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October 15, 2020

Microsoft Lists | Features

Since the announcement in May of this year of the arrival of Microsoft Lists, many of us have been intrigued by what this meant.

A first question that could arise to those of us who work in the SharePoint world, “But aren’t these SharePoint lists coming to replace them or what integration they bring? Now that we have a first direct contact with this new tool, we can solve this and other doubts that had us in suspense.

If in a previous entry we commented on what is Microsoft List, in this one I want to tell you what new features we can find on MSFT Lists from a technical point of view and in comparison with our SharePoint lists that we are used to.

We can start by saying that Microsoft Lists are our extracted SharePoint lists as well as an application to expand its use, and can now be used in OneDrive and Microsoft Teams with better integration and richer views.

What new features can we find then with respect to what we already know in SharePoint?

Microsoft Lists app and personal use

We can now find a list management panel independent of SharePoint. This becomes relevant when we talk about the great novelty that Microsoft Lists also brings: the creation of personal lists, i.e. lists on OneDrive. With this application we have a single entry point and management of all our lists, both those belonging to our SharePoint sites and Teams or personal lists on OneDrive.

This administration panel therefore allows you to create a new list by choosing either your personal option or one of our SharePoint sites or Teams:

Enriched views

Taking advantage of the path they have already started with the view and column formats in SharePoint, with Microsoft Lists they continue to work on it and bring more predefined formats that can be easily used. I am referring to those options “Format this column” and “Format this view” that started out allowing JSON code to be schematised to apply styles and which are now incorporating configuration options per interface:



At this point, there are more interesting formats on the way, such as the designer of Tiles, which at the moment we can only achieve using JSON code.

(Image obtained from “A first look at Microsoft Lists”)

Additionally, it will probably allow us to set the default Tiles format for the view, something that has been requested for some time now to ensure that everyone who access to the list sees this style.

Calendar view

Keep an eye on this point because here comes what I consider to be one of the most eagerly awaited developments. If you were resigned to the fact that in SharePoint we don’t have a modern calendar, you can start to discard the idea because it will finally come true with Microsoft Lists.


Although still in roadmap (Feature ID 64167) and therefore asking for some patience, the calendar view will be available for lists allowing some configuration, such as deciding which columns will set the events start and end dates.

Microsoft List template

Microsoft Lists incorporates a series of templates as an starting point to create a list, including very visual columns and view formats. It is especially interesting from the user’s point of view to start using lists making the most of all their capabilities and as a faster way of creation.

It is worth mentioning here that this option, at least for the moment, is only available when creating a list from the Lists application or Teams and not from SharePoint, where we still see our usual form. This is something that is in roadmap, and meanwhile, to create a list in SharePoint with a template we can use the Microsoft Lists panel.

Microsoft Teams List

We can now directly create lists from a Teams tab, where we will see the same panel as in the Microsoft Lists application, which will ultimately create the list on the corresponding SharePoint site.

The fact is that a good integration within Teams, with all its configuration and direct creation options, is a key point in order to facilitate the use of lists in the collaboration area.

And more to come

Whether you have just discovered Microsoft Lists as your new application to explore or if you are already familiar to SharePoint lists, I advise you to keep an eye on this and take a look at the Microsoft roadmap because you will see that they have a lot of work on the way and we will probably find more and more functionalities in a tool that came to stay.

Asun Sánchez
Software Development Engineer