Metadata helps keep document libraries organized. We can add metadata to our files by adding new columns. After adding it to our files, we can utilize them to sort, filter, or group our files. In this blog, we’ll discuss how we can do metadata filtering in our SharePoint files and its advantages.
Metadata filtering makes filtering files/documents in SharePoint lists and document libraries more logical and customizable.
For this example, we’ve added two metadata columns namely Department and Expense Type. With these, we can sort, filter by, or group by department.
Filtering SharePoint Files Using Metadata
To filter our files by this column, just click Filter by.
Then, select the Department that we want to see. For example, we want to filter our files by Accounting and Sales. So, let’s select them and click the Apply button.
As we can see, only Accounting and Sales files are now displayed.
This is a better way of grouping or organizing our files compared to using a folder hierarchy. By using metadata with filter or group by feature, we can see both Accounting and Sales files at once. By using folders, we need to open their folder individually for us to see or locate the files that we need.
To remove the filter, just click the Filter by again, untick your selections here or click the Clear all button and click the Apply button.
Grouping Our SharePoint Files Using Metadata
Another cool thing with our metadata is using the Group by feature. With this, we can group our files by department or expense type. Just click on the Group by Department to see how it’ll looks like.
As we can see, our files are now grouped by their department type. The files under the Accounting department are grouped together, same with Sales, and so on.
This makes it very easy to categorize our files. We can also make use of the dropdowns to easily see our files in case we have hundreds of them. We can collapse them by group and only show the group that we want to see.
Technically, we could have done similar things with the folder structure. However, this is where the metadata really helps because we can also do it by other metadata columns like our Expense Type column.
If we don’t care about the files departments and we need to group or filter them by their expense type instead, we could just do the same thing in this Expense Type column. For example, let’s filter our files by Travel expense type.
Then, we’ll see the files relating to Travel expenses regardless of their department.
We can also do filtering and grouping at the same time. For example, if we want to see all of the departments except marketing, then let’s leave out the marketing.
Then, we can group these files while having them filtered by just clicking the Group by department as well.
We can also create filters for both Department and Expense type column at same time. For example, we can only show the Travel and Supplies expenses under the Accounting department.
To sum up, once we’ve added metadata to our files, we can easily organize our files however we want, which creates efficiency in an organization.
This filtering and grouping mechanism allows users to dynamically filter and find content in document libraries. It makes sense if you configure your library with custom metadata/columns. If you don’t have custom metadata set up, the only filters you will have are the ones that exist by default in any library.
All the best,