Blog written by:
CCNA, MCPD, MCTS, A+
Metadata are data tags that contain short descriptive information about the documents in SharePoint. They are very helpful in differentiating between the various documents, making their search easy and quick. By adding relevant metadata to your SharePoint document, you can easily find, sort and manage your different documents in the SharePoint site. Metadata also enhances security of your documents by blocking users from getting access to sensitive files, even when they search for them.
In SharePoint, metadata for a document can be added by creating a column. For example, you can create a column named “Document Type” and assign a value for a file such as “Project Requirements”, and while searching if you use a keyword of Document Type = Project Requirements, the results will be more accurate when compared to the results that appear on using only one or both of these words in the keywords.
In this blog, we will discuss the various methods that can be used to modify metadata in bulk for your SharePoint documents to ensure that the content has a good ‘data structure’.
How to Bulk Edit Metadata
There are different ways to bulk edit metadata in SharePoint, each with their won advantages and disadvantages, which we will discuss here:
1. Quick Edit (view) in SharePoint
The Datasheet view on SharePoint 2010 was named Quick Edit (view) in SharePoint 2013. And this has the ability to display list and library items in a grid, very much like spreadsheet. This makes it very easy for metadata editing for multiple items and documents in SharePoint.
You can enter the Quick Edit mode through two ways – either by clicking the command on the ribbon or by using the shortcut edit at the top of the list.
- Quick Edit is easy to use, is out of the box and can be done by anyone with adequate rights.
- It allows you to add and rename columns directly from the spreadsheet, sort and filter data, copy/move items or field values using hot keys, add and delete rows, quickly insert values using the Auto Fill feature.
- Does not support certain Column types like rich text columns
- May not perform well with large lists and might show error messages like “Unable to communicate with server” or may be extremely slow.
(source: http://www.sharepointdiary.com/2014/12/fix-quick-edit-disabled-in-sharepoint-2013-issue.html )
Import from Spreadsheet
If you want to edit metadata in a list, then importing from spreadsheet is the easiest way to do as it allows you to import column names and values directly from spreadsheet.
- Fairly simple to do
- Most Users are familiar with MS Excel and can use it to input the columns and the metadata as needed
- This method only supports lists and not document libraries.
- Can only be used for new lists and not to populate metadata in an existing list
Bulk updating capabilities are available in MS Access. Hence if you open the list or library in the MS Access view, you can easily edit the metadata fields.
- Very easy to use
- Supports libraries and lists
- Can be used to filter and sort content before filtering
- This functionality requires the user to install MS Access locally on the machine
- Does not support all field types
The PowerShell command line tool can be used by SharePoint administrators to write a script that automatically populates metadata for items. This uses programming logic and can be very helpful when there are certain special conditions like – inserting a calculated value or updating properties based on a certain scenario. Although programming knowledge is required, administrators find it easy to use since it works well with SharePoint Online as well as Office 365.
- Very flexible to use
- More powerful than the above mentioned options as it can be used for multiple lists across several sites
Quite technical and requires knowledge of PowerShell for SharePoint
Needs changes and test runs for every column name/data and filter changes
Can prove to be quite cumbersome of the program is poorly written
If content changes frequently, such as new columns or new filtering criteria added, then this method can be quite tedious as it requires the involvement of a technical person for implementation.
SharePoint Bulk Edit & Classify
(A tool by QIPoint for SharePoint on-premise)
We offer a very simple tool to Bulk Edit and Classify SharePoint Metadata in Lists, Web Pages, and Document Libraries.
It provides full support for all Field Types and has a very easy to use interface to update metadata. Supports large lists and has Query Editor to update metadata (or even delete items) based on other metadata or Author/Last Modified/etc properties.
View Product: SharePoint Bulk Edit and Classify Enterprise Edition
- What is SharePoint? A Beginner’s Guide to MS SharePoint Software - October 8, 2018
- Beginner’s Guide: Windows PowerShell – How to Use Tutorial for Dummies - October 8, 2018
- Remote PowerShell to Manage SharePoint on-premises - August 14, 2018