2 minute read


SharePoint, with its vast array of features, is a cornerstone in many organizations for collaboration and document management. However, when it comes to handling large volumes of data, one often encounters the infamous “5000 item limit.” In this blog post, we’ll delve into how to overcome this limitation when retrieving items from a SharePoint discussion board using CSOM (Client-Side Object Model) in C#.

Understanding the Challenge

SharePoint imposes a limit of 5000 items per view to ensure optimal performance. When dealing with lists or libraries containing more than 5000 items, fetching all items at once becomes impractical due to performance concerns. This limitation poses a significant challenge when retrieving data programmatically.

Solution Overview

To overcome the 5000 item limit, we employ a technique called “paging.” Instead of fetching all items in one go, we retrieve items in batches, each containing a subset of the total items. By doing so, we can efficiently retrieve large datasets while staying within SharePoint’s constraints.

Implementation with CSOM in C#

Using CSOM in C#, we can interact with SharePoint remotely and perform various operations, including retrieving list items. The following steps outline the implementation:

  1. Establish a connection to the SharePoint site using the ClientContext class.
  2. Retrieve the discussion board list by its title.
  3. Create a CAML (Collaborative Application Markup Language) query to fetch items in batches.
  4. Iterate through each batch of items, processing and displaying them as needed.
  5. Continue fetching batches until all items have been retrieved.
/// <summary>
/// Read Discussion board items even these are more than 5K
/// </summary>
/// <param name="url"></param>
internal static List<ListItem> ReadSharePointDiscussionBoardItems(string url)
    var items = new List<ListItem>();
    using (var spContext = new ClientContext(SharePointCredentialUtils.SharePointUrl))
        spContext.Credentials = new SharePointOnlineCredentials(SharePointCredentialUtils.UserName,
            var web = spContext.Web;
            var list = web.Lists.GetByTitle("Discussion Board For 5K items");
            var camlQuery = new CamlQuery
                ViewXml = "<View Scope='RecursiveAll'><RowLimit>5000</RowLimit></View>"
                var listItemCollection = list.GetItems(camlQuery);
                //Adding the current set of ListItems in our single buffer
                //Reset the current pagination info
                camlQuery.ListItemCollectionPosition = listItemCollection.ListItemCollectionPosition;
            } while (camlQuery.ListItemCollectionPosition != null);

            return items;
        catch (Exception ex)


    return items;

Code Walkthrough

We provide a C# code snippet demonstrating how to retrieve discussion board items in batches, efficiently handling the 5000 item limit. The code showcases how to use CSOM to establish a connection, construct CAML queries, and iterate through batches of items.


The 5000 item limit in SharePoint is a common obstacle faced by developers when dealing with large datasets. By leveraging techniques like paging and CSOM, we can efficiently retrieve items from lists and libraries while adhering to SharePoint’s constraints. This blog post has provided insights into overcoming the 5000 item limit when fetching discussion board items using CSOM in C#. Armed with this knowledge, developers can navigate SharePoint’s limitations with ease, ensuring smooth and efficient data retrieval processes.


Feel free to customize the code and implement it in your SharePoint projects, ensuring seamless retrieval of discussion board items regardless of the dataset size.

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