I am not very well versed in storage (databases), but how does SharePoint save tasks for multiple people? I understand excel and some Matlab. (note: vertical bars denote row changes)

For example, if a site has two people with individual tasks, I imagine a 2x2 table with a task column and a user column. Like so,

  • User A | Task A
  • User B | Task B

If another individual is added to the task, does the table stay 2x2 or does it add another row to the table, duplicating the task, so making a 2x3 table? Like so?

  • User A | Task A
  • User C | Task A
  • User B | Task B

Or conversely, does it still store the values in a 2x2 table, with multiple items per cell?

  • User A, User C | Task A
  • User B | Task B

Thank you for all of the help. I am trying to picture this structure in order to eventually add and delete people from tasks (sometimes assigning the same task to more than 50 people, each one requiring action) using custom workflows and InfoPath. Thank you all very much again.

2 Answers 2


Put simply, SharePoint content is stored in a a content database associated with the web applications. Each content database has a single table to store all of the list data across all of the sites that use that content database. That includes all of the tasks, in all of the task lists, as well as things like Link and Issues lists. Through the application layer they are able to get a level of abstraction that allows the different lists with different field/column labels to store data together. If you look at the databases you will actually see tables with a large number of non-descript field names organized by data type which loosely correlates to the field type selected in SharePoint.

If you are looking to assign the same task to 50 people, then what you really will need to do is create 50 separate tasks each assigned to a person.

  • Thank you very much. I am visualizing a content database as a huge table that would seem very unorganized to a normal viewer, but the computer inputs/outputs methodically. Is this table therefore a non-relational database? Also, if I wanted to assign these tasks, would a workflow that assigns tasks (either an approval or feedback) be a suggested route? I guess the point I'm getting at is I need to be able to see all of the users who have been assigned each task seperately (and preferably with a database view showing when they complete the task). Thank you! Jul 9, 2013 at 13:50
  • SharePoint manages all of the relationships at the application level. If you were to open it up in something like sql management studio it would be very difficult to follow. This doesn't matter though since direct database access isn't supported. Jul 9, 2013 at 21:26
  • Your workflow would need to perform the assignments. Typically for something like this I would use a Visual Studio workflow where I can add looping code versus a SharePoint Designer Workflow where you would actually have to configure the 50 assignments individually. You would then want to grab a list view of the task list for items related to that main record/workflow. Jul 9, 2013 at 21:28

Tasks are saved in a list, you can query and add workflows to them like any other list.

  1. https://www.nothingbutsharepoint.com/sites/eusp/Pages/sharepoint-task-lists-what-are-they-good-for.aspx
  2. Via SDK: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee539976(v=office.14).aspx
  3. Multiple users on a SP list/Task: http://rapidapplicationdevelopment.blogspot.com/2007/04/multi-value-columns-solution-2-custom.html

Item 3 will handle what you are asking for.

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