Sharepoint 2007: Edit the Properties of a File or a List Item

1/30/2011 9:42:13 AM
Problem : You want to change some of the values that have been entered into the columns for a specific file or list item. For example, you want to change the details for an event in a calendar list or want to change the name or title of a document in a document library.

Solution :
Lists and document libraries in SharePoint might be configured to ask you for metadata about files and list items. This data appears when you view the properties of a file or list itemor as columns when you view the document libraries or lists, and may be also shown when you search for documents using the advanced search .

This information is useful when you are looking for a file or a list item; you might be able to search for it based on the value that is set in its properties.

To edit the properties of a file, locate the file in the folder where it was saved and hover the mouse cursor over the link to the file. This opens a drop-down menu of actions for that file. If you have permissions to edit that file’s properties, you see the option to do so in that menu, called Edit Properties (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. The Edit Properties menu option appears when you have permissions to edit a document or a list item’s properties.

With list items, the procedure is slightly easier. Although you can do the same as for files (as described in the preceding paragraph), you can also simply click the title of the list item to view the properties and then choose Edit Item from the menu bar. Choosing this option opens a page where you can modify the current properties of the file or list item.

Properties that are mandatory are marked with a red asterisk (*) next to them, and you must fill in those properties to be able to save your changes (see Figure 2). If you don’t fill in those properties, SharePoint does not let you click OK and tells you what properties are not filled in.

Figure 2. When you do not fill in a required property, SharePoint prompts you for it when you try to save.

File and list item properties can be of different types, and each type has a different way of capturing data (see Figure 3). For example, a text property displays a text box for you to enter data. A date property can appear as a text box (for the date) with a button next to it that looks like a calendar that will allow you to pick a date, and it might even have two drop-downs for selecting a time. A yes/no field appears as a check box.

Figure 3. Different property types have different ways to enter or select data. In this task form, you can see six different types.

SharePoint also validates the properties based on the types. This means, for example, that you cannot write text in a date field or in a numeric property. If you do so, SharePoint shows you a red error message under that field and prevents you from saving the properties until you fix the problem.

Additionally, the document library or list manager may choose to impose additional conditions on some of the properties—for example, stating that the title of a file should be up to 40 characters long. SharePoint also alerts you if you try to save the properties when one of those conditions is not met, and tells you what field is not set correctly and what limitations are configured for that field.

An important action when creating a new file in some document libraries is choosing the content type for the file. Different content types require different properties, so it is recommended that before you enter the other properties, you select the content type first. This should not be a problem because the content type property is always the first one to appear in the list of properties (if the document library was configured to use more than one content type), as you can see in Figure 4.

Figure 4. The content type selection is the first thing you need to choose when uploading a file.

Changing the content type causes the page to refresh and load the properties that are required for the selected content type. However, if the new content type has some of the same properties as the old, the values in those properties are not lost. You therefore can switch between content types without worrying about losing the information.

After you have filled in all the properties that you want, click OK at the bottom or the top of the page to save the changes.

If the document library is set up to require you to check in and check out files, you must check in the file after changing its properties.

To edit the properties of multiple list items or files, you can also use the datasheet view.

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