List View Threshold in SharePoint Online – FAQs

What is List View Threshold Limit in SharePoint Online?

List View Threshold is a limit of 5000 items in SharePoint Online, which can’t be exceeded! Although SharePoint Online can store up to 30 million items, when a list view tries to show more than 5000 items, you’ll get “The attempted operation is prohibited because it exceeds the list view threshold enforced by the administrator.” error!

Please note, this limitation applies to a container like a root folder or sub-folder(s) on the list. You can’t have a list view with more than 5000 items, but you can have a list or library with sub-folders containing less than 5000 items each and total items of the list can go up to 30 million!

Is it possible to change the List View Threshold in SharePoint Online?

No! We can’t change the list view threshold in SharePoint Online. The number 5000 is fixed and controlled by Microsoft to ensure better performance in SharePoint Online as it operates as a shared tenant environment. If it’s SharePoint On-premises, You can change the list threshold via the Central Administration site: How to Increase List Threshold in SharePoint?

How to Increase the List View Threshold in SharePoint Online?

It’s not possible to increase the threshold limit SharePoint Online!

List View Lookup Threshold in SharePoint Online:

SharePoint Online has a lookup column threshold of 12. (It was 8 in SharePoint on-premises – before June 2013 CU). Also, when the parent list contains more than 5000 items, then you’ll get the error message: “This is a lookup column that displays data from another list that currently exceeds the List View Threshold defined by the administrator(5000)”

I’ve less than 8 Lookup columns, but still, I’m getting the Lookup threshold exceeded error message. Why?

Well, other than standard lookup columns, there are few more columns in SharePoint which are considered as “Lookup”! Such as:

  • Managed metadata columns
  • Person or group columns
  • Workflow Status
  • Created by, Modified by
  • Name (Linked to Document), Link (Edit to edit item), Name (linked to document with edit menu), type (icon linked to document)

I’ve more than 5000 items in my SharePoint List. How Do I Overcome the threshold Issue?

Do the following steps to recover from threshold exceeded error:

  • Set filters through “Modify list view” and limit the number of items in the view to less than 5000 to mitigate this issue. You can categorize your list items based on metadata whichever present in the list such as category, department, business function, etc.
  • Archive old list items of files either by moving to a new list or a folder inside the same list.
  • Add Indexed columns to the list.
  • Remove default sorting, filters, group by, total settings in the list view (Set them to “none”). Reduce the number of columns in the view.

What’s the problem when you Exceed the List Threshold Limit?

When the list view threshold limit is exceeded, you’ll find a warning message in list settings under “List View Threshold: The Number of items in this list exceeds the list view threshold, which is 5000 items. Tasks that cause excessive server load (such as those involving all list items) are currently prohibited.” message.
list view threshold in sharepoint online
Also, when you try to filter or sort column values, you’ll see “Cannot show the value of the filter. The field may not be filterable, or the number of items returned exceeds the list view threshold enforced by the administrator” message.
list view threshold sharepoint online
In addition, the File explorer view displays the “This folder is empty.” message, although there are items!

How to avoid the list Threshold issue in CSOM?

The same threshold issue arises when you try to get all list items programmatically. Use “ListItemCollectionPosition” Property when you access large lists through CSOM code. Here is my example for reading large lists in SharePoint Online PowerShell-CSOM : How to Get All List Items from Large Lists in SharePoint Online

Here is the Microsoft article on managing large lists in SharePoint Online: Manage large lists and libraries in SharePoint

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!

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