SharePoint 2016: Column type "Multiple lines of text" phases out "Rich text" option that uses ActiveX

Green Arrow 41 Reputation points
2022-04-05T15:46:05.56+00:00

UPDATE: The original question was wrongly formulated, see the last post.

Our users recently noticed that in our SharePoint 2016 environments, the column type Multiple lines of text is missing the settings for Plain text/Rich text/Enhanced rich text. See the attached image.

All servers are on January 2022 CU (16.0.5266.1000).

I do notice that the rich text options are also gone for that column type in SharePoint Online... So is this a CU bug, or has On-prem just been blessed with a cloud "feature"? :(

UPDATE: Note that the documentation page on List and library column types and options DOES still list the rich text options for that column type - both for all SharePoint Server versions and M365.

Thanks for any insights!

190285-multiplelinesoftextproblem.png

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SharePoint Server Management
SharePoint Server: A family of Microsoft on-premises document management and storage systems.Management: The act or process of organizing, handling, directing or controlling something.
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  1. Emily Du-MSFT 43,176 Reputation points Microsoft Vendor
    2022-04-06T09:46:22.287+00:00

    @Green Arrow

    Whether this issue occurs in all farm?

    Per my knowledge, column type "Multiple lines of text" does not cancel rich text options. I suggest you install the latesd CU in the SharePoint 2016.

    I test in the SharePoint Online, column type "Multiple lines of text" has rich text options.

    190512-image.png


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  2. sadomovalex 3,626 Reputation points
    2022-04-05T15:56:49.163+00:00

    interesting. These field options (Rich text, Enhanced rich text) was there from SP2010 (in SP2007 as far as I remember there was option to "attach" 3rd party rich html editors to multiline text fields like Telerik field control). Will trick described in the following post work for you: Multiple lines of text field in SharePoint 2013?

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  3. Green Arrow 41 Reputation points
    2022-04-13T10:03:29.447+00:00

    Unfortunately, I had misunderstood our problem a bit - sorry to those of you (@Emily Du-MSFT ) who took of your time to try to help. :(

    Our problem has to do with the RTF settings of the "Multiple lines of text" column. I have not read about the "RTF mess" anywhere, so here comes my take on it:

    It seems that the "Rich text" option uses an IE-only ActiveX controller called "HtmlDlgSafeHelper Class" for the formatting tools, while the newer option "Enhanced rich text" uses standard HTML for providing the formatting tools in the Ribbon.

    Our organization recently switched browsers from IE to Edge, which is when we started getting the problem: Multi-line columns with the (ActiveX-based) "Rich text" option do not display properly in edit mode (just viewing it looks good, though) in Edge as Edge doesn't support ActiveX. Instead, just HTML code is being shown.

    At some point, Microsoft must've realized this wasn't very future-proof and some Cumulative Update must have introduced the "Enhanced rich text" option, which doesn't use ActiveX. Nowadays, newly created "Multiple lines of text" columns only have two settings: "Plain text" or "Enhanced rich text".

    Some observations:

    • Our tests have shown that changing column setting from "Rich text" to "Enhanced rich text" retains the content and its formatting
    • In SharePoint 2016, the Calendar has a "Description" column which unfortunately is hard-coded to use the "Rich text" setting and it cannot be changed. Formatting of the column is therefore broken in Edge. In SharePoint 2019, the column is modernized to use "Enhanced rich text".
    • If you migrate a site with a Calendar from SP2016 → SP2019, the "Description" column will be modernized to "Enhanced rich text" and migrated content looks good.

    It will be some time before we upgrade our SP2016, so currently we have to:

    1. Script through all our lists in all our sites to change all Multi-line columns from "Rich text" to "Enhanced rich text".
    2. See if we programmatically somehow can force the Description" column in Calendars to "Enhanced rich text".

    Thanks for reading! :)


  4. Emily Du-MSFT 43,176 Reputation points Microsoft Vendor
    2022-04-20T07:31:58.067+00:00

    @Green Arrow

    I'm glad to hear you solve the problem ,if you have any issue about SharePoint, you are welcome to raise a ticket in this forum.

    By the way, since the Microsoft Q&A community has a policy that "The question author cannot accept their own answer. They can only accept answers by others.". and according to the scenario introduced here: Answering your own questions on Microsoft Q&A, I would make a brief summary of this thread:

    [SharePoint 2016: Column type "Multiple lines of text" phases out "Rich text" option that uses ActiveX]

    Issue Symptom:
    Our problem has to do with the RTF settings of the "Multiple lines of text" column. I have not read about the "RTF mess" anywhere, so here comes my take on it:

    It seems that the "Rich text" option uses an IE-only ActiveX controller called "HtmlDlgSafeHelper Class" for the formatting tools, while the newer option "Enhanced rich text" uses standard HTML for providing the formatting tools in the Ribbon.

    Our organization recently switched browsers from IE to Edge, which is when we started getting the problem: Multi-line columns with the (ActiveX-based) "Rich text" option do not display properly in edit mode (just viewing it looks good, though) in Edge as Edge doesn't support ActiveX. Instead, just HTML code is being shown.

    At some point, Microsoft must've realized this wasn't very future-proof and some Cumulative Update must have introduced the "Enhanced rich text" option, which doesn't use ActiveX. Nowadays, newly created "Multiple lines of text" columns only have two settings: "Plain text" or "Enhanced rich text".

    Some observations:

    • Our tests have shown that changing column setting from "Rich text" to "Enhanced rich text" retains the content and its formatting
    • In SharePoint 2016, the Calendar has a "Description" column which unfortunately is hard-coded to use the "Rich text" setting and it cannot be changed. Formatting of the column is therefore broken in Edge. In SharePoint 2019, the column is modernized to use "Enhanced rich text".
    • If you migrate a site with a Calendar from SP2016 → SP2019, the "Description" column will be modernized to "Enhanced rich text" and migrated content looks good.

    It will be some time before we upgrade our SP2016, so currently we have to:

    Script through all our lists in all our sites to change all Multi-line columns from "Rich text" to "Enhanced rich text".

    See if we programmatically somehow can force the Description" column in Calendars to "Enhanced rich text".

    Current status:

    1. Ah, you are indeed right, all options are available post column creation, although I suspect it is of limited use. Since "Rich text" relies on old ActiveX technology and only works correctly in IE, I think it was a good call from MS to initially hide it to discourage its use.

    2) Thanks, I suspected as much. Depending on how many users that have issues with it, we will either instruct our users to manually copy the contents of "Description" when viewing and then going to edit mode and paste it back. Or we will write a script that tries to do the same automatically.

    You could click the "Accept Answer" button for this summary to close this thread, and this can make it easier for other community member's to see the useful information when reading this thread. Thanks for your understanding!


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