Standard Document Management in the Office System

This post is being written as it happens at the Office System conference because I won’t have any time to catch up with my note taking tonight, going out for a meal with the Partner Architecture group.

Document management was essentially un-usable in WSS v2, for most real world business scenarios, so this session is key to positioning the role of Office System 12.

This is the process they are trying to support:

  • Create
  • Edit/review
  • Ready to publish, sign off and approve
  • Publish
  • Archive

This post is about the Create, edit and review process. 

  • A tree control has been added to help users navigate around a large collection of documents.  This replaces the shortcut bar in v2.  Much more useful for navigating large document collections.
  • The NEW button lets you create a new document with the option of selecting from a list with as many different TYPES of documents as you setup.  These new “content types” include a template, standard meta-data, policies, workflows and auditing.
  • A property panel is displayed at the top of the page when you create a new document, this meta-data is now captured as part of the authoring process.
  • The meta-data requested is specific to the document type you choose to create
  • The property panel is actually an automatically generated Infopath form.  An Infopath client install is not required!
  • You can make properties mandatory
  • The properties that you enter can be inserted into the document contents anywhere and they can be changed in either the document or in the document properties
  • The properties are also promoted into the WSS store, and can also be displayed in WSS web views, and can be edited in WSS as well and these changes will also be reflected in the document
  • Properties can be edited off-line as well which was not possible in V2
  • Checked out documents can also be taken off-line and saved,  which was not possible in V2
  • Whole document libraries can be taken off-line in Outlook
  • Outlook provides a preview view of the documents that are taken off-line,  it’s quick! and supports Word, Excel and PowerPoint,  an API is available for other document types.
  • Offline data uses outlooks scheduled replication
  • Outlook only synchronises the current versions, and also provides access to YOUR checked out documents, provided they are stored on your PC
  • There are some issues with editing Outlook synchronised documents off-line, not sure what the final shipping experience will be.
  • Outlook NOT Groove is Microsoft’s strategic client for working with SharePoint information off-line

Control features

  • Document libraries can be setup, using IRM, to only allow people to download read-only documents.  If they check it out then you will be allowed to edit it, assuming you have the priv to do a check-out.  This read-only status travels with the document wherever it goes.
  • Check-in options are now,  new major version, new minor version, over-write existing minor version
  • When you check-in a document you can automatically check it out again and continue working
  • Word now allows you to compare current and previous versions, very simply.  You compare in a 3 pane view,  current, previous, and track changes.
  • If you try and check-out a document that is already checked out then it tells you who has it checked out,  lets you take a read-only “fork” or lets you wait and sends you an email when the document is checked in again
  • If you try and work on a document from another PC,  that does not have your checked out off-line “cached” copy then this is handled.
  • Web parts are available for:
    • My tasks, aggregated
    • My checked out documents
    • My documents – authored by me

All of these features are switched on as standard in the Enterprise Document Repository template.  However you can start very simple – for example a Team Site – and gradually switch on features.

Document types are very powerful,  they allow you to define:

  • Templates
  • Optional and Mandatory properties
  • Workflows
  • Associations
  • Retention and policy
  • Custom behaviours
  • Multiple content types can be stored in the same library
  • Document types are defined at the SITE level,  if you change the document type at site level the change is propagated to every document library

Examples of document types:

  • Contacts
  • Specifications
  • Meeting Minutes
  • Agendas

The client features are supported in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

The Infopath property panel can be customised, for example:

  • Style
  • Logo
  • Custom business logic,  for example validation, interactions with web services etc

It is now possible to define the number of major and minor versions that need to be retained

Most of the client features are only available in Office 12.  However you can use the web site UI to get the same capabilities if you don’t use Office 12 client.


  • Testing target is 10 Million per document library
  • You can have multiple document libraries in a site
  • Views are optimised for 2000 documents
  • Search should be used for getting access to “views” of more than 2000 documents


Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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