5 ways to find documents easily with Sharepoint views

By - January 8, 2015

Whether you use views today or you are new to views completely, here are 5 ways you can use views in SharePoint to easily access the information you’re looking for.

1. Manual sorting with metadata

As the title implies, this a manual way to find what you’re looking for using the metadata you’ve already defined. Many users not only don’t understand the importance of metadata but they also don’t know that you can filter on these values once they’ve been tagged. Instead of sifting through hundreds of documents to find the one file I’m looking for, I can now do a quick filter on one or more properties (metadata) to find the document I need.

Manual Sorting

Manually sorting views in a SharePoint library

2. Filter out information you don’t want

In many cases, you will have document libraries or lists with hundreds, if not thousands of files. Manually filtering through files could still take a long time, especially if you already know what type of information you’re looking for. This is when you would create a view that filters out specific information based on the metadata. In the example below, I want to see any documents where the department is IT. Now whenever I select this view, it is pre-filtered to show only IT documents.

Filtered views in SharePoint

Filtered views in a SharePoint Document Library

3. Group by information you do want

There may also be times when I want to see all of the documents or list items but I want them to be grouped similar to a folder structure so that I can easily open or close groups without doing any filtering. This is when you would create a view with grouping. Grouping allows you to decide what metadata field you want to group on and that becomes your folder-like structure. This view is very popular with people that really like folders but you’re trying to get them to follow more of a metadata structure.

Grouping documents in SharePoint views

Grouping documents in SharePoint views

4. Analyze information

I have seen many occasions in SharePoint where people are storing financial information in lists or libraries (contract amounts, invoice amounts, etc.) and they want to easily see at a glance the total amount of a group of documents without having to open each file and calculate the total. This is when you can use the total feature on a view that will sum the amount of any numeric metadata field. This can make it very easy for people to make determinations at a glance without having to open up any files.

Using totals in SharePoint views

Using totals in SharePoint views

5. Recent documents

The final useful method to use a view is when you want a view to be more dynamic. This type of view is very commonly used on site home pages in a document webpart when you want the content to change to keep the page updated. You can create a filtered view like the one we discussed in #2 but instead of putting in a set value, have the filter equal “[Today]-7”, this view will show you any documents that were created in the last seven days.

Using views to show recent documents

Using views to show recent documents

To find out more about this or other ways that RSM can assist you with your SharePoint needs, please feel free to reach out to me directly at Jacque.anderson@mcladrey.com.

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