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  • Writer's pictureEric Bagshaw

SharePoint Document Sets: powerful but underused

I’ve been delivering and employing SharePoint Document Sets for well over 10 years. This powerful feature has streamlined dozens of assignments and simplified the lives of countless staff - especially busy Project Managers and their overworked teams.

A Document Set is a group of related documents – but that’s just the ‘label’. In action SharePoint delivers a wealth of feature benefits – as I’ll outline later.

So why aren’t you, your colleagues or your company using Document sets? Chances are it's because no one has heard of them...! Document Sets are now seldom promoted by Microsoft which is focusing on more recent launches, improved user interface features, plus of course the ever expanding Teams and 365 domains. This post seeks addresses this knowledge gap and act as a reminder to leverage this forgotten and fine feature.

A project is a perfect example of why you should be using Document Sets. Even a simple assignment will have the following document and spreadsheet files

  • Business Case

  • Project Charter

  • Project Communications Plan

  • RACI Matrix

  • Work Breakdown Structure

  • Etc Etc

All these separate files are best stored under a single and common ‘project’ umbrella.

Employing a Document Set at ‘project initiation’ not only creates the full SET of required documents, but also names them AND ensures they are based on the companies current set of templates – at last no more searching for latest file versions or reading the process manual to see what documents have been forgotten..!

Two simple steps to create a Document Set

One simple click and updating one set of metadata fields..!

Click 'New' for a new Document Set
Updating the fields
The named Document Set complete with named items and the entered fields

Template and Document Set Libraries will both benefit from extending the views to including the additional metadata. The above example includes Content Type, Client Name. Project Name and Description plus Versions.

But that’s just the start… When fully leveraged SharePoint’s ‘Content Type’ features control the document content type complete with its underlying fields metadata ideal for populating documents (see below) provided of course, you’ve already defined these properties..!

For more information see the Introduction to Document Sets from Microsoft.

Watch for a future post which will include a demo of the planning and a video of the Document Set creation process.


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