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  • Writer's pictureGavin Jones

How To Make Microsoft Lists More Useful

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

If you're struggling to make Microsoft Lists actually useful, then this is the place for you! ๐Ÿ‘

In this tutorial, we take a look at using Microsoft Lists in SharePoint (and some of the limitations in Teams) and how to make it more useful with some tips and tricks on notifications using automation, custom views and creating rules.

This is the second in a three-part series in using Microsoft Lists for Task Management, if you have not seen part 1 yet, then go watch that first and/or part 3

- If you're struggling to make Microsoft lists actually useful then this is the place for you. We're going to have a look at how to make list into a task or project management tool. So have a look at how to notify people when they are assigned a task, how to change a views. So they only see their tasks and then how to use power automate to do a couple of things that's missing. So one being reminders, reminding you of upcoming tasks and two being recurrence. So if you've got a task that you need to do on a schedule, once you've completed it, it'll create another one, say monthly or quarterly. So watch until the end for that information. And remember to hit the subscribe button and the bell icon, to get notified. Every time a new video comes out from me, got new videos on teams and Microsoft 365 coming out every Tuesday, but why bother listening to me? I'm founder of 'MeeTime'. We now help organizations with modern workplace transformations with Microsoft teams and Microsoft 365, formerly a transformation Manager for a Fortune 500 Company. I saved employees hours per week, per person in time savings from it. The approach that we recommend, if you're interested in doing that few organization and stick around to the end for more information about how to get in touch. Okay. So why are we even looking at making a to-do list or project management app in lists? Why don't you just use something else? So if you've not seen the previous video on all of the project management apps and task management apps that are in the Microsoft 365 suite, then go ahead and watch that first as a bit of background. And that might explain why we're looking to use lists to be a task manager at all. But briefly a planner is usually the go-to place. If you need to do shared tasks or some sort of project management, but plan has got no recurrence of tasks. If you've got something that you want to keep on going then plan, I can't really help you right now. To do has got recurrence, but it's got no custom fields. So you're literally just stuck with a list of tasks rather than having a, you know, what you might have in Excel. If you've created that already a big long table of all the fields that you want to keep track of to do, can't do that for you, at least in a visual sense, if you've got it in Excel, doesn't really have any notifications. And if you try and do some automation on Excel, at least I have found in the past that the automation sort of locks itself out off the sheet. Well, admittedly, it has been a while since I tried to do some automations on Excel using power automate and then lists is go all of the stuff that I just mentioned.

So the ability to have it look how you want broadly speaking in terms of a table view, but without changing some settings and without some power automate it, doesn't notify people. When you assign them a task, it doesn't have any reminders of a task coming up and it doesn't have any recurrence, but those are relatively easy things that we can quickly sort out, or once you've done it, you can then just reuse those automations. So that's what we're gonna have a look at right now. Okay. So here we are in list, and this is one that I made for a client, and before it's starts out like this. Because, this is how she had already set out something that she had in Excel. She using to keep track of documents that need to be reviewed on a sir guidance. She wants to track that the team was updating those documents and storing them in the right location. And so that we use this list with a couple of tweaks to make the happens. So sort of a task to update a document, which is why some of the things and names definite, how you might name them, but the gist is the same. You can create this, this to be any sort of a task lists. We'll put it management tool. So we've got ID and title, title I've renamed document name, because like I said, it was a list health things to keep track of documents. I guess there's some basic things that we need to make it into a task manager. So we need an assigned to column and that's just a person column. So when you come into to add your column, you're just going to click person. And then I named it assigned to his personal group. And importantly, when we come on to the automations, I struggled when I allowed multiple people to be selected. So if you leave that off, everything that we're going to show you is going to work. If you turn that on, I had not been able to find any documentation to make that work, but I am not power automate expert. So if you are, then you know how to make that work, then let me know in the comments below link to files. So I did a hyperlink column. So again, if you want to add that in is add in, and then she is hyperlink, create them in the column. So I called it link to file apps. So you can put a hyperlink in to another document library or wherever you're storing that document. There is an attachments, but in lists by default. So if you click on the actual list item, there's always attachments by default. But again, we don't want to be moving stuff around. We don't actually attach it to the list. We just want to hyperlinks.

