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SharePoint Document Sets

SharePoint Document Sets

Using Document Sets in SharePoint

Key TakeawaysDetails
Enhanced Document ManagementDocument Sets group related documents, allowing for shared metadata, workflows, and settings, which simplifies management and enhances consistency.
Efficient Collaboration and SharingSharePoint’s sharing capabilities are fully supported, making it easy to collaborate on documents within a Document Set, ensuring all team members have the latest versions.
Advanced Organizational FeaturesDocument Sets support content organizer rules, workflows, and custom welcome pages, aiding in the automation and personalization of document management.
Security and CompliancePermissions for Document Sets can be finely controlled, ensuring that only authorized users have access, which is crucial for maintaining document security and compliance.
Troubleshooting and SupportSharePoint provides extensive resources and community support to help users troubleshoot issues and learn more about Document Sets functionalities.
SharePoint Document Sets Key Takeaways

Introduction to Document Sets in SharePoint

In the digital age, efficient document management is more than a convenience—it’s a necessity. SharePoint, a product of Microsoft, stands out as a premier tool for organizing, storing, and retrieving documents. But the real game-changer within SharePoint is the feature known as “Document Sets.”

Document Sets in SharePoint serve as a method to group related documents together, allowing them to be managed as a single unit. This feature is particularly useful for projects or tasks that involve multiple documents, such as reports, plans, contracts, and more. It helps in keeping these documents organized under a single umbrella, making them easier to manage and access.

Understanding Document Sets

At its core, a Document Set is a specialized content type within SharePoint that enables users to work with a group of related documents as though they were one entity. This functionality is particularly beneficial for project management, where various types of documents need to be accessed and updated regularly.

Unlike traditional folders, Document Sets allow users to apply shared metadata, workflows, and even home page views across all contained documents. This means that any changes made to the Document Set’s properties can automatically apply to all its contents, ensuring consistency and saving time.

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Document Sets vs. Folders: What’s the Difference?

While both folders and Document Sets serve the purpose of organizing files, they differ significantly in functionality. Folders in SharePoint are simple storage containers that hold files and other folders. They don’t offer shared metadata or workflows; each file within a folder is treated individually.

In contrast, Document Sets are more sophisticated. They not only group files together but also allow these files to share common properties and settings. For example, if you apply a workflow to a Document Set, it can automatically apply to all documents within that set. This shared property feature makes Document Sets incredibly powerful for managing project documentation and ensuring uniformity across related documents.

Setting Up Document Sets

To start using Document Sets, you first need to enable them in your SharePoint environment. This involves adding the Document Set content type to your site collection and then to the specific document library where it will be used. Once enabled, creating a new Document Set is as simple as adding a new item to the library, but with the added benefit of grouping related documents together.

The setup process includes naming the Document Set and configuring its settings to match the needs of your project or organization. These settings can include the types of documents allowed in the set, the metadata to be shared among the documents, and the appearance of the Document Set’s welcome page.

Configuring Document Set Settings

After creating a Document Set, you can fine-tune its settings to better suit your project’s requirements. This includes configuring which document templates to include in the set, customizing the welcome page that users see when they open the set, and defining the shared metadata fields.

The ability to customize these settings makes Document Sets a flexible tool that can be adapted to various types of projects and workflows. For instance, you can set up a Document Set specifically for financial reports that includes templates for balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements, all sharing relevant financial metadata.

Best Practices for Organizing Document Sets

Effective organization is key to getting the most out of Document Sets. It’s important to develop a logical structure and naming convention for your Document Sets and the documents within them. This structure should be intuitive and aligned with how your team works and accesses information.

Shared metadata plays a crucial role in this organization. By defining common metadata fields for documents within a set, you can streamline the search and retrieval process, making it easier for team members to find the documents they need. Consistency in naming and metadata ensures that documents are not only well-organized but also easily searchable and manageable.

