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SharePoint Document Library Features

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SharePoint document libraries provide a number of advanced document management features. Here is an overview I put together for SharePoint 2007.

One thing to keep in mind is that some features, such as Check Out, Version History, Draft Versions and Content Approval, are turned on or off for the entire document library. For example, it is not possible to have only certain files or folders within the library use version history while others do not. You need to create separate document libraries if you need different features used with different documents. For example, you may want one library for your more important documents that requires check out, content approval and version history, while you have a second library for "every day" documents that do not require any of these features.


All document libraries allow you to check out documents before editing them. This prevents other users from making changes to the document while you are working on it. Users with appropriate permissions can override check outs if needed.

By default, document libraries do not require you to check out documents. You can configure your document library to require all documents be checked out before editing.

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Version History

You can optionally configure your document library to automatically keep a version history of all changes made to a document. Each time you open a document, make a change, save it and then close the document, a new version is created automatically. You can add an optional comment with each version to describe the changes you made. From the version history, you can view older versions, delete them or revert to one of them. You can also limit the version history to only keep a set number of older versions.



Draft Versions

You can optionally configure the document library to use draft versions (also called minor versions). Each change you make to a document is saved as a draft until you explicitly publish it as a major version, at which point it is viewable to the public. The public can only view the last version that you explicitly published. You can un-publish a major version at any time as well as configure who can view or edit draft versions.



Content Approval

You can optionally configure your document library to require approval on new or edited documents before they become visible to the general public. You can configure who is allowed to approve or reject items as well as who can view items that have yet to be approved.


Custom Properties

You can optionally require custom properties be entered for each document saved into the library. You can then sort, filter and search based on those properties. You can create many different kinds of properties, included text, numbers, dates, user names, and pre-built lists.



Permissions and Security

You can set custom permissions on your document library, folders in the library or even individual documents. Each document or folder can be configured differently if you like. This gives you complete control over who can read, edit and delete documents in the library.



Export to Excel

Once you have custom properties associated with the document in your library, you can also export the properties to an Excel Spreadsheet where you can sort, filter and work with them in ways you are used to.



Edit in Datasheet

You can also edit your custom properties in bulk right in the document library.



Explorer View

You prefer working with icons instead of lists, you can switch to the Explorer view right in your web browser.


Alerts, RSS and Search

Like all features in SharePoint, you can sign up to receive alerts for any changes made in the document library. You can even set up an alert just for a specific document.

You can also view an RSS feed for the library and search properties and contents of the documents in the library.



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