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Document Management with SharePoint 2010 - Part 1

Written By: Knox Cameron -- 6/21/2011 -- join -- contribute -- (8) 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 and tagging documents

Bulk adding documents

Now we have our columns ready, we can add our documents into the library and tag them. You probably have a collection of documents in a folder on your computer or a file share to start with. The quick way to get them into the library is to use Explorer view.

Select the Library tab from the ribbon in the library. In the Connect & Export group, select Open with Explorer.

Open with Explorer toolbar button

This will open a Windows Explorer window into which you can drag and drop documents to upload them into SharePoint.

  • This button is only available if you are using Internet Explorer.
  • Alternatively, you can use the Add document link in the library view, then select Upload Multiple Files..., then drag and drop documents into that window.
  • SharePoint has more restrictive naming conventions than a file share. You may be unable to upload individual files where their name is too long or uses characters like & in the name.
  • If you have or expect to end up with a large number of documents (more than say 1000), you should plan to use folders to break the documents up into more manageable sets. Although SharePoint 2010 is better able to deal with large numbers of documents in one folder than 2007, it is still better to avoid possible performance issues. You can still tag the documents as described below, and show all documents (for example) worked on by a particular consultant irrespective of which folder they are in.

Tagging in SharePoint

Once you have the documents in SharePoint, you can start tagging them using the columns we created. The easiest way to do this is using Datasheet View. As you did before with the company list, in the document library select the Datasheet View button at the top left of the Library tab of the ribbon. Now you can tag the documents spreadsheet-style.

Editing metadata in library using DataSheet view

As you can see, you are given drop-down lists to select document type, client and consultant. After you select a client, the Client:City is automatically completed. You can also "fill down" where there are a group of documents with the same value, by dragging down the dot at the bottom right corner of a cell, just like you would in Excel.

Fill down in Datasheet view

Similarly, you can fill in the consultant column by selecting people from the user list, so you end up with a library full of tagged documents.

Document library view fully tagged

Tagging in Office

Once a document is stored in SharePoint, you can directly work with it using the integration features in Office on your machine. This includes the ability to click on the document in a SharePoint view, whereupon the document opens in the appropriate Office application on your machine. Once you have finished, you can save and close the document, and Office will automatically save it back up to SharePoint. (There are a number of technical pre-requisites for this integration to work, so it may not be available in all cases.)

Part of the integration is the ability to edit metadata tags within the Office application, and use them in the document. Of course, for Office to know what tags are available, the document needs to be linked to the SharePoint library. So you need to create a document and save it into the library; or have opened a document from the library; or have created the document from a template in the library.

  • You can create multiple templates in a library and associate them with different sets of metadata tags using SharePoint "content types", but that is beyond the scope of this article.

In a document linked with the SharePoint library, in Word 2010 select File, then in the Info tab, select Show Document Panel from the Properties drop down.

Show Document Panel option in Word 2010

In Word 2007, select Office > Prepare > Properties.

Word will then show you the properties from the document library in a panel above the document. You can edit these properties directly in the panel, for example selecting a new client company.

Document properties panel in Word 2010

You can also use these properties in the body of the document. For example, you could have a document layout with a placeholder for the client company name, and have that linked to the client company selected in SharePoint.

To try this out, position the cursor at the end of the document, type a return and the word "Client:" and a space. Then select the Insert tab, then Quick Parts > Document Property > Client.

Insert document property option

This gives you a Quick Part in the document which will print the client name, and even allow you to select a client when editing the document.

Client selector in the document body

You will have noticed a number of other Document Properties in the Quick Parts menu apart from the ones that came from the SharePoint document library, such as Abstract and Comments. These are built into Word, and some of them are used in the templates and building blocks (like report cover pages) that come with Word. Some of them will automatically link with a column of the same name in a SharePoint document library, namely: Title, Author, Subject, Manager, Company, Category, and Keywords.

  • Others, like for example Abstract, will not. If you create a column in SharePoint called Abstract, you will end up with two identical-looking "Abstract" options in the Quick Parts menu. One of them will insert the SharePoint tag and the other the separate Word document property.
  • I have never seen this documented, so you remember you read it here first!

These quick parts allow you to set up documents so that the user selects or enters information once and it automatically fills in throughout the document. You could also set up a cover page to print with the document showing the tags that have been applied.

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