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Work with content in lists and libraries

Create and populate lists

SharePoint lists empower you to provision your own repositories of structured information in which list items behave like rows consisting of self-labeled columns. After you’ve provisioned a list, you can create and edit list items in several ways, either one by one by using a form on a separate page, or within the list page in a grid that is similar to a spreadsheet.

Create lists

The first step in creating a new list is to ask yourself, “What kind of information do I want to gather (or display)?” The answer to this question will help you determine which list app to choose. Perhaps you want to start with a list that is close to your end goal and then add, delete, and alter the default columns to provide the solution you are trying to achieve. For example, if you are planning to collect information such as names and addresses, you can choose the Contacts list app to create your initial list, and then modify it. Or perhaps you want to start with a bare-bones list and build it entirely from scratch. In that case, you would likely choose the Custom List app to create your initial list.

When you create a list, a new tile for the list is added to the Site Contents page, with a green “new” icon to the right of the tile. A link to the new list is shown on the Quick Launch, in the Recent section.

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The Site Contents page with a new tile for the new BuyerTasks list and a new BuyerTasks link in the Recent section on the Quick Launch

When you initially create a list in SharePoint, you are establishing two name values: the display name, usually labeled Name or Title; and the URL name, also known as the internal name. The display name is used to populate both names. However, only the display name can be changed after the list is created.

After the list has been created, it is often useful to modify a list’s display name so that it is more descriptive than the initial name that is used in the URL. The revisions to the list name only affect the display name and not the URL name. For example, if the list was named BuyerTasks without a space between Buyer and Tasks, it would be useful to change the display name so that it has a space in it.

To create a list

  1. Display the Your Apps page.

  2. Select the tile for the type of list you want to create, such as Tasks or Contacts. The Adding dialog box opens.

  3. In the Name box, enter a display name for the new list. This box also supplies the value that SharePoint uses for the new list’s URL.

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    Creating a new Tasks list

  5. Select Create.

To change the display name of a list

  1. On the Settings menu, select Site Contents to go to the Site Contents page.

  2. Locate the tile for the list whose display name you want to change, and select the tile to go to the default list view page for the list.

  3. In the upper-left of the page, select the List tab, and then at the right end of the List tab, in the Settings group, select List Settings.

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    Select List to display the List tab

  5. On the Settings page, in the General Settings area, select List name, description and navigation.

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    Selecting List Name, Description And Navigation in the General Settings area in the Settings page for a list

  7. On the General Settings page, in the Name box, replace the initial list name by entering a new display name.

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    The General Settings page, with Common Buyer Tasks entered in the Name box

  9. Select Save to save the change.

Add and edit list items

Creating a SharePoint list automatically generates the pages you need to view the list as a whole, view a list item, add a new list item, and edit an existing list item.

A view defines how the information in a list or library is displayed to the users. Although some lists only have a single view when they are created, SharePoint generates multiple list views for others. For example, when a new Tasks list is created, the following seven list views are generated: All Tasks (the default), Calendar, Completed, Gantt Chart, Late Tasks, My Tasks, and Upcoming. You can navigate to a list default view page from other locations by selecting the list name on the Quick Launch. When you display a list, several links for the views available for that list are shown at the top of the list. You can display more links to list views by selecting the ellipsis to the right of the displayed view links.

You can create and edit list items individually by using a form on a separate page, or you can create and edit items within the list page, in a grid that is similar to working in Excel. The grid is referred to as a datasheet view, also known as a Quick Edit view or just a Quick Edit. It is handy when you need to add or edit multiple list items.

After you have created a list item, the new item is displayed on the list default view page with a green icon to its right.

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A new list item on a Task list page

Occasionally, you might want to attach one or more documents to a list item. You can do so by using the Attach File command on the Items tab. By default, all lists in SharePoint allow attachments. However, if every list item always has one and only one document, reconsider the use of a list and opt for a document library instead.

To add a list item

  1. Go to the list’s default view page and do one of the following:

    • In the body of the page, at the top of the list, select the plus sign.

    • In the body of the page, at the top of the list, select new item. (In a Tasks list, the new item link is displayed as New Task.)

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      The New Task link

    • On the Items tab of the ribbon, select New Item. (In a Tasks list, the Items tab is named Tasks.)

  2. On the list item page, provide the list item details. For example, if you are creating a new task, in the Task Name box, enter the new task name.

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    Creating a new task

  4. Select Save to save the new item and return to the list default view page.

To add list items in a Quick Edit view

  1. Open the list default view page.

  2. In the body of the page, select edit to the right of the new item (or new task) link to display the list as a grid in the Quick Edit view (also known as the datasheet view), with a new empty row at the bottom.

  3. Fill in the details of the new list item in the empty row. For example, for a new task, enter a name in the Task Name column and a date for when the task is due in the Due Date column.

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    Creating a list item in the Quick Edit view

    You can use the empty row at the bottom of the grid to add more list items if you want to.

  5. When you have finished adding items, select Stop at the top of the list to return to the default view.

To edit a list item

  1. On the list default view page, select the list item you want to edit by clicking or tapping in its leftmost column.

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    Selecting a list item

  3. Select Items at the top of the page to display the ribbon. (The actual name of the Items tab depends on the type of list you are working with—for example, it could be called Tasks or Contacts.)

  4. In the Manage group, select Edit Item to open the list item page in edit mode.

  5. Make the changes you want. For example, in a Tasks list, for a completed task, you can enter 100 in the % Complete box to mark the task as completed.

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    Editing a list item

  7. When you have finished making your edits, select Save to return to the list default page.

To attach a document to a list item

  1. Open the list default view page.

  2. In the body of the page, select the list item you want to attach a document to by clicking or tapping in its leftmost column.

  3. On the Items tab, in the Action group, select Attach File to open the Attach File dialog box.

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    Attaching a file

  5. Select Browse to open the Choose File To Upload dialog box.

  6. Navigate to the file you want to attach to the list item, and select Open to return to the Attach File dialog box. The location of the selected document is displayed in the Name box.

  7. Select OK to upload the document and attach it to the list item.