Create a list or library using SharePoint Designer

Lists and libraries are the primary repositories for data in a SharePoint site. Nearly all of your data is stored in a list or in a library. Lists and libraries are most commonly used to store user data such as business documents – but they can also be used to store data used by the site or the application you’re building. Once you create a list or library, you can then create custom views, forms, workflows, and other components of your site, allowing users to interact with the data in the list.

This article describes lists and libraries, the types of lists you can create, and how to create them in Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010.

In this article

Overview of lists in SharePoint Designer

List options in SharePoint Designer

Create a custom list

Create a SharePoint list from a template

Create a SharePoint library

Create an external list

Create a list from a spreadsheet

Next steps

Overview of lists in SharePoint Designer

SharePoint sites use lists and libraries to store the data on the site. List and libraries are most commonly used to store user data, for example, task lists and business documents. They can also be used to store data used by the site or the application you’re building, for example, a product category list used by lookups from other parts of the site.

Sites typically contain a combination of lists and libraries to store user and application data. Your site may contain, for example, an announcements list, a task list, a document library, and one or more custom lists as shown below.

Sample of the types of lists that can be created

As to the type of list, you can create lists, external lists, and libraries. Lists are used to create and manage data, like a task list or a calendar list. External lists contain data that originates from an external data source. Libraries are used to store business documents authored by users, such as Word documents, Excel workbooks, and InfoPath forms.

Once you create a list or library for your site, the first thing you can do is customize the appearance and behavior of the list. For example, you add, modify, and remove list columns, customize the views and forms associated with the list, or design custom workflows for the list.

As you design your solution in SharePoint Designer 2010, your first step will be to create the necessary lists and libraries to store and manage your data.

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List options in SharePoint Designer

When you create a new list or library in SharePoint Designer 2010, you can choose from a number of different types of lists. If you choose a list template, you have several choices of templates to choose from.

Custom List    An empty list with just two columns: Title and Attachments. The list contains a single default view. From here, you can start customizing the list to meet the needs of your solution or its users. Use a list to store user data or application-specific data on your site.

SharePoint List    A list based on a SharePoint list template. The list template contains predefined columns, views, content types, workflows, and more. When creating a SharePoint list, you can choose an Announcements list, a Task list, a Calendar list, and much more. A description of each list template is provided later in this article. Use a list to store user data or application-specific data on your site.

Document Library    A library based on a SharePoint library template, which contains predefined columns, views, content types, workflows, and more. When creating a library, you can choose a Document library, a Slide library, a Picture library, and much more. A description of each library type is provided later in this article. Use a library to store documents, forms, spreadsheets, presentations files, and other types of files on your site.

External List    A list based on an external content type. An external content type uses Business Connectivity Services (BCS) to access existing external data sources and processes. When you create an external list, the required views, forms, custom actions, type of access, and so on are automatically configured based on how the external content type was set up. Use an external list to connect to an external data source and allow users to interact with that data on your site and supported client applications.

Note:  Not all sites are configured to have BCS. To learn whether your site has it, contact your site administrator.

List from Spreadsheet    A list based on an imported Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. When you choose this option, you’re taken to a dialog box in the browser where you specify a new list name and the Excel spreadsheet to import from. Use this option as a convenient way to turn an existing Excel spreadsheet into a SharePoint list without having to manually create the list and copy and paste the contents of the spreadsheet into it.

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Create a custom list

When you create a custom list, a new empty list is created with just two columns – Title and Attachments. The list contains a single default view. Once you create the list, you can add more columns, views, and so on.

Note:  If you want to create a custom list with a datasheet view as the default view, you can choose one of the list templates (see next steps below).

To create a custom list, open your site in SharePoint Designer 2010 and perform the following steps:

  1. In the Navigation pane, click Lists and Libraries.

  2. On the Lists and Libraries tab, in the New group, click Custom List. The Create list or document library dialog box opens.
    Create List or Document Library dialog box

  3. Type a name for the list in the Name field.
    The list name is required. It displays for the list in SharePoint Designer 2010, at the top of the list page in the browser, in the Web address when the list is viewed in the browser, and in navigational elements used by site users to find and open the list.

