Rather than creating Folders, which can and generally will cause issues in SharePoint, to organize your documents, it’s far more useful to create Views.
A View is simply a filtered and ordered listing of a Library. When you create a view you can store it either for general use, or for your own personal use (it’s tied to your username).
Create a View
To Create a New View, enter the Library where you want the view to operate (Views are library specific), then select the Library tab (located at the top-left). You’ll see there’s a Create View icon on the ribbon. Click this and you open a menu-driven wizard for creating Views.
There are many options, so for this guide I’ll talk through just one to give you a good idea – the Standard View.
1. Click the Standard View option, which will then take you to a page with many options to create a view.
2. Give the view a relevant name in the field below where it says View Name.
3. Select either Personal View or General View (Most created views should be Personal, otherwise anyone using SharePoint will see the view).
4. All the options are grouped under headings such as Columns, Sort, and Filter, for the sake of ease it is best to contract each of the groups so that only the group headers are displayed.
5. Expand each header one at a time choosing the options that best suit the view you’re aiming to create, a brief description of each set of options is below.
- Columns – Columns will be the viewable data in your view, as a default several options are already ticked however any columns can be chosen.
- Sort – Sort will sort all files displayed in your view by specific criteria, for example you could sort to display newest documents first.
- Filter – Filter allows you to filter the files that are displayed in your view, as an example you could filter to only display files that have a certain Content Type.
- Tabular View – Unless you have a specific reason to do otherwise this doesn’t need to be changed.
- Group By – Groups all displayed files under specific headings. This can be helpful for separating large libraries by any metadata fields.
- Totals – Totals displays a count of all files displayed in the view and all files within a group if Group By is used.
- Style – Allows a view to be styled in several different manners.
- Folders – For best results Folders or Flat should be set to Show all items without folders, and Show this view should be set to In all folders. If either of these are set to different values then a view will not display results correctly.
- Item Limit – Item limit gives the option to limit the number of results per page or limit the total results display, for best results Number of items to display: should be set to 500 with other options left at default.
6. Click OK to save the view.
You can then access this View by entering the Library tab (Located at the top-left), and selecting the name of the View in the drop-down below where it says Current View.
It’s actually easier to create a View than it is to describe the process. Once you’ve created a few, you’ll see why Views are more useful than Folders. With Folders, you’ll always be having to copy or move files from one place to another. With Views you don’t. Essentially you can organize your files any way you want them, without having to bother with folders.
Next to the Create View Icon there’s a Modify View icon. This allows you to select an existing View and change it. It uses the same Wizard as Create View.