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O365: Linking Lists and Libraries

Data in a SharePoint on-line List can be accessed for Library Metadata

 This means that you can enter reusable data into a list and select it from a drop menu when entering data into another list or library.

In most business scenarios when an invoice is created it will be specific to a customer. If a customer is invoiced many times for different goods or services, it would be necessary to enter the customer details each time an invoice is created or imported into the document library. This chore can be avoided by entering the customer details once into the Customer list and having a drop selection menu to copy the data into the Invoices library.

The Method

If we use the newly created Customer list and Invoicing library as a n example.

1. First we need to modify the Invoices library to add a lookup Select ‘Invoices’ from the quick access menu on the left, click the ‘Library’ tab.
2. Click ‘Library Settings’ in the ribbon, then click ‘Create Column'

Configure the column as shown above, then click ‘OK’ in the bottom right of the screen. This will enable selection of the customer details from the Customer list. However as the list already has a ‘Customer’ column the original must either be deleted or hidden. NOTE: In most cases it would be simpler to delete the Original ‘Customers’ column altogether. However, if the list has been in use for some time it may contain valuable data which must not be lost. In this case return to the Invoices > Settings screen and double click the old ‘Customers’ column name. This is the original text column that requires manual entry of the customer details. It is set to require data entry
Check the radio button ‘No’ for ‘Requires that the column contains data’ and click ‘OK at the bottom.  

3. Return to the ‘Invoice’ home page by clicking on ‘Invoice’ in the quick access menu on the left. Select the ‘Library’ tab and click ‘Modify View’. Uncheck the ‘Display’ tick-box for the Column ‘Customers’

and the new columns will be displayed.
4. When you import a new invoice document, or edit an existing one you will be able to select the customer from the Customer list via a drop menu.


1. This assumes that the user has Internet access

2. Also that the user has been granted write access to the SharePoint site and library

3. If the library has ‘check in/check out’ enabled the user will be prompter to check on opening and check in on closing

4. If the library has ‘Approval’ enabled the document will not be visible to other users until ‘Approval’ has been granted

Learn more.



Chris Watkins I've been an IT professional for over thirty years. Most of that time has been spent helping large organisations with the evaluation, installation and maintenance of business software applications.
I have a wealth of knowhow on the subject of data management.
Advice is free and so are basic templates. If you need more just ask. I only charge for actual work done.
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