Image: PhotoGranary/Adobe Stock

Whether you need to create a workflow, build and share checklists, coordinate events with coworkers, track and assign issues for resolution, collect assets or other elements, organize dependencies or otherwise compile actionable lists, Microsoft Lists is growing in popularity due to the app’s simple interface and powerful collaboration capabilities. Because the app integrates easily with Power Automate, teams can further extend Lists’ functionality across teams regardless of members’ locations.

SEE: Windows, Linux, and Mac commands everyone needs to know (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Included within Microsoft 365 business and enterprise subscriptions, users can create, share and edit lists using the app’s web-based interface. Mac users will find a new progressive web application version permits working with lists straight from within their Mac desktops, too. Standalone iPhone and iPad versions are also now available for tracking and organizing information and coordinating lists with coworkers.

To install the Microsoft Lists desktop application on a Mac, using a compatible browser (such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge), log in to your Microsoft 365 account, then click the App Launcher icon found toward the top-left corner, then select Lists. The Install Microsoft Lists app window will appear, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Image: Erik Eckel/TechRepublic. The Microsoft Lists macOS desktop app is installed using the Microsoft 365 portal.

Microsoft Lists for the Mac is a progressive web application, meaning the program is an app whose data and operation are typically delivered via the Web using a common web technology, such as HTML. PWAs are designed to provide an independent, standalone experience while creating, editing and storing files on the local Mac.

At the time of this writing, Microsoft’s Lists implementation requires the Mac have an active Internet connection to access existing files stored within Microsoft Lists and create new files, as no Work Offline option was readily available using the Lists PWA on my Mac.

As baked into Microsoft 365 services, Microsoft Lists can be used with numerous other Microsoft solutions. Among the applications with which Lists work are Planner, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI and Teams.

When the Microsoft Lists PWA is installed on a Mac, a corresponding icon is created within Mac Launchpad. However, a standalone app entry isn’t added within the macOS Applications directory. Instead, to open Lists locally on the Mac, users can create new and edit existing Lists files using the Launchpad icon or the App Launcher from within their compatible browser, such as Microsoft Edge, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Image: Erik Eckel/TechRepublic. The Microsoft Lists app can be opened using the local PWA icon or the App Launcher within Microsoft 365.

Once installed, you can create new Lists files by clicking the +New List button located at the top center of the Lists window. Once you click the +New List button, Lists opens the Create a List window, from which you can create a new blank list, create a list from an Excel file or create a list from an existing List file. Alternatively, you can create a new list using one of many pre-prepared templates, as shown within Figure C.

Figure C

Image: Erik Eckel/TechRepublic. Microsoft Lists on a Mac provides a number of pre-prepared templates.

After creating a new entry, Lists will prompt you to enter a name, which is required, for the new list. You can also provide an optional description, an additional step that can better assist you and others locating specific lists, once such file collections inevitably begin growing, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Image: Erik Eckel/TechRepublic. When creating new files within Microsoft Lists, you can provide optional descriptions, specify differentiating colors and even associate different icons with the new entry.

When creating new lists, you can also choose from a variety of colors, not to mention icons, which help differentiate files by category. For example, you might sort files by color for different functions, such as finance, Human Resources, operations and the like, and choose different icons for different purposes.

After using the provided drop-down menu to specify the location where the file should be saved, clicking the Create button creates the new file and saves it within the assigned location. Sharing the list with others is easy: Just click the Share button and enter the names of the users with whom you wish to collaborate.

Clicking the +New button adds a new item to the newly created list. Lists permits adding columns, such as providing yes/no options, specifying date and time, currency, choices and hyperlinks. Users can also add comments, further enhancing collaboration and communication.

With the ability to manage access directly from within a list, change to grid views, including for editing, and create alerts, such as for when items change, Lists is a simple but powerful application Mac users can use to organize and track a variety of elements and functions.

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