SharePoint 2010, Office365: Change the Field Used for Item Menu Dropdown

This question was posted on the forums this week and it got me thinking about some common tasks that I do often. I wanted to just put together a quick post to outline my process.

Here is the business problem we are looking at:

Is it possible to change the field in the list that is the default for the List Item Menu?

The quick answer is that when a new list is created the edit menu for the list items is associated with the Title field. This is not something that can be reconfigured for the list. What you can do however, is create custom list views that allow you to assign the edit menu to other list columns. In this blog post, we will be walking through those steps for a task list.

To get started, access a SharePoint task list. Notice that by default the item drop down menu is associated with the Title Column.

For the purpose of our example, let’s assume we want the drop down to instead be associated with the status column (note: we could have selected any column). To accomplish this, we will need to modify this list view using SharePoint Designer. We can quickly open this list in SPD using the shortcut on the List Ribbon:

When we select this menu option, SPD will open to the specific list that we are working with. From this screen we will be able to access and customize the view settings. In our example we will want to select the All Tasks view.

You will see within SPD that the view will load and look very similar to what you see in the browser.

We would like to add the List Item Menu to our status column. We do this by selecting the value for the status and then selecting the menu. Once the menu is expanding we see an option to “Show List Item Menu”. When we select this we are configuring the view so that the status column is able to display the dropdown.

Once your updates are done, select the option to Save (disk icon in top left corner), and then return to the browser view of the list. You will notice that the Status column now has the item level dropdown associated with it.

This operation is typically done whenever you have a list where the title field doesn’t provide a descriptive value and in most cases you would like it to be hidden from the default views. This functionality will allow you to hide the title field and then associate the menu drop down with other list columns.

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