Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Indexed Columns List indexing is a pretty big concept. If you have a list that may grow to
thousands of items, you might consider indexing. When you have such a huge list, SharePoint
can take forever to show all the items in an All Items list view. Microsoft suggests either
limiting the views by a hard limit (such as 100 records at a time) or filtering the view by a
particular field so the user sees only a subset of all items. However, if a list is so large that even
filtering is difficult because sorting through all of those records takes a long time, then you
should index a field.
For example, if you are certain that the Announcements list is going to quickly become huge,
with thousands of item records, you could index the Category field. Then you could create a
view of the list that filters by category. This would allow SharePoint to pull up and organize
the item records more efficiently because it has already analyzed that column’s data. The
catch is that it would take up RAM and processor resources to always keep that column
analyzed (and it would stress the database engine itself a little). The more indexed columns there
are, the more resources it takes to index that list. Therefore, you should index only one or
two fields per huge list, because the resources required to index more than one or two fields
would actually slow the list down.
Along those lines, you should index only those lists that you really need to index. Indexing
takes up server resources. If you aren’t having any speed issues working with a list, chances
are it isn’t too big, so don’t index it. Microsoft suggests that a view have no more than 1,000 to
2,000 items in it per list (of course, you would want to limit each page of the view to far fewer
items). Keep that in mind, and filter views to return fewer items than that limit to avoid
having a list drag to a halt when someone tries to go to its content page.
If you are going to have humungous lists of data, you might want some advice. Some of this information
may be beyond what we have done so far, but just keep it in mind as you progress through the topic.
Limiting the number of items that can be displayed in a view (for example, to 100 at a time)
does not really help the performance of a list as much as indexing does. Nor does limiting the
number of fields in a view (though it helps). It’s the number of item records being pulled from
the content database that matters. Limiting items in a view does help in terms of waiting for
all items to render in the browser, though, so by all means use it. Every little bit helps.
Views have some sorting, filtering, and grouping options that can be a little complex. Filtering a
list with an OR parameter negates the usefulness of an indexed column because SharePoint must
deeply analyze and do comparisons with some other field in the list as well as the indexed one.
Like a librar y, a list can be organized by folders, w ith list items stored in those folders. T his
nization can help break up the view of items, and it can help manage large lists. Then you can
create v iews for each folder, f ur ther filter ing the data (remember to index the field on which the
filter is based). Folders with 2,000 or more item records will negate any performance
improvements, though, so be careful. Basically, 2,000 is the magic number, give or take (although at
1,000, performance is better). Try to stay under that limit if you can.
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