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Organize Files Using SharePoint

One to the best things you can use SharePoint for is to store files. Under the hood Microsoft teams is saving the files that are visible in Microsoft Teams inside of a SharePoint document library. You can create your own document library in a SharePoint site by going to site contents link and then selecting new and selecting "Document Library".

Once you have created a document library you can start dragging files or creating folders, however one of the best features of SharePoint is the ability to create metadata associated with your files. Metadata in SharePoint is information about your files, not the content of the files. Examples would be name, title, author, creation date, last modified date, file size, etc. We also have the ability to create own metadata. 

Examples of our own metadata could be:

Status: draft, peer reviewed, delivered to client, etc.

Document type: quotes, meeting minutes, announcements, letters, presentations, drawings, etc.

Branch office: Main, WPG, ONT, US, Etc.

To create your own metadata column in SharePoint you click on Add column and then select the type of column you are creating. This example is document type column.

To tag your file with metadata you need to do the following: 

Select your file and select details. This will open the details pane on the righthand side of the screen. You can then file out the metadata. In this example I can fill out Status and Document type.

I could have created folders and put my files into folders, however the power of metadata is the ability to slice and dice things multiple different ways. I can create different views of my SharePoint library. Example I could create a list to show me all the quotes, or all the meeting minute documents or all the documents that have a status of "To review". 

To create your own view, you need to select document view options in the top right and select save view as. Give your view a name. Think of this as your own virtual folder based on metadata value. In the examples below I created a view called quotes which is a filter where document type is equal to Quotes. I also have an example where status is equal to "To Review". This is something I would not be able to do with folders.

Another thing you can do in SharePoint is setup folders within your document library as per below and then setup views to remove the folders. An example of this is if we had setup our document library to have a folder for each one of our clients and then placed client A files into Client A folder, etc.


We can then click on edit current view and go to the folder settings and select show all items without folders. This allows you to get rid of folders and show all files in one big list and then create filters based on your metadata categories.

Sharepont online and metadata can be a real game changer on how you organize files in your organization. As with any system, it comes down to planning and setting up the correct metadata categories. There is much more you can do with metadata such as making it a required field and then setting up lists to help you determine where metadata has not been entered for a particular file. 

If you need help or have questions on how you can start taking advantage of this feature contact us and we can point you in the right direction.

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