While working hard on improving business results, internal processes can get neglected and go their own way. Everyone needs them to be simple, defining yet flexible, easy to follow and effective – just what Microsoft Lists are made to do. That’s why we prepared a meticulous three-part blog series that will help you navigate the world of this smart information tracking app across Microsoft 365. So, let’s dive in.
Microsoft Lists has undergone plenty of evolution since its introduction in August 2020. Back then, the Microsoft list app was designed, in Microsoft’s words, to “help you track information and organize work”.
Nowadays, enabling collaboration has also become an integral part of its feature set. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the Microsoft 365 app currently helps you track, organize and collaborate.
What is Microsoft Lists?
Microsoft Lists was introduced as a new option for people who wanted to create a SharePoint list. Previously, users were using SharePoint lists as a web-based alternative to using Excel. There were options to organize different lists into SharePoint sites, such as Contact Lists, Custom Lists, and Announcement Lists.
Of course, this gave users different solutions for different use cases. Which was fine – apart from it also meant different lists would reside in different sites. The result was often siloed information.
Microsoft Lists is a centralized way of solving the separation that went before.
What is Microsoft Lists used for?
Lists can be used for any data you usually store in SharePoint. Anything from processes, inventories, customer feedback, support tickets, and more.
Think of Microsoft Lists as an option for activities that relate to workflows, outcomes, and situations requiring collaboration. Not so much for task-related activities – these are probably better suited for other Microsoft apps, such as Tasks or Planner.
You can create and share lists using the Microsoft 365 app, Microsoft Teams or SharePoint. Choose to start with a blank page in Microsoft Lists, use an Excel file, or take a readymade shortcut with a template:
Whichever option you choose, you can customize its appearance to match your preferred style or corporate branding.
How Microsoft Lists integrates with SharePoint and OneDrive
Full SharePoint and OneDrive integration means users can access Recent lists from their connected devices. Just like accessing any document from other recently used Microsoft apps. Naturally, this comes with many Microsoft 365 capabilities you’ll know and recognize, such as:
Lists are available in real-time, to support internal and external collaboration across multiple users, devices and regions
Lists can be shared, with or without Microsoft 365 permissions such as edit and read-only
There are options to add expiry dates, set passwords, and configure approval processes
You can also track versions of lists and list items, to know when a value has been changed and by whom
The OneDrive integration also means users can create personal lists, rather than using SharePoint and potentially causing content sprawl
Further control comes from the ability to filter, sort and create custom views
Microsoft Lists is available in any Microsoft 365 or Office 365 plan that includes SharePoint. So it’s easy to integrate with your current M365/O365 activities.
The above-explained features and options will help you understand the capabilities and possible benefits of Microsoft Lists, and hopefully motivate you to implement it as your everyday tool that does what you need without any bells and whistles.
However, if you’d like to maximize its potential to your advantage and learn how to properly create and manage them, read next blogs in this series:
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