This presentation is about best practices for Document Management in SharePoint Online 2013.
I work for Macaw in the Netherlands as a SharePoint ConsultantI wrote a SharePoint book called: The SharePoint 2013 HandbookI am the co-founder of the SharePoint Business User Group NetherlandsI am the co-founder of the SharePoint Community Netherlands (SPCNL)
I always have the same goal for my SharePoint presentations.
End-users LOVE working with file shares and folders. Familiar interface: End-users often have been working with file shares for years. They are used to the interface and the folder structure. Easy to use: Especially for end-users who have a lot of experience with file shares its relatively easy to use. They know how to find their folder and open the document. They don’t have to worry about versioning, filtering or possible workflows. They click a couple of times through their folder structure and open their document.
Although the file share serves it purpose it has many disadvantages in the storage of documents compared to SharePoint:Folder structure and new users: A folder structure works for long time employees but what about new people? They have to spend loads of time to learn the folder structure.Custom metadata: There isn’t an option to create additional metadata. The only metadata available is through Office, for example the author of the document. The absence of this feature often results in a deeply nested folder structure. In SharePoint you are more flexible by creating different type of columns.Offline access: No network? No access to documents! With SharePoint you can use SharePoint Workspace or SkyDrive Pro for SharePoint 2013.Custom permissions: End-users aren’t able to assign custom permission without full control permissions. The assignment of permission isn’t user friendly. This has become a lot easier with the Share option of SharePoint 2013.Restore deleted documents: Accidently deleted a document? Time to contact your IT Department who aren’t to happy because they have to access their backup tapes (worse case scenario). SharePoint allows you to recover your deleted documents yourself.Versioning: The only way to create multiple versions is by creating a new document with an 0.1/0.2/1.0 extension. This results in an overload of documents and creates confusion under your end-users. Where is the latest version? Who has the latest version? This happens because end-users tend to save documents locally or e-mail them to other users and forget to upload it to the file share.
When areversions created in a SharePoint document library:First time created:When a document is first created or uploaded in a SharePoint document libraryUpload document same name:When a document is uploaded that has the same name as an existing file and the Add as a new version to existing files check box is selected.Properties: When the properties of a document in SharePoint is changedOpened, edited, and saved: A version is created when you first click Save. It retains the new version number for the duration of the current editing session, even though you might save it several times. When you close it and then reopen it for another editing session, another version is created.
During co-authoring of a document, when a different user begins working on the document or when a user clicks save to upload changes to the library. The default time period for creating new versions during co-authoring is 30 minutes, but an administrator can change that setting.
Totally depends on your expectations of working with versions. I mostly work with proposals and only want to create a new version when me and my colleagues are finished entering our data. This doesn’t work properly with SharePoint with the automatic versioning system.
Do you want more control over your versions in SharePoint? You have to enable require check out. This results in not being able to use co-authoring in the Office documents.
So how do you structure and store your documents?
This is where SharePoint steps in! SharePoint has libraries to store documents, pictures and other assets. Every library comes with useful features to structure content:FoldersCustom metadata & viewsManaged metadataDocument setsLet’s discuss these in detail.
Although I am not a fan of folders in libraries they can be useful:Archive: Do you have a load of documents you aren’t going to use or view anymore but want to archive? Use one or more folders. In SharePoint 2013 it’s a bit easier to find documents through the dedicated search barMigration: Are you migrating from your file share folder structure to SharePoint document libraries? You have the option to copy and paste the same structure. I don’t recommend this because going from this to metadata CAN BE very time consuming.Explorer view: Open Explorer view and it seems like you are using your old friend the file share again.Set default metadata: You can use a feature to automatically assign metadata to documents uploaded in a folder in a SharePoint document library.
Although the use of folders has a couple of benefits, I am not a fan because of the following reasons:Unfriendly navigation: The same reason as with the file share, new end-users won’t be able to find documents easily. The breadcrumb in SharePoint tends to disappear in most branded sites and you loose site of the higher level structure.Duplication of documents: The same document can be uploaded in multiple folders. This results in end users not knowing where the most recent version is.Undermines Search results: Custom metadata can be used as refiners for your SharePoint search results. Folders cannot!Time consuming to switch: Have you put a lot time into creating a folder structure? Or perhaps after a 1 on 1 migration? Good luck changing this to metadata. The support of a third party tool can help!