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Step-by-Step Guide to Using Document Sets in SharePoint

Step 1: Enable Document Sets Feature

  1. Access SharePoint Admin Center: Log in to the SharePoint Admin Center with an administrator account.
  2. Activate the Site Collection Feature: Navigate to the ‘Site Collection Features’ section under ‘Site Settings’ and activate the ‘Document Sets’ feature.

Step 2: Add Document Set Content Type

  1. Go to Library Settings: In your SharePoint site, navigate to the document library where you want to use Document Sets.
  2. Open Library Settings: Click on ‘Library Settings’ in the ribbon.
  3. Add Content Type: Under ‘Advanced Settings’, ensure that content types are allowed. Then, add the ‘Document Set’ content type from the existing site content types.

Step 3: Create a Document Set

  1. Navigate to Your Library: Go to the document library where you’ve added the Document Set content type.
  2. Create New Document Set: Select ‘New’ and then ‘Document Set’ from the dropdown menu.
  3. Name Your Document Set: Give your Document Set a meaningful name and fill in any other required metadata fields.

Step 4: Configure Document Set Settings

  1. Access Document Set Settings: From the library settings, click on the Document Set content type to configure its settings.
  2. Customize the Welcome Page: Define the welcome page layout and information displayed when users open the Document Set.
  3. Specify Allowed Content Types: Choose which content types can be added to the Document Set.
  4. Set Shared Metadata: Define the metadata fields that will be shared across all documents within the Document Set.

Step 5: Add Documents to Your Document Set

  1. Open the Document Set: Navigate to the newly created Document Set in your library.
  2. Add Documents: Click on ‘New Document’ or upload existing documents into the Document Set.

Step 6: Manage Documents within the Set

  1. Edit Documents: Open individual documents within the Document Set for editing.
  2. Update Metadata: Modify the shared metadata as needed to reflect changes in the project or document status.
  3. Version Control: Utilize SharePoint’s version control features to manage different versions of the documents within the set.

Step 7: Configure Security and Permissions

  1. Set Permissions: Determine who can view or edit the Document Set and its contents.
  2. Manage Access: Apply unique permissions if necessary to restrict or grant access to specific users or groups.

Step 8: Use and Collaborate

  1. Share the Document Set: Use SharePoint’s sharing features to collaborate with team members.
  2. Track Changes and Updates: Monitor changes to documents within the set using SharePoint’s version history and notification features.

Step 9: Monitor and Maintain

  1. Regular Review: Periodically check the Document Set for relevancy and accuracy of content.
  2. Update as Necessary: Adjust the Document Set’s structure, content, and metadata based on evolving project or organizational needs.

By following these steps, you can effectively set up and manage Document Sets in SharePoint, making it easier to handle related documents as a cohesive unit. This guide should help users to understand the process from creation to ongoing management, ensuring efficient and organized document handling within their SharePoint environment.

Managing Documents within a Set

Adding and Organizing Documents

  • Once your Document Set is created, adding documents is straightforward. Click on the Document Set to open it, and use the ‘Upload’ button to add files.
  • Organizing documents within the set can be done by setting up custom views or sorting options based on metadata, making it easier for users to find specific documents.

Editing and Versioning Documents

  • Documents within a Document Set can be edited like any other document in SharePoint. When a document is edited and saved, SharePoint automatically updates the version, keeping a history of changes.
  • Versioning is particularly useful in Document Sets as it allows team members to track the evolution of a document over time, revert to previous versions if necessary, and understand the document’s progression.

Using Metadata Effectively

  • Metadata is critical in Document Sets for categorizing and retrieving documents efficiently. Consistent use of metadata across documents in the set enables powerful search capabilities.
  • SharePoint allows for the bulk editing of metadata within a Document Set, facilitating uniform updates and ensuring that documents remain synchronized in terms of categorization and status.

