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What is the plan for "modern" Document Sets?

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Brent Ellis
Valued Contributor

So it's been asked many times in the old network and never answered, so want to ask it here in the hopes that people are actually thinking about this.

 

What is the plan for "modern" Document Sets in the new modern SharePoint?

 

Right now, the experience is you are in the modern UI for the doc library, click the document set and it takes you back to the old UI, in a very disjointed experience.

 

Document Sets are the most used feature in our environment (and I think one of the most powerful/useful tools in all of SharePoint).

 

Critical success factors in my opinion:

  1. Don't take away functionality (do no harm)
    • this includes modifying the welcome page
    • documents inheriting metadata
    • multiple document content types
    • default views
  2. We HAVE to have the ability to keep modifying the landing page for each document set (including adding web parts) - we have so many solutions that add script web parts to build on the capability - (if things go the way they are now with the rest of modern SharePoint and we lose that it would be a major business impact for usability)
  3. Update the actual document view to be modern like the new doc lib

 

Things we typically add in code:

  • We typically add some buttons via script editor web part that are specific to the current document set the user is looking at
    • could be something like going to a start a workflow screen
    • likes to external systems based some metadata on the screen
  • We add a button / scripts to hide/show the document metadata view at the top, allowing users to focus on the document view and expand the metadata summary only when they want to see it
  • Custom branding (via image web parts and other OOTB capabilities) based on the type of document set
  • Analytics Event Tracking code - to see what users are doing while viewing document sets
127 Replies
Highlighted

Hi Brent,

 

We're looking closely at Document Sets currently.  They get significant usage in the service, and it's clear that they're in need of a UX update.  We want to make them great at what they're currently good at - managing a set of related files together.  We will keep the "bones" of the feature intact - shared metadata, distinct content types, and customizable homepage.  We'll likely add modern pages and page editing, modern library views, Flow integration, and other features that will help collaboration happen on files inside a set.  

 

Thanks for your feedback!  

 

Is there any rough timeframe on this?

I was seem to stumble upon little things that make usage for a user very weird.

I'd like to bump this thread again, since there hasn't been any information (or I haven't found them yet) on document sets at Ignite and nothing since then either. 

I've discovered a few issues with document sets and their behaviour and even some showstoppers than make working with them impossible

 

  1. Welcome Page webparts are shown twice instead of once
  2. (as already mentioned) Modern Document Libraries revert back to the old UI once you click on a document set
  3. (now starts the fun part) when you create a document in the old UI, then for example jump to word (edit in browser) and then click on the top left text navigation which takes you back to the folder where the document was created, you're suddenly in the new UI, even though you're at the exact same spot as in bullet point 2. So, all this works already and there shouldn't be any reason why clicking on a document set, except that you lose the Welcome Page. Here are the URL differences:
    1. when click a documetn set: Forms/Document%20Set/docsethomepage.aspx
    2. when returning from an Office Online App: Forms/AllItems.aspx?RootFolder=
  4. (not an document set exclusive error) when adding a required column (e.g. date/choice) with no default value you cannot save the required metadata, as it jumps to new UI and shows this error:  The file is locked for exclusive use by i:0#.f|membership|firstname.last@domain.com.
    1. this I'll have to further investigate.

 

Here is another question I asked during the AMA that didnt get traction either: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/SharePoint-AMA/When-will-we-see-Modern-Document-Sets/m-p/2903...

 

Document Sets, Search Web Parts, Publishing-Style Navigation (with audiences/permissions), and List/Library web parts are all the primary missing elements (what I would consider sharepoint staples) that are preventing us from even considering rolling out modern SharePoint at this point

 

Since Modern team sites were introduced I have 'more or less' abandoned Document Sets except for specific use cases where they are useful. They were already too hard to set up let alone add (New Document - Document Set). They are even harder to add in the new look. Folders are so much more obvious to users but their use will only replicate the file share structures on SharePoint.

Thanks for the feedback.  Document set content types are supported inside modern document libraries. The intent is that these content types show up under the New menu in modern, and clicking a document set takes you to the classic document set homepage with all functionality intact.  

 

For the bugs you specifically mentioned:

  1. I am not seeing this - you're talking about the web parts on the classic document set welcome page, right?  We haven't made any intentional changes to this page.
  2. Yes, that's the intended behavior - inside a modern document library, if you click on a document set, the UI returns to classic.  Going back to the library page takes you back to modern; I just tested this.  Do you have an environment where you're seeing otherwise?
  3. You're right, there are definitely issues with the breadcrumb.  In my environment, when I click the breadcrumb to go back to the library, I get taken to SharePoint Home!  I have logged a bug.
  4. I can't get a repro on this bug.  Required properties are working fine on my end.  If this continues, call support.