  4. Type a description for the list in the Description field.
    The description appears at the top of the list, under the name of the list.

  5. Click OK.

The new list appears along with the other lists in the Lists and Libraries gallery.

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Create a SharePoint list from a template

You can use different types of lists, or list templates, that are tailored to a specific purpose. Each list contains pre-defined columns, views, forms, content types, and so on. You can choose a Tasks list, a Contacts list, a Calendar list, and so on. Once you create a list, you can customize any of its settings, including its columns, views, forms, permissions, workflows, and so on.

To create a list based on a SharePoint list template, open your site in SharePoint Designer 2010 and perform the following steps:

  1. In the Navigation pane, click Lists and Libraries.

  2. On the Lists and Libraries tab, in the New group, click SharePoint List.
    SharePoint List dropdown menu

  3. Choose the type of list that you want to create.

    The following table describes the kinds of lists that you can choose.

Kind of list

Description

Announcements   

Create and share news and status changes to your team or a large group in your organization. The Announcements list includes support for text, links, images, and enhanced formatting options.

Calendar   

Manage team meetings, events, schedules, and holidays. The list includes a graphical calendar view that you and others can use to easily view, created, and edit individual or recurring events. Calendars are especially useful when you connect the calendar list to Microsoft Outlook and view alongside other calendars.

Contacts   

Store the names, numbers, email addresses, and more for employees, customers, project contacts, and so on. The list includes the most common fields for contacts. Similar to calendars, you can connect a contact list to Microsoft Outlook, and use Outlook’s Contacts feature to add, edit, and delete contact information, online or offline.

Custom List   

Creates an empty list with just two columns and a single view. See description above for Custom List.

Custom List in Datasheet View   

Creates an empty list, similar to the above, but in addition, it includes a datasheet (or grid) view as the default. Datasheet views let you edit list items in a table format, which is useful for editing large groups of items or copying and pasting items from a spreadsheet or database program.

Discussion Board   

Provides a central place to record and store discussions. The discussion format is similar to that of a newsgroup. If the discussion list is enabled to receive emails, users can email new discussion items to the list rather than creating a discussion item in the list.

Tasks   

Track the status of projects or employees working on projects. With this type of list, you can assign tasks to other users, change the due date, percent complete, and more. Like the other lists, you can connect Microsoft Outlook to a task list, and then take advantage of Outlook’s Tasks features to stay on top of tasks. Task lists are often managed with workflows as well.

Languages and Translators   

Create and organize a list of languages to be used with the Translation Management library and workflow. Use the list to specify the translators for each language as well.

Links   

Create one location to store and share links to your corporate intranet, other SharePoint team sites, partner sites, and sites on the Web. If the links are frequently used, you may consider adding the Links list as a Web Part to other pages on your site.

Project Tasks   

Store information similar to a task list, but in addition, provide a project timeline view of those tasks. This task list includes a Gantt view of the tasks so that you can track the status of each task as it moves toward completion.

Status List   

Display and track the goals of your project. The list includes a set of colored icons to communicate the degree to which the goals have been met.

Survey   

Gather and compile feedback from site visitors, product users, or employees. With a survey list, you can design your questions and answers in several different ways and see an overview of the feedback. View results in SharePoint Server or export the results to a spreadsheet or database program.

Issue Tracking   

Store information about specific issues and track their progress. With an issue tracking list, you can assign issues, categorize them, and relate issues to one another, as you would when tracking customer service problems and solutions.

  1. The Create list or document library dialog box opens.
    Create List or Document Library dialog box

  2. Type a name for the list in the Name field.
    The list name is required. It displays for the list in SharePoint Designer 2010, at the top of the list page in the browser, in the Web address when the list is viewed in the browser, and in navigational elements used by site users to find and open the list.

