In the previous article, I have explained about Task Outcomes and External Data columns in SharePoint. We have seen very basic details of these columns. In this article, I am going to cover Managed Metadata columns.
In this article, I am going to cover the following topics in detail.
- Introduction to Managed Metadata column
- Creating Managed Metadata Columns and its properties
Before directly jumping to the Managed Metadata columns, let’s understand what Managed Metadata columns are and why we should use these columns in SharePoint. Consider a scenario where you have created a document on your computer. When you have created a document and while you save the document for the first time, there will be certain information which will automatically be stored regarding your newly created and saved documents. This information would be like – when the document was created, when the document was last modified, who created the document, who modified last, size of the document, type of the documents and many more. Such information is maintained automatically. This information is called Metadata. That’s why Metadata is defined as “Data about data or information about your data”.
The same scenario applies to SharePoint also, when upload or create any document or any item, SharePoint also manages the information, such as created date, last modified data, created by, modified by, size, types etc. Now, apart from this fixed Metadata, a user sometimes needs some extra sort of information to be maintained. The additional information may be like from which department the document belongs, which category the document belongs and many more such information. So in this, we need to create the custom properties. These custom properties are called as Metadata in SharePoint. Managed Metadata is a special type of column that SharePoint provides to maintain the custom information about the stuff. Let’s dig more into this column types and explore it.
Introduction to Managed Metadata column
As we have already seen, data about data is called Metadata, so now we have to explore Managed Metadata. The column itself suggests that this Metadata will be managed by users. Managed Metadata columns work with Term Store, Term Sets, and Terms (Term will be covered in details in upcoming articles in this series).
When we create Managed Metadata columns it is the same as the autocomplete textbox which will fetch and display the values from term set which is configured while creating a column. Let’s see how to create this column and its properties.
Creating Managed Metadata Column Type and its Properties
You can select any of the ways while creating a list column as shown in this article. Just select the Managed Metadata column type. When you will select the Managed Metadata column type, then you will have following options to configure.
Allow multiple values
If this checkbox is checked then the column will allow the user to select multiple Managed Metadata term values.
Here you have two options. Display term label in the field and display the entire path to the term in the field. If “Display term label in the field” is selected, then, in that case, will only show the selected term label, It will not show the hierarchy of the term. For example, you have a term called as Country, inside Country, you have another term as State. In State Term you have City term. And you are configuring your column to fetch the data from City term then, in that case, it will only display the City names in the columns.
While if you have selected another option “Display the entire path to the term in the field” then, in that case, it will display City, State, and Country information in one record. That will help you to select the exact required terms.
Term Set Setting
Here you have again two options. “Use a managed term set” and “Customize your term set”. If you want to include the predefined term set configured by your admin then, you can use “Use a managed term set”option. This option will fetch the information from the admin term store and from the current site collection.
If you want to define your custom term set while creating a column, you have to use “Customize your term set” option. Here, you can add your custom term set and terms. This will be now available with all SharePoint Site Collections.
Allow “Fill-In” choices: Here you can select whether a user can enter the value to search the terms or not. If it is Yes, then the user will have text-box associated with the control and when user will type character it will auto-populate the values from term set and the user can select any one of them.
Next option is a Default value, here we can select any default terms value for the column.
Here you can see that whatever I have explained is related to Choice Column types available in SharePoint. So there might be the question -can we use Choice Column type instead of Managed Metadata. The choice column also allows the user to select values from a specific set of values. It can also be configured while creating columns and many more comparison.
So what’s the difference between Managed Metadata columns and Choice columns? The basic difference between Choice Column and Managed Metadata column type is, the Choice column contains the which is configured by a user while creating the columns while, Managed Metadata column fetches the values from SharePoint Terms Store. Another important difference is, Choice columns cannot be reusable in different SharePoint Web Applications or different site collections while Managed Metadata column fetches the values from SharePoint Term Store so it will be uniform across all the Site Collections or Web Applications. Also, we cannot set permissions to available options in Choice columns, while we are using it Managed Metadata terms or term store, we can assign permission based on our requirement.
Also when we have created the SharePoint Managed Metadata column, the column value is auto indexed and can be used to filter the items and search the items based on the Managed Metadata terms.
So in this article, we have seen very brief information about Managed Metadata column types in SharePoint. We have also seen various properties available with this columns types. Also, we have compared Managed Metadata column type with Choice column type and saw the basic differences.
In the next article, I am going to cover Introduction to Site Columns. So far, we have seen the introduction to list columns and its types. Now, we will move one more steps inside and start understanding about Site Columns.
Any question or feedback or suggestion, please do comment and let me know.