Document Management with SharePoint 2010 - Part 1

Written By: Knox Cameron -- 6/21/2011 -- join -- contribute -- (2287) comments -- printer friendly version

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Categories: Document Management, Features, Integration with other products , SharePoint 2010, SharePoint Foundation 2010

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Adding columns

In our scenario, the important attributes we want to capture are document type, client and consultant. Let's go ahead and set those up in the library.

Document type column

Document type in this example is a simple choice from Proposal, Working paper, Interim report and Final report.

Browse to the default view of the library. Select the Library tab in the ribbon, and in the Manage Views group, select the Create Column button.

Create column button in the ribbon

Enter the column name, in this case "Document type". Set the type of information to Choice. Enter a description, and enter the choices.

Create Column dialog

SharePoint will automatically make the first entered choice (in this case, "Proposal") the default. This can be a trap, because everything will end up being a proposal if users are in a hurry! It's probably better to have no default. Delete the default value in the dialog.

Bottom section of create column dialog

  • There was an issue in SharePoint 2007 where you could not delete a default value once it was saved. This seems to be resolved in SharePoint 2010. The workaround was to select the "Calculated Value" option and enter the formula ="" (an equals sign and two double quotes).

Leave Add to default view selected, and select OK to create the column.

For the other two columns, client and consultant, we want to provide a list of names from which users may select, but we don't want to edit the column definition every time we hire a new consultant or start work for a new client. So we will make these columns lookup information from elsewhere in the site.

Client column

First, we need to create a client list. We will do this by creating a simple custom list in SharePoint.

Go to Site Actions > More Options... Select the option for a Custom List, and type a name for the list (in this case "Clients"). (I am creating a simple custom list for this example, but for a real solution you may prefer to use a "Contacts" list template which includes a range of address fields already set up.)

Create custom list screen

Click Create. This creates a simple list with a "Title" column, which we will use for the client name. We will add one more column, "City", for the city where the client is based, so we can use this later for a view of our documents by client city.

On the List tab of the ribbon, in the Manage Views group, click the Create Column button as you did earlier. Call the column "City". Leave all other options at their defaults and select OK.

For the purpose of demonstration, enter some information in the list. The quickest and easiest way to do this is to select the Datasheet View button at the top left of the List tab of the ribbon. You can then enter multiple rows by just typing and pressing the tab key, the same way you would in Excel or Access.

Entering clients using datasheet view

Now that we have a client list, we can create a column in the document library that uses it. Return to the document library using the link on the left. Again, select the option to Create Column in the Library tab of the ribbon. This time, type the name "Client". Then, select the information type "Lookup (information already on this site)". Enter a meaningful description, then in Get information from: select the "Clients" list. Make sure the Title column is selected, then select City as an additional column.

Create client column dialog

In the Relationship area, you will see that you can tell SharePoint to enforce the relationship so that (for example) no-one can delete a client for which there are linked documents. However, we will not worry about that for this exercise, so just scroll down and select OK.

Consultant column

The final column we will create is a column to show which consultant worked on the document. Although SharePoint keeps track of who uploads and amends documents, in our scenario we want to track the responsible consultant separately from the person who may have amended the document most recently.

We could create another custom list just like we did for clients. However, our consultants are all users in the system so we can just link to the existing user list in SharePoint.

Once again, select Create Column in the document library. This time, type in the name "Consultant". Select the type of information "Person or Group". Type an appropriate description, remembering this is meant to help users understand what information to fill in for the column.

Screenshot of dialog to create consultant column

As you can see, there are options to allow users to select groups, and to restrict the selection to users in a particular group. For the purpose of this exercise, we will just accept the defaults so select OK.

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