  3. Type a description for the list in the Description field.
    The description appears at the top of the list, under the name of the list.

  4. Click OK. The new list appears along with the other lists in the Lists and Libraries gallery.

The new list appears along with the other lists in the Lists and Libraries gallery.

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Create a SharePoint library

You can use different types of document libraries, or library templates, tailored to a specific purpose. Each library contains pre-defined columns, views, forms, content types, and so on. You can choose a Document library, a Slide library, a Picture library, and so on. Once you create a library, you can customize any of its settings, including its columns, views, forms, permissions, workflows, and so on.

To create a library based on a SharePoint document library template, open your site in SharePoint Designer 2010 and perform the following steps:

  1. In the Navigation pane, click Lists and Libraries.

  2. On the Lists and Libraries tab, in the New group, click Document Library.
    Document Library Dropdown Menu

  3. Choose the type of library that you want to create.

Kinds of libraries

You can choose from the following libraries.

Kind of library

Description

Asset Library   

Manage and share media assets, like images, audio files, and videos. The library contains properties and views tailored to managing and browsing media files, such as thumbnail views and metadata keywords.

Data Connection Library   

Store Office Data Connection (ODC) files, each containing information about locating, logging on, querying, and accessing external data sources. This type of library helps ensure that business data and reports maintain a consistent set of values and formula results.

Document Library   

Store and manage many file types, including documents and spreadsheets. Other file types can be stored in a document library, though some file types may be blocked for security reasons.

Form Library   

Manage XML-based business forms, such as those created with Microsoft InfoPath 2010. A form library contains a form template that is used for the XML-based forms submitted by users.

Picture Library   

Store and share collections of images. Picture libraries include thumbnail views, slideshows, and edit and download options. Picture libraries are also useful to store images you embed in a wiki or blog.

Process Diagram Library (Metric)   

Store and share diagram process documents, like those created with Microsoft Visio 2010. This library in particular is tailored to measurements in Metric.

Process Diagram Library (US Units)   

Store and share diagram process documents, like those created with Microsoft Visio 2010. This library in particular is tailored to measurements in U.S. Units.

Record Library   

Store and manage your organization's records and important business documents, especially those that adhere to compliance regulations. With this type of library, you can set policies on record storage, specify document routing, and control how long records are retained.

Report Library   

Manage pages, documents, and key performance indicators of metrics and goals. You can create and save reports and dashboard pages. When Excel workbooks are published to this library, they can be easily viewed in the browser.

Slide Library   

Share and manage presentation slides created with presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint. Slide libraries provide features for finding, managing, and reusing slides. You can sort slides, edit them individually, and be notified of which slides have been updated.

Translation Management Library   

Create, store, and manage documents that require translation into multiple languages. Use the sub-folders, views, versioning, and workflow to manage the translation process.

Wiki Page Library   

Create and manage a collection of connected wiki pages. Wikis are used to collaborate with others to document a process or routine information. You can add text, links, tables, pictures, and Web Parts to a wiki page.

  1. The Create list or document library dialog box opens.
    Create List or Document Library dialog box

  2. Type a name for the library in the Name field.
    The library name is required. It displays for the list in SharePoint Designer 2010, at the top of the list page in the browser, in the Web address when the library is viewed in the browser, and in navigational elements used by site users to find and open the library.

  3. Type a description for the library in the Description field.
    The description appears at the top of the library, under the name of the library.

  4. Click OK.

The new library appears along with the other libraries in the Lists and Libraries gallery.

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Create an external list

Important:  Not all sites can support external lists. To see if your site supports external lists, contact your site administrator.

External content types are a component of Business Connectivity Services (BCS), and they’re used to integrate external data into a SharePoint site and supported Microsoft client applications. Each external content type stores the external data connection details, objects used in the business application, methods to create, read, update, or delete, and actions users can take on the objects themselves. You create and configure external content types using SharePoint Designer 2010. Learn more about creating external content types in the See Also section.