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Security and Permissions

Setting Up Permissions for Document Sets

  • Document Sets can have unique permissions independent of the document library they reside in. You can restrict or grant access to a Document Set to specific users or groups.
  • To manage permissions, navigate to the Document Set’s settings, and choose the ‘Permissions’ option. From there, you can inherit permissions from the parent library or define custom permissions for the Document Set.

Ensuring Document Security and Compliance

  • SharePoint’s security features extend to Document Sets, allowing administrators to ensure that sensitive documents are protected and only accessible to authorized personnel.
  • Compliance is also a key consideration, and Document Sets can be configured to adhere to organizational or legal requirements, including retention policies, auditing, and record management.

By managing documents effectively within Document Sets and ensuring proper security and permissions, organizations can enhance their SharePoint environment’s efficiency and reliability. These practices not only improve document management but also support compliance and governance initiatives.

Collaboration and Sharing

Sharing Document Sets with Team Members

  • SharePoint’s collaboration features are fully supported within Document Sets. Users can share an entire set with team members, granting access to all documents within the set.
  • Sharing can be as simple as sending a link to the Document Set or setting up group permissions to ensure that all relevant team members have the necessary access.

Integrating Document Sets with SharePoint Features

  • Document Sets can be integrated with other SharePoint features like workflows, alerts, and notifications. This integration enhances collaboration by automating tasks, such as approval processes and review cycles, and by keeping team members informed of changes.

Advanced Features of Document Sets

Using Content Organizer Rules and Workflows

  • SharePoint allows the creation of content organizer rules, which can automatically route documents to the appropriate Document Set based on their metadata. This feature streamlines the process of managing incoming documents and ensures they are stored correctly.
  • Workflows can be associated with Document Sets to automate business processes, such as document approval, review, and archiving. These workflows can be triggered by actions like adding a new document to the set or updating an existing one.

Customizing Document Sets for Projects

  • Document Sets can be customized to fit the specific needs of a project or team. This includes creating custom metadata properties, designing unique welcome pages for the Document Set, and setting up templates for common document types within the set.
  • These customizations ensure that Document Sets provide a consistent and efficient environment for managing project documents, aligning with the project’s requirements and workflows.

Troubleshooting and Support

Common Issues and How to Solve Them

  • Users may encounter issues like difficulty in finding documents, problems with metadata or permissions, or challenges in integrating with other SharePoint features. These problems can often be resolved through proper setup and configuration, regular training for users, and leveraging SharePoint’s support resources.

Resources for Help and Learning

  • Microsoft offers extensive documentation, tutorials, and community forums for SharePoint users. These resources can be invaluable for troubleshooting issues, learning more about advanced features, and connecting with other SharePoint professionals.

In conclusion, SharePoint’s Document Sets are a robust tool for managing related documents efficiently and effectively. By understanding how to create, configure, and manage Document Sets, users can improve collaboration, ensure security and compliance, and leverage advanced features to meet their project or organizational needs. With the right approach, Document Sets can transform the way teams manage and interact with their documents in SharePoint.

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  1. What makes Document Sets different from regular folders in SharePoint?
    • Document Sets allow for shared metadata, workflows, and custom settings across all documents within the set, unlike regular folders which manage files individually.
  2. Can I convert an existing folder into a Document Set?
    • Direct conversion isn’t typically possible, but you can move documents from a folder to a new Document Set and then apply shared metadata and settings.
  3. How do I ensure only authorized users can access a Document Set?
    • Manage permissions for the Document Set by setting access rights specifically for it, separate from the document library permissions.
  4. Can Document Sets be used across different SharePoint sites?
    • Document Sets are generally used within the site they were created in, but documents can be shared or linked to other sites if needed.
  5. Are there any limitations to the size or number of documents in a Document Set?
    • While SharePoint has overall storage limits, Document Sets typically handle hundreds of documents well. Performance issues may arise with extremely large numbers of documents, so it’s important to plan and manage Document Sets according to SharePoint’s best practices.

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