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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

What Is a List?

A SharePoint list is a container for information, similar to a very simple database or spreadsheet. Using a list is the most common way to manage information in a SharePoint site.

In a list, data is gathered in rows, and each row is known as a list item. A list can have multiple columns—also known as properties, fields, or metadata. So a list item is a row with data in those columns.

For example, a list of contacts (shown in Figure 1.7) may have the following columns:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Company
  • Phone
Figure 1.7

Figure 1.7 A contacts list with sample data.

These columns may have the following list items:

  • First Name: John
  • Last Name: Doe
  • Company: Extelligent Design
  • Phone: 1800-000-000

Lists can be used in many cases. For example, you might use lists for links, tasks, discussions, announcements, or events. In SharePoint, users can create lists and columns. Lists can be used for almost anything that can be described by a group of columns.

The information in lists can be displayed on pages in a SharePoint site. For example, if the site manager wants to display a list of links on the site, that manager can add a web part (See "What are Web Parts?" later in this chapter) that shows that list, as detailed in Chapter 9, "Authoring Pages."

Different lists can have different security settings. For example, list managers can define who is allowed to add items to a list, who is allowed to edit items, who is allowed to read the items, and so on. Similarly, each list item can have its own security settings, so different list items can be visible to different people. For example, an item that is a link to a restricted site can have security settings that prevent users who don't have access to that site from seeing it.

In some lists, you can attach files to list items—very much like attachments in e-mail. For example, in a contacts list, you could attach to each contact a picture and a resume. Or in a list of tasks, you might attach documentation of what needs to be done to the task.

A list can hold different types of content, as explained later in this chapter, in the section "What Is a Content Type?"

For information on how to interact with lists, see Chapters 6, "Creating and Managing Files, List Items, and Forms in SharePoint," and 7, "Creating Lists and Document Libraries."

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