This SharePoint tutorial explains, what is a document library in SharePoint 2013? what are various out of box library templates in SharePoint 2013/2016/Online? How to create a document library in SharePoint Online?
We will see how to upload documents into a document library, quick edit documents, edit document properties, check-in and check out a document in SharePoint 2013 document library.
Also, we will see how to work with versions in a document library, check version history, restore the previous version of a document, how to follow, document and delete a document from a document library in SharePoint.
What is a document library in SharePoint
SharePoint document libraries are a special kind of list which are used to store documents. Each file is known as an item in the document library in SharePoint.
We can use document libraries to store documents on the SharePoint site so that other employees can find and work with and should be able to access it from any device.
Unlike the list which is used to store data, libraries are used to store files. Like the list, libraries will also have metadata which will be helpful to find, sort, filter, and group items in the document libraries.
Whenever you will create a site using Team site template, by default it will add a Document library known as Documents.
Out of box document libraries in SharePoint
SharePoint provides various templates for document libraries likes: Document Library, Form Library, Wiki Page Library, Picture Library, Asset Library, Data Connection Library, Report Library, etc. You can create various libraries using the above templates.
- Document Library – A place for strong documents or other files that you want to share. Document libraries allow folders, versioning, and check out.
- Asset Library – A place to share, browse and manage rich media assets, like images, audio and video files.
- Picture Library – A place to upload and share pictures.
- Report Library – A place where you can easily create and manage web pages and documents to track metrics, goals, and business intelligence information.
- Slide Library – Create a slide library when you want to share slides from Microsoft Office PowerPoint, or a compatible application. Slide libraries also provide special features for finding, managing, and reusing slides.
- Wiki Page Library – An interconnected set of easily editable web pages, which can contain text, images, and web parts.
- Data Connection Library – A place where you can easily share files that contain information about external data connections.
- Form Library – A place to manage business forms like status reports or purchase orders. Form libraries require a compatible XML editor, such as Microsoft InfoPath. (To be covered in Infopath chapter)
Create Document Library in SharePoint
Now, we will see how to create a document library in SharePoint Online or SharePoint 2013/2016/2019.
To create a document library, Open your SharePoint 2016 site and then click on the gear icon and then click on Add an app like below:
Then from Your Apps page, you can select the document library template from the available templates.
Then it will ask for a name for the document library and click on Create.
Once it is created successfully, the Site Contents page will open and the document library will be available there.
Click on the Document library name to open the SharePoint document library.
By default the document library will look like below:
Also, read some SharePoint online tutorials:
- SharePoint Online modern experience
- How to move from classic to modern experience in SharePoint online list or document library?
Upload Documents to a Document Library
To upload a document to a document library in SharePoint, click on the Upload button which will open the “Add a document” dialog box like below:
Once you click on OK, it will show the progress as well like below:
Drag and Drop files to Document Library
You can also drag and drop files to upload a document to the SharePoint document library. Simply drag and drop like below:
Create Column for Document Library
We can add additional columns to the SharePoint document library. To add a column from Ribbon click on the LIBRARY tab and then click on Create Column like below:
This will open the Create Column dialog box like below. Give a name, choose a type for column, Description. Few sections will change based on the data type you select. Here we will try to add a choice column.
To add choices to the choices column, go to “Type each choice on a separate line” section and add the options in a separate line.
Read another SharePoint tutorial:
The choice options can appear in Drop-down list, Radio buttons or Checkboxes. Choose the option from Display Choices using section.
In the default value section, you can select the option in the Default Value section. Various other options will appear when you will click on the ECB menu which looks like below:
The above options are specific to documents.
Quick Edit in a SharePoint document library
We can edit the SharePoint document properties by using the Quick Edit button which is available in the ribbon. Here you can edit like datasheet view.
Once edit over click on the Stop editing this list button which will Save the changes.
Edit Document in a SharePoint document library
You can click on the document name to edit the document in SharePoint. It may ask you to enter credentials like below:
Once you modify the document, Click on the Save icon to Save the document and then close the document.
Edit Document Properties
To edit document properties, click on the ECB menu and then click on “Properties” like below:
Then it will open the Edit Properties windows. Modify and Save the changes.
Check Out and Check-in Document in SharePoint document library
Check in and check out is a good feature in SharePoint. When you check out a file, you lock the file for editing to prevent other users from editing the file at the same time. When you have finished editing the file, you check the file back in, allowing other users to edit the file.
Also, you can check out the document from the ECB menu like below:
Once you check out a file, a check out symbol will appear like below:
After modification, you can check in the document, so that the changes will be available to other users. Select the document and then from the ribbon, go to the FILES tab and then click on Check-in.
