Ever wondered how many columns you could add to a SharePoint List? Most of us have in scenarios where large and complex lists where stored in SharePoint, almost as if it a list where a database itself. And most of us know the 5.000 item limit as currently in place. Now in a recent scenario we had to store almost a hundred columns in a list and to make sure it was possible we resorted to MSDN.
Within the Software boundaries and limits for SharePoint 2013 article you can find all boundaries. Based on the list and libraries limits we know that you can use up to 7700 bytes for your columns and the column limits tell us how much bytes a column uses. Based on that information it is fairly easy to construct an Excel file that you can fill in and tells you how much bytes that specific set of column uses. To make it a bit easier we made the excel file so that any poweruser can fill in the name of his or her column and the column type. That will tell either tell them its all green and thus good, or it becomes red when the 7700 bytes are used.
We tend to hand out this sheet to whoever is in charge of the information model and let them construct the columns in here, we then can easily construct an internalname and prefix to create the columns that are required. You can use this sheet to quickly determine how much columns you can store in a list whenever you are working with large quantities of columns and date.
Obviously it would be a best practice to performance test the application before going to production with any application that uses a lot of columns.
You can download the column calulcator sheet and start playing with it. Let me know what you think!