Five most awesome features in MS Lists

by Danish Ali Detho | O365 & Power Platform Solution Architect

Microsoft Lists previously known as SharePoint Lists have been widely used for maintaining and storing data in SharePoint and its usage has grown even more ever since it has been integrated into MS Teams. Microsoft has recently introduced some exciting new features in MS Ignite which makes MS Lists a must-use tool for storing and maintaining information for business users and it’s not just limited to O365 as well. In this blog, I will share 5 of the most exciting MS List features which help users achieve greater productivity and collaborate efficiently.

Lightweight Standalone MS Lists app that requires no O365 subscription

Microsoft launched a standalone MS Lists App earlier last year in preview which was available as part of an Office 365/Microsoft 365 subscription which means it was available only to users with a Valid O365 subscription. In order to make it more accessible to a wider audience of users, Microsoft has recently launched a new lightweight version of MS List App which doesn’t require a Microsoft 365 subscription. It is designed for small business and individual use in conjunction with your Microsoft account (MSA) Which means Users without any MS O365 license can still use MS Lists App to create and manage lists. To access this online-only app, users can sign in at Users can still use this lightweight app to create lists from various templates, including Excel files or “a blank slate,” the message continues. And users can “visualize and interact with data in different ways,” such as by showing information in a gallery or tracking work in a calendar using the new Lists app.

Transform an Excel spreadsheet into MS List

Excel has been one of the most widely used tool for storing and maintaining tabular data by business users but one of the pain point was sharing data with other colleagues while keeping it centralized. However, with the emergence of MS Lists the data in excel sheets can be centralized and Microsoft has even made it simpler to create a list out of excel sheets. The modern create list experience includes the choice to import an Excel spreadsheet and data into a newly generated MS List. Table headings in the excel sheet will be converted into list columns and it provides users with the option to use the following list column types:

  • Choice
  • Currency
  • Date and time
  • Multiple lines of text
  • Number
  • Single line of text
  • Title

Reuse and distribute custom  lists easily via Custom Templates

MS Lists comes with a large set of list templates which are designed to make it easier for business users to start creating lists for tracking and maintaining data for commonly used scenarios including events, issues, and travel requests. This gives users a good starting point but they will be making customizations to those lists and eventually would like to use their lists as templates in other departments as well. Now, they can create and deploy custom templates from their lists which can then be used by other users to facilitate the generation of similar lists.

Define Data-driven Rules to set alerts and notifications

Rules provide users the capability to set reminders and send notifications by defining data-change-driven conditions based on changes to list information within Microsoft Teams. Rules can be set by users with edit permissions on the list by selecting the Automate menu and then clicking “Create a rule” in the list command bar near the top of the page. Rules are simple to implement and an effective way of creating alerts with your lists and data without having to use a more advanced tool like Power Automate.

Collaborate with Teammates using Comments and @mentions

In Ignite 2021, Microsoft introduced a new feature in MS Lists for improving team collaboration by providing users the ability to add comments to individual list items, including the ability to @mention someone, to collaborate and share insights within Microsoft Teams. It will allow users to passively communicate and share information with a colleague, and that colleague receives a notification bringing them right to the list item within the context of your comment.


MS Lists is packed with some great features which makes it a great tool for maintaining list-based information and thanks to the launch of the standalone Lists app it is now not only limited to just O365 users. Its presence in O365 and seamless integration with MS Teams make it an ideal tool for collaboration in the Microsoft ecosystem. New features such as generating lists from excel and using custom templates to generate lists improve its adaptability and usability even more. It is safe to say that MS Lists is not just limited to SharePoint anymore and it is slowly becoming a highly effective information management tool on its own.

— Update: 14-03-2023 — found an additional article What Is Microsoft Lists and What Is It Used For? from the website for the keyword microsoft lists features.

Lists is the next-generation Microsoft 365 app that evolved from SharePoint Lists in May 2020. It’s a front-end platform to manage your data or work like ideas, to-do lists, tasks, inventory, manage FAQs, etc. In this article, you will learn about Lists, its features, and its most important use cases.

What Is Microsoft Lists?

You’ll see the Microsoft Lists app in the All apps section of your Microsoft 365 subscription. You can use this app to create lists and collaborate with your team members or clients.

