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How to tag multiple files in SharePoint

Posted on September 14, 2016

If you are reading this post, you are probably a huge fan of storing and categorizing your content via metadata and not folders. So, it is a pleasure to have you in the “metadata” club. One complaint I hear frequently from users is that it is hard and time-consuming to tag multiple files in SharePoint. This is actually not true. In fact, SharePoint does a wonderful job when you have to edit metadata properties for many files at once. Let me show you a trick.

I can barely hold the excitement – this is one of my favorite features in SharePoint. I can’t believe how many times I get a “WOW” factor when I show the trick during training and webinars. Let’s do it now!

Step 1: Upload multiple documents

First, let’s go ahead and upload few documents. There are several options for you to do that, depending on the version of SharePoint you have. If you are using SharePoint Online, new document library experience, just go ahead and upload files using Upload > Files button.


You can also drag and drop multiple files right into the browser or move large number of files using Windows Explorer. I outline all these techniques in this blog post.

Step 2: Tag multiple documents

Once you have uploaded multiple documents into a metadata document library, you will end up with something like this.


All the newly uploaded files are untagged. You can obviously still right click on each file, one by one and edit its properties/details, but I assume you have other important things to do at work. So let me introduce you to the magic functionality of bulk editing of metadata. Below are instructions on how to tag multiple files in SharePoint. I provide several different instructions, depending on the version of SharePoint and document library experience that you have in your environment.

SharePoint Online New Library Experience

  1. On the Document Library ribbon, choose Quick edit tagfiles3
  2. The Document Library will open up in an “Excel-like” table format. From there, you can click on any cell and choose corresponding metadata value for the given row (document). Repeat for all cells as necessary tagfiles4
  3. You can also copy metadata values easily between cells. Say, you uploaded a number of files that share same property. To copy metadata between cells, tag one of the documents, then put your mouse cursor ovethe r lower right-hand corner of the cell, such that big “plus sign” appears. Then, just drag the plus sign several rows down (the techniques is very similar to how you copy cells in Excel) tagfiles5
  4. Click Done (it is kind of like Save button). That’s it, your many documents are tagged in no time! tagfiles6

SharePoint Online “Classic” Library Experience or SharePoint 2013

For those who are still using “Classic Library Experience”, instructions are pretty much the same, except, how you get to the Quick Edit command. To access it, just click on Library Tab > Quick Edit


SharePoint 2010

If you are using older version of SharePoint, the only difference is the name of Quick Edit operation. In SharePoint 2010, Quick Edit is called “Datasheet View“. Other than that – same instructions as above apply. Also, with SharePoint 2010 – you have to use Internet Explorer browser – read side notes below for further information.


Important side notes

  1. Quick Edit only works in non-grouped views. Make sure you access the Quick Edit command in non-grouped view (I call it “flat list” view). Usually that would be your All Documents View (unless you customized it). If you try to access Quick Edit in grouped view, it will either be grayed out or not available. tagfiles7 tagfiles9
  2. Must use Internet Explorer browser if you use SharePoint 2010. If you try to bulk edit metadata in other browsers, Datasheet View button will be grayed out. So make sure to switch to IE when you do bulk edit of metadata with SharePoint 2010.

About Me

I’m Greg Zelfond, a U.S. based SharePoint consultant, and I provide affordable out-of-the-box SharePoint consulting, training, and configuration assistance to small and medium-sized businesses all over the world.

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