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SharePoint Managed Metadata

SharePoint Managed Metadata In Document Management System

28 July 2023

SharePoint Migration

SharePoint Online is a powerful collaboration platform provided by Microsoft that enables organizations to manage documents, share information, and improve team productivity. One of the key features of SharePoint Online is Managed Metadata, which plays a crucial role in organizing and categorizing documents effectively.

In this article, we will explore what Managed Metadata in SharePoint is, its benefits for document management, how to handle Metadata in your document library, and the significance of using Managed Metadata for efficient document management.

What is Managed Metadata in SharePoint Online?

Managed Metadata in SharePoint Online refers to a centralized system for creating, defining, and managing taxonomies, keywords, and terms that can be applied to documents and other content within the SharePoint environment.

It allows organizations to standardize the way information is labeled, making it easier for users to find and work with documents, irrespective of their location.

SharePoint Metadata Management Benefits for Document Management

Managed Metadata in SharePoint Online offers several significant advantages over traditional folder-based approaches for efficient document management. Let’s explore the key benefits of using Managed Metadata:

  1. Replacing Folders

Managed Metadata provides a more versatile alternative to traditional folder hierarchies. While folders organize documents in a rigid structure, Metadata allows for the creation of multiple fields, enabling more dynamic categorization.

This flexibility is especially useful when dealing with projects managed by multiple departments, as documents can be tagged with relevant Metadata, making consolidation and retrieval easier.

  1. Simplified Data Discovery

By effectively managing Metadata, organizations can create an inventory of their data and understand its transformation throughout its lifecycle.

Consistent Metadata across sites makes it easier for users to discover relevant business information and data using search features.

The refinement panel allows users to filter search results based on Metadata, streamlining data discovery throughout the organization.

  1. Enhanced Productivity

Utilizing Managed SharePoint Metadata consistency leads to increased productivity. Administrators can control how users add Metadata to content, ensuring terms are used consistently across sites.

With robust processes relying on standardized Metadata, users can apply Metadata continuously to their content, eliminating redundancy and increasing productivity.

Central management of Metadata helps identify suitable data elements for any use, reducing decision-making time and contributing to cost savings.

  1. Retention of Invaluable Staff Knowledge

Implementing an enterprise approach to Metadata management ensures that critical business rules, definitions, and contextual knowledge are documented.

This retention prevents the loss of valuable information when key employees leave the company, promoting knowledge sharing and continuity.

  1. Increased Data Confidence

Data lineage tracking through Metadata management provides valuable context to business users, increasing their trust in the data they receive.

Resolving data errors with well-defined Metadata allows for the presentation of reliable, high-quality data in reports, queries, and analytics, contributing to confident decision-making.

  1. IT Performance Improvement

Managed SharePoint Metadata helps IT departments improve performance in development, data integration, change management, and more.

Understanding the data, its location, and meaning reduces information complexity, allowing for greater collaboration between business and IT.

Accurate assessment of potential changes based on improved data knowledge enables better project estimation and resource planning.

  1. Improved Adaptability

Managed Metadata offers ease of maintenance and adaptability as business needs evolve. Term Store Administrators can make changes to term sets easily, and when associated with a Managed Metadata column, new or updated terms are automatically available. This adaptability facilitates efficient content management and supports multilingual implementations.

Best Practices for SharePoint Metadata and Managed Metadata

To make the most of Managed Metadata in your SharePoint document library, consider the following best practices:

  1. Plan Your Taxonomy

A well-structured taxonomy is the foundation of effective Metadata management. The taxonomy is a hierarchical classification system that defines the categories and terms used to describe documents and other content within SharePoint.

It is crucial to involve key stakeholders from various departments when designing the taxonomy to ensure it aligns with the organization’s structure, business objectives, and user needs.

Careful planning will result in a taxonomy that is intuitive and easy for users to understand, making the process of tagging documents with relevant Metadata smoother.

  1. Use Hierarchical Terms

Hierarchical terms in the taxonomy help in organizing information logically. The taxonomy should be organized in a tree-like structure, with broader categories at the top and more specific subcategories beneath them.

For example, a “Projects” category could have subcategories like “Marketing Projects,” “Sales Projects,” and “Product Development Projects.” This hierarchy aids in easy navigation and filtering of documents based on different levels of specificity.

  1. Limit the Number of Terms

While it might be tempting to create many terms in the taxonomy to cover every possible scenario, it’s essential to strike a balance.

Having too many terms can overwhelm users and result in inconsistent tagging. Instead, focus on creating a concise set of relevant terms that cover most use cases.

Regularly review the taxonomy to identify opportunities for consolidation and refinement.

  1. Train Users

Properly training users on the importance of Managed Metadata and how to use it correctly is critical for successful document management.

Educate users about the benefits of consistent tagging, accurate Metadata selection, and the impact it has on search results and collaboration.

Providing clear guidelines and documentation can help users understand how to apply Metadata effectively to their documents.

  1. Taxonomy Governance

Establishing governance around the taxonomy and Metadata management ensures that the system remains effective and up-to-date.

Appointing a Metadata steward or a governance committee responsible for overseeing the taxonomy, resolving disputes, and managing changes helps maintain the integrity of the Metadata structure.

Regular reviews and updates to the taxonomy based on evolving business needs are also part of effective governance.

  1. Metadata-driven Navigation

SharePoint allows developers to create metadata-driven navigation, where users can filter and find documents based on specific Metadata attributes.

Implementing this navigation approach enhances user experience, especially when dealing with large document libraries.

By filtering documents based on Metadata, users can quickly locate the content they need, reducing search time and improving productivity.

  1. Content Type and Metadata Association

Integrating Metadata with SharePoint Content Types allows for consistent Metadata application across document templates.

Content Types define a specific document type or content structure, and by associating Metadata with them, organizations can ensure that documents created using these templates are appropriately tagged from the start.

This integration also supports automated document processing workflows based on Metadata values.


Managed Metadata is a valuable tool for efficient document management in SharePoint Online. By implementing a well-structured taxonomy, training users, and leveraging the expertise of SharePoint developers, organizations can harness the full potential of Managed Metadata. The benefits of consistency, improved search, and scalability make it the best option for managing documents in SharePoint, supporting organizations in achieving their collaboration and productivity goals.

At Star Knowledge, we understand the significance of seamless document management and collaboration within organizations. Our team of experts specializes in SharePoint consultation and development, and we are dedicated to helping you make the most out of Managed Metadata. Whether you need assistance in planning and implementing a robust taxonomy or require customized solutions for metadata-driven navigation and document templates, we’ve got you covered.

Unlock the true potential of SharePoint Managed Metadata with Star Knowledge’s tailored services. Contact us today to explore how we can enhance your document management system and drive your organization towards greater productivity and efficiency.

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