Discover an easy way to boost users adoption through metadata

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I’ll be honest, I completely forgot about this feature in SharePoint. It seems to me that the same recurrent theme comes up over and over again, user adoption. We love SharePoint and the benefits it brings to our organization and the way we work, but sometimes, no one is using it. One factor for this lack of adoption is the form we need to fill out as users when uploading a document.

How does SharePoint act when uploading documents

As you know, when you upload a document to SharePoint, you are presented with a form to fill out. In all honesty, I am like you, I hate filling it out. Why do all of that work when a few weeks or months before I just had to drop the document in the file share? My only worry was if I had dropped it in the right folder. However, with SharePoint we were told that “tagging” documents would benefit us a lot more than putting them in folders. And in all honesty, I will agree. Having documents tagged accordingly is a lot easier for me to find them later on than trying to guess the folder structure that will lead me to my prize.

So what’s the problem? Well my documents don’t get tagged magically or automatically, I need to do it myself. Unfortunately, this may add up to a lot of extra work for my team and me. Here is something I rediscovered to help me with this problem.

Assigning folder based SharePoint metadata

If you are familiar with the concept of Document Sets in SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013, this may not seem so farfetched. The idea is to set up a folder structure in our SharePoint document library and have it automatically populate column information on our content.

To do this, we must first navigate to the SharePoint document libraries’ settings:

Automated Metadata SharePoint folders

There, you will find an option to configure the default values for a folder:

Automated Metadata SharePoint folders


Once inside this menu, you will be able to navigate your folder structure inside of the SharePoint document library and set default values for each folder. The advantage of this feature, like Document Sets, is that the content of each container or folder will inherit the settings from its parent. In other words, if you create a folder called “Travel Expenses”, you can have properties automatically populated every time someone drops a document within the folder. Therefore your folders can serve as a method of classification but also as a way of improving performance for the 5,000 view threshold limit.

Automated Metadata SharePoint folders


The way it is configured is per location. So you choose a folder on the left in the navigation tree and set what the default value will be for the columns you added within the SharePoint library.

This definitely helps ease people into SharePoint, as they won’t have to worry about the metadata and columns that much when they first start with the platform. Obviously, the best is to fully understand the repercussions of these decisions, but this definitely helps us move forward.

Set properties or “SharePoint Metadata” for certain folders, then allow the end users to simply drop the files in the right folder to make your job a whole lot easier.


Though this is one of the oldest trick in the book and a reason why Document Sets were created, I still find it may be valuable for many today. SharePoint is a beast but can be managed and adopted if you know what can be done with it.

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