Achieving ‘zero profiling’ in SharePoint document management

Zero profiling is a term I came across at MacroView for allowing users to file documents in SharePoint without having to fill in any metadata fields, i.e. 'drag-and-drop', or 'Save', and its done.

For zero profiling to work default values have to be well thought out, and any required columns MUST have a default value (otherwise your document remains checked out and invisible to others).

It's important for several reasons:

  • users often don't fill in forms well when they are in a hurry, and not always when they are not
  • when you upload a bunch of documents with the web browser SharePoint accepts them, and fills in any default values. Going through them and updating metadata can be a pain so the defaults better be good
  • when you create a new document in the browser, in Teams, or in Word, when you save it you aren't asked to fill in the properties, so again, the defaults better be good
  • while you can update some properties within Word (on the desktop) you can only update the simple ones - text, date, number - you can't choose from a list, change the content type [I'd like to think the list fo "can't's" will get smaller but it has been this way for many years.

Do’s and don’ts of zero profiling

  • Do set default values on all metadata that needs it
  • Do consider using document sets as metadata on the document set (eg project name) can be automatically shared with documents (and updates when changed)
  • Do set a default value for any required columns – if you don’t the document will be added in a checked out state and nobody will be able to see it
  • Do set retention defaults.

I'll add more to this soon (I hope).

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