  

Now, even if this experience was totally bug free, we acknowledge that having classic document set welcome pages within modern document libraries is a disjoint user experience. We want to bring the document set homepage, and all the functionality inside, to the modern world.  This is on our backlog, but I can't guarantee we'll get to this item in CY2017. 

<dislike>

will have to maybe create a uservoice for this if there isnt one already to try and get some public traction to help boost priority

Thanks Lincoln.

You said you 'can't guarantee we'll get to this item in CY2017'. If (as I expect) we roll out SPO to our users during 2017 replacing their SP2013 on-prem experience, the relative inaccessibility of document sets will hasten their disuse in favour of folders in our environment where Site Owners created document libraries.

Document sets will remain useful in specific cases.

 

Well, Lincoln is talking about the document set home page completely redone in the modern experience...the rest of document set stuff will be there
I'll admit, I would never put it on regular end users to try and implement document sets, but building robust/formal document management solutions (built by our SharePoint team who understand it, for our users who will USE it not BUILD it), it has always been the most valuable building block for our organization.

@Andrew Warland, i'd do a fair bit of playing with the settings to understand how to turn off the modern stuff in SPO before you really start transitioning, if you are anything like us, having "older/non prioritized" features is a must have. You won't lose anything, but you have to set defaults for tenants/libraries on whether to use the old (which contains document set functionality) or the modern (other benefits, but still missing lots of key stuff)

Thanks @Brent Ellis, we've had SP since 2012 and it's used across the organisation (of 8,000 staff) in various ways. We have remained very much OOTB since then, which has facilited upgrades. Reading what is happening to connect O365 Groups and SPO sites means on the one hand that we need to keep things fairly generic and vanila for users, but I'm sure we'll find reasons to retain existing DocSet-based libraries in specific areas. As always with SP, there is a balance of control involved - we have 'light' control (with only 2 admins) and Site Owners take responsibility for configuring their sites.

Hi All  -  Non-technical user here (but still in charge of our IT area!).    Scary but true.  

 

So, we have a current Intranet site, quite basic, and based on the "classic view".    We're keen to use SharePoint more and because we don't have legacy issues, we can switch to the "modern" version with really no issues to speak of.  

 

However, reading alot about the benefits of Document Sets, and the fact they don't exist yet with the modern experience, can anyone give guidance on how best to approach document management NOW (using modern experience) with an eye towards making sure the approach is "upgradable" if/when modern document sets becomes available?    In other words, what approach would you use in this situation to help future proof our users' experience? 

Ey Sean,
You can already use document sets in the modern libraries...but they are not modernized yet so user experience when working with document sets in the modern UI is going to be a kind of mixes stuff (Classic, modern)
Thanks Juan - Yes, I am clear on that. However, our desire is to not "mix" the classic and modern experience. Again, we have the luxury of not really having a heavily used site or strong legacy user experience. So, we want to start "clean" and this involves not having a mixed experience.
Bottom line: You CANNOT use document sets and modern, so your options are (1) go modern and lose out on the value of document sets or (2) don't use modern and use documents sets.

Unless we can build enough outside pressure within Microsoft, might as well expect this to not be addressed soon (at least not this year per earlier comments). As I've mentioned before, for most of our formal document management solutions in SharePoint we rely HEAVILY on document sets. Easily one of the most valuable features in my opinion once you figure out how they work.

So I'd recommend going with option 2. You aren't missing THAT much with modern yet other than a fancier UI. So I'd go with function over form, at least for now.

It seems they have been making some changes recently (1/2017) with the Document Set "modern' interface. It no longer defaults to Classic, but the tagging/information panel doesn't work. They even added an edit all link in the Info Panel but it just takes you to the Doc Set title. The only way I can see to edit Doc Set tags is in the Quick Edit. And the New tool bar is missing the link option. So now it is in the half-way house. At this point I need to set all Doc Sets to Classic view :-(.

 

Can someone please create a User Voice as suggested. This is having a significant impact on existing users and I'm not sure if I should be including Doc Sets in new designs.

 

Dear @Lincoln DeMaris,

 

Could you take a look at Julies comment as we're having the same issue at the moment.

