One of the huge advantages of Document Sets is their ability to be treated as a single item. Collabware CLM leverages this feature and allows users to classify, declare, and move Document Sets like any other record, while maintaining the documents within the Document Set as a single entity.But there is another advantage to using Document Sets that may not be known to some users, and this is the feature of Metadata Sharing. Document Sets can be configured to push down their metadata to documents inside, and any updates made to the Document Set will be reflected on all of the documents. The best use of this feature is for searching purposes. While all documents in the Document Set may share the same metadata, search still becomes that much more powerful; more metadata to search on will always aid your users. Likewise, it cuts down on time spent by users entering the same metadata for every document.

Setting up Metadata Sharing is quite simple. The main requirement is that the Document Set Content Type and the Document Content Type are using the same metadata columns. Once that is done, you simple have to turn on Metadata Sharing on the Document Set.

To do this, simply click on the Document Set Content Type in the Content Types area of Site Settings.

Content Type
Content Type

And then click on the Document Set Settings link.

Doc Set Settings
Doc Set Settings

Document Set Settings has many different options that can be useful, so take the time to review each one. The section we are looking for is the Shared Columns section.

Share Metadata
Share Metadata

Once you check a Metadata Column, the Document Set will push down the value into the same column located on any documents inside the Document Set. If you add a document that doesn’t have these Metadata Columns, the metadata won’t be pushed down.

Now, when a new Document Set is created, all of the important metadata can be added on the Document Set at the time of creation.

Doc Set Metadata
Doc Set Metadata

And as soon as a new document is added to the Document Set, it instantly has the metadata synced.

Doc Metadata
Doc Metadata

The only drawback to the Shared Metadata feature is that the Document Set will always force down its metadata. This means if a user tries to manually enter a different value on a document, the Document Set will overwrite it.

Beyond this, the Shared Metadata feature is an excellent option for organizations wanting to have consistent metadata for their case files, and will increase the user-friendliness and searchability of SharePoint.