The Definitive Guide: Understanding SharePoint List in 3 easy ways

Understanding SharePoint List: What is a list in SharePoint Online?

A SharePoint list is simply a collection of information and data like Excel spreadsheet or MS Access table. It has rows and columns to organize the data. We can filter and sort the data same as Excel table. For example, you can create a SharePoint list to store the employee information like the first name, last name, email address, etc., SharePoint list can also be used to add attachments to a particular record.

SharePoint lists are built-in with some standard and useful features, such as the following:

  • It allows user to add or remove several types of columns as required
  • It provides validation features so that data validation can be applied on column, if required (such as maximum field lengths, whether a field is required or not, and so on
  • SharePoint provides the customization feature to present stored information through views
  • It has built-in native forms which allow users to view and edit the information
  • SharePoint list can be easily embedded in other pages of Microsoft 365
  • Access management on entire SharePoint List or individual items
  • Basis on access type, user can search through the list of information
  • It maintains the version history at Item-level 
  • Users can subscribe the List so that they can get the alerts for changes in the list

Components of SharePoint list

There are three components of SharePoint list: item, fields, and views.

  • Items: It is same as a record in a database table which keep information related to sales or customer.
  • Fields: It is like a column in database table contains fields such as Customer Name, Address, Email, etc.
  • Views: It is nothing but a method to display the SharePoint list data

How to create a SharePoint Online list

Creating SharePoint List is quite easy process. Follow the below steps:

Navigate SharePoint site home page or the Site contents page and then , select + New > List.

image 14
SharePoint Site

From the Create a list page, select one of the following options:

image 15
Create a list
  • Blank list: This option allows us to create a SharePoint list from scratch. In this process, we need to create fields, provide data type and other details.
  • From Excel: You can choose this option to create SharePoint list based on Excel spreadsheet or table.
  • From existing list: You can select this option to save time in creating list. It will help you in replicating the existing SharePoint List with available columns but with no data.
  • Templates: Select this option if you want to create SharePoint list from the available templates. In this option, you will have multiple templates to select and start with that.

Blank list – Create a List from scratch

To create a list from scratch, just click on “Blank list” option in ‘Create a list’ window.

Understanding SharePoint List
Blank list

In next window, just provide the unique Name, Description (optional) and tick/untick Show in Site navigation check box (to indicate whether or not to show it on the navigation bar of the site.)

image 18
List name and descriptioon

Once, you will click on Create button then a new list will be created with the name provided. By default, it will have one column ‘Title’ that is visible and some other columns such as Created, Modified, CreatedBy, ModifiedBy, etc. but hidden.

Note: The Title column is a metadata or main column which is used to open, edit, and work with the items in a SharePoint list. You can repurpose the Title column if required after renaming it.

image 19
List with Title Column

To add column in List, just click on + Add column then select type of column from the pop-up menu.

image 20
Adding columns

Once you select the column type, it will open ‘Create a column’ bar to the right side of the window. Provide all the details and then click on Save. It will add the new  column to the list.

image 21
Add column

Repeat the above steps to create other columns in SharePoint list. For example, if we want to create a column for Gender then, you can select the column type as ‘Choice’ and provide the details in below window.

image 22
Gender column

Create list from inbuilt templates

SharePoint comes with out-of-box list templates which can be utilized to create lists and libraries with predefined capabilities very quickly. The following is a list of all such templates in SharePoint as on 28th Aug 2022:

image 24

SharePoint List Templates:

  • Issue tracker: To track issues and bring all of them to closure in the list.
  • Employee onboarding: It helps in managing new employee’s onboarding process from very 1st day. It helps in sharing resources and contacts and get new hires up-to-speed quickly.
  • Event itinerary: This template helps in organizing all important event details in single place, so everything can run smoothly.
  • Asset manager: To keep track of all IT assets and others in the organization, and when they are allotted and returned.
  • Recruitment tracker: Communicate your team with up-to-date information as company recruits, interviews, and hires new employee candidates. Manage and store everything from CVs or resumes to the progress on interviewer decisions, candidate names, interview dates, selection result and even interviewers’ feedback and comments.
  • Travel requests: To manage all travel requests and track the budgets utilization.
  • Work progress tracker: Track progress and priorities of works towards delivering the products and services of organization or a team.
  • Content scheduler: Plan, schedule, and manage organization content with this template. Filter items on upcoming due date and get notifications when authors start working on drafts.
  • Gift ideas: Organize gift planning idea for your family & friends in single list and make gift buying and giving activity smooth.
  • Expense tracker: Record and manage all expenses in a single list.

Recipe tracker:  Create virtual recipe book with this recipe tracker. Store links for recipes to try and recipes you like most and organize your favorite recipe with tags.

For more information regarding the list templates, please visit at  List templates in Microsoft 365.

Follow the below steps to create SharePoint from the available list templates.

  • Open the SharePoint site in which you want to create the List from available templates.
  • Click on ‘ + New ‘ available to the left side of Site and select List from the drop-down menu.
image 25
  • Select the desired List from the available templates in ‘Create a list’ window. For example, we are going to select ‘Issue tracker’
image 26
List template
  • Once you click on any template then, it will expand the details of selected template. Click on ‘Use Template’ button in this window.
image 27
List template
  • Provide the name and description of Issue tracker and then click on Create button.
image 28
List name
  • Once, you will click on ‘Create’ button, SharePoint will create a ‘issue tracker’ list with the name and description provided in previous screen.

    Now, SharePoint list is ready with all the features provided in template. You can start using it.
    Please feel free to post your feedback and comment for the article understanding SharePoint List.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!

Recommended Reads

Latest Articles