Monday, February 13, 2012

Cascading dropdown (or) Filtered Values in Lookup Columns in SharePoint

To know about the Basics of Lookup Columns read this article.
Also, to know about the Enhancements of Lookup columns in SharePoint 2010 read this article.
In SharePoint the cascading or the filtered values in the lookup columns are not present by default.
In this article, we will achieve this using the simple JavaScript.
Consider the simple scenario that the user needs to input the values of Continent, Country, State and City which has to be the filtered values.
1. Create four lists with the following column and corresponding types

I haven’t used the default title column for any of the lists above and I have hide it from the default view.
To know how to hide the default title column from the list read this article.
2. The screen shots of the four custom lists created in the step 1 are shown below:

3. Now, we will create another custom list for testing the cascading dropdown in the SharePoint. Create a custom list with the following column and corresponding types
The screen shot of the created list is shown below:

4. When we click on the dropdowns in continent, country, state or city we will get the unfiltered values as shown below:

5. Now we add the java script to achieve the solution
General Code to be added:
// Execute the following JavaScript after the page has fully loaded, when it's ".ready"
        relationshipList: "Display Name of Master List",
        relationshipListParentColumn: "Parent Column Internal Name from Master List",
        relationshipListChildColumn: "Child Column Internal Name from Master List",
        parentColumn: "Parent Column Display Name from List/Library",
        childColumn: "Child Column Display Name from List/Library"
Description of the code

To know how to get the Internal Name of a column in a list in SharePoint, read this article.
Download of JQuery referred in the code can be found from and
For ease of download for the readers, I have uploaded the script in the below links. Click to download the jquery-1.4.2.min.js and jquery.SPServices-0.5.3 min.js
Code in our case:

6. Now, we will insert this JQuery and achieve the cascading dropdown.
7. Click on New in the created custom list (Cascading Lookup Demo) as shown below:
8. Now, we will insert a Content Editor Web Part in the newform.aspx to place the JavaScript code in it.
 To know how to insert a web part in the NewForm.aspx without using SharePoint Designer read this article.
9. After inserting the web part, paste the code and save the web part.
Note: Place Content Editor Web Part below the list form or else the Java Script added won’t work.

10. We are done! Now, we will check the cascading drop down. So, when the continent is selected only countries with respect to the continent should be displayed (Filtered values) and then the state, city in the same case.
The results of various scenarios are shown below:

I have checked for the empty values scenario also. What if the child column is empty or does not contain values. Then after inserting the value, it should add empty values in the column as shown below:
After inserting the values the list is as follows: 
Ø  We can simply achieve the cascading drop down in lookup columns in SharePoint without using any third party tools
Ø  No need of SharePoint designer to achieve this result
Ø  This won’t work in the Data Sheet View since we are inserting the J query in the aspx page only.
Ø  When the number of items in a look up column is greater than 20 then your drop down will change as follows:
We had more than 20 states in the States List (28 items with lookup values)
This happens only in the IE and not in the Chrome or any browsers.
Have a look at the page in the Chrome Browser:
The reason for this variations and the fix is explained well in this article. Below is the link
Hope you have read a nice article.
Please free to comment. Always, your comments help me to write more.
Share this post to others if this helps you!

I have updated the code of this article on 08.06.2012 since readers of this article requires the following:
1. What is the case if there are more than 2 values (4 cascading or filtered values – using more number of variables)?
2. What is the case if there is an empty string in the child value?
3. To explain the solution with more details for ease of reading and understanding for the readers.
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