Walkthrough: Create a site column, content type, and list for SharePoint

Applies to: yesVisual Studio noVisual Studio for Mac noVisual Studio Code

The following procedures demonstrate how to create custom SharePoint site columns—or fields—as well as a content type that uses the site columns. It also shows how to create a list that uses the new content type.

This walkthrough includes the following tasks:


You need the following components to complete this walkthrough:

  • Supported editions of Windows and SharePoint.

  • Visual Studio 2019

Create custom site columns

This example creates a list for managing patients in a hospital. First, you must create a SharePoint project in Visual Studio and add site columns to it, as follows.

To create the project

  1. On the Visual Studio File menu, choose New > Project.

  2. On the Create a New Project dialog select the SharePoint Empty Project for the particular version of SharePoint you have installed. For example, if you have SharePoint 2016 install select the SharePoint 2016 - Empty Project template.


    You can also search for templates by typing SharePoint in the Search text box at the top of the Create a New Project dialog. You can also filter the list of templates to show only the templates for Office and SharePoint by selecting "Office" in the Project type drop-down box. For more information, see Create a new project in Visual Studio.

  3. Change the name of the project to Clinic, and then choose the Create button.

  4. On the Specify the site and security level for debugging dialog, enter the URL for the local SharePoint site to which you want to add the new custom field item, or use the default location (http://<SystemName>/).

  5. In the What is the trust level for this SharePoint solution? section, use the default value Deploy as a sandboxed solution.

    For more information about sandboxed and farm solutions, see Sandboxed solution considerations.

  6. Choose the Finish button. The project is now listed in Solution Explorer.

To add site columns

  1. Add a new site column. To do this, in Solution Explorer, right-click on the Clinic project, and then choose Add > New Item.

  2. In the Add New Item dialog box, choose Site Column, change the name to PatientName, and then choose the Add button.

  3. In the site column's Elements.xml file, leave the Type setting as Text, change the Group setting to Clinic Site Columns. When complete, the site column's Elements.xml file should look like the following example.

         DisplayName="Patient Name"
         Group="Clinic Site Columns">


    Visual Studio will automatically add a space in the DisplayName for you if you use camel casing in the name of the Site Column. It's recommended not to use spaces in the Site Column name as it may cause issues when you try to deploy the solution to SharePoint.

  4. Using the same procedure, add two more site columns to the project: PatientID (Type = "Integer") and DoctorName (Type = "Text"). Set their Group value to Clinic Site Columns.

Create a custom content type

Next, create a content type—based on the Contacts content type—that includes the site columns that you created in the previous procedure. By basing a content type on an existing content type, you can save time because the base content type provides several site columns for use in the new content type.

To create a custom content type

  1. Add a content type to the project. To do this, in Solution Explorer, choose the project node

  2. On the menu bar, choose Project > Add New Item.

  3. Under either Visual C# or Visual Basic, expand the SharePoint node, and then choose the 2010 node.

  4. In the Templates pane, choose the Content Type template, change the name to Patient Info, and then choose the Add button.

    The SharePoint Customization Wizard opens.

  5. In the Which base content type should this content type inherit from list, choose Contact as the content type on which to base the new content type, and then choose the Finish button.

    Doing this gives you access to other potentially useful site columns in the Contact content type, in addition to the site columns that you defined previously.

  6. After the Content Type designer appears, in the Columns tab, add the three site columns that you defined previously: Patient Name, Patient ID, and Doctor Name. To add these columns, choose the first list box in the site columns list under Display Name, and then choose each site column in the list one at a time.


    To choose the site columns more quickly, filter the list by entering the first few letters of the name of the column.

  7. In addition to the three custom site columns, add the Comments site column from the site columns list.

  8. Select the Required check box for the Patient Name and Patient ID site columns to make them required fields.

  9. On the Content Type tab, make sure that the content type name is Patient Info, and then change the description to Patient information card.

  10. Change Group Name to Clinic Content Types, and leave the other settings at their default values.

  11. On the menu bar, choose File > Save All, and then close the Content Type designer.

Create a list

Now, create a list that uses the new content type and site columns.

To create a list

  1. Add a list to the project. To do this, in Solution Explorer, choose the project node.

  2. On the menu bar, choose Project > Add New Item.

  3. Under either Visual C# or Visual Basic, expand the SharePoint node.

  4. In the Templates pane, choose the List template, change the name to Patients, and then choose the Add button.

  5. Leave the Customize the list based on setting as Default (Custom List), and then choose the Finish button.

  6. In the List Designer, choose the Content Types button to display the Content Type Settings dialog box.

  7. Choose the new row, choose the Patient Info content type in the list of content types, and then choose the OK button.

    Doing this adds all of the site columns from the Patient Info content type into the list.

  8. Delete all of the site columns in the list except for the following:

    • Patient ID

    • Patient Name

    • Home Phone

    • E-Mail

    • Doctor Name

    • Comments

  9. Under Column Display Name, choose an empty row, add a custom list column, and name it Hospital. Leave its data type as Single Line of Text.

    The custom list column applies only to this list. When you add a custom list column to a list, a new list content type, including all the columns added into the list, is created and set as the default list.


    If you choose a column from the list of site columns, an existing site column is used. However, if you enter a column name value without choosing any columns in the list, a custom list column is created, even if a column with the same name already exists in the list.

    Optionally, rather than setting the data type for the custom list column to Single Line of Text, you could instead set the data type for this column to Lookup, and its values would be retrieved from a table or another list. For information about Lookup columns, see List Relationships in SharePoint 2010 and Lookups and List Relationships.

  10. Next to the Patient ID and Patient Name boxes, select the Required check box.

  11. On the Views tab, choose an empty row to create a view. Enter Patient Details in a blank row under the View Name column.

    On the Views tab, you can specify the columns that you want to appear in the SharePoint list.

  12. Choose the new Patient Details row, and then choose the Set as Default button.

    The new view is now the default view for the list.

  13. Add the following columns to the Selected Columns list in the following order:

    • Patient ID

    • Patient Name

    • Home Phone

    • E-Mail

    • Doctor Name

    • Hospital

    • Comments

  14. In the Properties list, choose the Sorting and Grouping property, and then choose the ellipsis button Ellipsis Icon to display the Sorting and Grouping dialog box.

  15. In the Column Name list, choose Patient Name, make sure that the Sorting column is set to Ascending, and then choose the OK button.

Test the application

Now that the custom site columns, content type, and list are ready, deploy them to SharePoint, and run the application to test it.

To test the application

  1. On the menu bar, choose File > Save All.

  2. Choose the F5 key to run the application.

    The application is compiled, and then its features are deployed to SharePoint and activated.

  3. On the Quick Navigation bar, choose the Patients link to display the Patients list.

    The column names in the list should match those that you entered on the Views tab in Visual Studio.

  4. Choose the Add new item link to create a patient information card.

  5. Enter information into the fields, and then choose the Save button.

    The new record appears in the list.

See also