For the love of [fill in your most loved person/higher being], don’t change the ‘Title’ site column.


On the SharePoint forums, someone occasionally asks about "changing the label of Title" or about "removing title from lists".

Bottom line: Don’t do it!

Sadly, the user interface allows a one-way change of that column label as shown:


Title is a column associated with the "Item" content type. Many, many, many CT’s use this column and if you change it here, it ripples out everywhere.  There’s a good chance that you didn’t intend for that to happen.  You were probably thinking to yourself, "I have a custom lookup list and ‘Title’ just doesn’t make sense as a column name, so I’m going to change it to ‘Status Code’ and add a description column."  But if you follow through on that thought and rename ‘Title’ to ‘Status Code’, every list’s title (including document libraries) changes to "Status Code" and you probably didn’t intend for that to happen.

The real problem is that this is a one-way change.  The UI "knows" that "title" is a reserved word.  So, if you try and change "Status Code" back to "Title", it will prevent you and now you’ve painted yourself into a corner using paint that never dries 🙂

So what happens if you already changed it?  I haven’t seen the answer we all want, which is a simple and easy method to change the label back to ‘Title’.  Right now, the best advice is to change it to something like "Doc/Item Title".  That’s a generic enough label that may not be too jarring for your users.

I have few other ideas which are on my to-do list of things to research:

  • Contact Microsoft.
  • Do something with the object model, maybe in conjunction with a feature.
  • Figure out the database schema and manually update SQL.  (You should contact Microsoft before doing this though; it will likely void your support contract).

If anyone knows how to solve this, please post a comment.

Update late afternoon, 11/15: I found this link that describes a method for creating a type of list that does not have a title column:

7 thoughts on “For the love of [fill in your most loved person/higher being], don’t change the ‘Title’ site column.

  1. Jeff
    I just read your post and was concerned.  I just did this very thing earlier this week.
    I immediately went to the list in question and tried to rename the field (now called Job Number) to Title.  It worked without any problems.  Perhaps all of the patches, hot fixes and service packs since your original post have made this a non-issue.  I’m on SP1 with all the latest updates.
    Just to be sure I named it back to Job Number and crated a new list.  It had a Title column and everything looked fine.
    Please let me know if I’m missing something, or need to look at this a different way.  I’d hate to let this go if it’s actually a problem.  Now’s the time to fix it.  I’m just getting ready to build out the content in my test environment.
  2. Mark Miller EndUserSha​rePoi...
    Been there, done that. What a mess. It was within the first couple weeks of working with SharePoint. I ended up deleting the entire site just to get rid of the problem. That’s probably not an option for people with a lot of content, so I’ll be interested if you find a solution.
  3. No name
    Too late! Too late! But at least now I know I can’t go back, so I can stop trying.
    Does it seem wrong to anybody else that you can change it but not change it back, or am I just too picky in my old age?
  4. Rick Smit
    If you don’t want the title column for these type of items, you should create a content type for it. Then you have the option to "hide" the title column. So the title column then is still alive, but just not vissible. I would also love to have the option for being able to delete the column, but it’s something which is used internally by SharePoint. So it’s one of those "features" we need to live with! 🙂
  5. Kriss
    I believe the protection of "Title" should live in the UI layer. And, that it should be done quite easily through the object model.
    You can try the following PowerShell script:

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