Filtering on Multi-Select Columns in SharePoint Data View Web Parts

Data View Web Parts in SharePoint 2003 provide great control over the retrieval and display of items in disparate libraries and lists.  I won’t try to convince you of that in this post, but if you do decide to use Data View Web Parts, there’s a "feature" that you may run into that there is an obscure fix for.

Say you want to create a centralized Document Library or List to hold items that will be displayed across various sites based upon some criteria.  (This allows for centralized content management, with appropriate views across the sites.)

Ok, let’s take a real world example. Let’s say that a document is relevant to (and categorized as) "Arts & Culture" and "Education". This categorization is contained in a column named "Categories" that is of type "Checkboxes (allow multiple selections)" and therefore both boxes are checked. I’d like to be able to show the document in the two sites "Arts & Culture" and "Education".

On the "Arts & Culture" site, when I try to apply a filter to the Categories column, because it is a multi-select column I can only see the "Is null" and "Not null" comparators, so I can’t get the results I want.  See the screen snippet below.

Here’s the trick: choose a different column, one that does is not multi-select, choose the "Equals" comparator, enter the value you want, and click OK.  Open the filter again and change to the multi-select field name that you actually want to compare to the value and click OK again.  Voila!  The filter is doing what you wanted in the first place.


Have a thought or opinion?