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Microsoft Lists: What it is and 6 features to track business data

Let's talk about Microsoft Lists, the app that helps you and your team organize their work most fluidly and efficiently possible.

You'll learn how to use it, what permissions you can apply, the key features, and other interesting facts and hints to help you better understand the platform's benefits.

Microsoft Lists, the evolution of SharePoint lists

Microsoft Lists is a new app in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem.

It's never been easier to organize your work and collaborate with others on your intranet or within your Teams groups.

Users can now create new lists within the same team or add existing lists from another SharePoint site to which they have access.

Microsoft List was created as an evolution of SharePoint intranet lists, which are widely used by businesses to organize and track internal information. It helps you distribute tasks in intuitive, intelligent, and flexible lists.

This way, you'll have more control over your daily tasks and will always be in touch with your team because you'll be working on the same priorities.

With the Lists app, you can:

  • create lists for the work routine
  • keep track of resources and events
  • manage your inventory
  • insert chats, groups, and calendars.

These lists are displayed on the SharePoint home page, which compiles all your favorite and recently visited pages into a single page. The page layouts are very similar.

You can find the home Lists by going to the lists section of Office 365. Additionally, by displaying your most recent and favorite sites in the foreground, you will be able to see a list of them. Each view is one-of-a-kind and tailored to your preferences.

Lists can be found on SharePoint, Teams, and OneDrive for Business, among other places. Microsoft Lists is a feature of the Teams desktop, web, and mobile clients.


Microsoft Lists: working in a team is easier

People who work in groups frequently use Microsoft Lists.

You can collaborate within your group with lists that use flexible and intuitive views like grids, tabs, and calendars, thanks to this app.

You can also refine each list by adding new columns, defining the choices to be placed in drop-down menus, editing custom views, and sharing links to ensure that MS Lists works best for you and your team.

Lists will not only help you keep track of information, but they will also allow each item to speak for itself in a clear and visual manner.

In a single integrated experience, materials and conversations are kept side by side. The team maintains constant synchronization even when faced with minor changes.

What is is the ready-to-use corporate intranet, designed to reduce costs and implementation times, thus creating a collaborative and modern digital work environment:

  • Initial price of 3,650 €/year for a complete intranet
  • 50+ applications, including advanced search, document management system, push notifications via Teams, personal profile, and FAQ pages
  • 100% integrated with SharePoint Online and Microsoft 365


How to use Microsoft Lists

Microsoft Lists is simple to use. Microsoft Lists is a centralized platform for viewing and managing all your individual and group lists.

You'll find all your favorites and most recent ones, as well as ones you've shared directly and those shared with you through a Teams group.

When creating each list, you can choose from four predefined views or four main views: list, grid, gallery, and calendar.

When creating a list, the grid is the first page you see.

They primarily consist of rows and columns that can be reordered and configured as desired. When you need to edit the information in a list quickly, the grid is the best option.

The list is similar to the grid, but it lacks the ability to edit.

The gallery, on the other hand, is ideal for highlighting lists that include images.

When the information in the lists includes dates, the best way to see everything is to use the calendar view.

You can also choose the views that best suit your needs, and thanks to the lists you've created, you can easily track the progress of your activities. Finally, you can change an element's background color: orange indicates the status is "Under review," while green indicates the status is "Approved."

The background, font color, and icons change dynamically when they meet certain criteria.



6 Microsoft Lists examples

Let's take a look at 6 Microsoft Lists examples of how to use the platform.


Use ready-made templates on Microsoft Lists

If you don't have time to create these lists from scratch, don't worry. You can take advantage of ready-made list templates that comply with the organization you belong to.

In fact, on the SharePoint intranet in the Microsoft List, tailor-made models have been designed for specific use cases such as the insertion of new hires, problem monitoring, resource management, itinerary travel management, and much more.

With one click, you can start common scenarios with structure, modules, and pre-configured features.

Here are some examples.

  • Problem Management Template: You can track problems and fix them.
  • Event Itinerary Template: You can organize all the details of the events.
  • Patients Model: You can record patient needs and status for healthcare teams to monitor and coordinate care activities.
  • Loans Model: you can track the status of loan applications.

These templates come with a predefined list structure, form layout, and formatting options for list view and details to allow users to use them quickly.

To confirm that you've chosen the most suitable model, the app first lets you access a preview of what the list will look like, along with some examples of data.


You can use all the new formatting items, views, and more to better represent your project information. Once you've chosen your template, whatever it is, you can get back to work.

You can always use customizable settings, rules, and smart alerts to keep everyone in the loop.

To save time, new lists can be created from existing ones while maintaining structure and formatting, or data from Excel tables can be imported to generate them immediately.


Once your list is ready, where do you save it?

You can save a list to any SharePoint site where you have member access or save it to OneDrive for Business as a personal list.

