I have a list in SharePoint Foundation 2010 (ultimately for deployment to SharePoint Online).

The list currently has about 265 fields of type "single line of text".

When I try to add more columns in SharePoint Designer I get:

"Could not save the field changes to the server. The column cannot be added because the total size of the columns in this list exceeds the limit. Pleae delete some other columns first."

Am I in trouble here? I need to have 725 columns!




You might want to consider re-architecting this solution as I can tell you from experience that the wider a list gets, the worse it performs. Certain browsers, like Internet Explorer, choke when rendering large complex views of data, often taking minutes to display or simply locking the system entirely. Lastly, there is a real-world limitation on how much data a human being can digest on a screen which is practically speaking, around 50 columns, not 725. Data Entry in such a system sounds like something bordering on the sadistic.

If this is intended for tracking some machine readings or other such content, it might make more sense to move this to a SQL database and then expose the table as a list in SharePoint through BCS. If this data is hierarchical in nature (master-detail) then split it up that way, with a master list that keeps the non-repeating data and a detail list of the repeating columns.

It is also possible that SharePoint is simply not the right tool for the job. SharePoint can do a lot of amazing things, but it cannot do everything.

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  • The list in question is only to be read and written by Silverlight applications hosted on SharePoint so I don't mind if it looks messy or scrolls slowly. I wasn't aware I could access a SQL DB with SharePoint Online? It's a shame, as I spent ages getting Lists to work as a filing system. Maybe I could store my data in an Excel spreadsheet and access it from my Silverlight applications? – finisterre Nov 13 '12 at 17:02
  • I don't think SharePoint online offers SQL database choices itself, but Azure does and, since this is a Silverlight app so it can access pretty much anything that has an exposed interface on the web :) – Dave Wise Nov 13 '12 at 17:17
  • I don't really understand how having my own SQL DB will solve this? Arem't the SP lists stored in SQL anyway? How come SP has the limitation, but native SQL doesn't? – finisterre Nov 13 '12 at 17:20
  • A SharePoint list is several levels of abstraction above a simple SQL table, and what appears to be a single row of data in SharePoint can really be several rows of data in SQL. Lists add functionality but in doing so, they also add overhead and, from the sound of it, it is overhead you do not even need. – Dave Wise Nov 13 '12 at 17:22

You're attempting to exceed the column limits for a SharePoint List. Review this section of the SharePoint boundaries article: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262787.aspx#Column.

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please refer to this to understand sharepoint limmits ;)


you might need to think about splitting the list into two.

or if you really want to keep it as one you can throttle but its highly not recommended as it can hinder on speeds and loading times.


to know how to change it look here

  1. Go to Central Administration

  2. Go to 'Manage Application' under 'Application Management'

  3. Choose the web application in which you want to make the changes (example : http:// yourserver:80)

  4. In the ribbon follow 'General Settings -> Resource Throttling' there you can find 'List View Threshold' is set to 5000, change the value you want

above was taken from here:

This view cannot be displayed because it exceeds the list view threshold (5000 items) enforced by the administrator

hope it helps :)

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