Last time I went through how to create a document library, create a custom column, customize the project list display item form to include a related documents section on the Budgeting and Tracking Multiple Projects fabulous 40 template using SharePoint designer 2010. We used a connected webpart to filter for only the documents we wanted based on the item that we were looking at making it nice and clean for the user. Read about it here

Today, I would like to make another customization to this same application template. This time we will work with the project tasks list. The way the project task list is by default there is a description box but there is no place to go and post updates to the task. You can change the status and update the percent complete but we want an area to post comments or notes. A simple thing to do would be to add an existing site column (comments) to the project tasks content type and call it a day. The drawback with this is then you either overwrite and lose the comments from the time before or you need to draw a line and manually type a date time stamp and its just not so nice. The way around this is to enable versioning on the list, then add a new comments column to the project tasks content type. The column that we create will append changes and combined with versioning will provide a nice single view with system date/time and user stamp.

So let’s get started…

First thing we do is create a new site column. Go to your root site collection site actions –> site settings –> Galleries. Under Galleries you should see a site columns link, click it

SharePoint 2010 Site Settings

Once there click on Create and then choose a multiple lines of text column, call it whatever you want (can’t use comments because there is already a column by that name) I chose Comment. Add it to a column group, I have created my own group, look over the rest of the settings and set as you choose, I chose defaults until the Append Changes to Existing Text which I selected YES for.

Create Custom Column in SharePoint List

Click OK and we now have a site column. You will notice that you can go and add this column to the project tasks list now like you would any other column but when you click on new item you notice that you don’t see Comment. That is because the list is set to use a content type, we have to go and add the column to the content type columns to get what we want. So open SharePoint Designer 2010 and open your site up select Lists and Libraries from the left Navigation then select Project Tasks. At the bottom of the left hand column there should be a Content Types section click on the Project Task content type.

SharePoint 2010

Then click on Edit Content Type Columns as show below

Edit Content Type SharePoint Designer 2010

Click on Add Existing Site Column on the ribbon and then in the box that opens find your column and select it

SharePoint Designer 2010 Adding Site Column

Now save your changes and your column should now be on the new item menu.

So go back to the SharePoint site click on the project tasks list and then click new item and make sure that you now see a comments box. If not something is wrong, go back and fix it.

Before we finish though we want to enable versioning so that we can nicely track the changes that are made on each item. This can be done from within the project task list. Go to List Settings and then under Versioning Settings turn it on.

After Versioning is enabled go and add a new task. Then edit it add some more comments, and then view again

Project Task Content Type Comments Column