Create Autonumber Unique Column in SharePoint List

Auto-numbering is quite a common requirement when working with SharePoint lists. Say, You may want to auto number list items in SharePoint 2010 issue tracking list! Here are some methods to achieve SharePoint list auto-increment number:

Add Auto number column to list with ID field:
SharePoint Lists have a built-in “ID” column which auto increments. You can simply add this column to your views!

sharepoint add autonumber to list

You can rename ID column if required: How to rename ID field in SharePoint list

Using calculated field for Autonumber?
Tried using calculated column with ID field, Entered formula such as = CONCATENATE(“CR-” [ID]), But no luck – Doesn’t work for new items! Because ID field is filled ONLY after the item is created!

SharePoint Autonumber with Workflows:
Here is my solution to set auto increment number with SharePoint designer workflow!Just follow these steps:

  • Create a column, say Request Number of the appropriate type. Make this column hidden: How to make a SharePoint list column hidden?
  • Open SharePoint Designer, create new list workflow.
  • Add a workflow action: “Update list Item” >> Current Item >> Add >> Set this field to your Target field (Change Request No.), Set value from Current Item:ID field. sharepoint add autonumber to list
  • Set the workflow start option to “Start Workflow automatically when an item is created”
  • Save and Publish the workflow.

You can also have an Event receiver to set Autonumber field value programmatically!

Create autonumber in SharePoint 2013 with “Counter” list approach:
Idea is, create another list, say “Counter” with a field to hold your initial counter value. Create a workflow to fetch the counter value and update your base list’s “Auto-number” field. Let the same workflow increment the counter list’s counter field value! Here is my SharePoint designer 2013 autonumber workflow

Salaudeen Rajack

Salaudeen Rajack is a SharePoint Architect with Two decades of SharePoint Experience. He loves sharing his knowledge and experiences with the SharePoint community, through his real-world articles!

4 thoughts on “Create Autonumber Unique Column in SharePoint List

  • August 20, 2021 at 5:43 AM

    here is what i used to create an autonumber:

  • January 2, 2020 at 7:02 PM

    How do you handle the view sorting? For example, my ascending view shows 2020-1 as the first item and then 2020-10 as the second item.

    • January 3, 2020 at 8:11 PM

      That’s because of the column type! Create a Number column instead of “Single Line of Text” to fix the sorting!

    • January 6, 2020 at 10:25 AM

      Try to set the Number with two digits by adding leading ‘0’ to it. =IF(ID<10,CONCATENATE("2020-0",[ID]),CONCATENATE("2020-",[ID]))


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