Your new list will open in full-screen mode to make any changes easier. The URL shows exactly where your list is stored.

The standard SharePoint list toolbar will appear, allowing you to add a single item, quickly edit it, and send it to Power Platform.

Share information created in Microsoft Lists

Whether the elements of the lists you've created and saved are short or long, complex or simple, it's critical to collaborate and benefit from it.

It is possible to share personal and team lists owned by members of the team.

You can share a full list with editing permissions or send it with read-only permissions. If you don't want to share them all, you can choose which elements you want to share and then request a password to gain access to them.

You can also choose whether to allow them to be edited and set an expiration date. Other members can add comments or individual items to the list after the lists have been shared.


App permissions

Let's take a look at List permissions.

The same settings apply to SharePoint as to Microsoft Lists. As a result, lists inherit permissions from the site to which they belong by default. As previously stated, these permissions allow you to choose which actions users can perform, such as whether they can create or edit lists.

On Manage App, you have the option of restricting what users can do on Lists in some cases. If one member of a team, for example, changes the default list view, it affects all team members.

You can restrict list views to only the team owner or specific team members using limitation management.


Enable or disable Lists in your organization

Lists is enabled by default for all Teams users in the organization. However, you can choose to disable or enable the app on the Manage Apps page in the Microsoft Teams admin center.

Here are the only two steps you should follow:

  1. In the left panel of the Microsoft Teams admin center, go to Teams apps > Manage apps.
  2. Choose one of the following:
    • To turn off List for your organization, search for the app, select it and click Lock.
  • To enable List for your organization, search for the List app, select it and click Allow.


The interactions of Lists: SharePoint, Teams, and Planner

Lists interact with SharePoint.

Whenever you fill in a directory, you will view it in the quick start of the homepage – same website. You can also add lists to a SharePoint page as a web part.

In addition to SharePoint, Lists has another great advantage: its integration with Microsoft Teams. You can add a list as a tab to your Team channel, so you have quick access to all the same information, whether you're using List, SharePoint, or Teams.

Just click + to open the tab library and add a new instance of the Lists app tab to a channel to get started.

Are you familiar with Planner? It's the Microsoft 365 app, which aids in work planning. The activities you report can be integrated into the lists, ensuring that you always have complete planning.

The transition from one platform to the next is smooth and seamless.

The goal of Microsoft 365 is to provide users with a unified digital experience in which all apps interact with one another to give them more control over their work.

6 features of Microsoft Lists

1. Content strategy for social media

To organize and manage social media content scheduling, use the Content Scheduler template in lists. For example, you can include all the images you'll be posting, as well as the expiration date, the date you'll be posting, and more.


2. Create a digital access sheet

You can make an access sheet with lists to save visitor information, an image of their ID, and other information. In a few ways, this can cut down on the time it takes to manage logins and notifications:

  • When a visitor leaves, you can automatically notify your agent at the front gate so they can check their vehicle.
  • Save visitor data so that it doesn't have to be collected again on subsequent visits.
  • Make use of a simple cloud-based registry.


3. Ticket tracker for customers

Another useful feature of Microsoft Lists is the ability to convert it into a light CRM program for tracking customer tickets using a built-in model.



Assign the responsible customer service agent, include a description of the problem or question, and prioritize and track the entire process.


4. Management of a project

Let's say you need to keep track of a project's progress but don't need an expensive and complicated project management application. In that case, Lists can easily handle yet another workflow.

Add tasks and deadlines, receive notifications when a task is marked as "completed" or "problem," and use the calendar view to see the entire project timeline.



5. Device resource management

You can easily track corporate devices and important related data. Include all these details in your resource list to save time and eliminate the need to spend hours looking up warranty information or the last service date.



Instead of scrolling down a list of spreadsheet names, a visual grid view makes it even easier to find the items you need at a glance.


6. Onboarding a new employee or supplier

Lists' onboarding model allows you to keep track of onboarding activities for employees and suppliers. By adding a notification rule, it automatically notifies the party in charge of the next activity.

When a "confidentiality agreement" item is marked as "signed," Lists can notify the HR department that the employee's account access to the cloud has been granted.

Let's summarize it all. In the table below, you'll find everything you need to know about Microsoft Lists:


Microsoft Lists: What you need to know


Microsoft Lists Description
What is Microsoft Lists Microsoft Lists is a new app in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem designed to help organize work and collaborate efficiently, evolved from SharePoint intranet lists.
How to use Microsoft Lists Centralized platform for managing individual and group lists, accessible from SharePoint, Teams, and OneDrive for Business, offering various views like list, grid, gallery, and calendar.
Permissions affecting the app Lists inherit permissions from SharePoint sites by default, with options to manage permissions for individual lists, including restricting views and actions.
6 key features you can use at work 1. Ready-made templates for common scenarios
2. Sharing options for personal and team lists
3. Customizable settings, rules, and smart alerts
4. Importing data from Excel tables
5. Integration with Microsoft Teams and SharePoint
6. Smooth transition from Planner to work planning.
Microsoft Lists, the Evolution of SharePoint lists Microsoft Lists builds on the functionality of SharePoint intranet lists, providing a more intuitive and flexible way to organize and track business information.

