How to Organize a Library with MetaData Columns in SharePoint 2013

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In Brief...

The common practice of organizing a library using columns with a custom view instead of folders makes it very easy to have many ways to view our data. Columns must be established to hold the values that better define each file we upload and store. The custom view then sorts, filters, etc., the values and displays them on-screen.


  1. Create a custom column in the active library: LIBRARY > Create Column.
    Create Column

  2. Name the column and choose the type.
    Name and Type

  3. Scroll down and adjust the column settings. Note that each type has unique options. Click OK when done.
    Enter Choices

  4. The new column name now appears in the default view.
    Column Add to View

  5. To enter test records, go to FILES > Upload Document.
    Upload Files

  6. Upload one file at a time by clicking on Browse or multiple files at a time by clicking on Upload files using Windows Explorer instead.
    Upload Using Windows Explorer

  7. Select the files you want to upload.
    Select Files

  8. Use your mouse to drag the files to the Document Library.
    Drag and Drop

  9. The files are then copied over.
    Progress of Upload

  10. Back in the Web Browser, the files are listed in the Library View.
    Files in Browser Library

  11. Populate the custom column by choosing LIBRARY > Quick Edit.
    Quick Edit

  12. Choose or type a value in for each listing.
    Use Drop-down

  13. You may copy a value down as well by focusing on the lower right of the cell and using a drag-and-drop to copy down.
    AutoFill Handle

  14. When you are done, click Stop.
    Stop Editing

  15. To create a view to organize by the new column go to LIBRARY > Create View.
    Create View
  16. Choose Standard View.
    Standard View

  17. Name the view.
    Name View

  18. Scroll down and expand if needed to see the details of Group By. Choose a column to group by.
    Group By

  19. The view is now used to display the files.

Author: Tracy Berry

Tracy has been a senior graphic designer/programmer, instructor, and consultant since 1993 and has developed hundreds of logos, marketing materials, websites, and multimedia solutions for customers worldwide, including involvement in large corporate software rollouts. She has helped many organizations optimize and streamline data solutions. She teaches both onsite and online courses and has her CTT (Certified Technical Trainer) certification. Tracy specializes in teaching graphics, desktop publishing, web design, reporting/productivity applications, as well as the creation of online courses with software from leading vendors.