What Is Microsoft Lists and What Is It Used For?


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.

Related: Office 365 Is Now Microsoft 365: What It Means for You and Your Family

5. Mobile App

Illustration of iOS mobile apps of Lists 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.

Related: Online Task Management Guide: Tips for Choosing the Right App

3. Content Scheduling

Visualization of the content scheduling template in Lists app

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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

A visual showing the list screen for client or employee onboarding on Lists app


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

An image displaying the Microsoft Lists issue 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.


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