Replace a SharePoint folder structure with metadata

Video Transcript:

In this video, we’ll show you how to leverage SharePoint’s full potential by replacing your folder structure with metadata using ShareGate.

Before we begin, note that these steps can be used as much for the import from File Shares, as for a content copy from one SharePoint library to another.

Our goal here is to import the documents from the “Projects” folder into a SharePoint Library. Doing this will use the subfolders’ names to create Metadata and flatten the folder hierarchy. The results would be a library filled with documents that are tagged with metadata without any folders.

SharePoint folder structure best practices

First, connect the destination library. As you can see, we already built it in SharePoint with the required columns. Once this is complete, find the folder you wish to import and click on Export Metadata.

ShareGate will then create an Excel sheet with all the Metadata already existing in the File Share, all the columns existing in the target library, and extra columns that will be useful in our project. The first column is the item names, the second one its parent folder and the rest are the full path, broken down into columns. In our scenario, these two last columns are quite interesting. As you’ll notice, they’re filled with the metadata that we want to copy into the destination’s newly created columns.

2 ways to customize file meta data

We have two options: First you can copy the data from these two columns and paste them into the new columns in Excel. Or the second option, is removing the Customer and Project columns from the Excel sheet, and simply rename the ones that are already filled in. If you choose the second option, make sure to delete the unnamed columns, otherwise ShareGate will try to match them with unexisting columns.

ShareGate flatten folder hierarchy

Once this step is done and you’re happy with the changes, save your Excel spreadsheet and go back to ShareGate. Click on the Import and Copy button and select the spreadsheet you just modified. After your import is complete, check the “Flatten Folder Hierarchy” box to ensure no folders are kept, then click on Start Copy.

As you can see, all folders have now been converted into Metadata. This simplifies search, creating views and much more, all to use SharePoint to its potential.

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