MS-Access / Getting Started

Using a SharePoint List as a Data Source

A SharePoint list is a table where SharePoint stores its data. Just like an Access table, a list contains columns or fields that define the items and rows that house the information. From the Access interface, you can create new lists on a SharePoint server - or you can link to an existing list.

Creating a new SharePoint list

If you want to create a SharePoint list on the server, one that the SharePoint administrators and developers didn't already create, you can do so from within Access. To create a new SharePoint list, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Ribbon's Create tab, and then click the SharePoint Lists command in the Table group.
    Access displays a menu of choices.
    SharePoint provides five types of lists you can create.
    • Contacts: Creates a contacts list when you want to manage information about people that your team works with, such as customers or partners.
    • Tasks: Creates a tasks list when you want to track a group of work items that you or your team needs to complete.
    • Issues: Creates an issues list when you want to manage issues or problems. You can assign, prioritize, and follow the progress of issues from start to finish.
    • Events: Creates an events list when you want a calendar-based view of upcoming meetings, deadlines, and other important events.
    • Custom: Creates a custom list when you want to specify your own columns.
    Each option walks you through the steps of creating a new SharePoint list. If you choose Contacts, the Create New List dialog box for a Contacts list appears.
  2. Specify the location of the SharePoint server in the Specify a Site text box.
    This typically looks like any other URL for an Internet site. You'll need to get this information from your SharePoint administrator or from your SharePoint hosting site. After you specify a site in Access, it appears in the list of Site Addresses when you create and manage these lists.
  3. Specify a name for the list in the Specify a Name for the New List text box.
    If you're creating a catalog of products for your company, you can give the list a name, such as Catalog.
  4. Enter a description for the new list.
    Don't be too wordy, but type something that will be meaningful to others using this new list.
  5. After you enter in all the information for the new list, click OK.
    Access shows a login screen for the SharePoint server you specified in the Create New List dialog box.
  6. Enter the username and password for this SharePoint site, and then click OK.
    If you selected the Open the List when Finished option, the new list appears in the Access window - as well as a linked table in the Navigation pane.

After you create the SharePoint list from Access, you can add and modify data just as you would with any other local or linked table. The changes you make will be accessible to anyone else with access to the SharePoint site.

To make changes to the design of the SharePoint list, right-click the table name in the Navigation pane and choose More options → Modify Columns and Settings from the pop-up menu. The Customize page on the SharePoint site loads in a new browser window in which you use the SharePoint tools to modify the list's structure.

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