New M365 service : Microsoft Lists !

Microsoft Lists

Hello there,

Here is a new post on one of my favorite SharePoint Online feature, becoming progressively a service in itself : Microsoft Lists.

Skip the story to Microsoft Lists features

If you are not familiar with SharePoint Lists, as well as a document library you can add Lists to you site to store information using columns. Pretty much like a little database or an excel file. Such lists enable centralization, follow up and diffusion of the information for a targeted audience. Here is an illustration of a SharePoint List to track projects :

SharePoint Online list

Progressive enhancements

SharePoint List received continuous delivery of new feature in the past two Years. It started with the integration of the Power Platform allowing you to start Power automate flows around elements of you list. This turned lists as a real business database to follow up decision such as requests & approvals.

Here is an illustration of a Power Automate flow to automate actions when someone creates an element in a SharePoint list

Power Apps has also been chosen to take care of customizing the forms, when you create, view or edit and element from the list. SharePoint List can also serve as a database for your Canvas apps, as long as the volumetry of data is not critical ⚡.

Here is an illustration of a SharePoint List form customization

To close the loop, Power Bi is also able to connect to those SharePoint Lists to analyze the data and highlight metrics.

Connecting PowerBi to sharePoint Lists
A dedicated connector to retrieve data from a SharePoint List

But improvements were not only tied to the lists connectivity, the interface also had its share of novelties.

From the old style JsLink formatting, Microsoft provided a stable way to format Views and columns based on list elements values. First came what we now call the advanced column formatting, you can have a look at this article I wrote about the subject. Then came a simplified menu to write conditions and display style based on it :

Column formatting menu SharePoint
Column formatting menu

To a brand new service

Those consistent improvements provided to SharePoint lists drove Microsoft to promote the feature as a whole service : Microsoft Lists.

This decision is not only a Marketing strategy conducted to increase the usage of such storage capability, but a real emancipation with a bunch of new stuff propelling Lists on the middle of the stage.

Microsoft List is a hub :

The first look at Microsoft List is pretty obvious, it is a place where you can access and manage all the list you have access to. It also provides a favorite mechanism to customize what you see:

Microsoft Lists Home page
New list button, Favorites lists, Recent / My lists and additional filters

Microsoft Lists is a storage place

While navigating through the list creation, you will notice that you can create a list in a place called My Lists. Those lists will be accessible from the Home page under My lists, and will be yours, that you can share. The url of those list will be using your OneDrive Url. Here is an illustration :

New list creation Microsoft lists
French Screenshot : Save as > My lists

Microsoft Lists provides great templates

You will also find a list of interesting template that will familiarize yourself with examples on what Microsoft Lists can bring to the table in your day to day work. And also examples of customization leading you progressively to implement Power Automate flow to close the loop ⚡. Here is an illustration of the template selection experience :

Microsoft List Template selection
French template selection experience providing a preview of the list

Microsoft Lists added value in Microsoft Teams

Part of the improvements comes to the Microsoft Teams integration, moving from a SharePoint List app to the Microsoft Lists app.
The main enhancement goes to the ability to start and keep track of a conversation on a List item. Which is great ❤ :

Conversation Microsoft List in Microsoft Teams
By selecting a list item, you will be able to start a conversation on it by clicking on Conversation

What to expect ?

First, this is a great move from Microsoft. Microsoft Lists provides a quick way of centralizing information, with the well-known diffusion mechanisms and great formatting capabilities. Aside from the Power Platform services, this feature will help tons of people to improve and clarify decision making and prioritization.

Already announced, not yet on my Microsoft 365 environment :

#Rules™ !

A Power Automate like feature to manage, not only 😏, notifications on list elements :

Microsoft Lists rules
A sentense builder to configure notifications on list elements

#Adaptive Cards™ !

An integrated designer to build adaptive (actionable dynamic) cards from your list items 💖 :

That’s it for now, I really hope you found some useful information on this post. See you soon in the blog section !

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