My coworker added a new column to a Sharepoint List and then reordered the columns such that the new column was in between two existing columns. Now one of the existing columns can't be found. She doesn't think she hit a Delete button, and Sharepoint never asked her "are you sure you want to delete blah", but that column's contents are gone. The column doesn't show up in the List anymore, nor is it listed with the other columns on the List Settings page. It was a multi-line text column, if that matters. When I view the Version History on an item in the List where we know someone made an update to the missing column, a change shows up with the date, time, modifying person, and the revision number, but no data shows up as having changed (it would be the missing column). I've tried using Report Builder to send a CAML query to Sharepoint and get values from the List for the missing column, and I get nothing back.

Has this happened to anyone else before? Does anyone know what might have happened to have deleted the column? Is it expected/normal for the version history for a deleted column to no longer show up? Nothing is in the Recycle Bin, and we can't find evidence indicating the column ever existed or was deleted, except for the odd version history thing. It's like 1984 with Sharepoint. :/ I was wondering if our column's data does still exist somewhere in the database, and something just isn't linked properly such that it no longer shows up for us. Any suggestions for getting our data back? We don't know if we have a site/database backup (handled by another area). :(

1 Answer 1


It sounds as if the column was accidently deleted. Best bet will be to get the site restored from a backup in a test environment to see if the column exists and try to replicate the steps the user took.

Deleted columns don't go to the recycle bin, once they're deleted, they're gone.

Something to try in the meantime while you wait on a site restore is to recreate the column with the excat same name and configuration. If the data persists in the database, recreating the column might trigger a relinkage, but I don't anticipate that to be the case.

  • Yep, recreating the column with the same name didn't work. I see the recreated column for all my items in the List, but the items where I know there used to be a value in the deleted column just have a blank value in the recreated column. :( Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 18:33

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