Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Eighteen - Multiple Lines Of Text Columns Type in SharePoint

This article covers every aspect of multiple lines of text, including creation, property configurations, editing etc.

Introduction

This article is the 18th part of my SharePoint series. Here are the links to my previous articles.

  1. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part One - Introduction
  2. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Two - Web Application
  3. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Three - Site Collections
  4. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Four - Subsites
  5. Learn SharePoint In Series – Part Five – SharePoint Lists
  6. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Six - Power Of Versioning
  7. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Seven - Lists Advanced Settings
  8. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Eight - Validation Settings in List Settings
  9. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Nine - Audience Targeting
  10. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Ten - Rating Settings
  11. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Eleven - Form Settings in List Settings
  12. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Twelve- Save list as template in List Setting
  13. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Thirteen- Permission Settings in List Settings
  14. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Fourteen- Enterprise Metadata and Keywords
  15. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Fifteen - Retention System under Information Management System
  16. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Sixteen - RSS Settings in List Settings
  17. Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Seventeen - List Columns in SharePoint

In the previous article, I have explained the list columns in SharePoint. We have seen every major aspect of list columns. Now, in this article, let’s move one more step ahead and explore multiple lines of text column data type in SharePoint columns.

In this article, I am going to explain the following.

  • Introduction to Multiple Lines of text
  • Creating Multiple lines of text columns in SharePoint
  • Properties of Multiple lines of text
  • Storage capacity for Multiple Lines of text
  • Using Multiple lines of text in Libraries
  • Difference between a "Single line of text" and "Multiple lines of text" column types
  • Summary

Background

We have already seen about "Single line of text" column types. In "single line of text" type, the users can save up to 255 characters only. Due to this limit, we cannot use this column type to store a large amount of data, such as some description of the products or some notes etc. Also, sometimes, we have to store some links or some HTML formatted data, that also we cannot store using a "Single line of text" column data type.

So, what is the solution for this? The solution is "Multiple lines of text" type. 

Introduction to Multiple Lines of Text

In order to overcome the limitation discussed in the background section, we have "Multiple lines of text" column type. "Multiple lines of text" column type allows users to store a large amount of data even if the data is in HTML formatted, images, links, tables etc. "Multiple lines of text" columns can store the data up to 2 GB if configured. Not only this, we can control how much lines should be visible or can manage versioning into this columns.

Creating Multiple Lines of Text Columns in SharePoint

In order to know how to create columns in SharePoint, you can refer to Learn SharePoint In Series - Part Seventeen - List Columns in SharePoint. Using any of the ways mentioned in the article, you can create the List Columns.

Properties of Multiple Lines of Text

There are several properties available for "Multiple lines of text" column type. Let’s explore each and every property of the control.

 

  • Name and Type

    • Here, you have to enter the name for the columns and select the type of the column. In our case, the type of the column will be "Multiple lines of text" while the name depends on user inputs.

  • Description

    • Enter the description of this column.

  • Require that this column contains information

    • If "Yes" is checked, then the user cannot save an item without entering the data into this column. If "No" is checked, then entering the value in this column is optional.

  • Number of lines for editing

    • This allows the user to control how many lines of text should be visible at a time while entering the value. The default value is six. So, the height of the control would be up to 6 lines, later on, it will add a scrollbar to it. (Although when I tried, it was automatically resizing the text area based on the text entered).

  • Specify the type of text to allow

    • While creating a new column, you will have only 2 options - Plain text and Enhanced rich text (Rich text with pictures, tables, and hyperlinks). Plain text will allow only plain text values such as name, email address etc. If you are entering any HTML text into this, then also, it will store it as a plain text.

    • On the other hand, the Enhanced rich text will allow you to store the rich text, images and HTML tags too along with pictures. So, when you will store “<b>Test</b> in the field, it will display as "Test" (in bold). This type will predict the type of text and render it as a given tag.

    • When you edit the column, this type gets divided into 3 parts. Now, the values are inline as plain text, rich text, and enhanced rich text. The purpose of the enhanced rich text is same as we discussed above. The rich text will be able to manage the details such as HTML basic tags like bold, italic, alignments, links etc. This will not interpret images and tables, it will render images and tables as text.

  • Append changes to Existing Text

    • This is a very special feature provided in "Multiple lines of text" column type which is not present in any of the column types in SharePoint. If this option is enabled, it will maintain the history of the changes done to the value of this column. For example, user-1 has entered “Item-1” in the column and saved the list item. Now, user-2 has edited the list item and changed the value of this column from “Item-1” to “Item-2”. Then, SharePoint will maintain the history of this changes in the version history.

    • Although it will display the last value inserted into the column, please refer to the below image to get a better idea. Here, Item 1 was the previous value and Item 2 is the value which I am updating. While looking at the ListView, it will always show as View Entries and there will be a link.

 

 

So, these were some common properties we have in "Multiple lines of text" column type.

Storage capacity for Multiple Lines of text

We all know that "Single line of text" column type allows the user to store a maximum of 255 characters. If we compare both the column types, we learn that "Multiple lines of text" column type allows a user to store character up to 2GB. This many characters are too much to have in a real-world scenario. If we are using multiple lines of text in lists, then it will allow us to store the data up to 63999 characters, but if we are using this column in a library, then we can store up to 2GB.

Using Multiple lines of text column in Libraries

Until now, we have seen and discussed the use of "Multiple lines of text" column type in SharePoint List. Now, let’s talk about "Multiple lines of text" column type in SharePoint. The configuration of this column in SharePoint lists and Libraries are different. If you are creating this column in a library, then you will have the following additional property.

 

So here, you can see that we have one additional property.

  • Allow unlimited length in document libraries.

    • By default, "Multiple lines of text" column type in the library allow the users to store only 255 characters. If you want to exceed this limit, then you have to check this option to Yes. When it is selected as Yes, the column will allow characters up to 2 GB.

Also, you can note one thing that here you don’t have the option of “Specify the type of the text to allow” as we have while creating this column in the list. So, it means that "Multiple lines of text" column type does not allow the user to store formatted and rich text data in libraries.

Difference between Single line of text and Multiple line of text column types

In this article, we have seen many differences between single line of text and multiple lines of text column types. Now, let’s differentiate each other using tabular format.

Single lines of textMultiple lines of text
It allows users to store only 255 charactersIt allows users to store data up to 2GB
It allows users only Plain textIt allows user to enter plain text, images, pictures, link, HTML tags etc
In both List and Library it allows only 255 CharactersIn list, it allows 63999 character and in library it allows characters upto 2GB
It does not maintain any versioning on the value entered in this columnsIt maintains the versioning of the value entered in this columns.
We cannot control the height of this column using column propertiesWe can control the height of this column using column properties

Summary

So, in this article, we have explored every aspect of "Multiple lines of text" column type. We have covered the different behaviors of this column type while in lists and library. Also, we have compared this column data type with "Single line of text" column data types and learned the basic difference. If you have any question regarding any point of this article, please let me know through comment box.

In my next article, I am going to cover "Choice" and "Number" column types together in a single article.