I'm trying to retrieve a list of items where a specific field matches a specific value. There is likely going to be multiple items returned when the query is successful.

Here's what my CAML query looks like:

//init the query object             
itemQuery = new SP.CamlQuery();

//build the query string
//Equiv to SELECT * FROM list WHERE CollectiveNum = strCollectiveNum (parameter)
itemQueryString = '<Where>';
itemQueryString +='<Eq><FieldRef Name=\'Collective #\'/><Value Type=\'Lookup\'>' + strCollectiveNum + '</Value></Eq>';
itemQueryString +='</Where>';


No matter what this query returns all items! I'm confused. It's really unclear to me why this would be so.

Next, If I follow the example in the section "Retrieving Items from a List Using Javascript" on this page by adding




around my query string it throws an alert with a message that says "Request failed. One or more field types are not installed properly. Go to the list settings to delete these fields. undefined"

Where am I going wrong? I'd be glad to post any other pieces of my script if needed.

2 Answers 2


CAML uses the internal name of the column in question. Spaces and symbols are "encoded".

Space: _x0020_

Hash: _x0023_

        <FieldRef Name='Collective_x0020__x0023_' LookupId='TRUE' />
        <Value Type='Lookup'>1</Value>
  • 1
    This, although I tend to take things a step further and interrogate the list via Powershell to determine what the internalname of the field is. You never know when a user might have originally created a field under the name you're using, then deleted it, then re-added it, for instance. Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 15:39
  • Actually, the site was made by myself - an amateur, who only learned about the naming/renaming issue after the site went into use :( It's not realistic for me to recreate the content with proper names. Thanks for this help. It seems like a weird convention to return all items when a query isn't proper.. The end result in my test server is that all items were deleted when I expected just particular items tagged with that value to be deleted. Changing the field name worked just fine and I'm seeing the results I've expected. Thanks!
    – adnauseam
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 15:50
  • We were all amateurs. When I create a list via the GUI I like to first set my field names as a single string with no special characters. That sets the Internal Name, then I go back and change the field title so that it looks ok in the GUI. Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 16:10
  • 1
    Another way to find the internal name of a field is in IE go to the list/library settings page, under columns right click the field and select 'properties'. At the end of the Address (URL) you will see Field=InternalName where InternalName is the internal name of the field you are looking at. Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 16:13

When all items return it is almost always caused by an invalid CAML query. For the CAML attribute 'FieldRef' you need to use the internal name which cannot contain a whitespace.


 FieldRef Name="Collective #"


 FieldRef Name="Collective_x0020_#"

If still incorrect use powershell to find the field name.

Personally I would do (C#)

 SPQuery myQuery = new SPQuery();
 myQuery.Query ="<Where><Eq><FieldRef Name='Collective_x0020_#'/><Value Type='Lookup'>"+yourValue"+</Value></Eq></Where>";
 MyCollection = MyList.GetItems(myQuery);
  • 3
    It seems the "#" character isn't accepted as valid. You just replace it with "<underscore>0023<underscore>" as suggested below. I don't have access to PowerShell but I can view the raw HTML of any page using this list and find that the internal name is indeed "Collective_0020__0023_".
    – adnauseam
    Commented Jun 19, 2013 at 15:57

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