Do you want a complete, ready-to-use intranet?

"Intranet-in-a-box" is the complete service for your company:

  • We offer you a branded intranet already integrated with Microsoft 365 and Viva.
  • We go beyond the limits of a standard corporate site with our customizable features.
  • We update all components to the latest Microsoft standards.

Simplify internal communication and digitize your business with minimal investment.


Giuseppe Marchi


Microsoft MVP for SharePoint and Microsoft 365 since 2010.

Giuseppe is the founder of and one of the leading experts in Italy in all matters related to Microsoft 365. For years, he has been assisting companies in creating their digital workplace environment on the Microsoft cloud, focusing on people's experience.

Faq about Microsoft Lists

What is Microsoft Lists?

Microsoft Lists is a new Microsoft 365 suite app designed to streamline organization and collaboration.

Where can I access Microsoft Lists?

Microsoft Lists can be accessed from various platforms, including SharePoint, Teams, and OneDrive for Business. Users can create, view, and manage lists directly within these applications.

Is Microsoft Lists available for all Microsoft 365 users?

Yes, Microsoft Lists is available to all Microsoft 365 users by default. However, administrators can enable or disable the app for their organization through the Microsoft Teams admin center.

What is Microsoft Lists used for?

Microsoft Lists is primarily used for organizing and tracking various types of information within a team or organization. It helps users create lists for tasks, resources, events, inventory, and more, providing a centralized collaboration and workflow management platform.

Why is Microsoft Lists better than Excel?

While Excel is a powerful tool for data analysis and calculations, Microsoft Lists offers several advantages for collaborative work and task management. Lists provides a more structured and organized approach to managing data, with customizable views, sharing options, and integration with other Microsoft 365 applications like Teams and SharePoint. Additionally, Lists offers ready-made templates and the ability to track changes and updates more effectively than Excel.

Is Microsoft Lists like Asana?

While both Microsoft Lists and Asana are used for task management and collaboration, they have different features and capabilities. Asana is a dedicated project management tool that offers more advanced project planning and tracking features, including timelines, dependencies, and workload management. On the other hand, Microsoft Lists focuses on providing a flexible platform for organizing various types of information, with customizable lists, views, and integration with other Microsoft 365 applications.

Is Microsoft Lists available on desktop?

Yes, Microsoft Lists is available on desktop as part of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Users can access Lists through the web browser on their desktop computers, the Microsoft Teams desktop app, and SharePoint sites. Additionally, the Microsoft Lists mobile app allows users to manage their lists from anywhere.

What is the advantage of Microsoft Lists?

The advantage of Microsoft Lists lies in its ability to provide a centralized and customizable platform for organizing, tracking, and collaborating on various types of information within a team or organization. Some key advantages include:

  • Flexible customization: Users can create custom lists tailored to their needs and preferences, with options to define column types, create custom views, and apply formatting.
  • Seamless integration: Lists seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft 365 applications such as Teams and SharePoint, allowing easy sharing and collaboration across different platforms.
  • Ready-made templates: Lists offers templates for common scenarios, enabling users to start tasks and workflows quickly with pre-configured features.
  • Enhanced collaboration: Lists facilitates team collaboration by providing intuitive views like grids, tabs, and calendars, allowing team members to work efficiently on projects and tasks.
  • Accessibility: Lists is available on desktop and mobile devices, providing users with flexibility to access and manage their lists from anywhere.

What are the limitations of MS Lists?

While Microsoft Lists offers many advantages, it also has some limitations that users should be aware of:

  • Limited advanced features: Compared to dedicated project management tools like Asana or Trello, Microsoft Lists may lack some advanced project planning and tracking features such as timelines, dependencies, and workload management.
  • Complexity for large datasets: Managing large datasets or complex projects in Microsoft Lists may become cumbersome, as it may not offer the same scalability and performance as specialized database systems or project management software.
  • Dependency on Microsoft ecosystem: Since Microsoft Lists is part of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, users may encounter limitations in interoperability with non-Microsoft platforms or applications.
  • Learning curve: While Microsoft Lists is relatively easy to use, users may still need time to familiarize themselves with its features and functionalities, especially if they are new to the Microsoft 365 ecosystem.
  • Licensing requirements: Depending on the subscription plan or licensing agreement with Microsoft, access to Microsoft Lists may be subject to licensing requirements. Users should have the licenses to access and use Lists features.

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