderson:


SharePoint Search

Then learn all about SharePoint Search, read everything you can find by Agnes Molnar


  • I was under the impression the 5000 limit was just a visual limit from the wording on the message. It actually carries over to data sources?
    – StevenG
    Commented Apr 8, 2017 at 20:03
  • No, you can stuff as much data in "SharePoint" as you have space in your SQL server. 5000 was imposed (many moons ago) because that proces in the Application layer ran so long people started to reboot servers because they thought it got stuck. Remember.. the core of SharePoint goes back 15+ years. Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 8:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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