SharePoint lists are one of the most flexible and powerful features of SharePoint. And yet its potential is grossly underestimated. One of the prime reasons this happens is because lists are only utilised by IT specialists or people with significant technical knowledge. But in reality, SharePoint lists are not that challenging to master. Almost anyone can deploy and use the lists, from power users to inexperienced users.
Numerous individuals and business organisations have been using SharePoint lists for many years. But the fact that they are not yet widely known or adopted could be one factor that contributes to their marginalisation. Even though SharePoint lists are far from being sleek and modern, when appropriately used, they can offer tremendous value and be a vital component of corporate apps and solutions.
This article will describe what SharePoint lists are and explain their advantages compared to traditional spreadsheets. Read on.
SharePoint Lists vs Excel Spreadsheets
What is a SharePoint list? It functions like an excel table, a spreadsheet, or a database. The lists can contain a wide range of information, including text, numbers, and pictures.
An Excel spreadsheet is frequently used within organisations to manage information frequently updated by several employees and serves as a more significant reference point. Typically, this could be a list of vendors, a list of personnel certified to administer first aid or a list of trade journals to which an organisation subscribes. Although Excel is a fantastic tool that we all use, there are occasions when a SharePoint list offers significantly more significant benefits for storing, managing and visualising data.
Let’s examine eight factors that make SharePoint lists superior to Excel spreadsheets.
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1. A single source of truth
Version Control problems are common when a group of users enter data into a spreadsheet. Users are likely to save local copies of Excel onto their drives even when using the online version of the programme. One person is in charge of entering data into the spreadsheet and sending emails with updated data to the person. This laborious procedure is ineffective, prone to mistakes, and can endanger data security.
A SharePoint list eliminates many of these problems because there is always just one version and one source of truth. The data, after all, is always online. Users can update the information as many times as required without the risk of making duplicate copies or tampering with the information.
2. Set permissions effortlessly
Users across an organisation often sort the data in the spreadsheet and possibly edit it. When there are several users engaged, it might be possible for one person to accidentally delete a cell or make undesirable modifications, thereby inadvertently altering the spreadsheet without anyone noticing it.
One aspect of the issue is that it is impossible to assign different spreadsheet parts with additional permissions – users can either access everything or nothing. With a SharePoint list, you can specify rights for each item and safeguard any formulae or sensitive lists, ensuring you do not lose important data or jeopardise the list’s integrity.
3. Direct users to enter the correct data
By creating a form as a user-friendly interface for data entry, you can encourage and direct users to supply correct information with the help of a SharePoint list. Users can utilise options like explainer text, help options, drop-down lists, validation standards, personalised error messages, and other alternatives rather than simply entering data straight into spreadsheet cells.
While a spreadsheet can offer some of these benefits, it cannot compare to the simplicity of designing a form to aid users and guarantee that you have complete control over the information submitted into the SharePoint list. Here, you can handle complex data gathering procedures online with a level of control that is mostly lost when using a spreadsheet.
4. Improved data integrity
You can maintain data integrity more effectively using a SharePoint list than an Excel spreadsheet due to the mix of rights, forms, targeting, and data validation control sets.
Make an audit trail of every item on the list. Every item in the SharePoint list includes an edit history and a version history.
Version histories can add to the integrity of the information.
5. Microsoft 365 integration
A SharePoint list can seamlessly link with the other Microsoft 365 products in ways that can be more advantageous than simply using Excel. For instance, integrating a SharePoint list with Power BI to feed custom reporting or setting off workflows created in Power Automate depending on data entered into the list is a pretty simple process. It also presents the data in your SharePoint intranet in aesthetically appealing ways.
There is no doubt that creating a SharePoint list is far more straightforward than creating and managing Excel sheets. When finding the right solutions or worrying about complicated data relationships, there is no need to concern yourself. That’s not it; you can copy SharePoint lists from one site to another (e.g. using PnP PowerShell).
7. Good Filtering Capabilities
SharePoint list offers some incredible filtering options. Finding information in a list is quite similar to shopping online because you only need to select the fields you’re looking for in the filters pane. And in case you are wondering, the filter is accessible on custom lists and document libraries.
8. Easily Export Data to Excel
How can I export this to Excel? You can quickly export SharePoint list data using the Out of the Box option if you require it to be available in Excel.
You can effortlessly export Web Components like Contacts, Calendars, Tasks, Custom List, and Discussion Boards to Excel. Document Libraries are stored in SharePoint as lists.
There are many applications for SharePoint lists, many of which include intranets. For instance, a SharePoint list is ideal for updating a frequently changing list of suppliers since it allows multiple functions to enter information and makes the results publicly viewable on the company intranet. The upkeep of a company-wide central catalogue of apps may be another critical use case.
A SharePoint List can also provide:
- Managing a location with a dynamic set of data and where many users regularly add or edit data
- The capability of offering various data views, such as views by division, location, etc.
- The ability of a Power BI dashboard to deliver comprehensive reporting of working patterns
- A check-in form with an approval sequence that requires employees to get permission before visiting the office offers a straightforward framework for managing entry restrictions.
- Having an audit trail and a single source of truth for all this critical data
Here are some fully functional business use cases with a SharePoint list at its core.
Here at Neologix, we love SharePoint. They are easy to use and provide an excellent way to control and present dynamic sets of information that many users frequently update.
They also seamlessly integrate with various Microsoft 365-based apps and solutions to make your life much easier.
If you have any questions or want to discuss how you can use SharePoint lists in your organisation, get in touch!
Our team of experts will be more than happy to assist you and help you redefine the way you do business.