SharePoint list and libraries allow you to configure columns of metadata. Many of the column types support the concept of a default value. Some column types go further and allow for a different default value to be used if saving into particular folders within the library. This article is an audit of the different column types and the support for column defaults at the list/library level and also at the folder level.
Column level defaults are configured when setting up a column in the list/library. Note that there are 2 different user experiences for creating columns:
- Classic – from the list/library Settings page
- Modern – directly from the list/library view
Folder location level defaults are configured after you have created the columns in your library by selecting Column default value settings from the library settings page
This screen allows you to select a folder (on the left side) then select a column to set the default at that level. The default value will apply to the folder and all sub-folders.
Firstly, let’s knock off the biggest difference to be aware of, which is column default values at the folder level are NOT available for lists, only libraries.
So which column types support default values at the library level under modern and classic, and then which columns support default values at the folder level? Here is the result of that audit against SharePoint Online in June 2020.
|Column Type||Supports Default in Library (classic)||Supports Default in Library (modern)||Supports Default in Folder|
|Single line of text||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Multiple lines of text||No||Yes||No|
|Date and Time||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Person or Group||No||No||No|
|Hyperlink or Picture||No||No||No|
The general behaviour I found was if you can specify a default value at the column level in the library, then you can specify a different default per folder. With the following exceptions:
1- Task Outcome column type: supports a column default at the library level but not at a folder level
2 – Multiple Lines of Text (created under modern): The classic UI for creating a Multiple Lines of Text column does not allow for a default value, the modern ‘Add a column’ UX does. In either case you cannot specify a default value at the folder level