Both list and document libraries are important components of SharePoint. We use both SharePoint lists and libraries to store and manage information and documents within an organization. In this tutorial, we will discuss what is the difference between SharePoint list and SharePoint libraries and when to use them. Let us explore, the SharePoint Online list vs document library in detail.
What is SharePoint Online List?
- A SharePoint Online list is a collection of data displayed in rows and columns. It is very similar to a spreadsheet or a simple database. The rows in a list are called list items. The columns can be called fields, properties, or metadata.
- And a SharePoint list is a collection of data that we can share with our team members and users.
- The SharePoint Online list is designed for tracking and managing data.
- In the SharePoint list, we can create many different views, where we can sort, filter, or group by certain metadata fields.
Example: We have created a list for RENA Technologies, a company based out in the United States of America.
Based on the business scenario, the client wanted to store the Semiconductor Transaction list in SharePoint Online. They wanted to store information like:
- Semiconductor Clients
- Semiconductor Products
- Semiconductor Issue Trackers
- Semiconductor Transaction Details
- Semiconductor Employee Details, etc.
For that we have created a custom SharePoint list and created columns like the below:
Now we have learned what is SharePoint Online list.
What is SharePoint Online Document Library?
- A SharePoint Online Document library is a secure place, it allows users to store and share documents across the organization.
- When we create a new SharePoint site, by default document library will be created else we can add additional document libraries to a site as needed.
- The SharePoint document library is an all-in-one file manager that displays and allows users to add files, create folders, download files, move documents, and delete all unwanted material, all sorts of documents, including spreadsheets, images, audio files, text documents, etc.
- In the SharePoint Online Document library, where users can only perform limited actions and view files defined by the group permissions.
- The SharePoint Online Document Library is designed for tracking and managing data such as when it was last modified, and receiving a notification when something has changed.
Example: We have created a document library for RENA Technologies, a company based out in the United States of America.
Based on the business scenario, the client wanted to store the documents in SharePoint Online. They wanted to store Rena’s Semiconductor product documents like:
- Data Sheet EPA
- Semiconductor Brochure
- Datasheet Processing platform
- General Dispatch
- Packaging guidelines.
Also, we can store Rena’s company documents like:
- Code of Conduct
- Non-disclosure agreement
- Rena Certificates
- Data Privacy Statement
For that, we have created a SharePoint Online Document Library.
Now we have learned what is SharePoint Online Document Library.
Differences between SharePoint lists vs document libraries
Here, we will discuss what are the differences between SharePoint Online lists and Document Library.
|SharePoint Online List||SharePoint Online Document Library|
|SharePoint lists do not support check-in and check-out features.||SharePoint Document Libraries support the check-in and check-out features. It is considered one of the most important document management features.|
|There is no maximum limit to adding a document as an attachment to the List item.||Here, we will save the document itself as an item in the library, and without a document, we cannot create an item in a SharePoint Library. We can specify the metadata for the document.|
|The SharePoint list doesn’t support this feature of document management.||In the SharePoint document library, we have the option to store a document as a template in the library’s advanced settings so that when you create an Item/document, instead of a blank document, a templated document will open.|
|In the SharePoint list, you can also set the Item level permission for the users having Read, Create and Edit access to the list. In the List Advance settings, you will find a section for setting Item-level Permissions.||For SharePoint library, we don’t have such a facility available.|
|You can enable only major versioning for a SharePoint list. You can also specify the number of versions to retain. (Versioning is helped to track the changes that are made to a document from when we enable it).||You can set major as well as minor versioning. Also, for both major and minor versioning, you can specify the number of versions to retain. (Versioning is helped to track the changes that are made to a document from when we enable it).|
|The document set is not supported in SharePoint List.||You can have document sets in the library to organize related documents in SharePoint. Add Document Set Content type in the library. Now you can see, you can add a document set in the library. (Document set is a group of related documents that we can manage as a single entity)|
|Example: for RENA technologies, if you want to keep track of your Semiconductor products details such as client details, product details, and transaction details then you should choose a SharePoint list.||Example: for RENA technologies, if you want to keep or share the Semiconductor product’s related documents then you should go for a document library.|
Now we have learned what is the difference between library and list in sharepoint.
Lists and document libraries are two key features of SharePoint Online that provide users with different functionalities and benefits. While lists are best suited for managing structured data and tracking information, document libraries are ideal for storing and managing documents and files.
Understanding the differences between these two and when to use each one can help organizations optimize their use of SharePoint Online and improve their overall productivity and collaboration. Through this tutorial, we have discussed the difference between list and library in sharepoint online.
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Bijay Kumar Sahoo is a highly accomplished professional with over 15 years of experience in the field of SharePoint and related technologies. He has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) more than 9 times, starting from April 2014, for his exceptional contributions to the SharePoint community. Bijay is also a prolific author, having written two books on SharePoint – “Microsoft Power Platform – A Deep Dive” and “SharePoint Online Modern Experience Practical Guide“. His deep insights into SharePoint are also shared on his popular YouTube channel EnjoySharePoint where he teaches SharePoint to a global audience (From various countries like the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, etc). Read more…