Is this something that will get solved, or is the general guideline to force classic view for document sets. Previously at least modern ui worked at least half baked.

Thanks for reporting.  I'm working with engineering to get this fixed.  One of the following should be true:  1. the modern property form for document set content types should show the document set metadata or 2. the property form for document set content types should always be the classic form

Cool, thanks for the update!

Dear @Lincoln DeMaris

any update on the metadata issue for document sets with modern ui? It's still not possible to edit other metadata for document sets, except the Name.

I have the same issue.

My users can only change the name, unless they force it to go back to Classic view.

 

I have now set the document library to always show in Classic view. 

At least this way the users can work with Document sets

I've just stumbled across this thread because I'm looking at options for a client of mine, and Document Sets would be a perfect fit for them IF they worked fully in modern. Interestingly the behaviour I've seen tonight is when I edit the document set properties, I only see Name. However, when I hit the save button, the other fields briefly appear while the page is navigating away which means they're there, just not visible when they need to be. Seems like it's teasing me!

 

More interestingly, I've just dived into the DOM on the update form and it appears my fields are there, however the Knockout conditional switches are hiding it.

Thanks for your replies, all, and thank you again for your patience. I'm following up with the team about this again.

I'm having the same issues.  Was actually rolling out a solution to a client that relied heavily on document sets and this broke just a few days before we rolled it out.  They were really lookign forward to the new experience, but alas, we had to tell them they had to revert to using the classic UI until Microsoft could fix what they broke.

 

It's also not helpful when you have to give client the warning that b/c your in the cloud, Microsoft may randomly break key functionality with an update and there is not telling how long it might take to get said functionality back.

 

Hoping for a fix soon, the breaking of such key functionality and the slow response in fixing this has been dissapointing at best.

The inability to update Document Set metadata in the Modern UI is freaking out my users. Back to classic view for everyone. Hope classic view is supported at least until this issue is resolved. 

 

Looking for an update on fix.

 

Thanks in advance. I know there are a lot of moving parts.

 

Thanks for your patience on the document set property bug, everybody.  We have fixed the bug, and the fix is rolling out this week and next.

"Can't guarantee we'll get to this item in CY2017" ... i appreciate the honesty, but YIKES! Document sets are key piece of SP functionality that's missing from the modern experience. Mobile first, sure, but not at the expense of key functionality. I like the mobility and other features in "modern", but for many of my clients will need to wait until all the key plumbing is there before fully adopting.
Any news ?
Not sure why you rushed out modern ui and have left half done for so long. I am trying to roll out to non tech users and it is just too baffling to explain.

We just created an Office 365 Group, and then linked it to a new Team.  Obviously this spins up a bunch of related resources, including a modern SharePoint site.  Site Settings is really stripped down, and furthermore I don't see the ability to define a new custom Document Set content type there.  Am I missing a button/config somewhere?  Is this not available here?  The Document Sets are handy at times for batch management.

Hmm - you are right.

This is not an encouraging sign, As you say document sets were a very good way of tagging together a set of documents, applying some common meta data and reducing the need for folders. Although the meta data approach is clearly "right minded" the limited filtering level in views mean that collection by other methods is still useful.

 

I have not been a heavy users of Sharepoint in production (i.e for me but not others) and now I would like to get on but I find the drawn out and incomplete nature of the transition together with a lack of definitive statements e.g. "do it this way now and you will OK in the future" very frustrating.

[I spent yesterday discovering bugs/holes in powerapps]. I find nearly everything seems to be half done these days,

@Lincoln @Brent

Quick answer:  This was definitely not intentionally removed.  I will follow up and see what's going on here.  Is the requisite site collection feature enabled?  https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Create-and-configure-a-new-Document-Set-content-type-9db6d6...

 

Cool thanks!  And good thought, I'll go and check the feature.

Excellent thinking, that seems to have done the trick, thank you!

Yes - on my main site it is "active". (the colection optios doesn't appear under site settings for the group s te). My libraries (modern or otherwise) in my main site do have this enabled and usuable but the sitethat was created by my outlook group although being in sites/ underer my main site does not have the feature and document sets does not appear in the list when managing content types.

Ian, I don't quite follow what you're saying.  

 

Are you saying that when the site collection feature is enabled, the option to create a Document Set appears in libraries, but when the site collection feature is disabled, it doesn't?

 

Or are you saying that in some of your sites, you're not even seeing the site colleciton feature as an option to enable/disable?

