Intro to the ‘Visualize the list’ Power BI feature for SharePoint lists (Recording from Baltimore SharePoint User Group)

I had the honor of presenting one of my favorite Microsoft 365 features for the Baltimore SharePoint User Group’s regular meeting last week. You may have seen this particular feature on your lists (individual or in SharePoint): the ability to visualize a list or library’s data using the Power BI service.

Visualize the list menu option for lists and libraries | Click to enlarge

This newer feature of convenient Power BI integration for lists gives you an automatic report based on your list’s data. We explored how to create a report, customize it, and save it back to the list for future one-click access.

Automatically generated report | Click to enlarge

Even if you haven’t used Power BI (yet), this presentation was made for all experience levels and will provide a proper introduction. In this one-hour session, I specifically covered:

  • How to create an automatic report/dashboard from your list in just a few clicks
  • How to edit and publish the auto-generated report for others to use
  • Site lists vs my lists
  • Limitations of the feature
  • Licensing requirements

Watch the recording on YouTube, or embedded below.

Additional resources

How to do conditional view formatting in SharePoint Online (Video)

Creating conditional view formatting for your list and library views helps your colleagues find what’s important and more easily consume the information presented to them in the list or library. Learn how to configure conditional view formatting in this lesson.

This video is part of my FREE 30+ lesson self-paced online training course called Collaboration in Microsoft 365 (OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams). Enroll today at for the full learning experience including lesson discussions, quizzes, exams, and a completion certificate.

You can also watch the entire course as a YouTube playlist as well (just without the course discussions, quizzes, exam, and certificate). Be sure to subscribe to support my channel and for easy access to future content.

How to use columns and views in SharePoint Online lists and libraries (Video)

Views are a great way to create multiple “reports” or ways of viewing the data contained in a SharePoint list or library. For example, you may want one view for managers, and another view of the same data targeted towards everyday users. In this lesson, you’ll learn about columns and how they’re used to create specific views.

This video is part of my FREE 30+ lesson self-paced online training course called Collaboration in Microsoft 365 (OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams). Enroll today at for the full learning experience including lesson discussions, quizzes, exams, and a completion certificate.

You can also watch the entire course as a YouTube playlist as well (just without the course discussions, quizzes, exam, and certificate). Be sure to subscribe to support my channel and for easy access to future content.

How to create and work in lists in SharePoint Online (Video)

Lists are one of the core components of SharePoint. Learn how to create a list and work with it in this video.

This video is part of my FREE 30+ lesson self-paced online training course called Collaboration in Microsoft 365 (OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams). Enroll today at for the full learning experience including lesson discussions, quizzes, exams, and a completion certificate.

You can also watch the entire course as a YouTube playlist as well (just without the course discussions, quizzes, exam, and certificate). Be sure to subscribe to support my channel and for easy access to future content.

How to add a Version column to modern SharePoint list and library views

Versioning is enabled by default on all modern lists and libraries in Microsoft 365 and saves the last 500 major versions of an item/document . However, you won’t see a column displaying an item’s/document’s version number automatically in list/library views unless you explicitly add it.

Normally in modern lists and libraries you could show/hide columns that already exist by selecting the column header titled “+ Add column” then “Show/hide columns” as seen in the screenshot below.

However, when we do this, Version isn’t an option.

Solution #1: Edit the current view

We visit some classic SharePoint settings to find this column. Simply follow the steps below to add the “Version” column to your list or library view.

1. Go to the list or library and make sure it’s on the view to which you’re adding a column for Version

2. Select the view name (All Items or All Documents is default) then Edit current view

3. Scroll down to the bottom of the list of column names and select the checkbox next to Version.

4. Click OK at the top or bottom of the screen to save.

Note: If you want to rearrange the order of columns as well (perhaps placing Version between other columns) then be sure to change its corresponding number next to its row in the view settings as well.

Solution #2: Edit the view through List/Library settings

Rather than using Edit current view from the view itself, you can also get to the same view settings by going to Settings > List Settings or Settings > Library Settings.

Scroll down to the Views section and select the name of the view for which you’re adding the Version column then proceed with steps 3 and 4 from Solution #1.

And through either method, now we have a column for Version added to our view.

Make full-width SharePoint hyperlink column clickable beyond just the link text

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

This is such an obscure topic, but maybe it will help somebody curious out there. I recently had a request to alter a classic experience list with a single hyperlink column so that users could click in the white space of a cell and it takes them to that cell’s hyperlink value as if they’d actually clicked the link.

To illustrate what I mean, notice how the arrow pointer changes to a hand cursor like the whole cell is clickable. And when white (blue) space of the Google link is clicked, it takes us to Google anyway:

Click to enlarge

This was done with the tiniest bit of CSS added to the page inside a <style> tag. Note that this will affect all links in tables on the page to which it’s applied. So if you have more than one table on the page, this could cause issues. But in my case I just had the single-column list I was working with and this sufficed.

td a {

Good luck!

