How to Create a SharePoint Task List (Part 4)

January 17, 2013  |  No Comments  |  by Thomas   |  Blog, News

A How-To Guide for New SharePoint Admins

This is a multi-part guide. You are on Part 4: How to Create a SharePoint Site Task List

Click here to go back to Part 3: Adding SharePoint Online Libraries

Click here to return to the beginning Part 1: Creating a Teamsite Homepage


Part 4: How to Create a SharePoint Online Site Task List

——————————— Update to Post ————————————

Note: SharePoint has been updated since this blog was posted! This means that the instructions provided through these links may not apply to the latest version. The same general ideas and concepts still apply, but specific instructions have changed. To learn more about using the most up-to-date version of SharePoint, visit our latest SharePoint Blogs, and check back soon, because we have more How-To’s, Guides, and Articles on the way!

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After the previous sections of this guide you should feel comfortable with creating a homepage and adding web-parts in SharePoint. If you are just joining us now or if you feel new to this material, please review the previous pages. Click here to return to Part 1: Creating a Teamsite Homepage.

This post will elaborate on creating a site in SharePoint and customizing web-parts. The example I will be using is the creation of a site page to organize and create task lists and due dates. This might be great for a new hire or an intern.

I have always been a list-maker, and up until recently I swore by my date book and endless sticky-note lists. Even a die-hard sticky-noter like me, however, can be swayed by the neat organization and layout that SharePoint allows.

The following example was created to be used as a personal task list and tracker for an intern. Don’t feel limited by the example though! The same basic ideas can be extended to create a variety of customized SharePoint site pages.

    Adding Site Pages: Start at your Teamsite home page. On the left of your screen you will see a section entitled “Site Pages.” At the bottom of your list of existing pages there will be an [+ Add New Page] option (boxed in red below). Select this option. You will be prompted to name your new page. Once you have named it, click create. Congratulations, you have a new site page!

    Creating a SharePoint Site Page

    Click Image to Enlarge

      Editing Web-Parts: Now that you have a new SharePoint Site page, decide what you want to do with it. I decided I wanted my page to be dedicated to tasks, to-dos, and general organization. Unfortunately, SharePoint does not have a specific web-part for making tasks lists. You will need to improvise. All of the web-parts can be modified and customized, so choose a web-part that is close in formatting to what you want to create. I will be creating my task list from the announcements web part. How to do this follows.

      1. Turn on editing. If you are joining us in the middle, remember that you need to enable editing to make any changes on the page. Click on the page icon at the top left corner and select edit.
      2. Insert a Web-Part: As you saw in Part 2: Creating Sharepoint Online Web-Parts , once you enable editing an editing section will appear in the ribbon at the top of the screen. Select the Insert tab, and click on “announcements”. You will be prompted to name your web-part. I called mine “Task List.”
      3. Creating a SharePoint Site Tak List 2

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      4. Customizing Web-Parts 1: Create New Columns You now have a web-part that looks very different than what you want. To start customizing the web-part, click anywhere in the web-part. Two new sections will show up in the ribbon. These sections allow you to customize and modify web-parts.
      5. Select the List Tools section, and select List. To make our to-do list, we are going to need some different columns than the ones already in the web-part. Choose “Create Column.”

        Creating Sharepoint Site Task List 3

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        A “Create Columns” box will pop up. This box contains a lot of options about how you want your task list to look and function. Think of the columns that you want in your task list. For each column you want, create an individual new column. The type of information you are putting in each column will have a large impact on which options you select in this box. For example, when I was creating my “completion status” column, I did the following:

        Click Image to Enlarge

        Note: Some columns, like “date modified” and “title”, are already created in SharePoint. You do not need to create these columns. We will add them in later.

        Each column will need to be individually created. When you have entered all of the specifics for the column, press ok. Your web-part will initially look exactly the same as it did before. Don’t panic! In order to apply the new columns you created, go to the “modify view” button directly above the “create columns” button.

        Creating SharePoint Site Task Lists 5

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        Here, you can choose what columns appear and what order they appear in. The columns you have made will appear under the section called “Columns”. Mark the check boxes by them, and select what order you want them to appear in. When you are done select “Ok” at the bottom of the page.

        Creating SharePoint Site Task Lists 6

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        You now have a customized task list! You can practice adding a task by clicking the “Add New Announcement” option at the bottom of your task list. If it is not quite right play around more with modifying the view. Be sure to save any changes.