I am saying that I see the option described on my "parent" (only) Sharepoint site (which has a URL xxxx.sharepoint.com) and it is on. When I look at the properties of the group site that was created by the outlook group (which appears in sites under our main URL) there is no such option. i have no idea whether the automatically creted site considers itself part of any collection but there is no option from the menu when "in" this site.

Just to clarify - you're saying that the site collection feature list on your site created from Outlook does not include the "Document Sets" feature as one of the features that can be enabled. Is that right?

Correct

Only my original site has this.

Reading elsewhere I think I am told that outlook groups create a new site collection.

 

That said, my biggest concern is whether Micrsoft plan to support collections in the modern UI and if so in what time frame; the gradually shifting and unrpedictable UI has basically halted the adoption of sharepoint in my organisation.

 

If it's not hard to make the UI change, then the worry is that it not having appeared for so long could mean that there is a plan todrop the feature

 

And if it is hard, then there is dnager it will never happen because it is hard.

 

Colelctions seem to be the ideal tool to reduce folders in an evironment e.g. in our usage to "tag" all the documents associated with a particular meeting.

 

I know most of this thread is taken up with the modern v classic UI. However I'd like to post a 'wishlist' feature to tac onto Brent's original comment.

 

I'd like to see an option for 2-way updates of shared properties, such that an update within a document to shared properties flows back up to the doc set. Current property updates to shared properties flow from the doc set.

 

A current scenario is where we have stage payments for a project. In this scenario, there are always 4 stage payments, which are shared properties. The stage payments are calculated in an Excel spreadsheet, which is one of the default documents in the doc set. A macro updates server properties, so at least we get the stage payment amounts into document properties. It's then a manual task for the user to update doc set stage payments. It would be very useful to cascade those updates automatically back up to the doc set.

 

Can anyone suggest a way to do this in O365?

 

Expanding the thinking a bit, it would also be nice to be able to:

* Be able to set a property as updateable

* (Easily) share office objects for use between office docs in a doc set (kind of like what you can do with the new document assembly feature of Nintex and Intelledox)

@Lincoln DeMaris

After nearly a year of lookign closely do you have any news?

This really hurts - I have a very untehncial user base and the flipp betwen UIs is bafflign to them and hodlign up adoption. (There is talk of other technology e.g. bespoke meeting apps for goverment)

No updates yet.  I understand that's painful.

Anything for Ignite possibly?

Thanks

And no information either - seriously worried that the long delay means that a stupid decision is going to be taken here. Realistically how hard could it be to change the default colour and add a few buttons from existing modern libraries?

 

As with all things content services related, there is a long term plan to update and advance the cause during the coming months and beyond.  

 

I know its taking us longer to address modern docsets than it might seem, but please know that we are working diligently to complete the lingering classic experiences that are not yet represented in the "modern" user experience.  We are using telemetry on user frequency to help shape the order of operations and document sets are definitely coming.  Not by Ignite, not close enough yet that we have a public date for it, but coming...  

Good to hear this is not going away as it is one of those elegant things that is just the right solution when it is needed so whether telemetry says it is not used by everyone, those who need and understand it, need it.

Still at least this has a workaround... training for the users and posting stuff to some of the older councillors who are already techophobes and take the view that the experience is too complicated when the world chabges from screen to screen.

 

Now all I need is a fix from the bug by which a lookup coulmn embedded as Document property in Word returns the item index number not the data in the coumn!. Elsewhere I have another MFST post with "we are aware" but have no ETA type response as though that is good enough ... it's broken, you sold it saying it worked the customer wants to know about fixes. Our service partner has reported that engineering has declined to fix it (showstopper for us as the lookup is a  list of committees and every document we issue comes from a committee  -we are local government).

Researching I see this was reported as early as 2014 but no update, no news - but the monthly bills for the software come in without fail.

 

 

I feel that changes over the past few months for Doc Sets have been a great improvement - much more consistent with modern UI. I have just finished a handful of webcasts for a client and unfortunately have to explain the differerent UI for things like tasks, doc sets, etc., but they don't seem to really notice - SharePoint is new to them so that's just the way it is. 

Thanks...regarding your second issue, that sounds like you need to open a support ticket for that bug. Did MSFT respond to your ticket, or was that a forum post.

Thanks

We opened a tikcet via the admin and were contacted by our support partner who replied that issue was confirmed but that enginenring had declined to provide a fix.

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