Colin Titmuss

Anita Fritz

Automating Metadata to Find Files Promptly

When searching for files, we draw on what we can remember. A timeframe, a file name, a keyword, perhaps the client’s name or the project number. However, this information is not always present in the files, so we typically revert to using folder structures to organise files.

There was a time when this was sufficient to store documents and emails and quickly find them again when needed, but that time has long passed. The enormous volumes of documents and emails we are faced with today mean that often the only practical way to find something quickly is by searching.

How Unique is Your Keyword

The problem with this is that searching for files requires that the content contains the information we are searching for. Even when it does, how unique is that keyword to the files in the project or matter you are interested in?

I can’t recall the hours I have spent scrolling through a long list of search results trying to find the one document or email I am after because, regardless of the keywords used, I could not get the list down to something manageable. Worst still, I would often not be able to find what I was after, only to find that the keyword I thought would be present was not actually in the file’s content.


So invariably, we continue reverting to familiar filing structures that allow us to segregate by criteria that may not be in the file, like a client or project name. Let’s face it; there is still comfort in a visual representation and organisation of files; if nothing else, it also allows you to limit the scope of a search to apply some context around the search results.

The problem with relying on the filing structure to inform additional information is that it assumes a hierarchy to that information. Suppose, for instance, the top level of your folder structure was a project name and subfolders as a contractor name. In that case, you would have difficulties finding all files related to a particular contractor across multiple projects.

Capturing Additional Metadata

The obvious answer is to capture additional metadata on each file as it is saved so we can later search on any specific or combination of metadata to quickly narrow down the search result to the file we are after. But how do we get all this extra information recorded? We could prompt for it as each file is saved, but can we rely on users entering this without making it mandatory? If compulsory, how do we prevent “metadata fatigue” that encourages users to revert to alternative filing practices that make finding the files way more difficult later?

The answer is simple; your Data Management System should automatically combine a familiar folder structure, the file’s captured metadata, and metadata based on its location in the file structure for the best of all worlds.

MacroView Solutions

MacroView DMS offers you all that. Drag & drop to save emails and attachments with automatic metadata capture, like To, From, Subject, Sent time and file properties. As well as upload from the Windows file system whilst capturing critical file property metadata such as original author and creation date. You can also customise the metadata profiling dialogue box to support custom field types, automatic metadata, etc.

Evaluate MacroView DMS free for 30-days and convince yourself how easy it becomes to find files.