SharePoint Document Sets Vs Folder

In this SharePoint tutorial, we will discuss in detail SharePoint document sets, how to create a document set in SharePoint 2013 Online, how to enable document sets SharePoint online? Also, we will see the difference between SharePoint document sets (SharePoint Document Sets Vs Folder) and folders. And how to activate document sets feature in SharePoint Online.

I will also, explain how to fix the error, Document Sets welcome page was not appearing in SharePoint Online. How to set default welcome page in document sets in SharePoint Online.

Document Sets in SharePoint Online/2016/2013

Now let us see, what are document sets in SharePoint? How to create and use document sets in SharePoint 2013/2016 or SharePoint Online? Also, we will see the advantages of document sets in SharePoint 2013.

What is SharePoint Document Sets

Below are a few points that will let us understand what are document sets in SharePoint 2013/2016/Online. A document set is a group of related documents that you can manage as a single unit instead of managing individually.

The Document Set organizes multiple related documents into a single view where they can be worked on and managed as a single entity.

SharePoint Document Set enables users to group multiple documents that support a single project or task, together into a single entity. A Document Set is a group of related documents that can be created in one step and then managed as a single entity.

Technically in the SharePoint term, the document set is a special content type. When we are creating a document sets for a document library we are actually adding a special content type to the document library. Each document set has a special set of attributes, metadata, object model elements as well as each document sets has a welcome page which can also be customized according to the propose of the document set.

Add document sets to a SharePoint document library

In SharePoint, to work with document sets we need to do below things:

  • Activate Document Sets Feature
  • Add Document Set Content type to document library
  • Create document sets

Activate SharePoint Document Sets Feature

SharePoint provides document sets as a feature at the site collection level and by default document sets feature is not activated in the SharePoint site collection. So to work with Document sets we first need to activate the document set feature, then we need to enable content type, and then we can add documents.

To activate the feature, open your SharePoint site and then click on the Settings icon and then Site Settings. This will open the Site Settings page. Here click on “Site collection features” under Site Collection Administration. Then in the Site collection features page to search for the “Document Sets” feature and activate the feature.

document sets in sharepoint 2013
Activate document sets feature sharepoint 2013

Add Document Set Content type to SharePoint document library

Once the feature got activated we can add the document sets content type to the document library in SharePoint.

Now you can create a document library in SharePoint 2013, then go to the library settings.

Then in the library settings page, click on Advanced settings under General Settings page. Then in the Advanced Settings page select Yes radio button in the Content Type section as shown in the fig below:

document sets in sharepoint online
document sets in sharepoint online

Now in the SharePoint document library Settings page, click on “Add from existing site content types” under Content Types.

document set sharepoint
Add document sets content type to document library

This will open the Add Content Types page where you can select “Document Set” and then click on Add like below:

document sets in sharepoint 2013
SharePoint 2013 add document sets content type

Create SharePoint document sets

The document set will be get added to the SharePoint document library. Open the document library and from the Ribbon click the FILES tab and then click on Document Set like below:

sharepoint document set
Create document sets sharepoint 2013

This will open the New Document Set page, provide a Name and Description like below, then Save.

enable document sets sharepoint online
Create document sets sharepoint 2013

Now the document set looks like below where you can see All properties of the document set, Edit properties, and also you can add documents inside it.

how to create a document set in sharepoint 2013
sharepoint 2013 document set views

We can upload documents to a document set like normally we upload documents to a SharePoint document library. You can create a new document, can upload existing documents or also you can drag and drop documents into the document set.

If you open the document library you will be able to see the document set name and if you click on that, then you will be able to see all the documents which you have uploaded to the particular document set.

Overall the document library with document sets looks like below:

document sets in sharepoint 2013
document sets in sharepoint 2013

Advantages of document sets

  • Meta Data: Document Set is a content type in SharePoint, so you can add any site column to the content type and the columns will appear.
  • You can customize the welcome page and can give a customized look and feel. By default, the page contains an Image web part, a Document set properties web part and a document set contents web part.

You can edit the page and can customize the page. Below you can see I have added a custom image in the image web part in the document set welcome page.

in sharepoint what unique feature does a document set provide
sharepoint 2013 document set welcome page

Share Metadata: In the document set you can share metadata to each document inside the document set by using the Shared Columns feature.

