I have a list that has a dropdown box as one of its columns. We changed the values in the dropdown box and now some of the items in the list refuse to allow us to blank out that column (so it has no value), the dropdown box doesn't show the blank value as an option and requires one of the items to be there. Is there any way to fix this other than to blow away the column and start from scratch?


The only way to create an option to set a list to [blank] is to put a non-printing character in the list of choices and have that be the default to avoid having 2 blank choices at the top for a new item. This allows you to set an item to [blank] and I believe it still functions for the sorting/filtering options of a list. I had an example of one I used, but I can't seem to find the code anywhere. I pasted it in between these quotes, but I am not sure if it will translate over. " " Regular and non-breaking spaces will not work.

Edit: Here is the original answer that I found it in. How to Add Blank to choice field?

  • Thanks, cfoote. Do you know the ASCII code of the non-printing character? Here's a page with different characters: ascii-code.com – Alex C Mar 27 '12 at 6:32

Here is one way I found to do it:

  • In the Additional Column Settings section, set Require that this column contains information to No, set Allow 'Fill-in' choices to Yes.

You should then be able to edit the data element containing the column and choose Fill-in rather than any of the drop-down options but leave the fill-in box blank. This will wipe out the previous data value.

In my case I normally DON'T want to allow fill-ins so I then just switched the Allow 'Fill-in' choices back to No and everything is as I wanted it.

New data elements would allow blank data or the choices from the dropdown as it always did without having to screw around with phony or non-printing characters and the data I wanted blanked out was gone.


Not sure if this will fulfill business part of your requirement, but a column in a SharePoint list can be optional or required. If you set it to be optional (not required) you will be able to leave it empty.

  • Thanks, Toni. The column isn't required, that's the weird thing about it. – Alex C Jan 15 '12 at 13:40
  • If you don't set up choice column as required you can't to make this field empty at this form. Som it will have some value, but can't be empty – IAfanasov Jan 15 '12 at 18:12
  • 1
    No, thats not true! If the item has allready a value than it's not possible to set blank again. – user7533 Mar 26 '12 at 13:55

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