SharePoint Views

This page I will use to share some good practice for using the “View functionality” in SharePoint document libraries.

SharePoint consists basically of 3 things:

  • SharePoint pages
  • SharePoint Document (file) libraries
  • SharePoint lists

And they can be combined to make a SharePoint site truly powerful just in itself.

One example of this is grouped items

Flat structure of documents and metadata

In a document library I can add metadata columns, which I can use to tag documents with relevant information, such as project phase, project delivery and topic for project delivery documentation. This document library is a document library I have added to a SharePoint site, in addition to the default document library “Documents”.

If I use the functionality in the top menu “Edit in grid view” I can tag several documents in one go. Previously I have added a column “Topics” to the document library and added some values to choose from. When I am done with tagging the documents I can click “Exit grid view” in the top menu, and the changes are saved. In the same operation I can click the tiny arrow next to the column name and filter on all “empty” cells, just like I would do in an Excel sheet, and quickly add values into the empty cells before exiting this view.

Example of a document library with metadata columns, in a flat structure, as well as the document library shown in edit mode and saved mode.

Group metadata

If I am a project manager I might want to see if I have all the relevant documents in place for each phase. To see this I can create a view where the documents are grouped per phase. Check here how to create a view in a document library: Create, change, or delete a view of a list or library – Microsoft Support

Example of choosing which columns (metadata) to show in the view

First I remove the tick ☑️next to the Phase column. The reason I remove the tick ☑️ is that when the documents are grouped by “Phase” it is not necessary for it to take up column space next to it. It makes a tidier view of the documents. 🏆#GoodPractice

Group by

Then I scroll down to the “Group by” functionality. Remember that you need to click the “+” to see the group fields (it is super easy to scroll past it 😉 ). I choose which column I want to group the documents in. Scroll up or down and hit “OK”. (For some funny reason there is an “OK” both at the top and at the bottom of the list of view functionalities 😊)

Example of group functionality in a SharePoint document library

When I go back to the document library (that happens automagically when you click “OK” as mentioned above), I see the documents grouped per phase.

Example of grouped documents

In this example I see that one document has not been assigned a phase, or tagged with “All phases”. I can “open” the phase by clicking the tiny arrow next to it and edit the document with correct phase, or change the view back to “All documents” view and edit it using the “Edit in grid view” functionality.

In this example I have chosen to “open” the “Phase” and click the tiny circle next to the document, and then the round circle with an “i” in the top right corner, where I also see the metadata below, and changes the Phase column value to the relevant phase.

And just like that, all documents have been tagged, and it looks nice and tidy:

Example of grouped documents in a SharePoint document library

The parentheses next to each phase indicates how many documents are tagged with the respective phases.

Column names and values

As we see in the example above the column name for the phases is “Phase” and the values within this column is listed with Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3, etc.. As we see in the example this give double text when the documents are grouped. It is possible to hide the column name by scripting, however, I do recommend to avoid this, as this can be changed next time there is an update. It is better to consider name of column and the values within, e.g. when the name of the column is Phase, the values could be 1, 2, 3, etc..

Example of grouped documents where only the column name has “Phase”.
Example of document library grouped by metadata, and with one of the groups open. Plus where to find other views for this document library.

To see and work with the documents in the document library you can click either on the arrow next to the group and “open” it up or choose other views in the top right corner of the document library.

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Example of document library in a flat structure (without folders).

Read more about how to work with views, same principle applies both for SharePoint lists and SharePoint document libraries. We’ll come back to the differences another time…perhaps…! 😉

Published by Merethe Stave

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