Microsoft Lists offer many advantages over any other to-do list apps. For example, you can track issues, routines, assets, inventory, contacts, and many more using Microsoft Lists.

The tool merges your lists with all Microsoft 365 apps so that you can start creating or working on your data from Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, or Lists home. It also comes with click-to-edit templates that save your time on organizing your tasks or notes.

Novel Features of Microsoft Lists

Lists has all the standard features that you can expect from a to-do list app. For example, timeline view, calendar view, create lists from spreadsheets, add attachments to lists, track activities, etc. However, the followings are the most significant features that distinguish Lists from other similar tools:

1. Manage Rules

You can automate your to-do lists in many ways on this tool. However, such extensive automation only becomes possible because of if/then-style rules in the Lists app.

You can use these rules to automate reminders and notifications to your lists. The owner of the list will also keep control over the rules. If you give list edit access to your collaborators, then they can edit the list rules. Follow these steps to create rules from the Lists home:

  1. Click on Automate drop-down menu and then select Create a rule.
  2. On the screen where you see Notify someone when option, you need to set a condition. For example, you could select A new item is created.
  3. You can edit the rule conditions by clicking each of the underlined words of the sentence.
  4. You can select options like whom to notify, column, column value, etc.
  5. Once done, click on Create to confirm the rule.

2. Lists Collaboration Through Microsoft Teams

Lists adds value to the functionalities of the Microsoft Teams app. You can access, share, or create lists from the Teams app without leaving any ongoing meetings or brainstorming sessions.

In the Teams app, you can change the view of a list in various ways like cards, grids, calendar-view, etc. In addition to adding new columns, creating custom views with filters, and defining choices, you can also modify your plan in order to make data more meaningful for your team.

3. Sharing Lists and Items

Lists offer various modes of data sharing with your teams or clients. Unlike many other to-do list apps, you don’t need to share the entire list with your collaborators.

If you want, you can share the whole list, or give access to selected list items. Moreover, you can customize data protection by enabling read-only, edit-access, password protection, and expiration date to access the list.

4. Integrations

Your lists integrate instantly with other Microsoft 365 apps like Teams, Power Automate, Power Apps, and SharePoint.

You can automate project tasks or workflows using Lists and Power Automate integration. On Lists home, click on Automate drop-down menu and then select Power Automate. If you click on Create a flow, you can access templates for automation of processes and tasks.

5. Mobile App

Lists app is also available on iOS devices like iPhones and iPads. The mobile app offers a smooth experience with a user-friendly UI for creating, editing, and sharing your lists on the go.

Microsoft has also disclosed a plan for the Android version of the Lists app. Android users will soon get to create, share, and edit lists from their mobile devices.

Download: Microsoft Lists for iOS (Free)

Using Microsoft Lists as Information Tracker and Organizer

There are many uses of the Lists app for professional and personal data management. Some of the best use case scenarios are:

1. Assets Management

You can efficiently manage devices, software, and other assets using the asset manager template of the Lists app. You don’t have to invest much time on it, as the template needs a few clicks for customization.

You can get asset status updates like who’s currently using the device, check-in dates, check-out dates, which device is in repair, etc.

2. Manage Projects and Tasks

You can transform your Lists app into a project management tool without shelling out extra money. Add tasks in one list and name the list as per the project name.

You can add if/then-style rules into individual items or tasks on your list. The rules could be words like completed, pending, blocked, to-do task, issue, priority, etc. If there are any edits in the list from your team members, you’ll instantly know the status of tasks.

3. Content Scheduling

Lists app is perfect for social media, website, or blog content posting strategy. You can add the content requirements to one list. Now, set specific rules to enable notifications or reminders.

There is also a content scheduling template in the Lists app. Customize the template by adding images or contents that you want to publish with draft date, due date, post date, etc.

4. Onboarding Clients and Employees

The onboarding checklist template of the Lists app enables you to manage client or employee onboarding. For example, when you mark the Employee Onboarding item on the tasks list as Signed, the tool automatically sends an email containing employee log-in credentials to the new recruit.

Similarly, you can automate client handling processes like onboarding, project files delivery, and billing from the Lists app.

