Looking Beneath the surface of Microsoft 365 – Microsoft Lists

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Looking Beneath the surface of Microsoft 365 – Microsoft Lists

If you’ve never heard of Microsoft Lists you’re probably not alone. For year ‘Lists’ has existed solely as a feature within SharePoint – an element of functionality many SharePoint users overlook.

This year, the lists feature has been extricated from the depths of SharePoint and elevated to the status of a standalone application. Lists can also now be launched as an app within Teams, uniting Lists data and group discussion for the first time.


Wait a second, what exactly are ‘Lists?’

Up until recently, a ‘List’ was simply a ‘content item’ that you could create and store within a SharePoint site. Similar in format to an excel spreadsheet, only somewhat easier to interpret and more user friendly, a ‘List’ provides a space to amass information that is relevant to the subject matter of the SharePoint site. A defining hallmark of the Lists experience is the ability to set up pre-configured ‘views’; user-defined data filters that allow list data to be easily and quickly analysed. For example, if you had a list containing client contact details and you wanted to quickly view those in your local area, you could configure a view to display only those entries.

What sort of data are lists used to store?

That’s entirely up to you, but some of the more common uses for SharePoint Lists include the storage of contact details, employee records and document links.

As a result of the row and column layout common to both Lists and Excel, you can export the former to the latter for forensic analysis and review purposes; excel can extrapolate Lists data into graphs, tables and pie charts so that detailed insights can be drawn.


So what new features do Microsoft Lists introduce?

As we’ve mentioned, the principle change concerns how Lists can now be accessed – as a standalone application rather than an in-app feature. Microsoft Lists has also introduced some fundamental changes to the Lists experience:


A familiar concept to Microsoft Word and PowerPoint users, Templates are now available to expedite the list-building process. A great way to ensure consistency when constructing new lists, there are currently 8 templates available (shown below) but since the platform is very new it is likely more will be added in time.

In addition to these Templates, there is also the option to base a new list on an Excel spreadsheet or construct one on the basis of an existing list.

Changes to ‘Views’

The ‘Views’ feature has also been subject to some changes:

  • Calendar View. List items will be viewable in a Calendar format once again, ideal for planning work and events ahead of schedule.
  • Grid view. Previously referred to as the ‘quick edit’ view but now referred to as ‘The Grid,’ a refresh has mad performing mass changes to a list easier than ever.
  • Gallery View. The previous ‘card’ view has been refreshed and renamed ‘Gallery view. This view displays list entries in the form of cards; a useful view for displaying list items containing images.


‘Rules’ allow you to send automated notifications when certain modifications are made to a List.

For example, you could configure a notification trigger for when a new list item is added to keep concerned parties informed of important changes.

Teams integration

One of the most fundamental changes to the ‘Lists’ experience is the ability to collaborate on and discuss list Items withing Teams. Lists can now be added to a Teams channel as a tab, meaning Lists can now be accessed through the Teams interface the same way you can access a SharePoint site’s file library.

With a wide variety of applications such as issue tracking, onboarding, event planning, tracking task progress and more, plus an upgraded experience thanks to Teams compatibility, there’s never been a better time to give Lists a try and see if it could add structure to some of your business processes.

Available on 365 subscriptions that include SharePoint, Microsoft Lists may be available to you right now!


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