Once an external content type is created, you can create external lists from it. External lists look and feel like other SharePoint lists. You can create and customize views, forms, custom actions, workflows, and other associated components with the external list as if it were any other list on your SharePoint site. The functionality of the list depends on how the external content type was configured. As such, you may have different permissions and functionality with each external list.

To create an external list, open your site in SharePoint Designer 2010 and perform the following steps:

  1. In the Navigation pane, click Lists and Libraries.

  2. On the Lists and Libraries tab, in the New group, click External List.

  3. The External Content Types Picker dialog box opens.
    Expternal Content Types Picker dialog box

  4. Select the external content type to use for this external list.

    Note:  If there are no external content types listed, you need to first create them on the External Content Types tab in the Navigation pane. Learn more about external content in the See Also section

  5. Click OK.

  6. The Create External List dialog box opens.
    Create External List dialog box

  7. Type a name for the list in the Name field.
    The external list name is required. It displays for the list in SharePoint Designer 2010, at the top of the list page in the browser, in the Web address when the list is viewed in the browser, and in navigational elements used by site users to find and open the list.

  8. Type a description for the list in the Description field.
    The description appears at the top of the list, under the name of the list.

  9. Click OK to create the external list.

The new external list appears along with the other lists in the Lists and Libraries gallery.

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Create a list from a spreadsheet

If you have an existing spreadsheet that you’re using to manage information, you can quickly and easily turn it into a SharePoint list without manually copying and pasting information. When you create a list this way, the spreadsheet headings become columns in the list, and the rest of the data is imported as list items. Once the list is created, you can customize it like you would any SharePoint list. The spreadsheet you choose must be compatible with SharePoint Foundation, such as Microsoft Office Excel 2010.

To create an external list, open your site in SharePoint Designer 2010 and perform the following steps:

  1. In the Navigation pane, click Lists and Libraries.

  2. On the Lists and Libraries tab, in the New group, click List From Spreadsheet.

  3. This takes you to the Import from Spreadsheet page on the site.
    Upload a spreadsheet to create a list

  4. Type a name for the list in the Name field.
    The list name is required. It displays for the list in SharePoint Designer 2010, at the top of the list page in the browser, in the Web address when the list is viewed in the browser, and in navigational elements used by site users to find and open the list.

  5. Type a description for the list in the Description field.
    The description appears at the top of the list, under the name of the list.

  6. Click Browse to locate the spreadsheet, select it and click Open.

  7. Click Import to import the spreadsheet and create the SharePoint list.

The new list appears along with the other lists in the Lists and Libraries gallery.

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Next steps

Once you create a list or library, you can start customizing it as follows:

  • Change common settings – Use the list settings in SharePoint Designer 2010 to show or hide the list in the Quick Launch, allow attachments, show the New Folder command, and so on.

  • Add, remove, and edit columns – Use columns to structure and organize the data in a list. Each column can be a single line of text, a choice list, a date, and so on. The list templates already include columns for Title, Body, URL, and so on.

  • Associate content types – Use content types to associate additional columns, workflows, policy settings, and more with the list. Content types are a powerful way to manage information in your organization.

  • Customize permissions – Change the permissions for the list so that you manage who can read, add, and delete items in the list.

  • Customize views and forms – Create and customize views and forms for the list. Views are used to display the list in the browser, and forms are used to add, edit, and display individual items in the list. Views and forms together affect how users see and interact with a list.

  • Create list workflows – Create custom workflows based on the list and specifically the individual values of the list columns. The workflow can be set to start when a particular value changes, read data from another list, copy data across lists, send emails to users requesting action, and much more.

  • Add custom actions – Create custom actions to introduce additional functionality to the list. With a custom action, you can add a link or button that takes users to a custom form, a specific web page, or a workflow for the list.

Find links to more information about these tasks in the See Also section.

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