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I have an issue where my SharePoint document folder has an issue with the list view threshold. It has 193757 items (list view threshold is 5000). However, what I do not understand is that these documents are all stored within folders and the actual list should never list more than maybe 100 items at a time. Is there a setting I am missing? I'm using SharePoint online.

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  • Folders are a metadata property of the list item. They’re not constructs of the list that store list items. This was the reason SP2016 changes the default list view to not sort folders first before items.
    – Greg W
    Dec 2, 2019 at 1:54
  • @GregW do you have any sources for what you're saying? Because in my experience folders act as a filter and are enough to circumvent LVT.
    – sourcream
    May 1, 2023 at 14:48
  • @sourcream Fair point. I'm trying to find the reference but I do remember a change from SharePoint 2013 to 2016 where the default view didn't sort folders first in the view because in 2013 if you used the default view and you had more than 5000 items in the library, regardless of the number of folders, you'd run into the LVT as it had to enumerate every item to determine which folders to show (you wouldn't run into this issue if there were no folders as it could still paginate). I'll keep looking for the reference.
    – Greg W
    May 2, 2023 at 0:35
  • @sourcream It could also be a change that the Modern view doesn't suffer from this issue either. That said, the folder isn't (or never used to be) a searchable managed property so you couldn't filter with search either (one of our custom solutions had us adding extra columns to put in the "folder" name as well so we could filter/search property. Yes, Metadata columns would make more sense but we used the "default" metadata properties applied to folders to apply them to make it easy for the user to just map a drive and place the documents in the relevant folder).
    – Greg W
    May 2, 2023 at 0:39

2 Answers 2

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The List View Threshold states that you cannot have more than 5,000 items (by default) returned in your list view. So it really does not matter if you have stored them in a folder or not.

Each List view should not return more than 5000 items as this limitation comes from SQL server where SharePoint stores it's data in a table. So it'd better to re-plan structure such that each list view should not have more than 5000 items.

You can have a look on the below link to have a better understanding on List view threshold.

https://www.abelsolutions.com/working-with-list-view-thresholds-in-sharepoint/

I hope this helps.

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  • It does matter if the items are in a folder. The folder acts as a filter, and if the number of items inside a folder does not surpass the LVT, then it should not raise any errors.
    – sourcream
    May 1, 2023 at 14:46
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Indeed, folders should act as filters and the List View Threshold (LVT) should not be violated if you have just a few items inside a folder.

Check the view settings to see if there are any custom settings that could violate the LVT in the background. In particular, check if the "Folder and Flat" setting that is collapsed into the "Folders" section is set to "Show items inside folders". I've seen instances of LVT violation when this setting was set to "Show all items without folders".

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You can also first create a new vanilla view to see if things work as expected and then compare the new view with the one applied to your library to find the faulty setting.

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