How to Create Lookup and Choice Fields and When

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					                                                          SHAREPOINT “HOW TO”      LOOKUP AND CHOICE FIELDS




  How to Create Lookup and Choice
          Fields and When to Use Which
When using custom lists, you will inevitably have a requirement for lookups or choice fields. They
provide standard information for users to choose from so that accurate information can be captured to
enable the extraction of meaningful management information.




You can use either of these options when needing to pull information from a second list, or provide a
selection of answers to a question.


When to use a choice field If there are 5 or less options to choose from, eg: work areas, opinions, etc. It
is also best practice to make these options radio buttons so users have less clicks. The restrictions with
using choice fields are that users can potentially change the options, and the options are restricted to
that list only, ie: you won’t be able to use those options in other lists.


When to use a lookup field If there are 6 or more options to choose from, eg: regions, departments, etc.
Having a master lookup list with standard information also provides extra security as you can restrict
access to that list and allocate one person to maintain the list. You can also use this information across



Compiled By: Veronique Palmer (079 541 5661)           Last Updated: 15 May 2009                  Page 1 of 5
                                                         SHAREPOINT “HOW TO”        LOOKUP AND CHOICE FIELDS


multiple custom lists. You can then change the information in one place and it will filter down into all
the lists it is being used in. So one could create a master list of projects for example, and use that list in
3 or 4 other custom lists.


How to Create a Choice Field.
Remember : These choices will only be available in the current list. In your custom list, click on Settings
– Create Column. Give the field a name and click on Choice.




Type in a name for the column, and under description, remove the Enter Choice # 1, 2 and 3 and insert
your own values. Select Radio Buttons. Test selecting Drop-Down Menu as well so you can see the
difference. Checkboxes allow for multiple selections which is perfect if you are using a checklist of some
kind, eg: to track project documentation that you have uploaded.




Compiled By: Veronique Palmer (079 541 5661)          Last Updated: 15 May 2009                      Page 2 of 5
                                                         SHAREPOINT “HOW TO”         LOOKUP AND CHOICE FIELDS


Difference between drop down and radio buttons :


                                    Drop down




                                    Radio buttons




You can specify if users can fill in their own choices but this will affect the types of view you can create.
There will be a default value of the first option you typed in under the Description. Delete that option
here otherwise it will always display when the users complete the form. It may prevent them from
picking other options. If the field is blank it will force them to choose one of the options. You can also
make the field compulsory if necessary.




How to Create a Lookup Field.
First you need to create a list for the master data. Create a custom list, (View All Site Content – Create
– Custom List). In this example we will use Programmers. It is not necessary to display this list on the
Quick Launch, so select No, Do not add any extra columns, click New in the list and add names. You can
also display the list in Datasheet View from the Actions menu and copy and paste the information in
from an Excel spreadsheet.




Compiled By: Veronique Palmer (079 541 5661)          Last Updated: 15 May 2009                       Page 3 of 5
                                                         SHAREPOINT “HOW TO”        LOOKUP AND CHOICE FIELDS


Datasheet view : make sure your mouse is under the last entry to add more values.




When you are finished with the master list, create the tracking custom list and add all the columns as
required.


Office 2003 Users Create all the same headings as in your spreadsheet, go into Datasheet View in
SharePoint, and copy and paste the info a column at a time into SharePoint.
Office 2007 Users Import the entire spreadsheet instead of creating a custom list.


Create a column called Programmers, and select the Lookup option. In the Get Information field, select
the Programmers list and the field it must display. In this case we are choosing Title as it is the only field
in the list. You can have multiple options depending on what list you are querying.




Compiled By: Veronique Palmer (079 541 5661)          Last Updated: 15 May 2009                      Page 4 of 5
                                                          SHAREPOINT “HOW TO”         LOOKUP AND CHOICE FIELDS


Note : Lookups only recognize single line of text fields. You can therefore not lookup currency, number,
date fields, etc.
When users populate the list, they will now get a list of names to choose from. Should you change the
list of names in the master list, it will automatically filter down into this custom list. If you have a very
long list of values to lookup, the system may ‘stick’ when selecting a value. Just click off the field to go
to the next field to complete.




Note : If you make a lookup field compulsory, it will not display a blank field like it does in Choices, it will
default to the first value in the list.




If the lookup field has too items, you need to double click your selection to it will display and you can


move on to the next field. The icon will also change slightly.


Compiled By: Veronique Palmer (079 541 5661)           Last Updated: 15 May 2009                       Page 5 of 5