What is a SharePoint list (Create a List in SharePoint Online)

This SharePoint tutorial explains, what is a SharePoint list. Also, we will see how to create a list in SharePoint 2013/2016 or in SharePoint Online.

Apart from this, we will discuss various options in the SharePoint list like how to enable versioning in the SharePoint list? how to change list name, description, and navigation, etc?.

Here, we will discuss below things:

  • What is a SharePoint List
  • Create SharePoint List (Classic SharePoint Site)
  • How to enable versioning in the SharePoint list
  • How to change list name, description, and navigation, etc?
  • Add/Edit/Delete Items from SharePoint List
  • Restore Deleted SharePoint Items
  • Create a SharePoint Online Modern List
  • Delete a SharePoint List
  • SharePoint lists vs libraries
  • Set up metadata navigation for a list or library
  • SharePoint List Columns
  • SharePoint list views

What is a SharePoint List

Mostly SharePoint stores and displays information in the form of a list. These are similar to databases which we use to store information and provide reports as well.

Organizations use SharePoint list to organize information in SharePoint. SharePoint list is a collection of data.

A list will have 3 components: item, fields, and views.

  • Items: An item is like a record in a database, like customer information.
  • Fields: List fields are like columns in database or metadata. Fields can be customer name, email address, mobile number, etc.
  • Views: List used Views to display the list data.

We can add various columns to a SharePoint list like single line text, multi line text, currency, or choice etc to store different types of information in SharePoint.

SharePoint provides out of box lists templates which you can use to create a list or you can also create your own list. Few templates are like:

SharePoint Out of box List templates

SharePoint provides out of box lists templates which you can use to create a list or you can also create your own list. To see various list templates click on Site Contents from the left navigation and then click on add an app or click on the gear icon and click on Add an app.

sharepoint list tutorial
SharePoint list tutorial

In the Your Apps page you can see various list templates like:

  • Custom List
  • Task
  • Link
  • Announcements
  • Contacts
  • Calendar
  • Discussion Board
  • Promoted Links
  • Tasks
  • Issue Tracking
  • Custom List in Datasheet View
  • External List
  • Survey
  • Import Spreadsheet etc.

We can create a SharePoint list by using the existing above templates or we can create our own list by using the Custom List template.

Create a custom list in SharePoint

By using the Contact list you can store contact information of your employees.

To create a list, click on the gear icon -> Add an app. Then from the list of templates click on Contacts list template.

Then give a name for the list like below and click on the Create button to create the contact list.

sharepoint 2013 lists tutorial
SharePoint 2013 lists tutorial

Once the SharePoint list got created, one link will appear in under the “Recent” tab in the left navigation or you can also see the list got created in the Site Contents page.

Based on the template there are few columns added to the list by default. Also, you can add new columns based on your requirement. Few columns in the Contact list are Last Name, First Name, Company, Business Phone, Home Phone, Email Address, etc. It looks like below:

sharepoint online lists tutorial
SharePoint online lists tutorial

For each list SharePoint by default add few columns for internal reference like Created By, Created, Modified By, Modified, etc.

SharePoint List Settings Page

By using the settings page of the SharePoint list you can make changes to the list. You can access the list settings page from the Ribbon -> List Tab -> List Settings button.

create custom list in sharepoint 2013
create a custom list in SharePoint 2013

There are three sections in the Settings page:
1- General Settings
In this section, you can change the List name, description, navigation, versioning settings, etc.

2- Columns
In this section you can see the columns in the particular list as well as you can create new columns, add existing columns, you can change column ordering, etc.

3- Views
You can see the default view of the list as well as you can create new view by clicking on Create view column.

Change SharePoint List Name, Description and Navigation

Any time you can go to the list settings page to change the title, description and navigation settings. Go to the list settings page then click on “List name, description and navigation” which is under General Settings.

There give a name, description and if you want to show the list in the Quick Launch select the Yes radio button.

working with sharepoint online lists
working with sharepoint online lists

Then Save the page.

Enable Versioning in SharePoint List

To enable versioning settings for the SharePoint list, from the Settings page click on “Version settings” which is under “General Settings”.

Then Item Version History select Yes checkbox for “Create a version each time you edit an item in this list?”

how to create a sharepoint list in office 365
how to create a SharePoint list in office 365

Add Item to SharePoint List

There are two ways we can add an item to a SharePoint list. You can click on the +New Item link or from the ribbon, select ITEMS tab and then New Item -> New Item. Based on the setting the Add new item page will open in a dialog box or in a page.