Go to the document set setting page from the content types. Then you can see the Shared Columns. Once you check the particular column, the column values will appear to the documents inside the document set.

sharepoint 2013 document sets
Advantages document sets in sharepoint 2013

This SharePoint tutorial, we will discuss what is a document set in SharePoint? How to create a document set in SharePoint document library.

SharePoint Document Sets Vs Folder

Microsoft introduced a document set in SharePoint 2013 where you can store related documents together as a group. Behind the schene, a document sets is a content type that you can add to a SharePoint document library. Here we will discuss SharePoint document sets vs folder.

Normally to store related documents inside a document library, we usually create folders inside the document library in SharePoint 2010/2013/Online. Bue we can also use document sets to store related documents in SharePoint.

Document sets feature is available in SharePoint 2013/2016 or SharePoint Online also.

But there are few key differences between SharePoint document sets and a folder in SharePoint.

Few are below:

  • In the very simple word, the SharePoint document sets is the combination of folder and metadata. The Document sets allow us to combine a group of documents together as with a folder and associate metadata with it.
  • In the SharePoint Documents sets, we can customize the UI of the welcome page. The welcome pages contain additional web parts, metadata, and other information. We can easily customize the SharePoint document sets welcome page rather than document library.
  • The beauty of SharePoint document sets is it allows us to add columns. But in the folder, we can not add a column.
  • We can trigger a workflow in the SharePoint document sets it is the most important feature over the folder.
  • The SharePoint document sets allow us to add a folder and subfolder in it.
  • When we want to change a bulk amount of metadata within a folder the best approach is the datasheet where a lot of limitations will come. But in the document sets it to allow us to change metadata on multiple items from the Edit Properties option. When we change the properties of the Document Sets then all the properties of the document stored inside the document set will automatically be changed.
  • The Document sets allow us to see the version of each item from the version history we can restore the recently deleted item.
  • The SharePoint folder is simply a view in a document library that we can not customize. But the document sets is a content type where we can apply unique permission to each document sets.

These are the key difference between the document sets and folder in SharePoint.

Document Sets welcome page was not appearing in SharePoint Online

In this SharePoint tutorial, we will discuss one issue in document sets in SharePoint Online. Whenever anyone creates a document sets in a SharePoint document library the welcome page for the document sets was not appearing. It was appearing fully blank like below:

SharePoint Document Sets Vs Folder
Document Sets SharePoint Online welcome page

By default, the document sets show a welcome page that contains information about the Document sets. The welcome page is nothing but a web part page which can also be customized to display related information about the project

It contains below 3 web parts:

  • Image web part
  • Document Set Contents
  • Document Set Properties

The above web parts were not appearing in the document sets page.

Document Sets welcome page was not appearing in SharePoint

To resolve the issue I have followed below steps:

Click on the SharePoint Settings icon to open the Site Settings page. From the Site Settings page click on “Site content types” which is under “Web Designer Galleries“.

Then click on the “Document Set” content type or click on the custom document set content type which you are using. In our case, we were using the default Document Set content type.

Once you click on the SharePoint site content type, it will open the Content type details page. Under Settings, click on “Document Set Settings” like below:

SharePoint Document Sets Vs Folder
SharePoint Online document Sets

There go to the Welcome Page section and click on “Customize the Welcome Page”

document set welcome page
Set welcome page for SharePoint online document sets

And it will open the content type welcome page and it should appear like below:

Document sets welcome page showing blank
Document sets welcome page showing blank

If the welcome page appears like above then in the Welcome Page section, check the checkbox “Update the Welcome Page of Document Sets inheriting from this content type” and then click on OK.

Document Sets properties welcome page not appearing in SharePoint Online
Document Sets properties welcome page not appearing in SharePoint Online

Once you click on OK, it will take some time to update all the content types inheriting from this content type.

Once it is done, we can see the document sets welcome page like below:

document set welcome page
SharePoint Online document sets welcome page properties

This is how to fix the error Document Sets welcome page was not appearing in SharePoint.

Read some SharePoint customization tutorials:

In this SharePoint tutorial we learned:

  • What are document sets in SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint Online
  • How to activate SharePoint Document Sets Feature
  • How to add document sets to a SharePoint document library
  • What are the advantages of document sets in SharePoint
  • SharePoint Document Sets Vs Folder
  • Difference between document sets and folders in SharePoint
  • Document Sets welcome page was not appearing in SharePoint Online
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