Avoiding Folders in migration from 2007 site to 2013 site

Our company uses SharePoint extensively. I, knowing just enough to be dangerous, created our current site on a local server many years ago. The owner of the company liked the idea of using icons thinking it would make navigating the site a little easier.  Again, me not knowing totally what I was doing created the site and accomplished what he was looking for. It has a main page and a subsite page. The subsite page called "Information" is where the icons where created. I basically created a table with graphic icons that are just hyperlinks to the assorted document libraries. The graphical icons represent different departments within the company. Within each document library, there may be as many as 20 or 30 folders, and within them more folders, and more within them (you probably get the picture). Also, within each document library, there maybe multiple links to multiple custom lists.

I have now started the 2013 site, and wanted to have a similar layout that the users were familiar with. I have a Main page, and the Information subsite page with the graphical icons as before.

After doing a lot of research, I understand the problems with using folders in sharepoint and metadata is the better. I understand modifying views to only show what you want. I understand custom lists and document libraries (I think).

My question is this:  How is the best way to do what I have done with the old site and still avoid folders without having 20 or 30 Custom Views for each document library? Do I need a subsite for each department? If so, I still don't see how I can eliminate the folders. I was not able to upload images..sorry.

Thanks in Advance!

July 26th, 2015 4:17pm

There are ways to use a much smaller number of views by setting up a view that filters on a specific column, and inputing the value to filter on as part of the request string.  That way you can use one or two views but create links that filter many different ways.  This post was written for SharePoint 2010 but will still work in 2013.


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July 26th, 2015 4:49pm

Thanks for the quick response. I THINK i understand what you're saying, but still having a difficult wrapping my mind around it. In my scenario, the QC person currently clicks on the QC icon I created. That takes them to a page with a list of folders. Within those folders are other folders and so on. There is a wide variety of docs stored in the folders. I was just looking at it before your response. So, in my thinking, and I am probably wrong, if I create enough columns that would allow to sort every type of document. it would be  a long list and require many different views. When the QC person went to the document library, he would have to select one of my many views to find the doc he is looking for? OR would it be a list that he could click to go to the specific view?

Thanks Again

July 26th, 2015 4:58pm

You can still organize your document libraries using folders.  The problem is that then you have only one way to organize the files and users need to click through multiple levels of folders to find what they want.  With metadata and well thought out views you can have multiple different ways to organize the same files rather than just one.  For example, lets say that I have documents with a location column (city), an author column, and a topic column.  I can now use a view to look at all the files by a specific author, or all the files on a specific topic.  But I can also combine the columns to look at all the files by a specific author on a  specific topic in a specific city.  It is a much more flexible way or storing and retrieving files.  YOu could still have your list of icons, but now each icon points to a view (it can be the same view) with different values for the filters in the view.  Better yet, users can create their own personal
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July 27th, 2015 7:22am

Hi Paul, and thanks for your comments. What I can't seem to understand is that (in my scenario) when a user navigates thru the icon hyperlink to the related document library, they will only see a list of documents which is dependent on the current view settings at that time which is sorted by the metadata columns. If they want to see other documents, they will have to change to another saved view? If this is so, then it seems to me that I will have to create many, many views with many many metadata columns in order to account for all the documents that are currently sorted out in the multiple folders in the system that we currently use? 

I know that I am just not getting it and really appreciate your patience.. There will soon be a "duh" moment for me.

Thanks Again!

July 27th, 2015 2:25pm

There is a difference between creating a link on a page that points to a view and supplies a filter value AND switching views in the context of a document library.Links can be created with just a few views by changing the filter value.  But if you want to embed the filter value in the view itself (This is what you see inside the document library) then you are correct.  You would need to create a lot of views.  Please note that you can only have 50 views per document library per user.  So its a matter of design.

As I said, if you want to continue to use folders you can do it the same way you did for 2007.  Folders still work.  But rethinking how you are doing things could lead to a more flexible robust design.

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July 27th, 2015 3:41pm

Thanks Again Paul. After really studying the folder structure that we have, I am beginning to see how I can eliminate them using metadata.

My next question is a little of topic, so let me if I need to ask it in a different thread. 

In my scenario, currently where Quality navigates to the document library, I also have "links" to custom lists (and a good number of them too). How do you suggest doing that or options to do it another way?

Thanks Again

July 27th, 2015 9:07pm

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