How to: Format a Tasks list (or, any other list) in SharePoint 2010 (through Designer)

If you have ever worked with SharePoint before, you know how versatile and important the Tasks lists can be.

In the 2007 version of SharePoint, the things you could do with the Tasks list (without using code) were limited to changing views, rights and running out-of-the-box or custom workflows, “developed” in the SPD2007 (SharePoint Designer 2007).

The views mechanism prevails in the 2010 version of SharePoint. Different views offer a uniform and easy way to filter out tasks, the way the individual user prefers. With user defined custom views, the possibilities are endless.

However, there is one thing that was not possible in the 2007 version of SharePoint, which has now been made available. Formatting a single view of the Tasks list (or, any list for that matter) to serve as a single point of reference.

What if, one single view of a list could provide the user with all the information needed, and still be easy to the eyes and to comprehend.

For example, lets take the default Tasks list of a web collection. What if this Tasks list had a large number of active and completed. or otherwise unimportant, tasks. What if some user wanted to have a complete overview of these tasks? Certainly, one could use the “active tasks” view to go through the tasks that are currently running or, check the “all tasks” to go through the entire list of tasks, current or otherwise.

In the second case, the list could be daunting. What one can do however, is to use Designer in order to format the tasks according to their status, due date, or any other field one finds important. Check the screenshot:

Tasks list

With a bit of Designer magic and the list becomes so much easier to understand. You can easily format the cell or row (or, any other element you wish to) according to your conditions of choice. The above screenshot displays a task list where tasks that are approaching their deadline are marked by a yellow Due Date cell, tasks whose Due Dates have come to pass and whose status has not been changed to “completed” are marked by a red Due Date and, finally, completed tasks are marked by a strike-through italic font.

In order to achieve this functionality, you need to follow a few easy steps:

1. Open the website/web collection for editing in the SharePoint Designer 2010 (navigate to the web site, click on Site Settings -upper left hand corner- and select Edit in SharePoint Designer).
2. In the SharePoint designer, click on Lists and Libraries and then select the Tasks List.
3. On the right, where the views are listed, select the view that you wish to modify (All Items for our example).
4. From here on, it all depends on what you wish to achieve. For our example, we will create the red due date cells. To achieve that, click in the first cell of your Due Date column. Then, right click and select Select>Cell.
5. Next, right click again and select Conditional Formatting. This should open the Conditional Formatting options on the right hand side (although, that will depend on your SPD preferences). Select Apply Formatting.


6. This should open the Condition Criteria builder. Select field=Due Date, Equals=Less than, Value=[Current Date].
7. Click to add another condition. This time, select field=Statues, Equal=Not Equal, Value=Completed.
8. Click on Set Style (button at the bottom). This will open the Modify Style builder.
9. Click on Background and change the Background Colour to red. Click OK and save your page. The next time you visit the All Items view of the Tasks list, you will notice that tasks that have been overdue, will be marked by a red Due Date cell.

Easy. Useful. All Designer.

MGR: the Intelogist

About MGR: the Intelogist

SharePoint Server developer, turned Sitefinity developer, turned Angular developer, turned SharePoint Online consultant, turned Unily consultant, turned O365 consultant... Never a dull moment!

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