What SharePoint library columns might be recognized as columns (details/fields) in File Explorer?

Copper Contributor

Bear in mind, I'm no expert...

What SharePoint library columns might be recognized as columns (details/fields) in File Explorer for Windows 10?  I've found that if I set up a Single Line of Text column in Office365 SharePoint Online called "Subject", that content is picked up in the "Subject" column in File Explorer for Windows 10. That is very useful since I can now use my SharePoint metadata for easy filtering and sorting within File Explorer of my synced OneDirve for Business/SharePoint libraries.  Do any of you know of other column fields in File Explorer and SharePoint that can be co-opted in this way?

17 Replies

That would be amazing if that is possible. Being able to sync and change the meta data directly in file explorer or even filter/search by the meta data in windows would be huge. I am going to have a play with it and see whats possible. 


Note: if you right click on the column header Subject is already there, so maybe it just matches it up. Hmmm.

Thanks Stephen.  I've explored a little more.  It is only Office Documents and not pdfs, so it isn't as useful as I thought.  If I change the Subject in Properties in the Office document, it shows up in SharePoint and File Explorer and vice versa but I couldn't get that behavior if I tried the same trick with fields such as Status, Categories, Hyperlink Base, or Company; just Subject.

Hi @Don Doering

The behavior you are seeing is related to Document Property Promotion and Demotion.

We have already discussed it in other threads.

For more details, see https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/wbaer/2014/08/29/document-property-promotion-and-demotion-overvi...

Thanks, Salvatore.  I kind of understand. As I wrote, I'm no expert.  My simple question was are there some other fields like Subject that are likely to work this way?

For Office documents, I think that most of the document properties work in that way, while for PDFs only some.

Give a look also at this thread: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/SharePoint/Is-there-any-way-at-all-to-search-for-PDF-files-us...

Does it help?

Think of it this way, SharePoint knows a lot about Office document properties (because SP used to be part of the Office product line) and somethings about other vendors documents, if you want SharePoint to know more about those properties, you can created custom content types and/or managed search properties. 


Windows File Explorer does not know a lot about properties configured in SharePoint because every company can customize SharePoint as they see fit. Why the Windows team has not integrated with the default SP Properties is a mystery to me.  

I have almost the same question, however I did not find the answer here.

My collegues would like to start using metadata but also want to synchronize the document library they work with on a regular basis with their PC (in case Internet does not work when they want to access a document).

Unfortunately, none of the metadata colums we add seem to be available in the explorer, which makes it kind of difficult to find documents in long lists. 

What am I missing?

I add a printscreen (example) of what we see in both situations.

@Petra Van Horen

There is nothing you are missing.

In short:

  1. SharePoint additional columns are mapped to document properties for Office files and hence are visible locally in the backstage of the Office application when the synced file is opened.
  2. SharePoint additional columns are, in general, NOT mapped to document properties for non-Office files (e.g. PDFs). In the article that I referenced in a previous post in this thread are listed the file types for which additional properties could be actually mapped. Again, not PDFs.
  3. In any case, additional properties are not visible as columns in File Explorer.

Hope it helps...

Thanks, not the answer I was looking for but still, your answer is OK. I thought I as much.

I just wonder how I will convince my colleagues, who are huge fans of maps on a fileshare to organize their documents, to use document libraries instead of folders with this. But I will give it a try.

one approach is to consider the metadata values as compliments to folders. Show them how they have one hierarchy with folders, but once they add metadata they get many more options. But just like every other system, not every option is available in every scenario.


Keep in mind that custom views are not visible in Windows Explorer either, once they get used to how powerful Views are, then they will not feel the need to using Windows Explorer, the transition can actually happen very quickly.


How often do they really need to work offline? If it is frequently, then a well designed library and folder structure will be more important than it if just an occasional need.

To continue this conversation. Apparently, they need to upload documents/files to another application created for us (read website).

Files cannot be uploaded directly from the Sharepoint library, only from explorer (thus Sharepoint synced to explorer). So we will need to rethink this.

Back again.

I still wonder why I cannot add the metadata colums in the explorer view for files that are synced to my computer.

I see the metadata allright in the document properties in Word which is great (thank you for putting me in that direction), but I would really like to be able to add the metadata colums to the view of explorer. This would help distinguishing the Office docs from the others (like PDF or JPEG) when we need to upload them to another application/website.

I get a list of explorer details (which are not usefull at all), but I do not get the metadata as an option to be selected. Can anyone confirm that I am not missing something and that it really is impossible to see this?


As already said, you can't add the SharePoint columns to File Explorer.

In fact, as you have discovered, the File Explorer columns list is static, while, to do what you want, it should be dynamic, i.e. it should change in every folder, listing also all the additional properties of every file, which is of course impossible.

Why is that impossible? onedrive just had to sync the metadata and write it into metadata-fields supplied by NTFS. Should not be that difficult.

Can you please show me how you got this done?@Don Doering


I want to show metadata from folders in sharepoint to the windows explorer.


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i tried using the Title column but that didn't work.

You used the subject column i can't find a subject column in the explorer.


thanks for helping me out.