While many SharePoint users store and categorize content in folders, another way to do this is through metadata. Metadata can be many kinds of information - a location, a date, or a content type (Sales Contract or Sales Proposal, for example). With SharePoint, you can manage the metadata centrally and organize it in a way that makes sense for your organization.
Why use metadata rather than folders? SharePoint is all about ‘findability’ and adding metadata tags makes searches easier. Using a nested folder structure is problematic because the structure is only known to the person who created it. Furthermore, you cannot sort or filter files buried in folders. Folders are only best for the reason that they are a quick way to store files. They are ok for smaller teams that do not need strict control over their documents.
Metadata allows for filtering, grouping, and sorting of documents based on their properties. Furthermore it organizes documents in a presentable fashion, works well for large teams that need ability to easily find documents, and anytime you have lots of people uploading and accessing files.
There is this perception that it is difficult and time-consuming to tag multiple files with metadata in SharePoint, but in fact SharePoint does this quite easily. It is possible to tag multiple files all at once.
Let’s get started.
Begin by uploading some documents to a library. You can do this by clicking the ‘Upload’ tab, or by dragging and dropping the files into the library.
Once the documents are uploaded, click on ‘Quick Edit’.
You should now see your documents in an Excel like table. Click on the ‘+’ icon to add a column to apply the tag, and select ‘More Column Types’.
A modal window will open. Enter a name for the column and select ‘Managed Metadata’
You will now be able to scroll down in the modal window. Do so until you reach the ‘Term Set Settings’ section.
If you already have managed term sets entered, you can select that option. Otherwise select ‘Customize your term set’.
In our case we will select a term from the list of managed term sets:
Click ‘Ok’ when you’re done adding terms.
Now we can add the term to multiple documents all at once! Select the documents you would like to add the tag to by either using the Shift + Left Mouse click to select a group of cells at once, or Ctrl + Left Mouse click to select cells to add to the highlighted group individually.
Once you have selected your cells, click on the tag icon:
Select ‘Add these terms to all selected fields’ and click the tag icon beside the textbox.
Highlight the term you would like to apply and click ‘Select’. Click ‘Ok’ when you’re done.
You should see the tags applied in the table. Click ‘Done’ and you’re done!
Metadata terms in SharePoint are very useful for making it easier to find documents. Metadata navigation enables users to filter and find content in lists and libraries by using a navigation tree. They can also apply Key Filters, which work in combination with the navigation tree to refine the list of items that display.
By default, metadata navigation and filtering is enabled on most sites. If it is not enabled for your site, you can enable it on the Site Features pages for your site.
SharePoint is a powerful document management tool, especially when using the metadata tagging functionality.
Searching for an Advantage
If your website or app has a lot of content, whether it is an online store, e-book reader, or news site, a poor search experience can cause user frustration and abandonment. Search is a dialog between user and system and as human beings, at our core, we all want to be understood. When someone or something does not understand you, it’s frustrating.