We have a large document archive. It is built similarly to how a Cassandra Database would store items having column names and column values stored for each item.

This can lead to having way to many columns. This is how it look on our old system using WebParts.

Using WebParts

Now, we are currently using a Bootstrap Accordian and loading each "row" with just the columns applicable for that row.

Using bootstrap Accordian

But, this configuration negates sorting or filtering of the data.

I would like to use something like jQuery DataTables to do this bu am not sure how I can present the data to the user if I have to put so many columns in there. Any ideas?

Since this is also mobile friendly based on the Bootstrap layout this table will have to be, too.


1 Answer 1


Do you know what your users are trying to achieve with this table? Are your certain that all columns are needed? Sometimes it's easy to make an assumption "Yes, the more columns the better, every user can do anything". In reality there might be just a couple of columns users need. In my experience we had a table with many columns but when we actually talked to the users it turned out that many of them are not used and just take valuable space. So I would recommend to find out first what users are trying to do with information your presenting.

Here are some options how to tailor table to certain user groups

  1. Column customization enter image description here
  2. Different table types (show different columns) enter image description here
  3. Show key columns and allow users to filter the table

enter image description here

  • It's not so much that the USER needs to see the columns, it really depends on which DOCUMENTS the user has in their archive. Look at this as a sort of tuple table. They should see all the columns required based on the document in the row that is why all those columns were shown in the original design (WebParts).
    – MB34
    Oct 5, 2012 at 19:49
  • Do you have a lot of document types? Do you need to be able to sort data by the shared fields and/or by fields that are only available for a certain doc type? Also you mentioned that "it is not so much that the user needs to see the columns" if that's the case could you just only show common column for all file types? I am just trying to understand the problem better :) it's a bit hard to answer without know what users are trying to do. Oct 5, 2012 at 20:58
  • The users aren't really trying to do anything, We present a list of documents in their archive and the first column has a link to open the document. The sorting should be able to be done on any column. We do have a lot of different document types.
    – MB34
    Oct 5, 2012 at 21:09

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