Working with SharePoint lists, Part 1

The first part of this two-part tutorial guides you through the process of adding a list to your Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services site and then customizing it to include the columns of information that you want. In part 2, you'll also learn about using sorting, filters, and views to display the information just the way you want.

Suppose a team from your company, Contoso Corporation, has an upcoming customer meeting with Trey Research. You and your team have tasks to complete in preparation for that meeting. To keep track of these work items, you'll create a new tasks list on your SharePoint site. You'll then create columns, add items to the list , and learn about display options for items in that list.


After completing this tutorial, you will know how to:

  • Create a list
  • Add columns to a list
  • Add items to a list

Before you begin

To complete this tutorial, you'll need a Windows SharePoint Services site. It's best to try out these tutorials on a site that's not being used by a team. Your system administrator can create one for you or you can create a site beneath your team's current site as described in this section. Make sure you are a member of the Administrator or Web Designer site groups or a site group with the Add and Customize Pages right on the new site.

Create a practice site

 Note   You can create a subsite under the current site if you are a member of the Administrator site group or a member of a site group that has the Create Subsite right. If you are not a member of the Administrator site group, ask the site administrator to create a subsite for you. Make sure you are a member of the Web Designer or Administrator site group in the new subsite.

  1. On the top link bar, click Create.
  2. At the bottom of the page in the Web Pages section, click Sites and Workspaces.
  3. In the Title and Description section, type a name, such as List Tutorial, and a description for the new site.

For example, you can type Working with Lists Practice Site for the description of this site.

  1. In the Web Site Address section, type the Web address (URL).

The first part of the address is provided for you. For the second part, type list-tutorial.

  1. In the Permissions section, click Use same permissions as parent site.
  2. Click Create.
  3. On the Template Selection page, click Team Site, and then click OK.

After the site is created, it appears in your browser.

Add sample users

The site you use will need to have at least three users, including yourself. If you created a new site using the instructions in previous section, you should already have some users to work with from the parent Web site. Using accounts from the parent site won't affect the users in any way — you'll simply be using their names. If you're using a trial hosted site, or an administrator created a site for you without any users, you can add made-up users to the site. To add users to a site that doesn't have at least three users (including yourself), complete the following steps. To complete these steps you must be a member of the Administrator site group or a site group with the Manage Web Site right.

  1. On the top link bar of your SharePoint site, click Site Settings.
  2. On the Site Settings page, in the Administration section, click Manage Users.
  3. On the Manage Users page, click Add Users.
  4. In the Step 1: Choose Users section specify the two users that you want to add, separated by semicolons. You can enter:
    • E-mail addresses (for example,;
    • User names (for example, DOMAIN\user_name)
    • Microsoft Active Directory directory service security group names (for example, DOMAIN\security_group_name)
    • Domain group names (for example, DOMAIN\group_name)
    • Cross-site group names (for example, Accounting)
  5. In the Step 2: Choose Permissions section, select the Reader check box, and then click Next. Because these users won't actually be interacting with this site, there's no need to give them sufficient permissions to make changes.
  6. In the Step 3: Confirm Users section, verify the e-mail addresses, user names, and display names.
  7. In the Step 4: Send E-mail section, clear the Send the following e-mail to let these users know they've been added check box. Because this tutorial is just for practice, you don't want to send e-mail messages to these users.
  8. Click Finish.

In the tutorial, we'll refer to the users you added as User1 and User2.

With the site and users prepared, you're ready to start working with SharePoint lists.

About SharePoint lists

A list in your Web site based on Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services is a collection of information that you share with team members. For example, you can create a sign-up sheet for an event, or you can create a tasks that you need to track.

You can use the lists that come with your site as is, you can change or delete lists that you don't use, and you can create your own lists. Windows SharePoint Services has templates for links, announcements, contacts, events, tasks, and issues lists. When you create your own lists, you can base them on the designs used for the built-in lists, or you can create custom lists from scratch. In this example, you'll create a list based upon the Tasks template.

If you have a Windows SharePoint Services-compatible program such as Microsoft Office Excel 2003 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or later installed, you can create lists that are based on spreadsheets.

Creating a list

After you have access to a site, you're ready to create the list to track your team work items for the upcoming visit. To complete the following steps, the account you use to access the site must be a member of the Administrator or Web Designer site groups or a site group with the Add and Customize Pages right.

  1. In the top link bar, click Create.
  2. On the Create Page page, click Tasks.
  3. In the Name box, type the name for the list: Trey Research Visit Tasks.

