The Folders that Business Users Like AND the Metadata That They Need

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Are you looking for a solution that lets business users manage their documents in Microsoft 365 / SharePoint Online or Teams?

Business users are much more likely to adopt and be productive with a solution that lets them arrange their documents into folders – e.g. a folder corresponding to each type of document.

But as IT specialists know, one of the strengths of SharePoint Online is how it can record metadata for the saved documents. That metadata makes searching and finding documents much more efficient than simply relying on the text content of the documents.

What you need is Folders that automatically have Metadata – e.g. if a user stores a document in a folder called Invoice, a metadata attribute (e.g. called Document Type) is automatically set to Invoice. That way you have the best of both worlds – the Folders that business users like and the Metadata that they need.

One Way to Implement – Folder Level Default Values

You could make use of a native SharePoint Online feature, which is Folder-Level Default Values. BUT this requires additional administrative effort every time you create a folder and can also lead to poor performance. The poor performance stems from the way the default values for every metadata column in your environment are stored in a single XML file, which can grow very large and be slow to load and process every time you save a document.

A Better Way to Implement – MacroView Map Folder Name to Field

A much better alternative is the Map Folder Name To Field feature that is available from MacroView for solutions based on the MacroView Document Management Framework (DMF).

A MacroView DMF user sees a tree-view that contains all the areas for which they have permission in their Microsoft 365 tenant. Those areas include all the folders in their SharePoint Online document libraries and document sets.

MacroView DMF automatically discovers and displays an accurate tree-view of all areas in a Microsoft 365 tenant for which you have permission. Clicking an area in that tree displays the default view of the files stored in that area.

A MacroView user can save a document or email by dragging and dropping it onto one of these SharePoint Online folders. If the name of the folder is also a valid value for a nominated metadata column – e.g. Document Type – that folder name is automatically recorded as the value for that metadata column. So if the user drops a document or email in a folder called Invoice, the Document Type is automatically recorded as Invoice.

Dropping an attachment or file into an Invoice folder automatically records Invoice as the value for Document Type

There is no need to define a default value for each folder – the metadata recording is all based on the name of the folder being a valid value for the metadata column. Typically that metadata column would be of type Managed, with its valid values defined in a central Term Set.

Map Folder Name to Field can record multiple metadata values as part of a save. If you are dragging to a sub-folder whose name is a valid value for a nominated metadata column and the name of the upper-level folder is also a valid value for a different metadata column, then both metadata columns will be recorded automatically.

With MacroView DMF, the recording of Document Type can be completely silent. Alternatively MacroView DMF can display a dialog that shows the automatic default value, which the user can adjust if desired – e.g. to choose Supplier Invoice rather than just Invoice.

More Efficient Searching and Finding

The automatically recorded metadata enables much more efficient retrieval of relevant documents and emails.

The MacroView DMF user can ‘slice and dice’ a View of a document library based on one or more metadata columns, including metadata columns whose values have been recorded automatically as described above. Clicking on the heading for the metadata column at the top of the View displays a pick list of all the metadata values that are in use within the current folder, or across the current folder and all its sub-folders. When the user chooses a value from the pick list, MacroView DMF filters the View display to show only the documents and emails that have that value.

‘Slicing and dicing’ a View using MacroView DMF clicking the Document Type column heading displays a pick list of values that are in use for Document Type – choosing one of these values will filter the View display to show only those files with the chosen value. The Find files control enables filtering based on content.

MacroView DMF also facilitates searching across the Microsoft 365 tenant for documents and emails that have specified values in their metadata columns, including metadata columns that have been recorded automatically as described above. The search criteria can include text content as well as multiple metadata attributes.

MacroView DMF lets users working in Outlook search across all areas of the Microsoft 365 tenant for which they have permission. The search criteria can be a combination of content (contains the word checking) and multiple metadata attributes, including metadata which is recorded automatically, such as To and From attributes of emails.

Behind the scenes the search is performed by the SharePoint Online Search engine, so no new crawls, search indexes or search servers are required. By default the scope of the search is all areas in the Microsoft 365 tenant for which the user has permission. The MacroView user can also right-click on a Hub site, site or library to restrict the scope of the search to just that Hub site, site or library.

Importantly, MacroView DMF lets users harness the power of the SharePoint Online Search engine while they continue to work in desktop Microsoft Outlook and other familiar business applications – users do NOT have to jump out to the web browser to perform their searches.

Tailored DM Solutions Without Custom Code

The Map Folder Name to Field feature is part of DMF Plus – a set of MacroView DMF extensions that collectively enable the creation of document and email management solutions based on Microsoft 365 which are tailored to reflect the requirements of your organization without needing the development of custom code. DMF Plus also lets business users create new areas in their Microsoft 365 tenant simply by choosing commands from the MacroView right-click menu. Those commands can have names that make sense to business users – e.g. Create New Project or New Customer. MacroView DMF and DMF Plus deliver significantly enhanced business user productivity while at the same time minimising development cost and deployment effort.

More Information

Check this video in the MacroView channel on YouTube:

Contact MacroView Services.