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Best practices for creating document libraries

Occasional Contributor

Hello,

 

I know that there is default document library called ‘Documents’. I was wondering if there are any good practices on how to store and arrange documents– do people put everything into this default library or create new one(s)?

 

So far, I have seen mixed information about this: some saying, that default document library has had a lot of improvements in recent years and it is fine to use it and create folders within.

 

However, other opinion is to create new document library for each type of content. At the same time, it is advised not having many document libraries.

But how is it possible if there are many different types of content (e.g. forms, policies, projects, user guides, reports, etc) and all of those would require new document library, meaning it would be a lot of them floating around. Also, in order to use sync option, it has to be done separately for every document library.

 

Could you share, please, what was your experience with this? Perhaps anyone came up with a good solution or there are any lessons to learn?

 

Thank you very much!

1 Reply
best response confirmed by Katyara (Occasional Contributor)
Solution
Hi Katyara, the first thing I would say is, it depends! So if this is purely SharePoint we are talking about rather than a Teams connected SharePoint site then I think the below applies. I'll add a bit at the end for the above scenario.

Another question I would ask is, do you need separate content types for those types you listed above? If any/ all of them share metadata, couldn't you just create a single content type with a "document type" choice or lookup column that adds the type in? You could then arrange your library views around that type.

I've personally tried it both ways, single library or dedicated library for the CT, generally I've found users don't like looking in multiple places for things so I tend to stick to as few libraries as I can and try to make them metadata rich to leverage better views.

With SharePoint on its own I do tend to still create new libraries and leave the default Documents, this is purely based on old habits dying hard though!

Finally, if we are throwing Teams into the mix then I think the conversation is much different. As Teams used the Documents library and folders for each channel as standard, that kind of sets your stall out from the get go in terms of structure. So in this scenario I would say use the Documents library and add the content types in to add the value to the files uploaded within the Team.