SharePoint Champion Tuorial Series

Welcome to the latest SharePoint Champion Tutorial: How to Make Tagging & Searching Easier with Metadata

As you know, when a user uploads a document in SharePoint, they are presented with a form to fill out to properly name and tag a file. This ensures the document is easy to find if you don’t know the exact folder or location. The issue is that most users (myself included) can find it onerous to fill this in for each upload, and even if it is filled in, there is no guarantee all your users are using the right tags. To add more hurdles, if a file is dragged and dropped, SharePoint might not even prompt a user to fill in tags and meta details. This means that unless the document has a name or content that matches a search query, there is no way for someone to find what they are looking for, or know what the document is about.

So how can we make it easier for users to upload documents, while still ensuring your SharePoint files are tagged properly so they are searchable and can be found?

In SharePoint Online (and earlier), you can set the default metadata values (tags) based on the folder location of the new document. This means that the ‘tagging’ is being pre-populated at the folder level and users don’t even have to worry about it.

Here is a quick tutorial to walk you through why it is important to add meta tags at the folder level in SharePoint and how to set this up for your own folders:  

Let’s say that we have a library called Products with many different folders for each product.

Products Library in SharePoint

If a user were to search for ‘GP v2015’, only the folder will be returned unless “GP v2015” was added to the document name or contents.

To start, create an additional column called ‘Products’, which can be used to store the product name and provide better search results.

1. Click on the right most + on the column headings and select Single line of text

Sharepoint Metadata

2. In the prompt, enter a name for the column and click Save

Create Columns in SharePoint

3. Select the dial from the upper right hand corner, then select Library settings from the list

Library Settings in SharePoint

4. Select Column default value settings from the list settings page

Metadata in SharePoint

5. Select a folder from the list of folders within the Library located along the left side of the page

File structure in SharePoint

6. Select the Product column

Metadata in SharePoint

Select Use this default value and enter a value. Click OK.

Metadata in SharePoint

7. After clicking OK, notice that the default value has been set to GP v2015

Default Values

The GP v2015 folder has been updated with a green star so it is apparent which folders have default metadata set.

Metadata in SharePoint

In this example, you will see that a document uploaded to this folder will automatically have the Product value set to GP v2015. Voila!

Metadata in SharePoint

Searching GP v2015 returns the Lorem Ipsum.docx.

Metadata in SharePoint

And that’s how you can assign meta values in SharePoint based on a folder to make it easier for users to tag, search and find the documents they need.

BUT…you might be asking, Is there a way to automate this configuration setting because there are a lot of folders in this library?

Stay tuned for the next tutorial to show you how to do just that!

About the Author:
Elizabeth Brown


Elizabeth Brown SharePoint Consultant

Elizabeth Brown is one of CRGroup’s senior SharePoint Specialists and works with clients to setup, configure, upgrade, and customize their SharePoint systems. Elizabeth has over 8 years of experience working in IT, focusing on system analysis and application development and support.  In these roles, she worked directly with end users to develop and customize applications to meet long term needs. In addition to SharePoint and Dynamics CRM, she has extensive experience with web based technologies and SQL databases.


Get More From SharePoint!

CRGroup’s team of SharePoint business and technical consultants is here to help setup, configure, integrate and support your SharePoint systems. If you need help with customizations, troubleshooting, or training, contact us for a free SharePoint consultation.