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 Windows SharePoint Services / Portal
 Updating a "Links" List in Datasheet View
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lady_mcse
Old Timer

659 Posts
Status: offline

Posted - 10/23/2012 :  3:16:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm posting this here mostly for my own benefit and satisfaction that I finally found an answer when I least expected it and had stopped even looking for it. Since I spent so much time digging around looking for the answer, I just can't help but share.

Background: SharePoint 2003, 2007, and 2010 all have a "Links List" available out-of-the-box. It's a nifty little way to track website URLs, and you can use its web part to display a bunch of links for visitors to your site. When you go to enter a single record on a links list, you are presented with a single field of data that contains the URL and the Description for that URL. So I could enter "http://www.minasi.com/forum" for the URL and put a friendly description like "Mark Minasi's Reader Forum" in the second half of the field. So that way anytime someone visits the list, they are seeing the nice friendly name and not the actual URL.

Problem: Let's say I have a list of 100 websites in an Excel spreadsheet, and I have them split out in two columns, one for the URL and one for the Description. Well for most SharePoint lists, I would simply switch to "Datasheet View" and copy my data from my spreadsheet cells into the datasheet cells which by the way happen to look just like excel (or Access records actually). But with the Links List, that single "URL" field is a two-parter, and you can't seem to touch both pieces in the Datasheet view. It will only let you enter the URL piece of the data ... will bark at you if you try to enter anything that does not start with http://. (That's right, you can't even start with www.)

So if I take my list of 100 URLs, and dump them into the SharePoint list using Datasheet view, all the URLs will function. But they look ugly. It seems that I have nowhere to put my "friendly names" unless I switch back to a standard view and open up each and every individual record from the edit item form.

Grrrrr, that's a heckuva lotta work.

About a year ago, I took the SharePoint Developers class because I wanted to learn more about that side of things. So in the class, we learned how to use Visual Studio to open a list, read data out of a CSV file, and write to the CSV's contents the list. When we were on that topic, I posed my little problem to my instructor.

The way I remember it is that the problem was initially a stumper for the instructor, because even programmatically it seemed as if there is just a single field to work with, but it is in fact holds two pieces of data. But by the end of the class, I know he did finally figure it out. I think it was something like the field name was URL, but there was a URL:Link and URL:Desc or something like that. I may remember incorrectly, but I do know that he gave me a way to do it. It's just that once I got back to the office I had more important fish to fry and here it is nearly a year later ...

The other day I was working on a teeny tiny little Links list with only a dozen records, and I accidentally pasted text into the wrong column. I didn't even mean to do what I did, but I accidentally stumbled upon the no-code solution to my problem!

*Open in the links list in Datasheet view
*Copy your 100 URLs as URLs (the http:// formatted kind) from your Spreadsheet to your clipboard
*Paste them into the URL column of your links list, thus creating your 100 records
*Do not close out of the datasheet view or navigate away from the list or your sorting might change
*Copy your 100 Descriptions as text (the friendly names) to your clipboard
*Paste them directly over the URLs previously copied, as if they were a new set of data to place in the column of the datasheet view

SharePoint will keep the original URL in the list, and allow this change of text to stay formatted as a hyperlink pointing to the original URL value. To verify what you've done, you can go open an individual record to see that you have the URL + Description pieces of the field populated.

Whew. If you stuck thru me with all that, you deserve a cookie. And if you think I'm nuts for wanting to do this, you might be right, but when I get my little project done I know a bunch of end-users who are going to veeery happy. My list is actually over 1500 URLs, and ain't no way was I ever going to hand-enter them all.


Anne O'Day
MCITP: SharePoint 2010

eve_whyte
Welcome Newcomer

1 Posts
Status: offline

Posted - 12/19/2012 :  03:55:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
wow this was just what I was looking for I had 800 old site urls & 8000 new site urls
Users kept clicking on the wrong link telling me their site looked the same. I wanted to put a friendly description like old site ...... new site. wooo hoo that save me sooo much work
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lady_mcse
Old Timer

659 Posts
Status: offline

Posted - 12/19/2012 :  4:54:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yay! glad to hear it! I've been using this handy-dandy trick to present lists of SharePoint 2003 sites to users. Sort of making up a Menuing system, if you will.

Anne O'Day
MCITP: SharePoint 2010
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cjonesmcse
Welcome Newcomer

USA
1 Posts
Status: offline

Posted - 02/13/2013 :  11:40:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for this! It's the only tip that actually WORKED! Read so many articles saying to enter it as "URL,Text" but that only gave me the URL appended with whatever descriptive text I entered! I don't know how so many people actually got that to work...or just believed it did when it didn't!

Thanks again!
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pzustad
Welcome Newcomer

India
1 Posts
Status: offline

Posted - 07/26/2013 :  04:39:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi,

This solution worked for my issue.
Thanks!
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