Best practices for SharePoint Libraries

Babita Kiran

SharePoint library is one of the best sources to maintain documents/files of different file extensions in one place. We can create, upload, edit, delete and share documents between teams and team members. 

We can create, upload, edit, delete and share documents between teams and team members. 

Most of the organizations use SharePoint libraries to maintain confidential documents and documents that need to be shared between peers in an organization. Though SharePoint libraries stand out as the best document management solution, we often come across some issues which block our work and time. 

Let’s have a look at some common issues and their best practices followed accordingly: 

URLs exceeding maximum URL length 

  • Create files/folders with logical names and it must be instinctive and short. 
  • Do not include any special characters, especially using space will be considered as “%20” in the URLs. 
  • Try to use _ and – if required. 
  • Try to give display name related to content resided inside it, this will help other users to find out the folders/files and stuff the documents into respective libraries. 

The higher the number of versions, the higher the amount of storage  

Versioning is one of the interesting concepts in SharePoint lists and libraries. It makes sure that each change in version is tracked, each version’s modified metadata, authors and timestamps are tracked with respect to the version. 

  • The number of versions for one file leads to more storage. Instead, select limit the number of versions to retain” in versioning settings.

Versioning in SharePoint Libraries

This feature allows users to keep only required major versions and required drafts for each major version. 

By default, ithe number of versions increases for each edit, they will be deleted from the bottom by SharePoint. (Deletes based on major versions and their drafts versions limit given in versioning settings) 

Nested folder hierarchy  

  • Nested folders in file share are difficult to maintain. Moving the same nested structure into SharePoint doesn’t solve this problem. 
  • It is recommended not to keep deeply nested hierarchy levels in SharePoint lists/librariesNested folders are easy to create but difficult to manage and navigate. 
  • Use Metadata instead of Folders: Keep all the documents in a single view to flatten the data. Now create columns for each field and give values for each field. 
  • Search for the required documentation based on field values or document names. This provides the user with an efficient way of maintaining & finding the documents rather than diving deep into the sea in the file share. 

Managing large lists and libraries 

  • When a library has a large number of files, it needs to be well-organized to access the data. We can store up to 30 million items/files in a SharePoint list or library. However, when a list view shows more than 5000 items, it throws a list view threshold error. 

To overcome this, use indexed columns. 

Indexed columns enable you to quickly retrieve data based on values in the column indexed. Adding indexed columns with filtering views is great combination to retrieve data quickly, even if the library has thousands or millions of files or items. 

Adding more site columns in a single content type 

  • In SharePoint libraries, files are created with different content types. Utilize the functionality of Content types, it allows you to dynamically add properties or tags to the fields depending upon the document you upload. 
  • Content-type stores group of site columns in it. Adding a large number of site columns into a single Site Content type can confuse you, as the Site Content types are used across the site. This Site Content Types with a large number of site columns will mess up your work. 
  • Add only 5 Site Columns per Content-Type. This helps a better organization of data, filters based on Content-Type and Metadata. We can use this Site Content Types across the site with no worries.

Permission levels for users & groups

  • The best practice for security runs around giving permissions to a group of users through a single groupinstead of giving permission to the user directly on the object. 
  • If we want to grant permissions to 5 users for 10 document libraries, add these 5 users in a single group and assign permission levels (edit, contribute, etc.) to this group. Grant permissions to this group on 10 document libraries. If we add or remove users in this group, it will reflect in all 10 document libraries. 
  • This way we can subsequently control the access levels between different SharePoint objects. 

Check out file  

If multiple authors need to work on the same document, it is recommended to turn off “Require Check out” setting 

Turning on this setting will prevent the other user to make changes to the same document, it will pop up an alert showing “file is in check out mode check in the file to make changes” to prevent data conflicts. 

However, turning on this setting stands as a great feature where it will prevent other users to make changes on already completed work in the same document. 

To solve this, turn off the “Require Check out” setting so that multiple authors can work on the same document. 

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