New List page

  1. In the Description box, type the description Trey Research visit work items.
  2. In the Navigation section, click Yes to put a link to this list on the Quick Launch bar on the home page.

Quick Launch bar

In a site with only a few lists, it's a good idea to choose Yes here. Having a list on the Quick Launch bar makes it easier for site users to find it. But in sites with many lists and libraries, you'll want to include only the most commonly used lists and libraries or the Quick Launch bar will get too long.

  1. Click Create.

The new tasks list appears in your Web browser. Site users can get to the new list by clicking Documents and Lists on the top link bar, and then clicking the list name in the Lists section. If you chose to add the list to the Quick Launch bar, users can also click the list name there to open it.

Adding a column

When you create a tasks list, it comes with many useful columns for tracking your tasks. Default columns can track priority, status, task ownership, and time constraints. For the upcoming visit to Trey Research, you can add a column to help categorize the tasks as related to either travel planning, legal research, market research, or part of the presentation your team is making. Having this column will also be useful in the sections of these tutorials that cover sorting, filtering, and creating views later.

  1. Go to the tasks list you created in the previous set of steps (if you're not already there): On the top link bar, click Documents and Lists. On the Documents and Lists page, click the name of the tasks list (Trey Research Visit Tasks in this example).
  2. Click Modify settings and columns.
  3. In the Columns section, click Add a new column.
  4. In the Name and Type section, in the Column name box, type Area, and then click Choice (menu to choose from).

Add a Column page

  1. In the Optional Settings for Column section, type Functional area for each work item as the description for the column.
  2. In Require that this column contains information, click Yes.
  3. In the Type each choice on a separate line box, replace the placeholder text with the following entries:

Travel Plans

Legal Research

Market Research


  1. In Display choices using option, click Drop-Down Menu.

In this case, the Radio Buttons option would work as well. The Checkboxes option allows users to choose more than one area; however, that's not a good choice for this exercise, since you will sort on only one category.

  1. In the Allow fill-in choices option, click No.

If you know that the number of categories is going to increase over time, it's good to enable this option. However, in this example each functional area will have an owner assigned, so you want to control which categories appear. You don't want users to create categories that don't have an owner to track.

  1. In Default value, make sure Choice is selected. The first item in the list (Travel Plans, in this case) is the default.
  2. Make sure the Add to default view check box is selected.
  3. At the bottom of the page, click OK.

Now that you've added the Area column, you're ready to add some items to the tasks list. After that's done, you'll be ready to learn about different ways to view the list information.

Adding items to a list

  1. Go to the tasks list you created earlier (If you're not already there): On the top link bar, click Documents and Lists. On the Documents and Lists page, click the name of the tasks list (Trey Research Visit Tasks in this example).
  2. At the top of the list, click New Item.
  3. In the Title box, type Plane tickets.
  4. You don't need to change the default information for the Priority, Status, and % Complete fields.
  5. In the Assigned to field, choose your name.
  6. In the Start Date and Due Date boxes, click the calendar Icon image, select a date, and then select a time in the hour and minutes boxes.
  7. In the Area box, click Travel Plans.
  8. Click Save and Close at the top of the form.

Now to give you some more information to work with, go back and add the items listed in the following table.

 Note   If you don't see the names of the users in the Assigned to option, they may need to visit the site and interact with it, such as by adding an item to a list and then deleting it. This is a common problem when you add users as part of a Windows NT Security group or when a site allows anonymous access.


Assigned to



Plane tickets Yourself 2 Travel Plans
Hotel rooms User1 2 Travel Plans
Patent search User2 1 Legal Research
Contract proposal User2 1 Legal Research
Presentation Yourself 1 Presentation
Focus group User1 2 Market Research

 Tip   You can add, edit, and delete list times much more quickly if you have a Windows SharePoint Services-compatible datasheet program, such as Microsoft Office 2003 Professional, installed. Datasheet programs allow you to work with list entries just as you would in a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Office Excel 2003, without having to switch to a separate program. To use the datasheet program, just click the Edit in Datasheet button at the top of the list.

Suggested next steps

Congratulations on completing Working with SharePoint Lists, Part 1! Now that you have learned the basics of working with lists, learn how to change the way list information is displayed so you can find and manage information more easily by completing the tutorial Working with SharePoint lists, Part 2.

 Note   The example companies, organizations, products, domain names, e-mail addresses, logos, people, places, and events depicted herein are fictitious. No association with any real company, organization, product, domain name, email address, logo, person, places, or events is intended or should be inferred.

Applies to:
Deployment Center 2003, Windows Sharepoint Services 2.0