No-Code column formatting in SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online now offers a simple way of formatting columns even if you don’t have any programming experience. Knowing a bit of JSON would be great indeed because, for now this out of the box capability is limited to few types of columns. Yet, you can use JSON for other types that are not supported out of the box.

There are two ways to apply column formatting:

  1. You can apply column formatting to an existing column by selecting the column drop down and choosing column settings –> format this column.
  2. Or you can apply column formatting during the creation of the column, or by editing the properties of the column.

Right now formatting works for 3 columns types:

  • Yes/No (Boolean)
  • Choice
  • Date

In this example scenario, I have a simple list with 3 columns and we will use the 2nd approach to apply colors. This list contains few records of events which I would like to apply color formatting based on the status of each record.

There has to be a logic behind the field in order to apply a formatting, hence, it’s obvious that you do not need formatting for every column. e.g. Choice filed always contains multiple values which makes scenes (if value equals true =color the record with Green) whereas in a text field there is no such a logic.

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Format section is opened nicely on the right pane. Now it just a matter of choosing the appropriate color for the particular column. Each value of the field can be colored so that the end users can easily recognize the status of the record.

To change the color, simply click on the color pallet icon and choose the color.

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In this sample, I have defined Green as completed, Blue for Planning and Pink for Scheduled activities accordingly. This change is applicable for all records of this including the existing and new. Any new records shall impact the color formatting.

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Advanced Mode is here. If you have your own JSON, go ahead and paste it here and hit “Save” to publish it.

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After formatting the columns, it’s still possible to see the code and tweak it if you’d like. Even for unsupported columns, you can paste your JSON code to apply the formatting even though there is no out of the box formatting available as of now.  Go to list/library settings, and click the name of a column.  Scroll down to see the Column Formatting box.

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