Document and Links in the same library

Whilst working with SharePoint and document libraries, sometimes it’s nice not to have to upload content into a library but instead add a link to the content stored elsewhere. By using content types, you able to create a library that supports both documents and links to documents.

To enable this functionality, access the library settings > advanced settings option and enable the ‘Allow management of content types’ option. Then, add the ‘Link to a Document’ content type to the library:

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Now, you’ll be able to add documents as normal to the library but also links to content elsewhere, including content already stored in SharePoint!

When specifying these links you able to provide the following details:

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I hope this helps…

Document Sets – Part 2

In part one of this two part post, we saw how to use Document Sets and what the out-of-the-box behaviour provides. In this post we’ll be looking at how to customise Document Sets to meet your specific business requirements.

Part one showed us that a Document Set is actually a content type we can add to a document library. Like any other content type, we can create our own content types based on the Document Set content type – this is the basis of starting to customise the way Document Sets behave.

In this example we’ll be creating a new Document Set content type to support one of our example business process – creating a SharePoint implementation plan. Like many other business processes, this process involves creating several different documents, each of which has its own template but they all relate to the same process – a perfect fit for a Document Set.

To begin with, let’s create a new content type that inherits from the Document Set content type:

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Once created, you’ll notice a new content type setting option called ‘Document Set Options’, a quick look at the available options shows us that we can customise many aspects of this document set including the allowed content, default content, shared columns, welcome page columns and the welcome page layout. But before we begin, add a few custom columns to our new SharePoint Implementation Plan content type. I’ve added the following columns:

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To start customising our document set, we’re going to define the allowed content that this document set supports. This is done by adding existing content types (that I’ve already defined) to the allowed content option. By leaving the existing ‘Document’ content type in place you’ll allow any document to be uploaded to the Document Set, whilst removing it ensures that only your business process specific content types are allowed inside the Document Set:

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Next, we’re going to define the default content. This is done by adding content types to the default content option. For each content type added, a new item will automatically be added to the document set based on the document template you specify in the File Name option:

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For those of you familiar with SharePoint you might be wondering why the document template is uploaded here and not pulled from the template specified by the content type. The answer is so that multiple documents of the same content type can be added to the Document Set, each with a different template.

Next, we’re going to add the custom columns we added earlier as Shared Columns. This will push the column definitions from the document set down to the documents it contains:

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Additionally, we can show these columns on the Welcome Page by adding them to the Welcome Page Columns option:

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Finally, we can customise the Welcome Page layout for this document set by click on the ‘Customize the Welcome Page’ option. For my custom Welcome Page, I’ve simply changed the image and added a content editor web part but you can alter the page as much as you like:

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We’ve now configured our custom document set so now it’s time to use it. First, using the same process as part 1 of this post, our new custom document set content type needs to be associated with a document library. Once associated, new instances of our document set can be created from the New Document ribbon option:

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During the document set creation process you’ll be asked the specific the properties or columns we added to the custom document set content type:

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Finally, once created, our document set should contain an instance of each of the content types we added to the document set, the custom properties assigned to both the document set and each item it contains and our customised page layout:

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I hope you enjoy configuring your own document sets and using the power they provide to support your own business process.

Document Sets – Part 1

For anyone who already uses SharePoint you’ll know it’s great for managing documents, but historically this has meant managing one document at a time rather than multiple documents at once. With the release of SharePoint 2010 and its Document Set feature, you can now work with collections of documents easily and quickly.

With Document Sets you can group documents together into a single entity. All documents in the Document Set share the same metadata and the entire Document Set can be versioned as a whole and downloaded as a single ZIP file that contains all the documents in the Document Set. You can also start workflows on the entire Document Set instead of individual workflows for each document.

Additionally, each document set contains a Welcome Page which displays the metadata that is shared by all the documents in the set as well as a list of all the documents the Document Set contains. Just like most other pages in SharePoint, you can customise the Welcome Page by adding your own content, web parts or change the layout to shape the Welcome Page to meet your business requirements.

In this two part post, we’ll first review how you get started with Document Sets. In part 2 of the post we’ll look at how to extend Document Sets to meet your specific business requirements – very cool (I mean adds real business value).

To get started using Document Sets, first the Document Sets feature needs to be activated. You can do this form Site Actions > Site Settings > Site Collection Features:

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Once activated, a Document Set content type becomes available to you to be added to any document library where you want to start using Document Sets:

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Once you’ve added the Document Set content type to your library, you can create a new document set from the Ribbon by selecting the New Document > Document Set option:

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When you create a Document Set you’ll be prompted to provide a Name and optional description for the Document Set along with any metadata attributes or columns added to the document library. TIP: Add the Document Set content type to the library before adding any custom columns to the library to ensure the custom columns are applied to all content types supported by the library.

Once you’ve created your Document Set you can add documents to it just like a document library or folder by New Document or Upload Documents options from the Ribbon. You’re document set should look something like this:

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Whilst inside your Document Set you can edit its content and add new documents as needed, however, when viewed from the document library, your Document Set appears as a single item than you can manipulate as single entity:

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So far we’ve seen just the basics of Document Sets. What really, makes Document Set useful is when you start customising them to meet your business process. In part 2 of this post we’ll look at add to add default content, properties and customise the Welcome Page for process specific document sets.