How to Set Up A SharePoint List View

Posted by Doug Underhill on 10.31.14
Doug Underhill
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Now that your SharePoint list is set up, you might want the data to look different. Maybe you want to exclude some data or change the filtering options. Creating or modifying a SharePoint list view will get you there. But how?

The first thing you need to do is verify that you have permission to access the settings and change things around. If you are a Team Site Owner or Member, you should have no problem getting in.  If access is denied, you’ll want to ask someone from IT to grant you permission to create and change list views.

A SharePoint list is more or less like a spreadsheet that displays rows and columns of attributes.  It’s the framework through which you organize all the information on your site, most of which can be customized for your needs. For this exercise, we are going to focus on how to create a new view from scratch.

Step 1: Create new View

In “List Settings” you’ll see the attributes, configuration settings, and permissions associated with the list. Scroll down and you’ll see “Content Types” and “Columns,” which shows you meta data that allows you to sort and filter information. At the bottom you’ll see a list of views that have already been created.  Click on “Create View” at the bottom. 

You can also create a new view when you are in the default view.  Click on the ellipses and you’ll get a dropdown that shows you all the available views, and at the bottom of the dropdown you’ll see an option to “Create View.” Give that a click.

Step 2: Choose a “View Type”

You have two options – choose a view type, or create one based on an existing view.  View types are determined by the type of list you want to look at (a plain list, a calendar list, or a documents list). For example, you would use a standard view to look over a plain list, which might be made up of various products.

If you choose “Existing View,” you will modify a view definition that’s already been created.  You simply pick the view and copy it, which takes you back to the settings page where you will customize the view.

If you select “Standard View” it brings you to the “View Settings” page.

Step 3: Name the View

Give the view a name and choose who the “View Audience” will be – personal or public.  Most SharePoint lists are for presenting and sharing information, so more often than not you’ll want “View Audience” to be public.

Step 4: Choose Columns

When you get here you’ll find the same columns checked as those on the default view.  You can customize these columns by checking and unchecking their names. On the right, you’ll see dropdown boxes where you can change the numeric order, which then reorders the appearance of data in the view from left to right.

Step 5: Sort the Items

Select up to two columns and specify how you want them sorted. Percentages, priorities, and report status are all attributes you can use.  If you want to sort the column in any style other than ascending order, you’ll want to change the dropdown option to “Modified” and make your selection. It’s important to note you can’t sort the same column in two ways.  Multi-value columns, like “related items” or “multiple lines,” cannot be sorted.

Step 6: Filter the View

This is where true customization begins. You can choose to show all the items in the list, which is the default setting, or you can narrow the view to display only certain information.  Select “Show items only when the following is true,” and “Modified” in the first dropdown. Now you can filter the data by date ranges or other numeric values, using greater-than, less than, and equal-to. For example, by choosing “is greater than” in the drop down, and putting square brackets around the word “Today” in the field below, along with “-30,” you can see data was created in the last 30 days.

Step 7: Group the Data

You can further customize the view by “grouping” it.  This allows you to look at chunks of data that all share one common characteristic.  Let’s say you have your columns filtered by priority – low, normal, or high. You can collapse or expand one value, like “high,” so you are only looking at high priority items. 

Step 8: Set Totals, Style, and Limit

In this last step you can dress up the view a bit and add a few finishing touches. 

You can set totals and tally information, by counting, averaging, or setting a minimum or maximum.  You can also set totals for groups, for instance, counting the number of reports that share a “normal” priority grouping. This can be useful when your view includes a lot of info. 

“Style” options give you choices on how the data is presented.  This is purely for aesthetic purposes.  You can also include “Folders” in the view, although we usually discourage clients from using folders unless the view is meant for two very different user groups and you want to hide certain data from one or the other. 

Lastly, you can control how many items are viewable, using “Item Limit.” Setting an item limit tells the view how much data you want to see before you hit the bottom and click the “More” tag to see the rest.

SharePoint list views take a little time getting used to, but you’ll find it an invaluable tool for molding data presentation. Start today by creating or modifying a view you use often, and experiment with different filtering and sorting options.  You’ll be a pro in no time!


Topics: SharePoint, Information Architecture

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