Plan and Create Custom Lists in SharePoint 2010

When you plan your SharePoint 2010 custom list, identify the columns you need and think about the type of data that each column contains. Planning a custom list is similar to starting a new spreadsheet in Excel or a table in Access. In all cases, a little preplanning saves time in the long run.

What order do you want the columns to be in? What options do you want in your drop-down lists?

Columns can also be called fields (for those used to database terminology). When these columns are used to describe files (usually documents in a document library), they're also referred to as metadata or properties.

You create a custom list using the same method as for creating predefined lists from templates. On the SharePoint Create page, you see a Custom List category. The list categories on the Create page include

  • Custom List: A list with a Title column.

  • Custom List in Datasheet View: A list with a Title column that displays in datasheet or spreadsheet view by default.

  • Import Spreadsheet: A dialog box open that allows you to import a spreadsheet into a SharePoint list.

  • External List: A list that displays information from an external data source, such as a database.

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Follow these steps to create your custom list:

  1. Select one of the four custom templates on the Create page and then enter a name for your list.

    The name you type here is used in the list’s web address. Avoid using spaces in the name when you create the list. You can change the list’s name to a friendlier name after you create it.

  2. Click the Create button.

    SharePoint creates your new custom list and generously adds a single Title column to it.

Choose the Custom List in Datasheet View template when you know users will use the datasheet (or spreadsheet) view as the default. This view is good for bulk-editing and copying/pasting as you would in Excel. In reality, all roads lead to Rome — regardless of which custom list template you choose, creating new columns is the same, and you can easily add or switch the view(s) of the list.

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