Image of tips to save time when working with Document Libraries.

Quick Tips to Save Time When Working With Document Libraries

Josh Logozar
Josh Logozar
June 3, 2021

Document libraries can be quite overwhelming if they have a lot of files and documents in them. Here are a few tips and tricks to help manage your libraries.

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Document libraries are the backbone of most people's workplaces. A singular place that you can store, share and find all of your documents for a specific team has made collaboration and organization easier than ever. Gone are the days of email chains with suggested changes, not knowing which file is the most current and even having to put Do not edit in the title. Here are a few tricks that you can use to save yourself time in your document libraries, with very little effort.

Get Alerts

Getting notified when there is a change in a document library is a great way to stay on top of managing your documentation. You can set up alerts for lists, libraries, folders, files, or even just a singular item in a list.

To set up an alert for your document library, you just need to click on “Alert me” in your top bar.

Note: In some cases the "Alert me" button may not appear in the top bar. If it's not, click on “…” and you will see the option.

Once you have clicked on your Alert Me, you are going to get a pop-up that will give you quite a few options. The first thing you will see is the "Alert Title". Make sure that you are putting something descriptive, as it will be included in the subject line of your notification.

Image of setting up alerts in a document library.
Adding a descriptive Alert Title will make your notifications easier to identify.

The next piece is how you would like to receive your alerts. You can select Email, where you will get a link to the document library in question, or by Text Message, where you have the option to get the link as well.

Selecting which one is better is dealer's choice, but in the day and age where we all have our emails on our phones, I would suggest sticking to the email notification.

Image of selecting a Delivery Method for alerts in document libraries.
Choose between email or text message as your preferred way to receive alerts.

Now you can select when you should be notified. For this, you have two categories and a bunch of options. The first category is “Change Type” which will allow you to select to send an alert:

  • if any changes occur,
  • if new items have been added,
  • if existing items have been modified, or
  • if items have been deleted.

The next category you will select from is “Send Alert for These Changes”. This includes sending an alert:

  • when anything changes,
  • when someone else changes a document,
  • when someone else changes a document created by you, or
  • when someone else changes a document last modified by you.
Image of setting up when alerts should be triggered in a document library.
Specify actions when alerts should be triggered.

This is going to allow you to track when things are added, if things accidentally get deleted, and if someone modifies a file depending on your selection.

The final choice that you get to put is when you want to receive your notifications. You can choose to:

  • receive immediately,
  • receive as a daily summary, or
  • receive a weekly summary.

For the daily, and weekly, you can select the date (only weekly) and time (both weekly and daily) that you will receive your report.

Image of setting up when to receive notifications in a .document library
Keep your alerts organized by controlling when you want to receive them.

Alerts has so many different uses. Need to keep track of if a document has been changed? You’ll be notified. Need to know when an external client has added a file to your project site? Alerts has you covered. You can also do the same for individual files, by simply clicking on the “…” beside your file, and you will get the “Send alerts for these changes” option.

Filter and Create Your Own Views

As you may already know, you can sort your document libraries by the fields that you have entered. But did you know that you can also filter them, and save that view so you only have to do it once?

For example, let’s say we are using a project site for our blog, and I only need to see items that are posted by Michael. I can create a view that only shows me that, and all I need to do to get that information is click a dropdown menu, and select it. This will save you time when you are having to manage large amounts of documents, and are always just pulling the same information.

To do this, start by selecting a field that you want to filter, hitting the drop-down, and selecting “Filter by”.

Image of filtering a view in a document library.

Depending on what you have as a category, you will select what you would like to filter by. For this example, I am going to be selecting “Published” in our status column. Now, you can do the same thing for all of the fields that you want to filter down for your view.

Once you have it filtered down to exactly what you need, click your drop-down that states “All Documents” (by default) in the top right.

Image of setting a view n a document librar.

You can then select “Save view as” and you will get a pop-up to change the name of the view, and choose if you want to make it a public view that is accessible by everyone in the group. If you are saving multiple views, make sure that you are giving them names that can be easily deciphered by yourself and your team.

Image of saving a view in a document library.
Note: This view can now be applied across the entire Teams site document library.

You will now be able to select your “All Documents” drop-down again, and you will see your saved view, and you can go back to see all your documents at any time.

Image of all default and created views in a document library.
Creating your own views makes it easier to find items within a document library.

Share Directly From Your Document Library

The last trick that we are going to show you is the ability to share directly from your library, instead of having to open the document, and then click into your share, and sharing your document. Sharing directly from your library may seem small, but if you are sharing documents quite often, it's going to save you from having to open and close your documents every time you are trying to share them.

To share your document from your library, click on the “…” beside the document you want to share, and then click on “Share”.

Image of sharing a document from a dropdown menu in a document library.

From here, you will get a pop-up that will allow you to select who can view the document. To change how you will share it, click on the dropdown. Your options are:

  • People in <<Your Organization>> with the link can edit
  • People with existing access
  • Specific people
  • Anyone with the link (if your tenant allows it)

From this pop-up, you can also select if the person you are sharing it with can:

  • Edit the document
  • Can only open the document in review mode
  • Block the ability to download the document
Image of link settings when sharing documents from a document library.
Note: The options available to you will be dependent on the settings applied by your Administrator.

After selecting all the options that apply to the document, click on "Apply". You can now either enter the names of whom you would like to share the document to, copy a link, or open the file up directly in Outlook to send to your desired person.

Save Time in Your Document Libraries

I just provided you with three very basic, very easy ways to manage your document library and save yourself a little bit of time. There are so many different things you can do in your document libraries to help with organization, save time, and even automate some of the pieces that can be rather time-consuming.

Blueshift can help with the organization of your libraries with much more advanced processes that are easily implemented. If you and your team are struggling with this, please reach out to us, and we will be happy to to sit down and help you out!

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