SharePoint 2010 delivers a comprehensive set of document management features. In this article, we continue our series dedicated to uncovering those features with a look at how the Content Organizer works.
We use SharePoint document libraries in our portal to manage all of our electronic documents. The document libraries sometimes contain folders in a logical hierarchy structure to help us organize the documents. In SharePoint 2010, the upload process is better in the sense that you can choose a folder to upload to, but many of our users don’t really know to which folder a document should be uploaded.
Is there a way to automatically upload and store the electronic documents based on some criteria such as the contents of a metadata field?
With the Content Organizer, a new feature of SharePoint 2010, you can create rules that will automatically move an uploaded document to the appropriate/designated location based on content type and site columns. Follow these steps:
Step 1 – Activate the Content Organizer Feature
First, you need to activate this feature, and note that since this is a Site Scope feature, it is found under Site Actions > Site Settings menu on the Ribbon.
Click on Activate to make this feature available for your site:
Step 2 – Content Organizer Settings
Once you have activated the Content Organizer feature for a site, you will find two new menu options under Site Settings: Content Organizer Settings and Content Organizer Rules.
The other thing that happens after the activation is that SharePoint will create a document library named DropOffLibrary along with a RoutingRules list. The Drop Off Library will be the default destination when a user tries to upload a document to this site. The Routing Rules list, as its name implies, contains the rules for how a document is to be routed to its final destination.
Next, configure your settings:
Step 3 – Content Organizer Rules
Next, click on the Content Organizer Rules link to go to the popup form where you specify the rules.
Step 4 – Upload
Let’s try it out. Go to any document library on your site and use the Add new document link.
Select a document to upload. Once the document has been uploaded, you will see the properties form below. Note the title of the form where it says “Drop Off Library”? Remember that when you add a Content Organizer rule to the site, it automatically adds any document to the Drop Off Library.
This form also gives you a warning that the document will be moved. Fill in the properties for this document, and make sure you follow the rules. In our exmaple, we will add a “SA12” prefix to the Title of the document. Next, click the submit button:
You will then receive a notification indicating where the document was routed to. Note that if the document cannot be moved, whether there is an issue or if your conditions are not met, SharePoint will leave the document in the Drop Off Library.
In conclusion, the Content Organizer is a very cool feature in SharePoint 2010. It allows you to capture a set of standard documents and route them to the proper destination, and the end user doesn’t have to worry about where it should go. This feature should be used in conjunction with Document IDs, Term Sets, and Metadata publishing in order to design an effective document management strategy for your SharePoint portal.
The Content Organizer has the following limitations that you should beware of:
- Content Organizer feature is only available in SharePoint 2010 Server and is not part of the SharePoint Foundation 2010.
- Content Organizer will only work on content types that are of, or derive from the Document content type, so make sure that you inherit from this content type when creating a custom document library.
- You cannot route documents to a Document Set. This one should be on the wish list for the next release!
- The routing action is performed using the App Pool account of your Web applications.
- You cannot route the document outside of a Web app, farm, or SharePoint at all. All of this could be done with workflow rules instead. In fact, there are a lot of things that should be done with workflow instead of Content Organizer, which is designed to handle document uploads.
- There are a whole bunch of events that effect a document library; you should beware the order of executions that could affect the handling of these documents:
- Any workflow that is attached to a document library will be run first
- Next to be executed is Event Receiver, although the actual priority can be set programmatically the developers
- Last is the Content Organizer.
- SharePoint 2010 Content Organizer Part 1 – A Cool New Feature for Managing Your Content [TechNet]
- Metadata-based routing and storage overview (SharePoint Server 2010) [TechNet]
re: SharePoint 2010 Cookbook: Content Organizer for a Document Library
Excellent blog. We’re hoping to start producing some of these in the next few months at ERS.