If you’re using Microsoft 365, managing lists is about to get a whole lot easier. Microsoft recently announced that Microsoft Lists will be available soon. You should see Microsoft Lists (MS Lists) appear in your Microsoft 365 tenant any day now.
Introducing Microsoft Lists to Microsoft 365
If you’re using SharePoint, you’re already familiar with lists – SharePoint uses them for everything. SharePoint task lists are useful for project managers and administrators, and power users can even create their own list apps.
MS Lists builds onto SharePoint lists, but lists are about to get way more powerful and easy to use. If you’ve started to work with Microsoft Planner or To-Do, you have some idea of how lists might be enhanced.
Microsoft Teams Lists
If you’re using Microsoft Teams, but don’t use SharePoint much, the news gets even better. MS Lists will integrate directly with MS Teams. You can add a list as a tab to any channel, just like you add other tabs. Most of the same formatting and features you get in SharePoint will be available in Microsoft Teams.
Mobile Microsoft Lists
Microsoft Lists will also be available on most mobile devices. You’ll be able to access lists within the MS Teams app, or directly via a Microsoft Lists app.
What Can Microsoft Lists Do?
What can Microsoft Lists do? Plenty! Again, if you’ve used SharePoint list, Planner, or To-Do in the past, you have an inkling of what MS Lists can do for you and your team. Here is a short list of capabilities compared to what’s available in MS Lists:
7 Capabilities of Microsoft Lists
1. Formatting and Conditional Formatting: If you’ve played with SharePoint list formatting options, the Microsoft List formatting will look familiar. But you’ll also be able to format individual items (e.g., color-coding field names, using a gauge to display a value, embedding images, etc.).
2. Share: You’ll be able to share lists just like you share documents, allowing others to view-only or co-edit your lists.
3. Templates: You can create custom lists, but you will also have several templates to choose from as a starting point. Once you select a template, you’ll be able to modify it for your needs.
4. Commenting: Commenting on list items will also be supported so that multiple people can contribute to a discussion about a topic in a list.
5. Calendars: You’ll be able to review your lists as a calendar (I’m hoping this will be visible in modern SharePoint sites to allow better calendar formatting).
6. Rules and Alerts: You’ll be able to set up flexible and straightforward rules to alert individuals when items are added, changed, deleted, and more.
7. Advanced Automation: If you need to go even deeper, MS Lists will be integrated with the PowerPlatform to customize automation, forms, and more.
4 Practical Ways to Use Microsoft Lists
What are some practical ways you can use lists? For now, let’s assume you’re already doing project planning and individual task management in solutions like To-Do and Planner. But think about all those other lists that you are tracking on paper, in OneNote, Excel, and everywhere else. Lists like:
1. Issue Tracking: Every team that has regular meetings has an issue tracking list. Issue tracking in MS Lists will be a great way to manage a list of open issues, take discussion notes, provide status reports, and more.
2. Event Itineraries: Microsoft Lists also includes an excellent template for event itineraries.
3. Asset Management: Every business has assets that it wants to keep track of like laptops, computers, service equipment, and many other items are on this list. MS Lists is the perfect solution for organized asset management.
4. Action Items: Action items is a bit of a grey area, but most companies I work with don’t have a single corporate standard for tracking tasks. Some individuals are still on paper, others are using Outlook, and some have made the jump to To-Do. But they still need to agree to action items in meetings, and then check the status of those items in follow-up meetings.
A shared list of action items is a great way for project managers to manage team tasks. Plus, each team member can move things to their task lists (and you may even be able to use Power Automate to automatically move tasks assigned to you to your To-Do list!)