Create many-to-many relationships between lists
Vladi Gubler
Vladi Gubler
February 14, 2013 | Products


Relationships between entities are the basis of any information system. Your customers relate to your products and your projects relate to your tasks. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to set up and use relationships in SharePoint, especially when trying to implement more advanced types of relationships, such as many-to-many.

Actually, it's quite easy, once you have the right tools. Associated Tasks field helps you do just that: easily set up and navigate relationships between multiple different lists, turning your SharePoint into a real application platform.

In our example, we will set up a many-to-many relationship between our customers and our products via support calls: both customers and products can have many support calls. And Using Associated Tasks field, the support calls are easy to create, view and navigate directly from either products or customers.

We will need to set up 3 lists (each can be of any type, the types below are just what we used):

  • Customers - contacts list
  • Products - custom list
  • Support Calls - custom list

In Support Calls add two lookup columns, one for products and another for customer, make both required.

Support Calls

We also set up two additional views, one called Customer Lookup, containing Title and Product columns, the other - Product lookup, containing Title and Customer columns. We will use these view for the Associated Items columns we are about to set up.


In Customers, add Associated Items column, pointing to Support Calls list. Actually, all you need to configure is the view (Customer Lookup as explained above) and the option to add new items in Display form, so we can add new support calls directly from the display form of the customer, without having to edit it first.

Associated Tasks Field settings

Do the same for Products list, but select Product Lookup view instead.

You are done, open a product in the display form and add some support calls pointing to some customers. You will see the product lookup field in the entry form, you do not have to select the product name again, it will be filled in automatically, don't worry. You can also add support calls from the Customers list, in the same exact fashion.

Once you are done adding some support calls, you can view them directly both Products and Customers list, giving you a great drill-down capability. Note here both Wooden frame and Hinge products have their support calls subview expanded by user.


Product View

Note: the screenshots are from SharePoint 2013, but the same product works for 2007 and 2010 just the same.


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