Solved: Documents Separated from Meta Data

How to use a SharePoint Workflow to Merge Library Documents with List Meta Data

Idea Credit: Michael

Recently in my SharePoint class I had a very interesting problem presented to me. The student has thousands of documents that have been scanned and turned into PDFs, then stored on a network drive. The organization has been recording meta data related to these documents in spreadsheets, using the PDF file name as a key.

This system has worked fine for them as they did not need to reference the PDFs and associated meta data all that often. But, now the organization is moving to a SharePoint 2013 environment. They plan to upload these thousands of PDFs into SharePoint libraries. The challenge is to match the spreadsheet meta data associated with each PDF during the upload, essentially combining the spreadsheet data with the matching PDF and storing the combination in a SharePoint library.

After examining a number of options, we came up with a simple way to perform this operation using a SharePoint Designer workflow.

First we converted the Excel spreadsheet of meta data into a SharePoint list. Then we built a SharePoint library with all the needed meta data columns. Next we built a SharePoint Designer workflow that compared the Name column of the SharePoint library to the DocID column in the SharePoint list of meta data. When a match is found the workflow then sets the corresponding column to the correct value in the list. We repeated this action for each required column. Finally we set the workflow to start when a new PDF is uploaded or when the properties of an existing PDF in the library are modified.

Elegant, maybe not. Perfect, absolutely yes.

Thank you Michael for the great idea.

Using a list of employees and a list of documents I recreated the solution.

The List of Meta Data:

List Data
List Data

The Library of Documents:

Library Documents
Library Documents

Here is the final workflow as it appears in SharePoint Designer 2013 (the actual solution was done in SharePoint 2010):

Workflow
Workflow
Workflow 2
Workflow 2

The result of the workflow after adding or updating each document (to trigger the workflow)

Workflow 3
Workflow 3

Go to the Ask Tom page if you have questions about this workflow

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