5. Client Ticket Tracker

The issue tracker template converts your lists into an effective client relationship manager. If your client reports any issues related to the product you delivered, list them in the Lists app. Set specific rules for under review, priority, blocked, and resolved in the item status column.

Once there is any status change, you or your clients can get automated email replies about the ticket status.

Efficiently Organize Your Data and Work

The above features and use cases of Microsoft Lists will enable you to utilize your Microsoft 365 subscription in the best possible way. The tool brings a brand new yet flexible way to arrange and track significant tasks or data. Furthermore, task planning is just a walk in the park when you get all ideas, to-do lists, and meeting agendas in one place.

— Update: 19-03-2023 — found an additional article What Is Microsoft Lists and How to Get Started with It? from the website for the keyword microsoft lists features.

Managing any team can be a challenging task, especially if you’re working remotely. The last thing you’d want is your employees not knowing what tasks has been assigned to them, when they are due, etc.

Microsoft Lists is a platform built to help you become a better team leader. It offers an intuitive environment for managing resources, people, or data and comes with a long list of features that let you customize it according to your unique needs. In this article, we will take a look at some of Microsoft Lists’ essential features and use cases and demonstrate how you can get started with it.

What is Microsoft Lists?

Microsoft Lists is a service that is designed to help people and organizations manage their ideas and workflow in a streamlined environment. Boasting various similarities with SharePoint, Microsoft Lists provides a collaborative platform that makes large-scale team-based operations manageable and tangible for everyone in the group.

Microsoft List allows you to save statuses, photos, due dates, links, and more in one place, with a simple design that keeps things tidy and easy to understand for everyone. It provides organizing, managing, and tracking capabilities, to make sure your entire team is on the same page regarding projects. Naturally, it improves corporate communication so that all the team members are better prepared to handle a wide range of business scenarios.


The best thing about Lists is that it’s part of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, which means that all your data is synced between other Microsoft apps like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. In other words, you won’t have to juggle between browser tabs and apps to get to your saved data.

Image credit: Wikimedia

What is Microsoft Lists Used For?

Microsoft Lists is a very versatile platform, and it can be used for a vast number of things that require organizing. It provides multiple templates to manage different types of tasks, and it’s also very customizable. Here are some common use cases:


If you’ve ever used a planner, scheduler, or a to-do list before, you’ll find yourself at home with Microsoft Lists. It employs similar mechanisms to help you segregate and arrange your data in a neat-looking board view. It comes with the option to create multiple lists so that one individual can manage different teams all at the same time on the same platform.

Image source: Pexels

For example, if you run a website, you can use Microsoft Lists to create two separate lists. One of those lists can be used to manage the content team, whereas the other can be used to keep track of the SEO team. This way, you have the ability to organize more than one group of people without even having to switch the window.

Task Management

One of the most popular use cases of this platform is task management, and that’s because with Lists you can do so in a very clean and organized manner. You can easily create new lists for every team and assign tasks to people, set deadlines, attach files, and all the information necessary to complete each task within the platform itself.

Project managers can also keep track of the workflows as they can clearly see the tasks that are pending, ongoing, or finished. The platform offers the option to mark certain tasks as sensitive so that you and your team know what to prioritize first, all this in real-time.

Now since Lists is an online application, multiple team members can collaborate, view, and edit the same task in real-time. It makes it very easy for team members to communicate and boosts their productivity.

Asset Management

Microsoft Lists comes with a dedicated template for managing your company assets. In other words, you can use it to keep track of whatever resources your company has issued to its employees.

For example, if your company has issued multiple devices and software, you can use Microsoft Lists to keep track of check-in and check-out dates, the person currently using the device, if the device is in need of repair, and more.

Human Resource Management

Recruiting new employees and onboarding can be a challenging task if you are dealing with a large volume of applications, especially if they are being reviewed by more than one person. Microsoft Lists comes with very easy-to-set up templates that organize the entire hiring process.

It does that by helping the interviewers keep track of all the applications and their statuses. They allow the whole team or select individuals to be on the same page when it comes to onboarding new people.

Client Ticket Tracker

Another popular use case of the Lists app is using it as a ticket tracker. You can create a public list where your clients or customers can raise a ticket to issue their complaints. These tickets are automatically arranged and assigned to respective teams, which cuts down the communication time and helps you better serve your customers in a faster and more efficient manner.

