Organizing files in Sharepoint vs.folders


  • Hi;

    Just getting ready to start experimenting with my new SP sandbox, and I thought I would use some of my real world work to "play with".   One of my tasks is recovering districts when their systems go down, so, on my desktop, I have a folder called "district failures".  Inside that I have a few subfolders for different types of failures, and in these subfolders, some have a few documents, some have a lot.  These documents are mostly txt files but some are word and some excel.


    Now, I understand that in SP , while I can have folders, I shouldn't.  So, how would you recommend I structure something like this in SP?  And I don't see what the advantage is over the system I already have; can you help me there?



    Jeff S


    Saturday, April 23, 2011 4:45 AM


All replies

  • SharePoint 2010 have new Site template "Document Center" to help you organize your large documentation. 

    I can recommend read this article on how you can use metadata to organize your information, i think can help you understand a different approach from folders.

    André Lage Microsoft SharePoint, CRM and Sybase Consultant
    • Proposed as answer by Wes PrestonMVP Saturday, April 23, 2011 3:15 PM
    • Marked as answer by Clayton Cobb Sunday, April 24, 2011 6:34 PM
    Saturday, April 23, 2011 4:59 AM
  • Love the article.  Great and simple explaination of using managed metadata. 

    It should also be pointed out that this can also be implemented on a smaller scale, within the document library itself if the content is unique unto itself and you're not going to use the terms for anything else.  But, I would use the method described in the article whenever possible because it lends itself to better scalability and reuse of the terms. 

    The 'folder' question is on the scale of a religious debate in the SharePoint community.  Some people are avid users, others are rabidly opposed to them for anything.  2010 has thrown a bit of a wrench into the mix by adding some new capabilities that make the debate even more confusing.  A few examples are managing security based on folders (which I'm not a fan of, but does have some decent use-cases) and default metadata assignment based on folders (which I love).  I would also argue that folders are useful during a migration and user adoption phase because they are what users are used to - and taking them away can be disruptive.  You can actually use both metadata AND folders and get the benefits of both scenarios, though in general I would push for an evolution away from folders as a way to organize content when metadata/properties can be used. 

    Just a Saturday morning ramble..  :)



    SharePoint Consultant | SharePoint MVP | My Blog | Minnesota SharePoint User Grop (MNSPUG)
    Saturday, April 23, 2011 3:22 PM
  • I thought I had posted a "thank you" to Andre here for pointing me to the article, but I don't see it -- so, I'll try again!  Thanks Andre.  It is a very helpful article to a "newbie" like me, and I can see how this can work.

    Of course, the first problem, though, is that I don't have the necessary permissions to fool around with collections, and, at this stage of the game, I don't want to start pestering administrators to be adding collections.  However, as Wes points out, I see that I can add still accomplish this just within a library.   And for my purpose -- (which is just to learn, at this point) -- this will be sufficient.

    But, another issue comes to mind,  and maybe this is because I haven't had time to read the article closely enough, or try it out yet; I plan to next week.  But if I have to add metadata columns to every one of my documents, it seems that this is going to be a time-consuming process, as there are lots of them.  Hopefully I'll find that I can select a group of them and tag them by group. 


    Wes, I'll take your comments rgarding folders to heart.  I'm a newbie starting out slow, and, I would consider that the library I'm going to create for this purpose would mainly be for technical folks; and as such, we should be savvy enough to want to come up with the correct way of thinking in this new technology ( well, I know SP is not new, but it's new to us).  So, I agree with your recommendation in this case to push away from folders -- knowing that if I were creating a different type of library geared towards a different audience, I might want to opt for metadata and folders...







    Sunday, April 24, 2011 6:15 PM
  • Jeff, you can quickly add metadata to many items by using datasheet view.
    SharePoint Architect || Microsoft MVP || My Blog
    Planet Technologies || SharePoint Task Force
    Sunday, April 24, 2011 6:34 PM
  • Good to know..Thanks Clayton.
    Sunday, April 24, 2011 8:50 PM
  • Well, I am just trying this now, and looks like I really can't do this without being a collection admin, or at least getting the admin to add the terms sets first.  Trying to apply the article Andre pointed me to, I thought I'd be able to add a managed metadata column to my doc. library which I would call "Issues", and then add documents to that library, flagged as the particular type of issue.  But it looks like there's no getting around the fact that all this has to be set up in the "terms store" first, by either the farm or collection admin.

    That's correct, isn't it?



    Sunday, May 01, 2011 2:37 PM