I don’t like folders but for SkyDrive Pro its no problem at all because its your own personal space. My personal SkyDrive is one big folder structure, this can also work for SkyDrive Pro.
Show the following:Explorer viewAutomatic assigning of metadataUnfriendly navigationDuplication of documentsTip: Hide create folder option
Show the following:Explorer viewAutomatic assigning of metadataUnfriendly navigationDuplication of documentsTip: Hide create folder option
Remove new folder option: You don’t want your end-users to create new folders? Just disable the option. Do remember that SharePoint owners of the library, perhaps also end-users, can enable this feature again.Quick Edit: In case you are using folders and custom metadata, teach your SharePoint end-users to use the quick edit view.
I truly believe in the power of SharePoint and its Document Management features. The first prove for this is working with custom metadata & views:Flexibility: You create columns instead of folders to use metadata for your documents. There are a lot of different columns you can use such as date/time, choice and yes/no. This really improves your flexibility in structuring your SharePoint documents compared to folders and file shares.Improve Search results: SharePoint Search has a great feature called the Refinement Panel. You can extend the panel with additional refiners for example new columns you created for your document libraries. After a index of your SharePoint Portal you can create managed properties. You can configure a managed property to be used as a refiner.Filter content: You can assume that most of your end-users have experience with Excel. They will love the filter option in document libraries. This is easy to use and gets results quickly.Group by: One of my favorite features and prove you can create a structure for your documents AND keep an oversight of the complete structure. Group your documents based on their metadata. Let’s take a look at the demo!
Use the calculated year column trick. Mentioned in the DM Word document.
Team documents and meeting documents: Perfect for storing documents in SharePoint with one level metadata.
Structure: Uploading all your folders from your file shares to SharePoint is an option but going from folders to metadata is very time consuming. Make sure you define your metadata structure before you let your end-users upload documents.Additional views: Do you have a lot of metadata fields? To many to show in one view? Create an additional view!
Although custom metadata and views can get your pretty far in structuring your documents, there are situations when certain limitations kick in. For example, the choice column doesn’t support a taxonomy where you have multiple metadata layers. This is where SharePoint managed metadata steps in! This a column type that connects to the term store. The term store allows you to create a taxonomy.
This is an example of a taxonomy in SharePoint.
Folksonomy:Terms are created in term sets. You have the option to open the term set for end-users input. Every end-users will be able to add terms. This created a so called folksonomy. You really have to think it through if you want this because you can end up with the same term but different spelling. Such as the first letter with a lower or higher case or maybe. This can create a bit of a mess. You have to put someone on the task of frequently checking the term set for “duplicates”. You can merge the terms so only one correct term remains.Consistent use of metadata: You can control the use of metadata from a higher level through the term store. By doing this you guarantee the correct metadata is applied at the locations you select. The metadata can also easily be reused in multiple sites.Term suggestions: You probably wonder how user friendly a deep term structure will be for end-users because it will become difficult to find the correct term. This is solved with term suggestions. Just start typing and you receive a suggestions.
Although SharePoint managed metadata is a great feature there are a couple of disadvantages. These are more from an end-users perspectiveConfusing permissions structure: Terms are placed in a term set and term sets are place in groups. You cannot assign administrator permissions to a term set! Only to a group. This means that end-users would be able to edit other term sets.
Only managers and contributors are able to configure the term sets. An SharePoint Term Set owner has no permissions for the term set itself.
No datasheet view support SP2010: In SP2010 you aren’t able to edit the values of a managed metadata column with the datasheet view. This only works in SP2013. This means you have to apply a workaround in case of uploading multiple documents at once. My advise is to set the default value of the column, upload the files, and repeat this until you are done. Otherwise, don’t upload multiple documents at once Merging terms: You can only merge terms who are part of the same parent. This can be very annoying if someone created a term in a different parent.
