I want to get the total number of items that match my Query, BUT also limit the results.

  • So say I have 100 items in the list.
  • 50 of the 100 items in the list match my query.
  • I want to only get 10 of the 50.
  • How can I get the "50"?

A simple Query:

SPQuery query = new SPQuery() { Query = "<OrderBy><FieldRef Name='FullName' /></OrderBy><Where><Contains><FieldRef Name='FirstName' /><Value Type='Text'>e</Value></Contains></Where>" };
SPList oList = web.Lists["Profile"];
SPListItemCollection items = oList.GetItems(query);
int count = items.Count;

2 Answers 2


This is a well known and very difficult to solve problem, especially when it comes to large volumes of data. Even not touching SharePoint, you might have noticed that many systems (Google is an obvious example) return only approximate number of filtered elements.

Basically the only thing you can do is to perform the same query but exclude permissions and all fields except ID from the results. So in terms of SQL it will be something like this:

SELECT id FROM list WHERE (filter)

If you have more than 5 000 items in the list (or other value which exceed "Throttling Limit" setting value which you can find in web application settings), you will have to put all the fields which participate in the filter to index (see "Indexed columns" link on the "List Settings" page), and you will have to abandon filtering by Lookup-like fields (these are fields of the following types: Lookup, Managed Metadata, People and Group, Workflow Status).

Also it is advisable to limit even this query by some big number, say, 100 thousand items or something like this, so it will be:

SELECT TOP 100000 id FROM list WHERE (filter)

So, how it will look applied to SPQuery?

var query = new SPQuery()
    // please make sure FirstName and FullName fields are added to index!!
    Query = "<OrderBy><FieldRef Name='FullName' /></OrderBy><Where><Contains><FieldRef Name='FirstName' /><Value Type='Text'>e</Value></Contains></Where>",
    ViewFields = "ID",
    ViewFieldsOnly = true,
    IncludePermissions = false,
    RowLimit = 100000

Please, keep in mind that it will perform slow if you have large amount of items or if you have heavy (in terms of SQL) filter.


Realtime queries hit performance pretty hard there really is no good way to count the items in a list without iterating through them.

Also keep in mind ItemCount and list.Items.Count will return different numbers in some cases.

For large lists there is reasoning behind this decision: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262813.aspx

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