Introduction to Task Outcome And External Data Column Type In SharePoint

In the previous article, I have explained about calculated columns in SharePoint. We have seen how calculated columns will help us in maintaining the basic and advanced calculations in SharePoint. In this article, I am going to cover Task Outcome columns.

In this article, I am going to cover the following topics in detail.

  • Introduction to Task Outcome columns
  • Introduction to External Data columns
  • Summary

Introduction to Task Outcome columns

While working with the task approval workflow, we have only 2 possible outcomes, Approve or Reject. But in many case we require custom outcomes like Approve, Pending, Reject and Closed. If you want to add multiple outcomes to the task approval workflow you have to use the Task outcome column available in SharePoint. I will be explaining this in detail in my upcoming articles when we will be touching on the the SharePoint Designer workflows.

For now, you can refer to the following articles to get the basic idea.

Creating Task Outcome Column Type in SharePoint

You can select any of the ways while creating a list column as shown in this article. Just select Task Outcome column type. When you will select the Task Outcome column type, then you will have following options to configure.

SharePoint

Now, refer to my article on the Choice column. Here also you have the same option.

SharePoint

So, here we saw that the options available in Choice columns and Task Outcome columns are exactly identical except one. “Allow ‘Fill-in’ Choice” column option is not available in Task Outcome column while it is available in the Choice column. This option is not allowed in Task Outcome column type as the value Task Outcome column is filled by SharePoint Designer Workflow.

Introduction to external data columns

Consider a scenario where you have migrated your business from On Premises to SharePoint Online. Your On Premises was based on SQL Server. And you have certain data in SQL Server which are very large to move in SharePoint Online or SharePoint Server. And you want to use that information in SharePoint. So you want something that displays your SQL server data to SharePoint without importing that data in SharePoint. So for this, SharePoint provides a service named  “Business Data Connectivity” also well known as BDS. This can be configured by only Administrators. Once this connectivity service is configured, then we have to use special types of the column that will display the information from this BDC.

That column is called as External Data column. The name itself describes that it will contain the data which is not in SharePoint and can be configured from BDS. For more details refer to the following image.

Here you can see that SharePoint is fetching the data from External data and displaying to the user in the browser.

There are several benefits and limitations of having external data into SharePoint. The benefit is the External data column does not require being connected every time. You can work on the columns and when you connect the external source, the data will be automatically updated. And limitation is like this column cannot be indexed.

The best resource on the internet to learn about External Data column is Introduction to External Data.

Creating External Data column type in SharePoint

You can select any of the ways while creating a list column as shown in this article. Just select External Data column type. When you will select the External Data column type, then you will have the following options to configure.

SharePoint

Here it will ask to select the external content type, as this column data is associated with BCS (External Content Type Service). Practically, I will be demonstrating this column in the later article in this series when I will be explaining about BCS in details.

Summary

So in this article, I have explained about Task Outcome and External Data column type available in SharePoint. I have also provided the reference links from where you can get information about these column types. In the next article, I am going to cover Managed Metadata column types in details with practical example.

Any question or feedback or suggestion, please do comment and let me know.

3 comments

  1. Good day! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any tips or suggestions? With thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comments. Yes it is too easy to start a blog and that also for free. We have too many blogs service provider such as WordPress.com, Google’s Blogspot and many such website. Just register and grab your own website and start writing your own article and share the knowledge to the world. I did the same.

      Liked by 1 person

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