SharePoint Content Organizer: Send Documents Where They Belong

January 27, 2015 by Shawn Cosby

Who Needs The SharePoint Content Organizer?

For many SharePoint users, it is hard to know where to put a document when it is created. For administrators, it is hard to sort documents and then put them in the right location. An easy solution to these problems is using the SharePoint Content Organizer feature, introduced in SharePoint Server 2010.

How Does It Work?

Once a document is uploaded, using its Meta data the SharePoint Content Organizer can send the document to a specific folder or automatically create a new folder. New folders can be created if too many items already exist in the target folder. Also, folders can be created for unique values in a Meta data column. For example, if you have a taxonomy with 100 terms then folders can be automatically created for each of those terms as they are used.

Getting Started With The Content Organizer

The SharePoint Content Organizer is a site feature that can be enabled by a site administrator. This is not a site collection feature. The following screen shot highlights the feature.

sharepoint content organizer feature

Content Organizer Rules

You can configure the SharePoint Content Organizer rules by clicking on the link in the Site Administration section of Site Settings. By creating rule managers, an administrator can give specific users or groups the ability to create rules. The purpose of a rule is to take action on any document that matches the rule's conditions. These rules will be consistently applied to documents by the SharePoint Content Organizer. The following screen shot is a rule configured for the Contributor property with the value John and to send any matching documents to the Invoices library:

SharePoint Content Organizer Rule

The Drop Off Library

When the feature is enabled a drop off library will be created. Documents will remain in the drop off library until they match a SharePoint Content Organizer rule. There is a Farm timer job that runs daily which evaluates these rules. If a site administrator requires use of the SharePoint Content Organizer then documents will be redirected to the drop off library. Here is a screen shot of a dialog when trying to put a new document in a library with SharePoint Content Organizer rules:

SharePoint Content Organizer Redirect

Summary

The SharePoint Content Organizer is a robust tool for the benefit of users and administrators. For an administrator, it helps to achieve compliance with corporate policy or regulatory requirements by ensuring documents are consistently sent to the same location. For a user, the SharePoint Content Organizer helps to focus on creating content without having to worry about where it belongs. You can read more in the TechNet article Metadata-based routing and storage overview (SharePoint Server 2010).

Topics: SharePoint, Content Organizer