So we keep something in the same place and we've still got, all the version history and everything in the right place. So you don't links to file base. but having the things you need to make the list work as a task list are obviously assigned to, if you needs to know who's doing the task and the due date about when you want them to have completed it. For if you want something to do with recurrence of, she needs to know how often that is going to occur. So when I work with this client, we either needed to do monthly, quarterly or semi-annually, and that is there just a choice column. And you can add to those choices or one of as well, without any recurrence still, or that's just adding a choice column. So again, to add a choice column, you just come in, pick a choice, and then you got these little tablet, things, whatever they're called colored bubbles, where you can then enter your choice. So that's where you'd put in the monthly, et cetera. Don't want people to add values manually because we're using for automations. So we don't want it to miss type anything or out of the column that we haven't put in the automations. So that's all there status we want open or closed. So we know whether someone's done that task or not open, closed, ongoing or incomplete was the things we have there. I would just say just how apron all closed F unless you were really want to know and get people to update. If it's ongoing. And we've got some conditional formatting to make some of the dates show up before overdue, but it's starting to feel out a bit more like, you know, we can sort of manage the project. Now we know, what needs to be done, when it needs to be done by and who's doing it and the list starting to look, okay. So most of this video is just to go through how to make it some additional functionality to make it more useful. First thing we want to probably do is change the view.

So we can create a new view, which we want to do as a lists. And I'll just call it a due in 30 days, two so would it got on? Creator, you noticed that it hasn't done anything. It's just made that name. So then what we want to do is move some filters around, or we can either do that on the table itself and then go and save that view. Or we can edit, the current view and then jump into the old view of SharePoint. Not really sure why this is still around, because it is a bit jarring, but it looks a bit odd. But basically then the reason we want to jump into this bit is so we can do a little bit of not code, but so you need to know what's type in. So we want to show items in this view only when the following is true, when the assigned two is equal to, and then you can see what you typed to that, but some square brackets with me in it. And that's going to show you just things that are assigned to you. And when the shoe date is less than or equal to square brackets today, plus thirty, because in this instance we want it. we want to know stuff that was coming up in the next month, but you can change that time to whatever you want to see. If it's more fast moving, you might just want the next seven days say, and we only want stuff that we've still outstanding. So when color status is not equal to closed, let me just type in closed. So I wanna make sure that scroll away down and click. Okay. And then we just get things that are assigned to us, that are still open and Jew in the next 30 days or less. So it's still showing up ones that are overdue, which is what we want to see. So that viewers can be really easy to use. We can set that the default view if we wanted to set current view as default. And that's because we put me in that section, whoever logs in is just going to see their own tasks as the default view with stuff they still need to do. So it's cutting down that list. We've still got the history of everything that happened before. we can enter some conditional formatting on the date, but I'm not going to go through that because that's relatively easy to probably get another video, to see a conditional formatting quite quickly.

So while I go through is the rules and the power automations to make this really work as a task manager. So in automate, this is only shows up in the web app. I believe in teams, the automation button isn't there right now. And we are just going to click on manage rules for now, so that I've already set these up. So, what we want to do is notify someone when we've created an item and assign that to them. And then also we need to think about, well, if we've changed the assignment, we need to notify the new person that's been assigned as well. So we need two rules. So if you click into this one, we can see relatively easy in the rules, but of lists. So it says when the new item is created, send an email to, and then we're going to pick, assigned to. So how we got to that to create a new rule. When a new item is created, a new item is created, send email to enter name or email address, we just pick, assigned to that's how we created the first rule. And then when assigned to changes, send emails to assigned to. So where we, how we created that one was create rule when a column changes and when the assigned two changes send the email to assign to. So they were notifying both when something's new created and when something has changed, that's all in lists. Some things might be hidden. He might not realize, but outside to make it relatively more useful than just a list with being able to, you know, notify people in the middle science stuff. Hi, This is editing GAF and this will run quite long. So split it into two parts. First part is all to do with lists. Second part do with power automate. So if you're interested in the power automations bit and watch this video next, it might not be out yet, depending on when you're watching this one. So is that it will be a link in the description below and card. And if it's knocked out yet, then subscribe, hit the bell icon it notified every time it comes out. If you liked this video, please click this thumbs up free leave, or it helps support the channel the algorithm. If you really liked it, consider buy me a beer. Using the link in the description below really helps pull the channel and keep free content coming out on YouTube. I just want you to say fall and hopefully we'll see you in the next part.

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