Introduction to Document Sets

A Document Set is a group of related documents that you can manage as a single entity. You can create a Document Set in a single step, and then define its characteristics and metadata. You can manage the set as a single entity.

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What is a Document Set?

For many kinds of projects, people often produce a whole set of related documents. In some cases, this set of documents might be the result of a project, or the “deliverable.” For example, a professional services company might produce a standard “pitch book” when they respond to a request for proposal from a possible client. The pitch book might always contain these pieces, and customize each piece according to the specific requirements of a particular project:

  • An introduction to the services company
  • A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis
  • A business plan
  • A comparable company analysis

In other cases, this set of documents might only represent different types of information that support a larger project and result in the creation or delivery of something else. For example, a manufacturing company might produce a standard set of documents related to design, testing, and fabrication for each product it manufactures.

These documents might be created at the same time, or in phases. The documents might be produced or reviewed by one person or by many people. All the documents might be the same format (such as Word documents). Alternatively, they might involve different file formats (for example, Word documents, OneNote notebooks, PowerPoint presentations, Visio diagrams, excel workbooks, etc.).

Document Sets can help organizations manage these situations more easily. The Document Set organizes multiple related documents into a single view where they can be worked on and managed as a single entity. When you create a new Document Set, you actually create a new content type. The content type becomes available across the site collection, and you can configure a new Document Set content type for each different multi-document work product.

When a Document Set content type is added to a library, users can create new instances of the Document Set in the same way that they create a single document.

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What can you do with a Document Set?

The Document Set content type has several specific features that make it easier to create and manage multi-document work products successfully. When you configure a Document Set content type, you can do any of the following:

Customize a Welcome Page    for the Document Set that contains all the information that a user needs about the set. The Welcome Page is a Web Part Page that can be set up to display project information or resources to help team members who are working on a Document Set (e.g., project timeline, links to resources, etc.). It also displays a list of documents that were added to the Set.

  • Specify default content    that you want to have automatically created and included in each new instance of the Document Set. You can have certain documents automatically included, and you can control the templates that people use. You can be certain that the default documents are the correct content types. For example, if your organization has branded templates that you use for specific types of communication, you can upload these when you configure a Document Set content type.
  • Specify allowed content types    that can be used within the document set (for example, document files, images, audio, or video).
  • Specify shared metadata    and metadata columns that you want for all documents in a set. Default documents are automatically provisioned with the metadata when the Document Set is created, and you can display the shared metadata on the Welcome page.
  • Assign workflows    that you want to use for the Document Set. You can use the standard Review or Approval workflows with Document Sets, and the whole Document Set proceeds through the workflow steps as if it were a single file. Additionally, your organization can develop custom workflows for Document Sets.
  • Send Document Sets    to the Content Organizer for routing to a targeted folder, site, or library.

After you add a Document Set content type to a library, site users can use familiar document management features and special Document Set features.

Document Set authors can do any of the following tasks:

  • Create new multi-document work products quickly and easily by using the New Document command in a document library.
  • Capture a version history snapshot of the current properties and documents within the Document Set.

Start workflows on the whole document set or individual items within the Document Set to manage common tasks such as review and approval.

  • E-mail a link to the Document Set.
  • Use the Send To command to move or copy the Document Set to another location (the destination must be configured within Central Administration).
  • Manage permissions for the Document Set.

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Applies to:
SharePoint Foundation 2013, SharePoint Online Enterprise (E1), SharePoint Online Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online Midsized Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E1 & E2), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Midsized Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Small Business, SharePoint Online Small Business, SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise, SharePoint Server 2013 Standard