Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Character limit in column type hyperlink

(SharePoint 2010, 2007)

The 255 chars limit in column type hyperlink is getting more and more annoying now. In terms of here and here, it's a feature instead of a bug. So, Microsoft is not going to fix it in the near future.

Obviously there are at least two choices:

1. Create a custom column type.

We need to build it through visual studio and then deploy it to all SharePoint server. If possible, I prefer to avoid coding, because it's too hard to normal business users, and add more work to maintain SharePoint platform.

2. Use Richtext column type instead

For end users, if they are not familiar with HTML, this solution make it too hard to edit hyperlink data.

But based the second option, I figured out another solution, with the help of 3 columns and one declarative workflow. Below is the procedure steps.

1. Create a list "TestLinks", then add 3 columns as below, "My Description", "MyUrl" and "MyLink"

2. Create a list workflow through SharePoint designer to update "MyLink" column as below

3. Some test data to test it.
 4. Test result.

So far, it works well. But we can optimize the workflow to improve the performance and save some log disk space.

1. Add one workflow variable
 2. Put the new link url into this variable
 3. Compare the variable with current "MyLink" value.  Update the value if it's changed.
4. Done.

There is another place we can improve.  In "new form" and "edit form", the column "MyLink" column there is useless and confusing; In "display form", the column "MyDescription" and "MyUrl" is also useless.   So we should hide them from the forms when necessary.

This can be done easily through a freeware tool SharePoint Manager 2010.  This tool needs to be run from the SharePoint server locally. Please expand the objects tree, find the columns, change the field properties, then click "save".

Below is what I got in the end.


  1. klj ljlkj klj kljkl

  2. klj ljlkj klj kljkl

  3. I was able to get this to work. However, on some links the & gets converted to %26 and this causes errors when the link is clicked. Any thoughts?