SharePoint List and Library Views

SharePoint List and Library Views

Now that we’ve covered the two most common SharePoint apps (Lists & Libraries) and we understand what they do and how they store and organize information into columns, the next thing to understand is how the information stored in the list or library is presented to users: views.

SharePoint uses views to display different information while maintaining the look and feel of an app.  So let’s use our grocery list again, only this time I’ll show you all of the information that list contains.

Store Item Name Section Description Price On Sale Coupon
Market St Bread Bakery Whole Wheat 3.99 No No
Market St Milk Dairy 2% Half-Gallon 2.49 No No
Market St Eggs Cold Foods Cage-free Organic 4.85 No Yes
Market St Dog Food Pet Supplies Purina Healthy Weight 12.69 Yes No
Target Towel Linens Egyptian Cotton 15.99 Yes Yes
Target Pillow Bedding Down Throw 24.99 No No


You might be saying “That isn’t the same list! There are two other columns, and two items have been added!”  Well, you’re partially correct.  Let’s pretend we entered the above list into SharePoint.

I would create a view (it’s really easy) which filters the items in the shopping list by the following criteria:

  • Only Show items from Market Street
  • Only Show the columns
    • Item Name
    • Description
    • Price
    • Coupon

Here’s what the shopping list in SharePoint would look like. The information is still stored in the list, but it’s filtered by certain criteria in the view I created. Pretty simple right?

Item Name Description Price Coupon
Bread Whole Wheat 3.99 No
Milk 2% Half-Gallon 2.49 No
Eggs Cage-free Organic 4.85 Yes
Dog Food Purina Healthy Weight 12.69 No


Views can be used with all libraries, lists, and most apps in SharePoint.  I’ll show some examples and give you an idea of exactly how creating views and switching between them works in the video.

SharePoint Versioning

SharePoint Versioning

I once worked for a client that would save every document with a time and date stamp in a big folder.  They told me they did that to know what the latest, most up-to-date version of it was.  When we implemented SharePoint, he found versioning once of the most useful features available. It also allows you to publish major and minor versions, with comments on each version available, as well as the date and time of the edits, and which user made the edits.  You can also browse the version history and even restore a previous version.  This actually saved my bacon many times when files would get corrupted on a client’s computer.  We simply pulled the last version from the library or their OneDrive and were back in action in seconds!

Which came first, the chicken or the Egg?
When you add a document to a SharePoint library, initially they’re stored in as a standard file.  If you open and edit the file, you’ll write over the original file with the changes. This setup can make keeping track of changes tricky. 

If you go into the libraries settings, you can turn on Versioning.  This will allow you to go into the Document Versions section of the context menu and see what was added, changed, all major and minor versions, as well as revert the document back to a previous version.

It is important to remember that when you enable versioning, each time a document is edited, it will create another copy.  Each version stored is another copy of the document and will count against the site quota (amount of space allowed for the site to use).  So it is best to set the amount of versions kept to be 3-5.  This feature is enabled by default on OneDrive, and is accessible in the context menu on a document one your OneDrive app launcher. 

SharePoint Document Libraries

SharePoint Document Libraries

In SharePoint, a library is a list where each item in the list refers to a file stored in SharePoint. Remember I mentioned that most of the built-in apps in SharePoint are based on the concept of lists?  A library is a list that holds documents as well as columns of information.

Check-in, Check-out—No late fees!
One of SharePoint’s biggest features is file-sharing and collaboration.  Users can work a single document in a library at the same time and SharePoint will keep the file updated as the users input information.  But there could be some situations where a user may need the file to be “off-limits” to others until they have finished working with the document.  SharePoint allows documents in libraries to be checked out to users, and keeps those files locked for editing until they’re checked back in.

Forms, Images, and Documents—Oh my!
Document libraries are the most-commonly used App, but there are other libraries to be mentioned.  Here’s a listing of some other types of libraries:

  • InfoPath Form Library
    Users can build a form with Microsoft InfoPath and then publish the form to a form library.  Other users can fill out the form and a copy will be saved into the form library.
  • Picture Library
    This is similar to a photo album, you can add columns to store more information on the images.
  • Media Library
    These libraries let you save audio and video files in SharePoint.
  • Site Pages
    A library specifically for storing pages from the website.  Created with every site/sub site
  • Site Assets
    This library is created along with the site pages library, and stores images and media that are referenced in the page.

Libraries are simply another kind of list within SharePoint.  I’ll give some examples and explain further in the video for this lesson.

SharePoint Lists

SharePoint Lists

When was the last time you went to the grocery store?  For me it’s a weekly thing.  Anytime I go, I’ve got a shopping list.  It’ll usually look something like this:

Item Name Description Price Coupon
Bread Whole Wheat 3.99 No
Milk 2% Half-Gallon 2.49 No
Eggs Cage-free Organic 4.85 Yes
Dog Food Purina Healthy Weight 12.69 No

Using the grocery list as an example, we can see that there are four columns to this list (Name, Description, Price, and A coupon field).  Each column in the grocery list above captures a specific type of information, whether it’s a small amount of text, a number, or a Yes/No.  The list item details are captured in the columns.  We wouldn’t put a person’s phone number and address into a shopping list– we would put it into a directory, or contact list.

SharePoint lists work exactly the same way. A SharePoint list is a collection of pieces of information– all of which have the same properties.    In the same way that sites are created for the express purpose of achieving a specific goal, lists are a way of capturing related information in a specific-fashion.  SharePoint lists have “Column Types” that specify what information you’re capturing in a list.

Column Types

  • Single line of text
  • Multiple lines of text
  • Choice (menu to choose from)
  • Number (1, 1.0, 100)
  • Currency ($, ¥, €)
  • Date and Time
  • Lookup (information already on the site)
  • Yes/No (check box)
  • Person or Group
  • Hyperlink or Picture
  • Calculated (calculation based on other columns)
  • Task Outcome
  • External Data
  • Managed Metadata

This may seem like a lot of information and you may not recognize some of the terms in the column types list, but, chances are if you don’t know what it is, you probably wont have to use it.  I’ll go into more detail on column types in the video.

Good News…
Here’s some uplifting news, any built-in “App” in SharePoint will be a slight variation on the concept of a list.  So if you understand the concept of a list, you’ll comprehend about 60-80% of what SharePoint does.

Did Someone Say Excel?
Also, lists can also be exported and opened in Microsoft Excel—with a button right on the screen!  Later on, I’ll show you how we can use lists and all of the features within them to make some powerful tools to help you work more efficiently!