October 06, 2015

How to extend capabilities of lookup columns - Part 1

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Lookup columns are a quick and easy way to reference data residing at a single point from multiple locations in the same site, without having to recreate the source.

One such case is a scenario of a custom list with list items primarily enticing with images. It becomes just so irresistible to be able to use images from this list into another. Another example could be referring to Wiki pages from the Wiki Page library. While in the former case the OOTB reference however fails to render the graphic, in the latter, if you ever had to do it, you’d know what it means - the default reference is nothing more than a seemingly encrypted text termed as Doc ID not even remotely indicating the page name. These are not the only scenarios, but I believe most of the situations one might come across can still be related to either of the two.

Scenarios:

The situation is not so heart breaking though. While, the OOTB capability limits the extensibility of its application, a little coupling with SharePoint Designer has been verified to have significant impact on the magnitude of its reference.

Starting from the basics of using lookup columns, this series of articles will highlight workarounds using the SPD with minor tweaks in the structure of reference lists and dependent lists that lookup. Here we deal with two scenarios – first referencing images, and the second referencing wiki pages. The approach to both of the discussed cases can be termed generic and attempted to be applied to a myriad of situations.

The following articles sequentially deal with both of the scenarios discussed above. In the given scope, our environment is limited to SP 2013 or Online, however not ruling out the possibility of such extensions in lower grades of SharePoint. In both my solutions, a terminology that I’d be frequently using is calling the source list which is looked up as Reference List and the other list which looks upto the former list will be called Dependent List.

Look for my other posts in this series:

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