Slinger's Thoughts

January 22, 2008

I can make the “Title” column mandatory, how about the “Version Comments” column?

Filed under: SharePoint — Tags: , — slingeronline @ 4:50 pm

We have a few new requests for our MOSS installation where I work.  One I have managed almost no sweat.  When you upload a file one of the columns you are invariably presented with to enter metadata into is “Title.”  That’s great.  I tried to make it go away since we were going to use another column which was mandatory called “Document Title.”  Well, that wound up being kind of redundant.  I can make this work though.  Since I couldn’t get rid of the title column, maybe I can make it mandatory, and do away with our “Document Title” column.  Sure enough, and here is how to do it.  It’s a little unusual, so pay attention.  Firstly, you don’t want to change the name of this “Title” column because you will break all kinds of stuff everywhere else.  So, changing the name of the title column is not a good idea.  What about making it mandatory?  Well, fortunately that won’t really break anything.  It does create a semi nuisance in that if you make this column mandatory for a document library, you make it mandatory for everything you upload or create in SharePoint.  That’s not really a bad thing though.  How many people would know that the file named “slingers-stupidlittlefileofwhatnot.xls” is actually what I happened to name our IT dept’s actuarial report.

So you dive into “Site Settings” on your site collection, and under the “Galleries” heading is a link to “Site Columns.”  Seems like it would work for what you need.  Click it, and every category of metadata that SharePoint uses, whether you created it, or a template placed it there, or it is a default is listed. Here’s a problem though. Guess what column is not listed?  Yep, you have all kinds of columns, but not the one you need.  No column that just says “title.”  Well, we know it’s a column, because we can sort by it in lists and document libraries.  It does exist, it just resides in an unusual place.  Go back to your “Site Settings” page and there is a link under the “Galleries” heading just above “Site Columns” called “Site content types.”  Go ahead and click it.  I promise you won’t break anything.  Here you will see a list of content types arranged by categories.  Under “List Content types” is a link called “Item.”  That’s what you’re looking for.  Everything you upload into SharePoint is an item, so you want to edit the properties of “Item.” When you click on it, it takes you to a page that looks like a list settings page.  In a way it is.  Right there in the middle of the page, listed under “Columns,” is your elusive “Title” column.  Here you can edit the properties of this column.  In the settings, you can do one of two things.  I didn’t change anything under Site Column Information for fear that I would have to re-install MOSS… again. (Long story, and I should have known better.)  Under column settings, you can specify that the column is required, optional, or hidden.  If it is required, then everything that gets uploaded has to have a title.  This is what I chose.  If it’s optional the Title field shows up in the upload dialog still, but it is not mandatory that it contain any information.  If it is hidden, it will not show up in the upload forms anymore, and you are free to use whatever you choose.  I chose “required” just to make it a little easier for me.  Okay.  That part is done.  Now we have an issue that in order to maintain some sense of what changes were made to documents without having to open everyone, we want to make the “Version comments” column mandatory as well.  The only place that we would see this column is in the version history on a document, as I have not added it to any views in any document libraries.  That will work fine for our purposes here where I work.  The problem is, where the hell is that column?  I can’t find it.  It’s not under the “Item” content type.  I don’t know where it would be located.  I do get some “comments” fields” scattered around here and there, but not the one I’m looking for.  Well I did some serious hunting.  I looked at how to change the “Title” field to be required again, and looked at the URL.  http://yourservername/_layouts/FldEdit.aspx?CloseOnCancel=1&Field=Title and I wondered. What if I change that “Title” at the end of the URL to “Version.”  Nope, brings up an error that the page doesn’t exist. Okay, let’s try “Comments.” Nope, this one isn’t right either.  I am still looking for a way to edit the “Check In Comments” field. 

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12 Comments »

  1. thank you, brother

    Comment by Tedtd — March 19, 2008 @ 7:53 am

  2. I was pulling my hair out trying to make the title column mandatory. Thank you for sharing!

    Comment by Jeff — July 16, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

  3. Man…the required title info helped a big deal!!!!

    Comment by Keith — March 10, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

  4. I can’t tell you how helpful this is. Thank you!

    Comment by Julia — August 18, 2009 @ 6:16 pm

  5. Any luck with finding the comment field? We are dealing with the same issue!! This write-up is great, thank you!!

    Comment by JeffC — August 28, 2009 @ 7:55 am

    • Well, I found out about the check-in comments field, and bad news folks, according to my sources, it is actually 3 or 4 fields, so there will not be a way to make this field mandatory without some major development skills, which I unfortunately do not have. Perhaps a developer friend of one of ours could look into making a feature that does this?

      Comment by slinger — August 28, 2009 @ 8:56 am

      • m new to sharepoint. The ‘item’ content type in site setttings>>site content types is not clickable…now hoe to make Tilt column mandatory?

        Comment by david — October 14, 2009 @ 8:20 am

  6. hi,
    appreciate for sharing how to make the title as mandatory field. Now can you manage to find out how to make ‘version comments’ as mandatory. if yes, can you pls. sharing with us. I met the same issue as you. Tks.

    Comment by yimei — January 26, 2010 @ 6:56 am

  7. So, I changed the Title status property to Required, but when I created a new library and look at the library settings, the Title does not have a checkmark to indicate it is a Required field. What steps may I be missing?

    Comment by Cookie — October 14, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

  8. OK, I visited this issue (about making the core document property “Title” mandatory.

    A few concerns:

    1) Does this break, or cause conflicts with, the automatic syncing of the title field with Office documents ?

    2) The question about the missing “checkmark” or “star” indicating that the column is required – what about that? The lack of it may confuse (and irritate) users…

    3) Is this specific to 2010 or does it work in SP2007 as well ?

    Thanks for sharing this solution

    Comment by Robin Majumdar — March 8, 2011 @ 8:35 am

    • Well, when I wrote this, it was originally for 2007. In order to add the “star” you will have to edit the NewItem.aspx form. And I have no idea about integration with Office. (I don’t think it will affect Office, but I can’t guarantee that.)

      Comment by Jay Strickland — March 8, 2011 @ 8:58 am

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