Office 365 User Adoption Podcast Episode 5 – Tagging Resources in SharePoint and Teams
Tony PhillipsPublished 19, Oct 2019

In our Office 365 User Adoption Podcast this month, Tony and Darren from Cloud Design Box talk about the benefits of tagging resources and discuss metadata vs folders.

Why should we tag?

SharePoint search is great out-of-the-box. It’s intelligent and searches not just the title of the document but also inside the contents.

As people use search more and more as the main way to discover documents in Office 365, adding extra dimensions to the data you have already have can help users with more specific searches.

SharePoint search

For example, in an education setting, we might tag resources with a Key Stage, Year Group and Subject. This helps the user, not only search in the context of the library but also across the entire organisation. It can help you find documents that are not always in the location you expect.

Document library folder view

There is also the fact that folder structures can get complex and messy. That is something you can’t always control. However, a good tagging structure means you can create additional views to strip out all the folders and show documents grouped together by exam board.

Take a look at the image below. This is the same library which is shown above but with the folders removed and grouped by tag. It makes it much easier to find all the exam board resources and groups them neatly.

Document library grouped flat view

Folders vs Tagging

Folders and tagging work well together. Users need a visual structure to store their documents, it helps with user adoption as this is familiar to most users as a file share. However, adding the extra dimensions using tags give you the benefits of better search and grouped views.

How easy is it to tag?

It’s really easy to tag in SharePoint Online. Follow our guide to learn how to bulk tag your documents.

How far do we go with tagging?

If you are tagging resources with a field that users will never use to search, then it’s probably not worth using that field. We recommend not using mandatory fields. This usually provides a poor experience as it may check out documents or stop some of the collaboration features in SharePoint Online.

If you are considering mandatory tagging or if you are worried you have added too many fields to tag. Setup the fields as optional and see if users make use of the tags. People should use it because they want to use it and if it’s useful to them. If it’s not useful and if people are not using it then it shouldn’t be there.

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