What’s Next After SharePoint Lists? – Microsoft Lists


To-do lists have always been a part of Microsoft, in SharePoint or the independent software Microsoft to Do. In May 2020, Microsoft launched Microsoft Lists (MS List) – an evolution of SharePoint Lists. The app falls under the Office 365 subscription and helps employees along with managers track projects without worrying about permissions.   

Accessing MS Lists 

The first step needed to try out this new Microsoft application is to navigate to Lists application within office 365. Here are a set of steps to help you find your way there: 

  • Type “portal.office.com” in the browser URL. 
  • Click on waffle menu at the extreme right and then click on the “Lists” icon as shown in the image. 

Accessing MS Lists 

  • You will be redirected to the lists app. Click on “New list”

New list


Features of MS Lists

Microsoft has revamped lists to make this tool more powerful than legacy SharePoint lists. Below are a few Microsoft Lists features that you may find useful as well as instructions and details on how to utilize these new features. 

1. Create MS List separately or as part of an existing SharePoint Site  

While creating a new MS List, it is possible to associate the created MS List with an existing SharePoint site. The list can also be created separately.

Create MS List separately or as part of an existing SharePoint Site


As shown in the image, the “Travel Request” list can be created separately or associated with either “ComfyCushion” or with the “Communication site” sites 

2. Mark MS Lists as Favorite 

Previously, SharePoint Lists did not permit users to mark a list under ‘favorites.’ The new and improved SharePoint Lists offer this functionality. To mark a list as a favorite, the user simply needs to  

click on the Star Icon at the top right of the MS List as is shown in the image.

Star Icon

The favorite marked lists will be shown at the very top as shown in the example below: 

Favorites | Travel Request

3. Add Icon and color MS Lists 

In MS Lists, we can now differentiate between different lists by adding icons and colors to allow you to identify the list more easily visually you are looking at. See the example shown below: 

Add Icon and color MS Lists 

The icon and color associated with this SP List are shown in the extreme left. 

The icon and color associated with this SP List are shown in the extreme left

The icon and color associated with a list is also shown in the homepage of MS Lists. 

homepage of MS Lists

4. Integrating MS Lists with other software  

MS Lists offers complete integration with PowerApps, Power Automate, PowerBI , and Teams similarly to SharePoint Lists.
The image below shows an integration of Power Automate and MS Lists

Integrating MS Lists with other software  | Send Email

 i) To integrate a List in Teams, Select the team within your Microsoft Teams app that you want to integrate with and click on the + sign as shown.

click on the + sign as shown

ii) Search for “List” and click on the icon. 

Search for

iii) You can create a new list or add an existing one. In this case, we will add an existing list. 

create a new list or add an existing one

iv) In this step, we will give the URL of the “Bug Report for SharePoint Projects” 

Bug Report for SharePoint Projects

v) As you can see, the MS List has been added and now can be accessed from within Teams. 

the MS List has been added and now can be accessed from within Teams

5. MS Lists App for iOS 
Microsoft has also launched the MS Lists app for iOS (iPhone and iPad) allowing you to access your lists on the go. The app can be easily downloaded from the App Store.  

MS Lists App for iOS 

MS Lists VS Excel VS SharePoint Lists 

At first it might seem that MS Lists serve the same purpose as Excel or SharePoint Lists but there are a lot of differences. For example, different situations and will require different software. To make things simpler, let’s classify which solution is best suited for what scenario:  

Use Microsoft Lists when:

  • The user needs multiple views of the data for multiple different situations.
  • The user needs version control on items in the list.
  • The user requires deep integration with other apps in Office 365 subscription.
  • The user needs strict control and permissions of data in the list.  

Use Excel Spreadsheet when:

  • The user needs large data sets exceeding 5000 items.
  • The user needs to apply complex formulas to the data.
  • The user requires bulk manipulation of data.

Use SharePoint Lists when:

  • The user has at least minimum permissions on the site on which the list is located.

Please note: While SharePoint Lists possess most of the functionality of MS Lists, SP Lists should be used when a List is strictly bound to the SharePoint site. MS Lists on the other hand are meant for information sharing across a wide spectrum while SharePoint Lists are meant for users of the site.  

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While SharePoint Lists and MS Lists have a lot in common, they each have their own purpose and can be used in different ways. Microsoft is working toward releasing MS Lists, which is a standalone tool, while SharePoint Lists are meant to be associated with SharePoint sites and subsites. If you have any questions regarding SharePoint Lists or MS Lists, reach out to us