What I came to learn from the documentation is that. Libraries are for storing files, while lists are for records. The thing which I got confused is that, "Tasks" in SharePoint is a list , but at the same time it can accept attachments too. So if lists are only for records, then how come it can accept files as "Tasks" list does?

Please help to clarify this.


One thing you may want to remember when thinking about lists versus libraries is that a library allows you to create metadata around a single document so one document is the item in the list while the lists allow you to have multiple attachments in regard to metadata that is the item entry. The limitations of the attachments, like Laurie mentioned above are that you cannot do versioning on attachments in lists. However, you can still search by these attachments and find them using either the metadata (list entry) or the text or title of the attachment. If you are using 2010, the other difference is that you cannot tag or place notes on attachments while you can on documents in libraries.

If you are using 2010 also, you may want to consider document sets as well, this allows you to collect the same metadata for all of the attachments. Another option for you if you need multiple documents and versions around them for a specific item or need.

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  • Thank you for the qualified response. So if i create a 'content type' which contains a Doc Library and the fields I need, which is associated with the list. In this case will I be able to achieve version control and the list functionality as well? – AbrahamJP Jul 8 '11 at 18:19

You can turn off attachments for lists. They are optional. There could be many examples where you may want to creare a list and have attachment enabled for the items.

They may provide reference for the list records. For example, for issues list, you may want to attach a screenshot showing the error. For tasks, you may want to attach an email message which originated the tasks.

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  • So you mean to say attachments is possible with lists. Thanks for your response. – AbrahamJP Jul 8 '11 at 18:22

If the main usage of your list is managing documents, then you should use a document library. You will have versioning of the document, by default clicking on the title will open your document, the browser ribbon is centered around documents (e.g. Upload Document), etc.

If the main usage of your list is something else (e.g. tasks), but the items in the list may include a document attachment, then you should use a list and the attachment column.

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  • The reason I posted this query is because of that, I was told that lists could only contain textual content and not attachments. I was confused when I saw tasks list having both functionality at the same time. – AbrahamJP Jul 8 '11 at 18:26

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