In the Check in the dialog box, it will ask for if you want to Retain your check out after checking in? And also it will add Comments like below:
Working with Versions in a SharePoint document library
When versioning is enabled, SharePoint Foundation 2013 creates a separate copy of the document each time it is edited. Although this takes up extra space on the server, it also makes it easy to revert to an older version of the document if necessary.
You can keep major versions only, or major and minor versions. Major versions are whole numbers such as 1, 2, 3, and so on. Minor versions are decimals such as 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, and on. A major version number is associated with a version that has been published. A minor version number is associated with a version that is in progress but is not yet published.
Check Version History of a Single Document in SharePoint document library
You can individually see the versions of a particular document. Select an individual document and then click on the Version History button in the ribbon which will open the Version History dialog box with all the versions of the document.
Restore the Previous Version of a document in document library
To restore any previous version, click on version and then click on Restore as shown in the fig below:
Follow, Download and Delete Document from Document Library
You can follow, download and delete a document from the buttons available in the Ribbon (FILES) tab in the document library.
Setup Alert in a document library
Settings up alert are the same as setting up an alert for the list which you can check out: Setting up Alerts in SharePoint Online list.
SharePoint 2013 includes the ability to follow documents to track their updates in your newsfeed. Whereas setting an alert for document changes keeps you notified of specific changes on a predefined frequency via email or SMS, following a document adds a link to this document in your newsfeed and provides notifications of all document changes via your newsfeed.
In addition, people who are following you will get a newsfeed notification that you’re following this document, provided that they have appropriate permissions to access it. All documents that you follow are shown in one place in your newsfeed, in the list of followed documents.
Few Points to remember in SharePoint document library
Below are a few points you should remember about SharePoint document library.
- In a document library, the default maximum file size is 250 MB, but this can be increased up to 2 GB.
- There can be 30,000,000 documents stored inside a document library. You can create a folder for the same.
- You can have 400,000 major versions inside a document library. If you exceed this limit, basic file operations: such as file open or save, delete, and viewing the version history, might fail.
- The maximum number of minor file versions is 511. This limit cannot be exceeded.
- SharePoint allows a maximum of 100 items to be selected for bulk operations in the user interface.
- SharePoint supports up to 12 lookup fields which are also known as List view lookup threshold.
- List view threshold is 5000 per normal users and 20,000 for auditor or administrator with appropriate permissions.
- In terms of Coauthoring in Word and PowerPoint for .docx, .pptx and .ppsx files, there can be 10 concurrent editors per document. The boundary is 99.
You must check out this item before making changes. Do you want to check out this item now?
Recently one of my clients said, in one of the document library in SharePoint Online, it is asking to check out before modification, but in another document library it is not asking. The message it is showing as “You must check out this item before making changes. Do you want to check out this item now?” It shows like below:
You must check out this item before making changes
We need to change the Require Check Out option. For this: Open document library settings page and then click on Versioning settings which is under General Settings.
Then in the Versioning Settings page, go to the “Require Check Out” option and choose “No” for “Require documents to be checked out before they can be edited?“. It should look like below:
After this setting, it will not ask to check out the file before modification. This is how to fix the error, You must check out this item before making changes. Do you want to check out this item now?
You may like following SharePoint document library tutorial:
- PowerApps upload file to SharePoint Online document library using Microsoft Flow
- How to add Link to a Document library in SharePoint Online/2013/2016
- Add multiple Office templates as a content type to a document library in SharePoint Online/2013/2016
- Rating and Generate File plan Report in SharePoint 2013/2016 Document Library
- SharePoint Unique Permissions to List & Document Library in SharePoint Online Step by Step Tutorial
- Sync SharePoint Online Document Library with OneDrive and Work with Files Offline
- Migrate files or documents from File Shares to SharePoint Online document library Using FREE Microsoft SharePoint Migration Tool
In this SharePoint tutorial, we learned how to work with SharePoint document library. We discussed the below things:
- What is a document library in SharePoint
- Out of box document libraries in SharePoint
- Create Document Library in SharePoint
- Upload Documents to a Document Library
- Drag and Drop files to Document Library
- Create Column for Document Library
- Quick Edit in a SharePoint document library
- Edit Document in a SharePoint document library
- Edit Document Properties
- Check Out and Check-in Document in SharePoint document library
- Working with Versions in a SharePoint document library
- Check Version History of a Single Document in SharePoint document library
- Restore the Previous Version of a document in document library
- Follow, Download and Delete Document from Document Library
- Setup Alert in a document library
- Few Points to remember in SharePoint document library
- You must check out this item before making changes
I am Bijay a Microsoft MVP (8 times – My MVP Profile) in SharePoint and have more than 15 years of expertise in SharePoint Online Office 365, SharePoint subscription edition, and SharePoint 2019/2016/2013. Currently working in my own venture TSInfo Technologies a SharePoint development, consulting, and training company. I also run the popular SharePoint website EnjoySharePoint.com