Recently I sang the praise of the details pane in SharePoint document libraries, because I firmly believe this will make it easier for site owners (and supporters) to know what has happened to their documents.
But there is more to that pane than just information about the library. It also shows useful info about each document.
When you upload a document to a library, the newly added document will be selected and the details pane opens.
On the details pane you see the following from top to bottom:
- A preview of the document’s first page
- Document name, size and modified date.
- A warning that this document misses mandatory properties
- The properties
- Recent activities for this document and by whom
- Who it has been shared with
- Document information such as file type, path and size
There are now three ways to edit the properties of the document.
1. Traditional: Via the document menu
-Click … behind the document name, click “More” in the menu and then “Properties”.
You will go to the document properties page.
-Click “Edit all” and you will go to the edit page
-Make edits and click “Save”
-You will go back to the document item page, as per screenshot above
Hmm…you will have to find your way back to the document library again 😦 .
2. Via the “Edit all” link
-Click “Edit all” in the details pane, next to “Properties”
-You will immediately go to the edit page of the item
-Make edits and click “Save”
-You will go back to the library.
Now, that is better. It saves me a few clicks and I stay in the context of the library.
3. In the details pane
-Click on the field below the column name (in this example: Name, Title and Topic).
-The field will now open up and can be edited
-When you have made your edits, click below the edited field
-You will see “saving”, “saved” and then the field will look normal again.
-Click on the next field and repeat.
I think this will benefit from a short video demo. Please watch in full screen mode and look at the right side.
Yay, this is very fast and I do not even have to leave my document library!
This also works for lists. You can even add an attachment to a list item from the details pane. (I am not a big fan of attaching documents to list items, but that is another matter)
- If you have many required properties and they are all Choice or Lookup fields with many choices, you will have to do a lot of scrolling. Using “Quick Edit” (the former “Edit in Datasheet”) may be a better way.
- The “wobbling” caused by the words “saving” and “saved” appearing and disappearing makes me a little seasick, especially when I had to edit about 50 documents recently 🙂 . In that case, “Quick Edit” may be better.
- There is not much space available to show texts, so if you have a long description, you may lose track of what you are writing. Save your text to see if your sentence still makes sense. Using “Edit all” (option 2) may be easier, although the space there is limited, too.
- In older SharePoint versions, a document was only visible to the audience once it had been properly checked in with all required metadata. This appears to be no longer needed. So there is a larger risk of documents in your library that do not have all required metadata added.
- This is a very new way of editing SharePoint stuff, so will need communication and adoption efforts.I can imagine that people will be looking for an “Edit”or “Save” button.
Editing a document’s properties in the details pane is a very easy way to adjust metadata while staying in the context of your work. It does have a few quirks, so may not be the best option for every purpose. I think it is great for adding metadata to newly added documents, or for making small adjustments to a limited number of documents.
What do you think of this? Do you like this pane or not, have you found any other gotchas? Is this something you actively communicate to your users? Please let me know!