For example, if you run a SaaS business and use a Google form to communicate with your clients regarding their complaints and queries, you can use Microsoft Lists to make it more efficient. Lists is capable of automatically assigning particular tickets to the teams in charge so that it doesn’t have to be done manually.

Setting up such ticket tracker boards is also very easy, as you can use the pre-existing templates and customize them according to your use case.

How to Get Started with Microsoft Lists

Now that we have discussed all the features and use cases of Microsoft Lists let’s take a look at a few essential things you’ll need to know as you get started out with the app.

1. Create a List

  1. Launch the Microsoft Lists app from your Microsoft 365 app launcher. Or you can also directly access it from
  1. Click on the “New list” button.
  1. Now, click on the “Blank list” option located in the upper-right corner of your screen.

Note: Here, you can choose among multiple pre-set templates to quickly set up your list. For the purpose of this article, we will be using a blank list.

  1. Give your list a name and an optional description. In addition, you can choose to color-code your list and even has a unique icon be assigned to it. Then, click on “Create”.
  1. Now, it’s time to add some fields (known as columns) to your workspace which are used to add more details about the created projects. For example, you can add a “Date and time” column that displays the deadline for the tasks or the “Person” column that displays who this specific task is assigned to etc. To add these columns, click on “Add column” and select the type of column you want to create from the drop-down menu.
  1. Once you’ve added the details, click on “Save”. Repeat the same process to create multiple columns to organize and customize your workspace according to your use case.
  1. Your new columns will now be up on the list.

2. Add Team Members

Now that you have your workspace set up, it’s time to invite your team members.

  1. To add your team members to your list, click on the “Manage access” button on the top right side.
  1. Then click on “Share” to get the link out to your team.
  1. Before sharing the link make sure to give the viewers editing access as well by making sure the “Anyone with the link can edit” option is enabled.
  1. Finally, click on “Copy” and share your link with all your team members to get them on board.

3. Create Tasks and Assign Them

  1. To create a new task, click on “Add new item” in the upper left corner.
  1. Now, go ahead and name your task.
  1. Assign the tasks to your team member by pressing on the filed underneath “Assigned” and selecting the person in question.
  1. Write a description of the task, so that the person knows the requirements.
  1. Don’t forget to set a due date for the task by pressing on the “Enter a date” field.
  1. Add a status to your new task to indicate its progress. Once you have assigned a task to someone, you can change it to “Assigned”. If the person in question has stated work on it, you can tag it as “In Progress”.
  1. Once you’ve made all the changes, click on “Save” at the bottom to proceed.
  1. Your new task will be updated on the homepage of your list, from where all your teammates can view, edit or track its progress.
  1. You can add as many tasks as you want, and they will be displayed on your workspace’s homepage.

4. Track Your Workflow

You and your team members can track the workflow of any task by simply changing its status, as explained above.However, you’ll first need to add a status column to your list in order to be able to do that.

  1. Just click on “Add column” like we showed you above and select the “Choice” type as your input variable.
  1. Once you have added the “Status” column to your list, you and your team members will be able to click on the status box to bring a dropdown list and select from options like Assigned, In Progress or Complete.
  1. With this setup in place, members can select a status to represent the state of their task.
  1. The new status will then be visible on the board.

Apart from statuses, you can also use comments to communicate and keep track of your workflow.

  1. To add comments to your task, click on the task name.
  1. Then, go to the comment field and type in your comment.
  1. Once you’re done typing, click on the arrow to attach your comment to the task card.
  1. Your comment will now be visible to all viewers with access to that card, and your team can reply to it or add their own comments.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is Microsoft Lists different from Sharepoint lists?

How many records can Microsoft Lists handle?

Where are Microsoft Lists stored?

Image credit: Microsoft All screenshots by Ojash Yadav

— Update: 19-03-2023 — found an additional article 12 Most Useful Features of Microsoft Lists from the website for the keyword microsoft lists features.

