When accessing a multi line text field from a SharePoint item in a list, what is the text type returned?

Using C#:


Is the above plaintext or html or...?

I want to format the text to be put in a HTML email ultimately, but all formatting of the string in the actual description is lost when doing so.

  • What option did you choose? Rich text or Enhanced rich text? Usually you get html formatted text all the time if you choose rich text for multi line text column
    – Diptarag
    Dec 20, 2012 at 6:18
  • I believe enhanced rich text. There were some benefits to it in terms of the WYSIWYG editing. I forget what those were now.
    – cbrad
    Dec 20, 2012 at 16:16

1 Answer 1


You may have to change the description column using Powershell to include HTML.

$Web = Get-SPWeb "yoururl.domain.com/particularweb"
$Field = $web.Fields | ?{$_.staticname -eq "MyCustomColumn"}
$Field.RichText = $True
$Field.RichTextMode = "FullHtml"

Source: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/nl-NL/sharepointadminprevious/thread/a6d1b087-4d06-4e8f-8f69-043e15b04819

EDIT: Try this:

SPFieldMultiLineText multilineField = item.Fields.GetField(COLUMN_NAME) as SPFieldMultiLineText;

 if (multilineField != null)
 // Get the field value as HTML
 string text = multilineField.GetFieldValueAsHtml(item[COLUMN_NAME], item);

Source: http://blog.myitechnology.com/2009/06/append-new-line-to-spfieldmultilinetext.html

  • Hmm, it looks like this just changes the text fields to rich text, which allows HTML etc. I do already have my fields set up as rich text with HTML enabled. I'm just wondering when you pull data from fields programmatically, how those strings are formatted.
    – cbrad
    Dec 19, 2012 at 23:05
  • I updated my answer.
    – Mike
    Dec 20, 2012 at 14:30
  • That looks like it will work I'll give it a try, thanks. You also updated your gravatar!
    – cbrad
    Dec 20, 2012 at 16:13
  • Why yes, yes I did. Let me know if that works for you!
    – Mike
    Dec 20, 2012 at 18:42

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