Formatting Values Using “Starts With” in List Formatting

Applying conditional formats based on the value of your field is pretty straightforward in view and column formatting. But what if you only care if your field’s value starts with a given value?

Most formats rely on knowing all possible values and providing conditions and formats for them. This can quickly get out of hand and in many cases just isn’t feasible.

For instance, what if we wanted to show the flag of a country based on the international calling code portion of a phone number? There are millions of phone numbers in the world and trying to create conditions to match all of them is a terrible idea. But we don’t care about the whole phone number, just the calling code part at the beginning. That’s that +1 for US numbers or +39 for Italian numbers, etc.

List Formatting provides a function called indexOf. This function tells you the first index (starting character position) of some text within your text. The index starts at 0 and if the text isn’t found then the result is -1. Here are some sample inputs and results:

“=indexOf(‘Old Lady Wigs’, ‘O’)”0
“=indexOf(‘Old Lady wigs’, ‘d’)”2
“=indexOf(‘Old Lady wigs’, ‘Lady’)” 4
“=indexOf(‘Old Lady wigs’, ‘o’)” -1
“=indexOf(‘Old Lady wigs’, ‘rock’)” -1

As you can see, you can pass in a single character or a whole word/phrase. You can also see that this function is case-sensitive.

So, how do we use this to apply a format based on our text starting with a given value? The key is to look for that 0 index. This means that our value is at the very beginning of the text.

Using this same logic, we can check a given phone number for the presence of the Italian international calling code doing something like this:

ExpressionField ValueResult
“=if(indexOf(@currentField, ‘+39’) == 0, ‘Italy’, ‘?’)” +3933587254Italy
“=if(indexOf(@currentField, ‘+39’) == 0, ‘Italy’, ‘?’)” +13175558697?


Now we can nest those conditions together to detect multiple calling codes:

  "$schema": "",
  "elmType": "div",
  "children": [
      "elmType": "img",
      "attributes": {
        "src": "='' + if(indexOf(@currentField,'+358')==0,'fi', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+61')==0,'au', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+46')==0,'se', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+47')==0,'no', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+7')==0,'ru', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+32')==0,'be', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+31')==0,'nl', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+43')==0,'at', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+353')==0,'ie', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+39')==0,'it', 'us')))))))))) + '.png'",
        "title": "=if(indexOf(@currentField,'+358')==0,'Finland', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+61')==0,'Australia', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+46')==0,'Sweden', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+47')==0,'Norway', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+7')==0,'Russia', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+32')==0,'Belgium', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+31')==0,'Netherlands', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+43')==0,'Austria', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+353')==0,'Ireland', if(indexOf(@currentField,'+39')==0,'Italy', 'USA'))))))))))"
      "style": {
        "max-width": "23px",
        "padding": "0 6px 0 0"
      "elmType": "span",
      "txtContent": "@currentField"

PnP Sample: text-startswith-callingcodes

This opens up all sorts of possibilities for making some really smart formats. Stick around for my next post where we’ll take this concept even further!

Love List Formatting?

Join the Bi-weekly (every other Thursday) SharePoint Patterns and Practices special interest group for general development call where I will be presenting a new List Formatting Quick Tip on each call!

Also, come get the full picture in my sessions about List Formatting at the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas in May, or the European Collaboration Summit in Germany in May:

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