I need to implement a lookup column to a big list, I will probably use SPServices, but so far all examples I have seen is for only one value, and I need it to be multiple values.

I need to be able that after the user types and selects one, that he can delete it afterwards (like the look and feel of a managed metadata field)

What I need more or less Nr 7 from this list: http://www.jqueryrain.com/2012/03/35-best-ajax-jquery-autocomplete-tutorial-plugin-with-examples/ http://loopj.com/jquery-tokeninput/

But using SPServices and data from a sharepoint list Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

3 Answers 3


One way to implement a lookup on a large list is to stuff your list data into a text file containing JSON and upload the file to SharePoint. Then, do your lookup to the JSON file to achieve the autocomplete.

This is one way around the large list (and lookup) difficulties of SharePoint. Although it does add some overhead for updating the data and it's not as end user friendly as simply using a native SharePoint list for your lookups.

I have paraphrased a solution proposed by Marc Anderson. Please check out his complete solution here.

  • Please add more details to your answer. If the link breaks, your answer will be of no help. By adding details and using the link as reference, we will all be happy :) Feb 20, 2014 at 7:28
  • @RobertLindgren I added more details, as you requested. Thanks for the suggestion!
    – Phil Greer
    Feb 20, 2014 at 11:43

So, that option number seven you pointed out above is jQuery Tokeninput.


I think you could wire that up fairly easily to work with your SharePoint list. Right now, when it needs to look up an item, it makes a request to a specified URL. I would just modify the source so that instead of calling an external URL to get the JSON object which represents the data, it invokes a javascript function. You then could implement that javascript function so it uses SPServices to return your set of listitems in JSON format. It wouldn't be too difficult if you are comfortable with javascript.


You can have a look at my codeplex project SharePoint 2010 Autocomplete Lookup Field which is a custom lookup field that uses combination of JQuery and REST and it also supports multiple values. Additional filters can be specified using REST Query. There is 2013 version also available on codeplex.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.