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[Apologies if this is phrased badly]

I have two very similar "Forms" that I want to be in a List...or two lists? Both have near identical data, but different validation rules.

As I understand it I could have two Lists, one for each type
I could have multiple forms in a single list
I could have two Content Types and allow my List to have both content types?

Which is the recommended way to go for flexibility etc?

NOTE: I started with the two "New Item" forms within a single list, as this sounded sensible...however, I don't see both forms in the "New Item" action on the Ribbon?

e.g. I would like the User to be able to EASILY choose from:
Customer Request No Response
Customer Request SMS Acknowledge

Since both are nearly identical, it made some sense to put them in the same list - however, I am doubting that now and thinking perhaps two lists is better?

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3 content types and here's my argument why.

You said the forms are nearly identical. Create a parent content type that has all the common fields for both content types in it. Then create two content types off of this parent with the specific fields to them. Then add these to your list.

This will allow you to easily manipulate the content type structure if new information is needed in the future. You can then easily add a new field to the parent and it will propagate to both the inherited content types if the field is common to both. If it isn't then you add it to the child.

One list or 2 will work fine. having it on two gives users a sense of being in the right place because of the list name in the URL (lists/RequestsSMS for example). Not everyone remembers that there can be more than one content type associated with a list or library and they might submit the wrong form. This is mitigated though if the content types are in the same list, it can easily be flipped over to the other.

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That really depends upon the views and data usage, but you need to keep in mind the future changes you may need to do for both - if they are not going to change and have almost same kind of data as you said.. And there are several views in which data from both should be populated and filters should be applied on both data or something, then you should keep them together in a single list with two content types, as you already know when you have two content types for a single list - there are two new forms associated to each content type, here is a good example of using multiple forms/content types for a single list: http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/blogs/GetThePoint/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=207

However, if there are no views where data is to be shown for both and filters need to be applied etc. or if you assume there might be a big change where handling a single list for both will not be suitable than you can create two lists for both!

This is my opinion, and may not be the best ! Hope this helps...

UPDATE: A similar question was asked here http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3967081/sharepoint-using-multiple-content-types-in-list-pros-and-cons

Look at the answer, I think you should keep them in a single list!

UPDATE: Oh I found an article that really describes how you can have in a single list two content types with different forms etc http://www.thesharepointblog.net/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?List=815f255a-d0ef-4258-be2a-28487dc9975c&ID=113

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I guess if they are content types then I can create a second list later and split them out if I need to? –  BlueChippy Sep 29 '12 at 9:54
Yes you can later create a new list for the content type but how will you manage the data that has already been entered into the list? Also will require changes in views/pages you have used the list and shown content type data... So that can be done, but will need update everywhere... –  Arsalan Adam Khatri Sep 29 '12 at 13:01
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