A frequent request from end-users is the ability to remove the “title” column from Sharepoint lists and document libraries. You can rename this column to something else, but I do not recommend this for various reasons. “Title” is a reserved Sharepoint word and renaming it has been known to break things. Generally this only occurs if you change it in the Site Content Type Gallery, but I tend to err on the side of caution here. You can read about that particular limitation here.

But you can hide the title column from the default content types already built in to Sharepoint with a few easy steps. I’ve posted ample screenshots below for the visually stimulated!

Step 1. Navigate to the desired list that needs to be configured. I am starting with an out-of-the-box Sharepoint task list that has not been configured in any way. You can do the same or start with a custom list.

Step 2. Click on Settings and then List Settings. Once on the settings page for your list, click on the advanced settings link as shown below.

Step 3. The advanced settings page is not all that advanced as there are some common settings here, but you will need to set “Allow management of content types” to yes before proceeding. Click OK to continue.

Step 4. You should see the Content Types section now which will allow you to edit all settings pertaining to the content type that we want to edit. Although not in the scope of this article, this is also where you can create/edit workflows pertaining to your content types. Click on the content type name, Tasks in my case, to get to the next step.

Step 5. Select the Title column from the column list.

Step 6. Change the status of this column to “Hidden (Will not appear in forms)” and click OK.

Step 7 (Best Practice Option). When you are finished managing your content type, then you might want to go back into the advanced settings page and disallow the management of content types. Either way, your configurations will be saved, but this prevents the conspiracy theorist admins out there from blaming inadvertent changes on “the other IT guy”. I’ve added another caveat of this step below in the update section.

After these steps have been completed, then you will no longer see the Title column when adding a new item on this list.

As you can see, altering the default content type is not very difficult, but it can enhance usability on your lists. In the future, I will discuss the benefits of creating your own content types in the Site Content Type Gallery, and why it can make your life a lot easier when creating custom lists for yours users.

Update 2008-09-05: I failed to mention in my original post that you will not be able to manage the order of your columns on the list settings page again until you switch “Allow management of content types” back to No. When the management of content types if enabled, you can then reorder the columns for each specific content type. You may or may not want this to be your standard setup, so my best practice here would be to turn this feature back off when you are finished managing the content type.