MS Lists vs Airtable

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I could not find any discussion on Lists missing features or feature requests so far, so I thought I'd create one.


I am an avid Airtable Pro user and privately I use it for everything from my ToDos, to my personal finances and real estate management. So naturally I have been missing this functionality in our Microsoft dominated company.


After playing with MS Lists for a while, I can say I'm at the same time impressed and dissapointed.

This tool could really be Microsoft's answer to Airtable and with a good cross tool integration it could even make me drop Airtable all together, but to do so, there is a lot of features still needed. Here are a few for starters:


1. Group by "Title" and make title a field that can have all field types.

2. Multi-Group: Sometimes I want to group something by multiple columns, e.g. group a customer contact list first by company and then by city.

3. Two way Excel integration. I use a lot of reports where online data is loaded into Excel, so a connected list that automatically updates with Excel would be great (I know it's there from Lists to Excel, but the other way round is more important IMO)

4. Create options on the fly. If I have a selection field I wanna have the option to type in the field and just add that as a new option.

5. Great in line editing. Please MS try to import some of the same lists in Airtable and edit them there vs. in Lists and you'll know what I mean.
6. Cross List linking. Seeing lists as databases is the great UVP of Airtable that currently no other software has. Lists is basically the same thing, but it does not yet make use of this thoughts.

Kind regards,


8 Replies

@michaelafischer Does List don't have filter and group by list name option?

and what about attachment. Can we attach docs to a record?

(Asking you as I'm also coming from Airtable.)

I does, but way less advanced. You can only group by one item for example and you can’t group by the first column
thanks for replying.
I can’t believe how lacking Lists is. I have entered some company data. It feels like it is now stuck in there.

No option to export as a pdf
Very limited reporting
Buggy (the option to display say 10 entries at a time does not work and has been a know issue for 3+ years)

It’s awful. Wish I could use airtable. So much better.
I'm an avid Airtable user as well. It's just tremendously more powerful than Lists. I'm wondering if MS made a mistake in basing Lists on SharePoint as SharePoint is pretty old and so there is probably a lot of technical debt.

I would actually love to switch to Lists, as my company otherwise uses MS 365 but I currently have a project management system built in Airtable and there's no way I can replicate it in Lists.

I'd like to add a few features that Lists could use:

- Better forms. Airtable currently has the ability to share a form that will populate a table based on set parameters. I can't seem to share Lists forms externally, and MS Forms doesn't populate list choice fields very well.
- The ability to use a calculated field as a Lookup. This is major for me, as having a consistent naming convention for deliverables and tasks is key to our workflow.
- I would love if Lookups worked two-way rather than just one-way as well.
Airtable is quite simply better. I hope MS takes a long hard look at improving MS lists ASAP. One example I can think of is date/ time difference calculations:
1. Much easier to do / input in AirTable
2. No need to create a flow to add a “helper” column to can accurate reference to “today’s date” consistently.
3. Much faster. Input is clean and fast on AirTable vs inputting items in MS lists which seems to just be laggy in many situations.

4. More export options in AirTable vs MS lists.

5. Overall good idea with a lack of execution from MS on the lists app.

@michaelafischer I have also been hoping that one day I can move off of Airtable and use Microsoft Lists/SharePoint as a replacement. I have also considered just biting the bullet and setting up our own relational database application/tool so that we can customize it exactly how we want it. It is just a huge time investment in a time when we already are stretched too thin as it is.


I believe that SharePoint lists can definitely do views with Groups inside of Groups. It seems silly that Microsoft Lists wouldn't have the same functionality.

Lastly, have you checked out Microsoft Flows? I think it is technically part of Power Automate? It enables a lot of functionality and you can build "flows" or workflows using a drag and drop UI. I personally wish it was just a javascript based tool instead, but slowly starting to integrate it where we can to help make our lives easier.

@michaelafischer yes it is so frustrating.

I believe most of Microsoft's problems come from basing everything on SharePoint. It's old and clunky. Needs a rebuild. 


The team that built Lists seemed like a rebel cell that 'got it done' with little support, but seem to have run out of steam. 


Microsoft needs a Kevin Feige type person who's job is to make sure all the apps work together, and that there's a strategy to create a cohesive ecosystem that you can run your business on. That's intuitive to use. 


As others have said here, why don't the Lists team use Airtable for a bit and then get stuck in to some updates? Same would go for Excel and Power Apps.