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Prioritize large list management in SharePoint Online

Large list management has to become a priority. Even with the most thought out and careful planning, inevitably something will come up and you need to make a change to a list or library. Once that goes over 5,000 items, it becomes impossible to do anything management related to the list, which actually hinders it's use. Users can continually add files, but you can't do anything to help them.

This has to be addressed in some fashion, whether it is allowing APIs like REST and CSOM to bypass this restriction so they can perform basic administrative operations or giving us a happy hour to perform tasks, something has to be done. Deleting 10s of thousands of files or moving them to temporary storage and back is cumbersome, time consuming, and can impact the userbase because their files go missing.

If nothing can be done, then TechNet NEEDS to indicate that the actual limit of SharePoint Online lists and libraries is 5,000 items, not the current architectural limit of 30 million.

When can we expect these updates?

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Eric Alexander shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

Hi everyone, I’m happy to announce that the ability to add indexes to lists of any size is available to SharePoint Online customers as of March 2018. You can now go to “Indexed columns” in List or Library Settings page, and add indexes even if your list has more than 5,000 items. For up to 20,000 items, the indexing should be near instantaneous. For lists with more than 20,000 items, indexing will use a background process and may take some time, usually minutes, but possibly longer if there are a lot of items and if SharePoint is busy serving other requests. Similarly, you are also able to remove indexes that you no longer need.

We are continuing to work on making larger lists work better, so we will keep this item open. Please don’t hesitate to send feedback if you are running into issues while managing your large lists, and thank you for your continued feedback!


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  • Piet de Boer commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    It's good to hear indexes can be altered in large lists from now on.
    The most urgent problem i currently have:
    i can't remove a (lookup)column in a list with more than 20,000 (or so) items, so i'm stuck.
    My list have 15 lookup-columns and i want to delete some of them.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Wow, one year later and nothing has changed.
    This is why our company cannot move to the cloud.
    SharePoint online is very limited (this list index mess, allow administrators to create indexed columns, even with more than 20.000 items in the list).

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    We have the 22nd of August today. 2017!!! Please MS fix this! Anyone heard anything recently?

  • Hapy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Any update on this? I am looking at having to redo a 100,000 file library, and if there is a chance that an update will come out which allows me to create new indexes for my sharepoint online library, it would save me a lot of time and effort.

  • Eric Alexander commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Dustin, neither have I when I'm under 5000, but once you go over 5000 items, you cannot create new indexes, therefore you can't create new views.

    Many times now, we carefully plan architectures to store hundreds of thousands of files, many folders, none going over 5000 items. We thing we have everything accounted for, indexed columns the whole nine yards. Then something needs changed down the line, maybe it's a new column or a new index or permissions on a subfolder need changed to not inherit. If you are over the limit you just can't do a lot of these things.

  • Eric Alexander commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Yes there are several out there, this one is more directed at increasing the priority of this issue as it pertains to their roadmap. It is a general we will get to it sometime in 2017, I'd like to see a specific quarter or date this is targetted for.

  • sympmarc commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Search for "5000" here and see how many different items dance around this specific topic.

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