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In SharePoint 2010 Essential Training, author Simon Allardice demonstrates the full feature set in SharePoint 2010 and the necessary skills to be a SharePoint site administrator. The course shows how to use SharePoint, create sites and site collections, and plan and design sites and portals. It also covers Office integration, security and permissions, and advanced features such as document management and business intelligence.
The time will certainly come when you're going to look at the available lists, you're either going to use your Site Actions menu and click More Options, or one of the many ways you get to the same window. You'll look at the available lists, and you'll think, okay, this just isn't doing it for me. I need a list to keep track of my ice cream flavors, my vendor's machinery, my DVD titles. Those obviously don't exist in this fairly short predefined setup. However, what you do have is the ability to create a custom list.
Now, you'll see two options for this, Custom List and Custom List in Datasheet View. These are quite similar to each other, as we'll see in a moment. In fact, if you can filter down your list even further to the Blank & Custom, you'll basically see three choices. You can make a custom list in a different view called the Datasheet View, or you can import a spreadsheet. So, if you're storing this data already in an Excel spreadsheet, where the first columns are the titles of the fields that you're storing, you can import that in.
I'm going to go ahead and create a custom list. Let's say I am a corporate video producer and I'm going to create a list of DVD titles. We click Create. It makes me the list that already dumps me into the webpage. The list is actually created. Now, you might be thinking, well, but I didn't tell it what the list was. Well, the way that it really works is when you make a custom list, what SharePoint does is say "oh, I'm just going to make you a really simple list, and you can then change it if you want to." It's made the simplest list imaginable.
If I look at this, I have the ability to add a new item to this list. It says well, all you give me is a title. That's what this list represents. In fact, SharePoint is storing two more pieces of data under the hood. Whenever I add an entry, such as simple title, it's also going to store the fact that I created it, and that I was the person who last modified it. But right now, all we have is the ability to create a title. I want to store more information.
If I'm used to say creating databases in Access or SQLServer or FileMaker or Bento or any of the other things, I'm used to the idea of defining my own columns for data. That's what we do here as well. Two ways of getting to it. As you're beginning to see, there is always several different ways to get to the same place in SharePoint, but with the Ribbon selected, and I want to make sure I'm on the List section of the Ribbon. I'm not affecting just an individual item in the list. I am affecting the entire list itself.
I can either click Create Column, or I can also get to the columns through my List Settings on the right-hand side. I'm going to pick the simple and most direct one, Create Column. It's going to say "what's the column name?" Well, let's say that all our DVDs fall into a category. So, I want a way to store a category. Then it asks me want kind of data is this, what type of information, single line of text, multiple lines of text, a choice, a number, currency, a date and time. Well, let's say we've got a choice.
I'm going to select from three different options. When I select the radio button here that says Choice, what happens is the section further down changes, and says "well, tell me your choices." Well, let's say my corporate videos fall into Industrial, and Managerial, and all sorts of terrible, boring names. Human Resources and Best Practices. I have a few other options here. I can choose to display these choices using a drop-down menu, or radio buttons, or checkboxes.
I can allow people to type in their own choices here. I can say the default is always the first one, and then I'm going to click OK. There is a last little Column Validation, where you can put in some formulas. There is a little bit of help there. I'm not really going to get into that right now. I'm just going to click OK. Then now it says I've got a title, and I'm looking at my list here. It says Title and Category. I can go into the existing ones simply by clicking the link here. It says well, I'm showing this as a ttle and no category. Well, I want to edit it.
Luckily, I do have the Edit Item option here, where I can now select from my drop-down. Now, notice that even though I'd specified Industrial as the default category, SharePoint did not go back and enforce that on any list items I already had created. It won't do that. Those of you who might be used to working with databases, might have a bit more of a formalized idea about what would happen in those instances. I would caution you to not make too many equivalents between a SharePoint list and a database. It's not really the same thing.
SharePoint tends to err on the side of flexibility. Most databases err on the side of enforcing very strict rules, and SharePoint really doesn't. I'm going to create another column here, which will be let's say Date Released. That's going to be-- Date and Time is my only option there, but let's say I don't want Time. Well, that's okay, because with Date and Time selected, the options further down say w"ell, do you want Date Only or Date & Time?" Date Only is just fine. I don't even need a default value.
I'm going to click OK. Then I'll add one more column, which can be Price. That will be of type Currency. With that selected, we get a few more options here, such as a minimum and a maximum value. I can also choose to say this column contains information. There must be a value in it. I can do that on any column. There are options for different countries and so on. Let's just pick the United States, in this case, and click OK.
I can go and edit the existing one, either by clicking the link and then clicking the Edit button. I can check the little checkbox over here. Then move up to my items list and say Edit Item, or I can select from the little drop-down menu and say Edit Item. This is SharePoint. There is always multiple ways to do the same thing. Date Released, I get a nice date picker here, let's say the 14th of May, and price, let's say 99.99. Click Save. That will put the US currency on the front of it, and we have our data start to being filled out here.
If I wanted to do quite a lot of entry on this, one of the things I can do with this list, indeed with most lists, is from the List section of the Ribbon, I can click this option that says Datasheet View. This drops into a more of a kind of Access style, where I can start giving it titles by just very quickly typing in here. It's a quicker way to do mass entry, but it's not so friendly with kind of enforcing a data checking or error messages, that kind of thing.
So, it doesn't tend to be as friendly. But if you have a lot of things to enter at the same time, you'll find Datasheet View is the quicker way to do it. I can just click back into Standard View. Now, you might find for a couple of reasons that you don't get Datasheet View appearing. There can be different reasons why. One might be that you have an out- of-date copy of Office installed. One might be that you have Office which is too up-to-date. As of the recording of this movie, if you have the 64-bit version of Office, SharePoint doesn't want to show the Datasheet View by default, which is little bit annoying, because it's using an ActiveX control under the hood.
And all that geekery you don't have to worry about too much, if you can click the Datasheet View button and just see it. There are very few things in SharePoint 2010 that really rely on some of these weird underlying ActiveX controls, but unfortunately, this is one of them. This Datasheet View is what we'd see if, when I go back to my Lists, and say I want to make a new list. Again, I'm going to filter this right back down, not just filter by list, but filter my Blank & Custom lists. If I was to say I want to make a custom list in Datasheet View, that's essentially what we just saw by shifting our list into Datasheet View.
As it says over here, a blank list is displayed as a spreadsheet in order to allow easy data entry. You still add your own columns the way we just added them with the same options that we just had, no different. Once we start to get a bit more into this, we're also going to start working with views. So, we can start to take a lot of data that we're likely to have and present it in ways that are more useful for us. That's how we create a custom list in SharePoint.
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