Introducing Microsoft Lists: Track Information and Manage Processes

SharePoint-powered Lists help track information and manage processes.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner and a firm that has built our reputation on being SharePoint experts, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing Microsoft’s investment in making SharePoint even more useful to users in the Modern Workplace.

So far, our team is impressed with Microsoft Lists and it’s potential. As an early adopter of Microsoft Planner, we love applications within Microsoft 365 that enable team members to track information and manage processes using a simple interface that quickly reflects what has been done, what needs to be done, and what may be overdue.

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Creating a List

Lists comes ready to use and are simple to customize. Microsoft allows you to create a new list, import from Excel, generate a list based on a previously created list or even use a template that can be used for a common information tracking scenarios.

Screenshot of the create a list screen in Microsoft Lists.
It is simple to create a new list in Microsoft Lists.

Once you create a new list, a data table is created. All the schema and formatting are ready to go! You can add and update the list items accordingly and share your list with other users. Now, you can manage a process or a project with better visibility and in a more collaborative way. When sharing your list with more people, you can extend specific permissions to users (Read, Read/Edit).

SharePoint-Like Lists

SharePoint enthusiasts will recognize that Lists is creating the equivalent of a SharePoint List. This new and bright interface might distract you from the fact that SharePoint is powering this user friendly and intuitive application. In addition, unlike a traditional SharePoint list, you have the ability to view list items as cards rather than in the traditional rows/columns format.

Screenshot of a list in Microsoft Lists
A list view with conditional formatting applied.

The above screenshot comes from a great introductory video hosted by Microsoft Program Manager @Miceile Barrett that was released by Microsoft

As you can see, an event itinerary is being managed in Lists with information about sessions at the June Conference. Details about each list item can be viewed and comments can be added by those that are invited to view the list.

What we like about Microsoft Lists

Here are a few of the things we like about Microsoft Lists.

Rules and Automation:

Automatically notify people when due dates are approaching, when new items are created, information in a specific list item is modified, etc. Rules are helpful in keeping the rest of your team notified without having to send “one-off” e-mails. You can rely on Lists and the preset rules to keep your project on track.

Screenshot of rules in Microsoft Lists.
Rules can automate processes and notify key people or the entire group.

Integration with Microsoft Teams: 

Everything about lists works inside of Microsoft Teams from start to finish. This enables organizations to stay within Teams to communicate and collaborate. There isn’t a need to leverage an application outside of Teams to manage a project. Also, every item in a list can have it’sown connected conversation around it.

Screenshot of a user accessing Lists with the Microsoft Teams app.
Access Lists from within Microsoft Teams.
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Conditional Formatting:

Allows you to view specific lists items based on specific criteria. This allows you to narrow your views to a subset of list items.


We like that you can use Lists for Project Management and that you can set more  granular user permissions.  Limiting the editing capability allows you to keep views standardized and prevents specific metadata in a list item from being changed.

Auditing capability:

People have asked if you can audit changes made to a project plan in Planner. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible. With Lists, we are hopeful that we can see what data has been changed and by whom.

Lists and SharePoint

We love SharePoint. We want everyone to love it as much as we do but there is a common issue. Users have a wide range of experiences with SharePoint, and frankly, for some, the experience has been less than optimal. In some cases, permissions keep SharePoint too restrictive or users never received proper training.

We recognize that making a jump from managing a project in Excel to SharePoint was sometimes too ambitious. However, we think Microsoft Lists may be the right fit.


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