When working in the business field, you will oftentimes be required to create and maintain several lists. The method you use to process these lists can significantly impact both the accuracy and accessibility of these data sets. Microsoft Lists offers a wonderful solution that is created for the modern work culture. If you still use Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for tracking and recording your data and various list items, then we suggest learning about Microsoft Lists. Here, we will cover the most useful features of Microsoft Lists and how these features can greatly help your organization.

Microsoft Lists was introduced as a part of the Microsoft 365 apps in August 2020. Manual list managing processes involving spreadsheets and other documents are time-consuming and difficult. Microsoft Lists ensures that your organization can manage lists flexibly with enhanced collaboration capabilities and workflow automation.

Here are the most useful features of Microsoft Lists.


  1. Create Lists from Templates
  2. Favorite Your Frequently Used Lists
  3. Create New Lists from Existing Lists
  4. Microsoft Lists iOS App
  5. Add Lists as Channel Tab in Microsoft Teams
  6. Calendar View for Date and Events Tracking
  7. @Mention Your Teammates to Trigger Notifications
  8. Grid View to Help Bulk Actions
  9. Know When Your Lists Are Updated
  10. Conditional Formatting for Enhanced Display of List Items
  11. Share Lists and Collaboration with Others Easily
  12. Create Lists from Excel Documents

1. Create Lists from Templates

The first feature you should learn about is the incredibly easy way to create a new list using available templates. You will have 8 templates to select from to get started with your desired list. Simply choose the template you want and select Use template option to get started with the list creation process.

2. Favorite Your Frequently Used Lists

One easy way to assure quick access to your frequently used lists is by adding them to your Favorite list. Once you set a list as a Favorite, it will be listed at the top of your Lists home page in both your web and mobile versions. To add a list to the Favorite list, click on the star icon next to the list title when you are inside a list.

You can also click on the star icon shown on the list tile while hovering over your lists to do the same. Uncheck the star to remove lists from the Favorite list.

3. Create New Lists from Existing Lists

It is not practical to create every list from scratch and set up all configurations and formatting each time. You can make use of the From existing list option to quickly set up a list by cloning an already existing list. Formatting, columns, list structure, and views will be cloned when you take this step to reduce your effort when creating similar lists.

4. Microsoft Lists iOS App

With the availability of the iOS app, you can now access your lists and lists shared with you from iPhones and iPads while on the move. On the app, you can create, edit, and share lists with others. Microsoft is currently creating an Android version that will be available later this year.

5. Add Lists as Channel Tab in Microsoft Teams

You can add the Lists app as a tab in any of your Microsoft Teams channels. In this way, you can make lists from your older SharePoint sites or other Teams available to your colleagues to collaborate. You can also create a new list using this option.

6. Calendar View for Date and Events Tracking

If you are someone who wants to track dates and events using lists, then we recommend trying out the calendar view to make month-to-month comparisons effectively. You can keep this view along with other standard views too. Creating custom views is also a good option to consider.

7. @Mention Your Teammates to Trigger Notifications

Within Lists, you can @mention your team members and invite their attention to specific factors. This can also be done in the Teams app. When you @mention a contributor in the web app, it will generate a notification email to the user with a link to the list. When it’s done in a Teams List app, it will appear as a Teams notification with a link to the list item.

8. Grid View to Help Bulk Actions

When you have many lists to manage, making a bulk edit becomes tough. With grid view, you can easily make bulk edits in one-go. If desired, you can edit each list item individually. However, if you prefer to edit multiple lists items in instantly, use the grid view.

9. Know When Your Lists Are Updated

You can create a rule on a list to make sure you are notified whenever there is a new update to the list. This is especially helpful when collaborating with more people.

10. Conditional Formatting for Enhanced Display of List Items

11. Share Lists and Collaboration with Others Easily

The best thing about Microsoft Lists is that you can share it easily with desired users and collaborate online with ease. This ensures that regardless of you and your team’s location, you can work together on any list seamlessly.

12. Create Lists from Excel Documents

Prior to the modern software tools available today, we all were using Excel spreadsheets to maintain all kinds of lists. When you transition to a flexible and futuristic solution like Microsoft Lists, you can use an option that allows you to get started from current resources. This specific option allows you to create new lists from Excel files.

We recommend giving all of these features a try, and we are confident that it will help you work more effectively with Microsoft Teams.


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