DEV Community

Cover image for Switching to Microsoft Lists, A goodbye to SharePoint Online lists
Jaime López
Jaime López

Posted on • Originally published at

Switching to Microsoft Lists, A goodbye to SharePoint Online lists

Microsoft's recent announcement of new features in Microsoft Lists has made it much easier and simpler to work with lists. Gone are the days of struggling to group fields or filter columns without remembering which ones you chose. And who hasn't lost information and data because columns they created didn't show up?,c_limit,f_webp,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/

The new inline data modification feature allows users to modify data within the list view itself, without having to open a separate form or page. Additionally, a new full-screen form has been introduced in a modal, providing an improved interface for creating and modifying list elements. The functionality for generating data entry forms appropriate for different audiences has also been improved, making it more versatile to create specific lists for specific requirements. These updates have taken a big step forward in enhancing the user experience for managing data in Microsoft Lists.

Finally, the list templates with integrated Power Automate flows allow for much richer use cases, and users no longer have to manually replicate each flow they've implemented.

In summary, this is a big announcement with lots of new features that will make it easier for companies and organizations to implement their requirements, allowing employees to have a powerful tool like Microsoft Lists at their fingertips.

Practical Scenarios for Utilizing Microsoft Lists' New Features

We will delve into two practical use cases of Microsoft Lists for human resources management: Recruitment and Selection Use Case and Complaint Mailbox Use Case. By examining these specific scenarios, we can gain a better understanding of how Microsoft Lists can be effectively utilized to streamline HR processes and improve overall efficiency. These examples will also showcase the versatility of Microsoft Lists, which can be tailored to meet the unique needs of different departments and organizations.

Recruitment and selection use case

This text describes how Microsoft Lists can be used to manage the selection process for job applicants. The process usually starts with the candidate submitting their CV to the company with the open position. Many companies have a form on their website where candidates can enter personal information and attach their CV.

Microsoft Lists - An example of views, filters, edition, and co-creation

The text suggests that Microsoft Lists can be a useful tool for managing this process. However, certain factors need to be considered, such as external access to the company and the visibility of other candidates' data. These elements can be configured through the options available in the tenant for sharing with external users and then with the list's own configurations.

The innovation is in the customization of the application form for candidates. Microsoft Lists offers the feature to design different forms, one for external users and another for internal employees, to streamline the collection of specific data, such as personal information, work experience, and qualifications, with tailored fields (columns), logos, colors, and other design elements that align with the organization's brand and needs. This customization capability can improve the user experience for applicants and recruiters, making it easier to gather relevant information for each hiring process.

Complaint mailbox use case

Creating a complaint mailbox just got a whole lot easier with Microsoft Lists. Like the previous case, creating a list where employees can add the information they consider relevant, track it by the responsible party, and reach a final conclusion is much simpler now.

In addition to the list's configuration, let's imagine a step-by-step process to track the complaint that the employee wants to submit. The implementation of a Power Automate that reflects all these types of steps will be associated with the list. Moreover, we can create a form that starts the process and determines its typology. We can also create more forms for each of the flow steps: review, approval, more detail, etc.

Finally, the list can be saved as a list template that allows any team, department, or area to manage their own complaint mailboxes.

So, is SharePoint Online way to die?

SharePoint Online is a great tool aimed at facilitating the management of a company's documentation and information. However, when it comes to managing content, employees must perform a higher-level abstraction task to determine where to place their need, that is, in which SharePoint site should they create lists, libraries, documents, etc. As we can see, complexity is increased without taking any action yet.

This is where Microsoft Lists helps improve the user experience. Microsoft Lists doesn't require any additional structure to be located in. Lists can be created on-the-fly, quickly and with a rich user experience.

Microsoft Lists - Showing the power of forms

If we want to keep comparing similar features, let's look at the way information is managed. With the introduction of forms in a modal, the ability to select which columns we want to display in the form, and create several forms according to the different audiences that access the list, Microsoft Lists has a clear advantage over SharePoint Online, which still does not allow any of these functionalities (or, at least, I don't know if they will be included as well).

To be fair, we have to say that Microsoft Lists is based on SharePoint Online. We can't forget that it is a child born from the existing lists in SharePoint Online. And, we must not forget that Microsoft Lists is fully compatible with SharePoint Online sites, meaning that the lists we create in Microsoft Lists can live in SharePoint Online sites.

Microsoft Lists created in the "My Lists" container live in your personal site. This personal site is still a SharePoint Online site, so technically, all the lists created in Microsoft Lists live within a SharePoint Online site.

It seems clear that the weight that SharePoint Online has in managing data and information will be shifting towards Microsoft Lists. It is undeniable that the set of features, improvements, and incorporations in Microsoft Lists is much greater than those indicated for SharePoint Online. Therefore, it can be understood that Microsoft is betting on Microsoft Lists as the main tool for employees to manage their data.

To wrap up

Microsoft Lists appeared a couple of years ago, causing a small disruption in SharePoint Online, taking data management out of it. Thanks to its ability to emulate or mimic the functionalities of SharePoint lists without the need to create a site collection, it improves the user experience by avoiding more technical elements that don't make sense for employees.

On the other hand, SharePoint Online sees its scope reduced due to the functionalities provided in Microsoft Lists. We can infer how Microsoft is betting on the latter, leaving SharePoint as a typical document manager (with possible lists to categorize and classify documents). Also, it seems that Microsoft is betting that SharePoint be a powerful web content manager thanks to the incorporation of Copilot and other elements such as videos.

To conclude, I think we should follow Microsoft's lead and bet on the use of Microsoft Lists. And leave complex solutions with site collections, sites, etc. behind, which only complicate employees' activities and tasks. Let's also think of SharePoint as the tool for storing documents and web content, with richer functionalities.


Don't forget to share the article with your friends and colleagues if you find it interesting, click on the heart if you like it, or click on the comments to share what you think of the article, if you would add more, or if you want to clarify any of them.

Top comments (0)