Sharepoint 2010 : Enterprise Content Management - Document Sets

9/28/2013 7:47:32 PM

In a typical project in which documents are being produced frequently to accomplish one task, you may have not a single document, but instead a set of documents that need to be treated as one. This is where document sets come into the picture. A document set is implemented as a site collection feature. Activating it gives you a special content type that allows you to group together multiple documents as a "set of documents."

This gives you many interesting new options. For instance, a document set can have its own welcome page that can tell users what the specific document set is all about. Because document sets are implemented as a content type, they get everything that a content type gets: versioning, workflows, policies, and so on. Only this time around, the entire document "set" (i.e. multiple documents together) can participate in the business processes defined on the document set. Let's see how this works.

To use document sets, activate the site collection level feature called Document Sets. Then in a document library, allow management of content types and add Document Set as an allowed content type. This can be seen in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Document sets available as a content type to add

With this new content type added to the document library, you will be able to create a new document set from the New button under the Documents ribbon. Creating a new document set will simply ask you for a name and description. In the welcome page, you can begin to add new documents in the document set (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Document sets cover/welcome page

The welcome page is customizable to anything you want. But for now, click the View All Properties link. You should see a popup shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. The document sets get document IDs

As you can tell, everything that you are used to seeing at a document level is now available at a document set level. Interestingly, the document set participates in the document ID numbering as well. This truly lets you treat a set of documents as one entity.

It is important to realize, however, that a document set is nothing but just another content type. This means all the facilities that are applicable to a content type are also applicable to document set. Let's examine this in further detail. Because you have a content type called Document Set in your site collection already, create a new content type called My Document Set and have it inherit from the Document Set content type. Now visit the content type management page for this new My Document Set content type that you created. You will see that just like any other content type you have all the facilities, but you have a new link called Document Set settings. This can be seen in Figure 4.

Figure 4. The Document Set settings link

Clicking Documents Set settings allows you to customize a number of things about the My Document Set content type:

  • Under the Allowed Content type section, you can pick and choose the content types that are allowed inside this document set.

  • Under the Default Content section, you can choose to prepopulate this document set to include certain specific items. Not only that; you can also choose to specify those default items as certain associated content types. For instance, a document set called Client Interaction may by default include a company overview, welcome letter, and proposal outline.

  • Under Shared Columns, you can choose to synchronize the value of a column from the document set onto all the constituent documents.

  • Under the Welcome Page Columns section, you can choose to show all columns from the documents that will appear on the welcome page.

  • Under the Welcome Page section, you can choose to customize the welcome page of the documents set. You would note that the welcome page for the My documents at content type lives at http://sp2010/_cts/My%20Document%20Set/docsethomepage.aspx. "_cts" is a special folder in any site collection that contains all the files necessary to support a content type. You can choose to edit the welcome page right through the browser because this is just a WebPart page. But you also have the option of performing serious customizations through SharePoint Designer or even Visual Studio.

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