Document Sets in SP2010

Document Sets are a new feature in SharePoint 2010 which enable you to manage a related group of documents as a single entity.  In SharePoint 2007 this was typically achieved using Folders and in some cases even creating  a new document library!  Using Document Sets is far more efficvient as they are more flexible and manageable than either of the previous 2 options.

Basically a document set is a container (based on the SPFolder object) which can hold multiple documents which are all related in some way.  Examples of Document Sets include sales proposals, project files, technical manuals, legal cases and insurance claims.

Common Metadata – All documents in the Document Set share common metadata.  Metadata can be applied to the Document Set itself as well as to the documents within it.  The properties of the Document Set are displayed on the Document Set Welcome Page making them very easy to access.

Send Function – It is possible to send a Document Set as if it were a single document.  The content organiser can then distribute the Document Set to another Folder, Library or Site based on metadata values.  It is also possible to download or Zip the Document Set and its contents.

Version Control – The Document Set itself can be subjected to version control.

Workflow – Document Sets can initiate and be attached to SharePoint Workflows.  This means that every document in the Set is circulated to all recipients by simply adding the Set rather than every individual document. 

Content Types – You can specify which Content Types are enabled within the Document Set.  This controls the types of content that it can contain.

Default Documents – Default documents can be added to the Document Set so that they act as placeholders when a new Document Set is created. 

Welcome Page – This is a web part page that displays the Document Set properties as well as the documents within the Document Set.  It can be customized using SharePoint Designer or even completely replaced with a custom developed page.

Activation – To activate Document Sets:

  1. Go to the Manage Site Collection Features page and activate the Document Sets feature.
  2. Go to the Document Library’s setting page and choose Advanced Settings. Turn on the allowing of content management.
  3. Finally. add the Document Set content type to your library.

About rearcardoor

Chairman and founder of ImageFast Ltd, a leading UK ECM consultancy business and Microsoft Gold Partner. Over 20 years experience delivering successful ECM projects utilising scanning, data capture, document management, records management, workflow, BPM and SharePoint.
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