        Creating SharePoint Site Task Lists 7

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      6. Customizing Web-Parts 2 Creating Views: The “View” is how your web-part shows up. In this example, the current view of our task list is a default list format. The following section walks through changing the view to a calendar view.
      7. Start on your site page. Select the web-part, and make your way to the List Tab under “List Tools” (see discussion above). Select the “List Settings” option in the far right hand corner.

        Creating SharePoint Site Task Lists 8

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        This will take you to a List Settings page. This page is very useful to keep in mind if you want to play around with any of the columns or other general settings. Right now, go to the bottom of the page under the header “Views” and select “Create View.”

        You will need to select the view format you wish to create. Luckily, there is a premade “Calendar view”.

        The “Calendar view” format requires you to name and enter some specifics about that view. I named my calendar “Deadlines.” When you are done, select “Ok” at the bottom of the page.

        Creating SharePoint Site Task Lists 10

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        You now have created a calendar view for your task list! Continue on to the next section to learn how to move between views and set up views simultaneously.

        Click Image to Enlarge

      8. Customizing Web-Parts 3: Moving between Views and Multiple Views: Even though you have created an additional view, your task list still shows up in list format. This is because the default appearance for the web-part is set to the list view.
      9. There are a couple things that you can do about this: you can A) change the view, B) permanently switch the default view or C) create a second web-part so the two views can be seen side-by-side. I will now go through each of these options.

        1. Changing Views: From the site page, click anywhere in the web-part. Once the List Tools section shows up in the ribbon, select “List”. In this ribbon under “Current view” there is a drop down list. Here, you can choose between the default view and other views.
        2. Click Image to Enlarge

        3. Changing Default View: When you are creating a new view, there is a check box you can select that will make the view you are creating the default view. For example, if we had selected this box while creating the calendar view, the task list would appear as a calendar by default.
        4. You can always make a view you have already created a default view by following the steps in section 4, but instead of choosing “Create view” select the name of the view you want to make the default view. The same check box seen bellow will be on the editing page. Select it to set this page as the default page.

          Click Image to Enlarge

        5. Using Two Views Simultaneously: Being the list maker and planner that I am, I wanted to create a way to view both the calendar view and the list view side by side at the same time.
        6. The first step to having both views laid out side by side is creating a copy web-part of your task list. Open editing in the top left corner. In the Editing tools ribbon, go to the “insert” tab. Under the “announcements” button there is a drop down list. This list conveniently shows all of the announcement web-parts you have created for your site. Select the option with the same name as the task list you have been working on.

          Click Image to Enlarge

          Now, you will see two task lists on your site page, one called Task List [1] and the other called Task List [2]. The cool thing about this is you can play with the formatting of one without changing the formatting of the other, but any task you add to one will still show up automatically in the other.

          Select Task List [2] and open editing. Go to the Web Part Tools ribbon. Select the button “Web-Part Properties”. This will open an editing box that lets you change the formatting of this copy of the task list individually.

          The first thing you want to do here is change the selected view to whatever you entitled your calendar view. Changing the selected view will make this copy of the web-part always appear as a calendar. I also decided to retitle this copy of the web-part from “Task List [2]” to “Deadlines”.

          Customized Site Page 14

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          Be sure to select “Ok” at the bottom of the editing box. I have found that sometimes it takes the changes a while to show up, so maybe try saving your changes, going to your Team Site Home, and then returning to your new Site Page.

          Congratulations, you have created the ultimate task list! Any additions you make to the task list itself will automatically appear in the calendar view as well.

          Creating SharePoint Task Lists 15

          Click Image to Enlarge

    Remember, the process that is outlined here can be applied to customizing other SharePoint Online web-parts for your site page. If you get stuck, review the previous blog posts on working with SharePoint and the steps outlined here. Don’t let the premade web-parts limit you, with a little practice you can create site pages that are useful, intuitive, and personalized for you and your coworkers.

    Check back for more ideas, explanations and How-To’s in SharePoint coming soon.


    This is a multi-part guide. You are on Part 4: How to Create a SharePoint Site Task List

    Click here to go back to Part 3: Adding SharePoint Online Libraries

    Click here to return to the beginning Part 1: Creating a Teamsite Homepage


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