SharePoint Custom Lists: What They Are and Why You Need Them

The most powerful, yet most underused SharePoint tool is the custom list. Custom lists have never gotten the spotlight because most organizations never look past the most obvious use of SharePoint, which is document storage and management.

So what is a custom list? It is a browser-based spreadsheet with incredible functionality above and beyond what you can get with an Excel workbook or Access table. And, custom lists are simple enough that you don’t need a developer to build them.

Let’s say you are responsible for tracking reservations for your city’s shelter houses and other facilities. You need to be able to quickly reference:

  • Who has what facility reserved
  • The status of each reservation (reserved, paid, key returned, etc.)
  • What keys have not been returned
  • Facility status (or what open dates remain for each facility)

Additionally, you’d like for all that information to be available to park employees on their mobile devices as they’re out and about, far from their office computers.

Building a SharePoint custom list takes a few more keystrokes and steps than an Excel spreadsheet, but that extra effort is highly rewarded with the following functionality that is above and beyond what Excel or Access can do.

That additional functionality includes the following and more:

  • New reservations get entered into a web form, rather than a row in a spreadsheet
  • Complete data entry can be guaranteed with required fields
  • Notices can be optionally emailed to employees when certain conditions are met (such as when keys have not been returned after two days)
  • Calendar views can be set up for each facility or all facilities together
  • All rental information is available on mobile devices with one tap
  • The list can be integrated into the workgroup's Teams site for simplicity
  • And, the most useful functionality…a rental dashboard that brings it all together in one handy web page:

If you want to know more about custom lists and how they can radically improve your group's information processes, contact us for a no-obligation consultation.

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