How to filter a SharePoint list or library using URL parameters

In this age of building bots and eliminating needless clicks and such to get employees the info they need faster and more directly, we need all the best practices we can find when creating solutions for users. This post will share a better practice when it comes to getting reliable, fast results from SharePoint lists and libraries that don’t rely on search index configuration or endless view sprawl.

Quick answer

If you’re just here for the quick answer, here it is. For string values, you can simply add this to the end of the list’s URL to filter it as specified.

  • Spaces in field names and values: If your value includes spaces, replace them with %20.
  • [IntFieldName]: Internal field names (like Client in the example below is actually the original Title column) can be found in List Settings > Column Settings > Select Column > Check URL of column settings page (it contains the internal field name following &Field=).
Click to enlarge

If you want to learn about how this came up in my work and why I chose it as a solution, read on.


Recently, I was involved in troubleshooting a bot that would search a SharePoint list using its built-in search box. However, the bot would be searching for items that were created minutes prior and the search index hadn’t updated yet so no results would be found and the bot would fail to complete.

So I suggested we filter instead of search.

Why filter?

Filtering lists works independently of the search index. Meaning I can create a new item in a SharePoint Server 2019 (or any SharePoint version) list right now and then filter the list and find that new item immediately. But if I search immediately, it won’t be found yet.

Want to argue about continuous crawls as workaround? Send your thoughts to

Changes to the process

For this particular bot, we’d be replacing this process:

  1. Navigate to SharePoint list URL
  2. Activate list’s search box
  3. Enter/type search term (unique item identifier guaranteed to return one result)
  4. Hit enter/search

with this one:

  1. Create a variable for the search term
  2. Navigate to SharePoint list URL with added URL parameter including variable from step 1 (taking us directly to the single result we needed)

It not only simplifies the steps involved, but reduces the likelihood that changes to UI elements will break our bot along the way.

Potential use cases

  • Sending workflow emails with direct links to lists and libraries already filtered
  • Reducing the number of views on a list by having users bookmark URLs including the filter parameters the view would have
  • Improving bot reliability by eliminating some UI-dependent steps
  • Eliminating search indexing delays for users or bots searching for new items
  • Setting a hyperlink column on a list automatically to filter the list/library by that item’s vendor/client/topic/etc. for easy comparison/drilldown (see how to set a hyperlink column using Power Automate)

How to do it

First you need to identify the internal field name of your column on which you’ll be filtering. Then we simply add a bit of text to the end of the list’s URL.

  1. Go to Settings > List settings (or List/Library > List/Library Settings in classic views).
  2. Select the column to filter from under Columns.
  3. Check the URL for the text following &Field= for the internal field name. Note this somewhere as we’ll need it soon.
  4. Go back to your default list view ending in .aspx and add the following to the end of the URL, replacing [IntFieldName] with the field name you got in the previous step:
  5. Now add the following to the end as well, replacing [FieldValue] with what you’d like to use to filter the column referenced in steps 3-4.
  6. Your final URL may resemble the following:

Filtering yes/no or true/false values

If your filter isn’t working for yes/no columns, replace “no” with 0 and “yes” with 1 in your URL.

Multiple field filters

You can filter the list on multiple columns by adding &FilterField2=… in the same format as the first. See below for an example:

Click to enlarge

Be sure to check out this documentation for more URL filtering ideas and uses.

SharePoint column validation format difference between classic and modern experiences

The following column validation formula worked fine in SharePoint on-prem (2016 specifically, in my case), but returned an error when used in the exact same context in SharePoint Online’s modern UI:


The expected behavior, in SharePoint Server/on-prem OR SharePoint Online/O365, is that if someone enters a date beyond the current date, they’ll get an error message and cannot submit the form until it’s corrected and the validation formula resolves to TRUE.

Troubleshooting in SharePoint Online

I used this formula in SharePoint Server/on-prem, and it worked fine. Then I tried using the modern UI in SharePoint Online by using the column’s menu > Column settings > Edit.

But when you try to save the exact same formula (specifically from the modern experience side panel) you get the error “A formula has a syntax error.”

Then I decided to try the classic view of settings to compare on-prem and online as closely as possible. I went to Settings > List settings and selected my column.

And, as you already know, it WORKED when entered on this classic column settings page (in SharePoint Online still) instead of the modern column settings side panel accessed directly from the list view.

When I go back through the modern UI now that my formula saved successfully, I see what caused the problem. The modern UI requires that you begin the formula with an equals sign (=). When I created the formula through the classic column settings method, it automatically added the equals sign for me in the background.


