An all-purpose definition of a list is: a collection of items that have a common theme. Hallelujah, it’s a definition that stands in SharePoint. The purpose of a SharePoint list is to store and display actionable information in a way such that it can be analyzed, exported, sliced and diced, shared and acted upon. By information, I mean everything from birthday announcements to bugs to project stati. You presumably have a better idea than I do of what information you need, and as long as it can be referenced in a visible way, you can make it the subject of your sharepoint list.
Creating Your SharePoint List:
Okay, have that information ready? Good, because whatever it is will dictate the the type of list you’ll be creating to house it. In my case, the information is marketing tasks for the new line of vegan ice cream my company is launching. So I’m going to great a task list, and I’m going to create it within the product’s dedicated meeting workspace. Luckily for me, Tasks is one of the pre-configured list templates for the meeting workspace, but if your list type is not pre-configured in your site type, you can just go to “Lists,” and then click “create” and either find the appropriate template or choose “custom list” and design your own. As you can see, there are lots of ready-made options, grouped into function-based categories like “Collaboration,” “Communication,” “Search” and “Web Databases.”
Viewing Your SharePoint List:
After you create a list, SharePoint will display it to you in a list view, though you can shift it to a “Datasheet View,” which looks like an Excel spreadsheet. You can also add or subtract fields from your list by clicking “create column” in the ribbon or going to List Settings and adding/deleting columns.
Sharing the Contents of Your SharePoint List:
If I want to assign tasks to my fellow project members, the task list will send them an email notification once I’ve specificed their names. Workflow functionality like approval and dependency can be added to pertinent lists. Additionally, you can export lists to Excel using SharePoint’s out-of-the-box button if you just need to view the raw data or OfficeWriter if you need one-click reports in Excel and Word.
Lists vs Libraries:
A library is a type of list devoted exlusively to the storage of files and display of file information. And it’s such an important type that it gets equal billing with its progenitor.