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Just want to make sure, as it is not specifically mentioned in the:

Add an existing site column to a list or library

section of the Microsoft article Create a column in a list or library.

Part 01

If you did the following steps:

  1. Go to List or Library settings page
  2. Click Add from existing site columns
  3. Select a site column and click OK
  4. Click on the new list column name and change any of the fields, eg:
  5. Name, Description, any options, Managed Metadata Term Set Settings etc
  6. and click OK

Will that modify either:

  1. The original site column?
  2. Any other list or library columns that were 'added from existing site column'?
  3. In the case of Managed Metadata columns, any of the associated Term Store values?

I am guessing the answer is:

No, when you Add from existing site columns you are creating a downstream copy of the original site column and no changes you make to that downstream copy will go upstream to the original site column (or any other 'descendants' of that site column).

Part 02

It would be prudent to also understand exactly what the effect of editing the original Site Column has on downstream columns that were created from it.

For example:

  1. What happens if you change a Site Column's:
  2. Name, Description, any options, Managed Metadata Term Set Settings etc
  3. Will these changes be applied to all columns that were created from it?

2 Answers 2

2

Part 01

Will that modify either:

The original site column? No
Any other list or library columns that were 'added from existing site column'? No
In the case of Managed Metadata columns, any of the associated Term Store values? No

Your understanding is totally right.

Part 02

It depends on if you set Update Lists to Yes. All lists using this site column should be updated with the settings on Edit site column page if you set it to Yes and sholudn't be updated if set to No. enter image description here

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The following blog post is quite thorough and communicated well:

Editing and deleting site columns

Hopefully it is still accurate, it is dated 15/08/2019.

My understanding is that I think it comes down to which option you select in the Update Lists field shown below when you are Editing a Site Column:

enter image description here

To test this, I created a test Site Column, and when Yes is selected in the Update Lists field, and I make a change, I receive this prompt:

enter image description here

If I then select OK, I can see changes are applied to a 'descendant' list.

If however, I select No in the Update Lists field, and I make a change to the Site Column, I receive no prompt and no changes are made to 'descendant' lists.

To be confirmed...

It seems to me that selecting No in the Update Lists field and then saving a change does not 'break' the relationship between the Site Column and 'descendant' column (it's just that that particular change won't be applied to 'descendant' columns), because if I then make another change to the Site Column, and select Yes in the Update Lists field, and click OK when prompted, the changes are applied to the descendant list.

Conversely, the blog post above seems to infer that the relationship will be permanently broken:

If “No” is selected, then in that case, it will not update every instance of this site column and now, every list that has added this site column will lose all the references and get converted into List columns

So that is the only disparity I can see between my understandings and those communicated in the blog post - I am not sure which is authoritatively correct.

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