You can only merge terms in a SharePoint term set when they are part of the same parent.
Although managed metadata is a great feature there are a couple of disadvantages. These are more from an end-users perspective. There are more technical/architectural disadvantages such as the absence of an out-of-the-box export module.Confusing permissions structure: Terms are placed in a term set and term sets are place in groups. You cannot assign administrator permissions to a term set! Only to a group. This means that end-users would be able to edit other term sets. No datasheet view support SP2010: In SP2010 you aren’t able to edit the values of a managed metadata column with the datasheet view. This only works in SP2013. This means you have to apply a workaround in case of uploading multiple documents at once. My advise is to set the default value of the column, upload the files, and repeat this until you are done. Otherwise, don’t upload multiple documents at once Merging terms: You can only merge terms who are part of the same parent. This can be very annoying if someone created a term in a different parent. Add new terms: Its handy that users are able to add new terms. They can make an accidental spelling mistake while adding a term. They aren’t able to change the spelling anymore and need to contact the owners.Export to Excel: This results in numbers and ID’s connected to the metadata. You have to do a find a replace to get rid of unwanted characters.
Document Sets are pretty awesome and have been around since SharePoint 2010! They have a couple of great advantages and are a great asset in the transition of end-users from file shares/folders to SharePoint and document libraries.Looks like a folder: This is really great for new SharePoint end-users because of the folder look and feel. Although it looks like a folder it is much more!Welcome page: This is a very cool feature and shows that a document set is much more than a folder. The DS comes with its own welcome page to display a bit more information about the DSCustom metadata & view: The DS can have its own view and metadata separate from the document library its in.Workflow: A DS is a content type, that means you can attach a workflow to it.
There are a couple of minor issues with Document Sets:Welcome page per content type: An adjustment to a welcome page in a document set is automatically done for ALL document sets, its configured per content type. That’s understandable but a bit annoying as well.No check in/out: You aren’t able to check in/out a document set but you are able to do this for the files within the DS.Issues with RM: I don’t have any experience with RM and DS but according the SP Community there are known issues combining these features
Document sets in combination with managed metadata is perfect for storing projects/dossiers. This can really be a replacement of your deep folder structure.
Shared Columns: A great feature to let your documents inherit the metadata of your document setDedicated view: Give the documents in your document set a dedicated view. This gives you more flexibility in presenting your document sets and the content of your document sets.
Office Web Apps: One of my favorite features! You are able to view and create documents with the browser. This is faster and you don’t need a local Office client to work with Office documents. Co-authoring enables you to work together in one Office document.
Office Web Apps: One of my favorite features! You are able to view and create documents with the browser. This is faster and you don’t need a local Office client to work with Office documents. Workflow: SharePoint has an advanced Workflow engine you can use to automate business processes with your documents.Custom content types: You can work with templates in your document libraries. Let’s take a look in the next demo.
Office Web Apps: One of my favorite features! You are able to view and create documents with the browser. This is faster and you don’t need a local Office client to work with Office documents. Search bar: Every SharePoint document library contains a search bar to quickly search for documents.Workflow: SharePoint has an advanced Workflow engine you can use to automate business processes with your documents.Custom content types: You can work with templates in your SharePoint document libraries. Let’s take a look in the next demo.
Applying a custom content type in a SharePoint document library results in the absence of the create a new Office document screen.
Managed Properties issues: Don’t always appear or cannot add new ones with the right properties. Such as refiner for the refinement panelTimerjob & taxonomy: The changes made in the term store are set with timer jobs. You cannot change the interval of these timerjobs. This can be a pain with testing.
Training, training and even more training. Teach your end-users the advantages of SharePoint. Show them examples they can relate to! Create an example based at their current file share to show how awesome SharePoint is. Create a quick reference card or a manual. Check up with them on a regular basis. Create a Governance plan and describe your Document Management strategy.
1. September 4, 2013
2. Best Practices
Document Management in SharePoint (Online)
November 19, 2013
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metadata & view
10. Issues with RM
11. SharePoint 2010 Best Practices: Folders Not Necessarily Considered Evil
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Create and manage terms within term sets
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