So if you’re creating column validation formulas in the modern experience (or even in classic), just remember to add an equals sign (=) to the start of your formula.

Click to enlarge

The difference is simply which formats are accepted.

  • Classic: Start formulas with or without equals sign
  • Modern: Start formulas with equals sign

Workaround: Export to Excel not working in Safari, Chrome, or other non-IE browsers for SharePoint server list exports

The problem

If you’re using SharePoint Online (M365) you won’t run into this issue. But for those of you, like me, who are still on SharePoint 2013 or 2016 you may have tried to use “Export to Excel” on a SharePoint list or library and received the following error message:

To export a list, you must have a Microsoft SharePoint Foundation-compatible application.

Clicking “OK” only redirects you to page that is most definitely not an Excel export:

The workaround

Using Internet Explorer to open and export your SharePoint list might be the simplest way to export your list. However, some are unable to use IE.

If you can’t download or use Internet Explorer (IE) you can still get your lists exported to Excel by working in reverse. Rather than export from SharePoint we are going to open Excel and import from SharePoint.

1. Open a blank workbook in Excel

2. Navigate to the Data ribbon –> Get Data > From Other Sources > From SharePoint List

Note: There are two SharePoint list options under Get Data. Do not select From Online Services > From SharePoint Online list (this option would be for O365 only and O365 users will not need this post’s workaround).

3. Paste the URL to your SharePoint site. You can paste the URL to the list you’re wanting to import, but delete everything after the site’s name in the URL.

4. Click OK.

5. Select Windows and leave credentials as the default “Use my current credentials” unless you have reason to access the list as another account (perhaps a service account which may be able to retrieve all items even with restricted item-level permissions).

6. Click Connect.

7. Find the name of the list you want to import, select it, and click Load.

Click to enlarge

8. Depending on the size of your list, this may take a while. Once imported, you’ll find all of your data as well as some SharePoint metadata associated with your list items.

Click to enlarge

While not ideal, it doesn’t take long to do and you do get the result you’re looking for (with a bit of cleanup, deleting unnecessary columns and such).

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Exporting from SharePoint using IE allows you to export a view.
  • Importing from SharePoint using Excel imports every single list item and column, regardless of view.
  • You’re only able to import items to which you at least have view permissions.

Create a direct link/URL to version history for a SharePoint list item or file

Imagine getting an email with a direct link to review the version history of an item or file. Or being able to have a single click from a list view to an item’s version history without going through menus.

The link itself is easy to structure manually. You could also structure it automatically using SharePoint Designer workflows or Power Automate flows.

No matter your method, you’ll need to be able to get two pieces of information: the list GUID and the item/file ID.

Getting required info

Get the list GUID

The list GUID is easy to get. Just go to the list –> List Settings and copy everything in the URL after List=.

Click to enlarge



Get the item/file ID

In SharePoint Designer or Power Automate, you can just use the ID field provided as a lookup option. This way it’s always dynamic.

But to get the ID manually without workflow, view/open the item and check the end of the URL: for the number following “ID=”. Example:


For document libraries, or if you’re using modal dialogs (pop-ups), your URL won’t show ID. In this case, you can add the default ID column to your list view to get it.

Tip: For list items (not documents) you can also hover your pointer over the link to the item to see the URL preview at the bottom of your browser before clicking it.

Building the link

Manually construct it

The basic structure, no matter which method you use, is as follows:


Just replace the SiteURL, list GUID, and item/file ID.

Tip: The easiest way may be to copy the entire URL when getting the list GUID, change listedit to versions, and add &ID=ID to the end.

Use SharePoint Designer

In SharePoint Designer, you can use String Builder when creating hyperlinks in emails, or when populating fields (such as a hyperlink column).

Click to enlarge

Use Power Automate

In Power Automate, you can initialize a variable to structure the version history URL so that you can use it repeatedly in different steps/conditions without having to structure it every time. We do this similarly to how we did for SharePoint Designer above. Type almost the entire URL which doesn’t change, then use the dynamic content panel to add ID to the end.

Click to enlarge

Then you can send an email and use a little code to hyperlink text with the variable used as the URL. If you’re not comfortable with code, you can just put the entire URL in the body of the message. The following shows an Outlook step in “Code View.”

First, click “Code View”

Alternative ideas

Calculated column

Note: You could use a calculated column for this, but the [ID] field needed will only populate once, then remove itself on the next property edit. The only way around this is creating another column like ID1 as single line of text and using a workflow (SPD or Power Automate) to set that field to the ID number. Then you can use [ID1] in your calculated column with a formula such as this:


Hyperlink column

Consider using SharePoint Designer or Power Automate to set a “hyperlink” type field to the URL. This could then be used in a list view to have a one-click link to version history.