Sharepoint 2010: Auto-refreshing External data lookup column

In this post, I will discuss about how to achieve auto-refreshing external data column.

So let’s begin with some scenario:

  • We have external content type : ‘Employee_Ex_CT’
  • External List created from this content type : ‘EmployeeList’
  • Custom List which has this ex data lookup column : ‘ExLookupList’
  • External data lookup column : ‘Exdata_lookup’ with additional columns ‘title’


You can refresh the external data lookup additional columns by clicking the refresh button above the column as shown in image below.


The additional columns added with external data lookup column will only get updated when you update the item. Updating item in external list will not automayically update items in our custom list (the one with ex data lookup).

The refresh button with this external data column eventually goes to update additional columns with ex data lookup for the items in our custom list.


DO NOT expect these additional data columns with external data lookup column will auto-refresh like other lookup columns.

Workaround :

  • Step-1: Setting asynchronous refresh on list webpart and choose refreshing time to (n) seconds.[ For normal lookup columns step-1 is enough for getting complete auto-refresh behaviour]


  • Step-2 : You can set up timer job to update items for this list with external data columns. Run this timer job every (n) mins as per your need.


You can create your own custom page/webpart that will run this asynchronous update for you.


Just click the refresh button above the external data lookup column. [This will not be complete auto-refresh ]

I hope this post will help you understand how additional columns added with external data column get refreshed.