SharePoint 2013 add item to list
SharePoint 2013 add item to list

To open the forms in a dialog box, go to the list settings page and then click on “Advanced settings” which is under the General Settings section.
In the Advanced Settings page, go to the Dialogs section and click on Yes for “Launch forms in a dialog?” like below:

Add item to SharePoint 2016 list
Add item to SharePoint 2016 list

Edit Item from SharePoint List

To Edit one item from the SharePoint list, select the checkbox and then from Ribbon go to the ITEMS tab and then click on Edit Item as shown in the fig below:

SharePoint 2016 edit item to list
SharePoint 2016 edit item to list

Apart from this, you can edit one item from the ECM menu. Click on … for each item and then click on Edit Item.

what is a sharepoint list
SharePoint 2016 edit item from list

Delete Item from SharePoint List

To Delete one item from the SharePoint list, select the checkbox and then from Ribbon go to ITEMS tab and then click on Edit Item as shown in the fig below, to delete multiple items, select multiple items and click on Delete Item.

Delete items from SharePoint online list
Delete item from SharePoint online list

Apart from this, you can delete one item from the ECM menu. Click on … for each item and then click on Delete Item.

SharePoint Online delete item from list
SharePoint Online delete item from list

Read Delete All items from the SharePoint List using PnP core CSOM Library Programmatically

Restore Deleted SharePoint Items

Whenever the user deletes an item it will go to the Recycle Bin of SharePoint site. In SharePoint 2016 Recycle Bin can be accessible from the left side navigation. To access Recycle Bin click on “Recycle Bin” like below:

restore items from SharePoint list
SharePoint online restore items from SharePoint list

You will be able to see all the deleted items in the Recycle Bin. To restore an item from the Recycle Bin select the item(s) and then click on Restore Selection.

To permanently delete the item(s) click on Delete Selection.
To empty Recycle Bin, click on the Empty Recycle Bin button.

Restore items from SharePoint online list
Restore items from SharePoint online list

Create a SharePoint Online Modern List

If you want to create a custom list, then Modern SharePoint provides an option to create a custom list on one click. Click on New -> List.

create sharepoint online modern list

Then you just need to provide the List Name and Description and click on Create. If you will check Show in site navigation. Then the list will always display on the left navigation.

how to create a sharepoint online modern list

Click on Create to create the SharePoint list.

Here SharePoint does not allow us to choose any of the existing templates to create the list.

If you want to create a list by using any template, then follow the below approach.

From settings or the gear icon, click on Add an app like below:

create modern sharepoint list

Then you can select any template like Announcements.

how to create modern sharepoint list

Give a name for the SharePoint list.

how to create modern sharepoint online list

The SharePoint modern list looks like below:

create modern sharepoint online list

This is how we can create a SharePoint modern list.

Delete a SharePoint List

Now, we will see how to delete a SharePoint list from the browser.

Open the SharePoint list, go to the SharePoint list settings page.

Then from the List Settings page, click on Delete this list option like below:

Delete a SharePoint List

It will ask you a confirmation like below:

Are you sure you want to send this list to the site Recycle Bin?

Click on OK and the SharePoint list will be moved to the recycle bin of the SharePoint site.

SharePoint lists vs libraries

I have written an article on SharePoint lists vs libraries, the difference between the SharePoint list and document libraries. Where should I use the list and where should we go to a document library?

You can check Difference between SharePoint list and Document library

Set up metadata navigation for a list or library

We can easily set up metadata navigation for a list or library in SharePoint. By enabling metadata navigation in the SharePoint list or library, we can easily filter and find content in lists and libraries by using a navigation tree.

You can follow below tutorials on how to set up metadata navigation for a SharePoint list or document library.

SharePoint List Columns

We can add columns to a SharePoint list to store different types of data. To work with SharePoint list columns, follow the below articles:

SharePoint list views

In SharePoint, we can create views to display lists or library data. Whenever you will create a list or library a default view gets created. Apart from this, we can also create custom list views.

You can check the below SharePoint list view tutorials:

I hope this SharePoint tutorial, will be helpful to learn what is a SharePoint list? How to create a custom list app in SharePoint Online/2013/2016.

We also discussed, how to add/edit/delete items from a SharePoint list. How to Set up metadata navigation for a list or library in SharePoint.

Also, we discussed SharePoint list views and columns.

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