Archive for February, 2011

Bulk Uploading content from File Shares using a Spreadsheet for Metadata

February 3, 2011

One of the first features that we added to our Classifier product, which is designed to bulk tag SharePoint content, was the ability to migrate file system content into SharePoint. Customers wanted MetaVis to enhance the usability of SharePoint by adding the ability to upload files and classify them at the same time while also enriching the file metadata and maintaining the created and modified properties. In the past few years, we have continued to add features to Classifier including:

  • the ability to map NTFS metadata from a file system such as folder names (which is the original way to tag files) into SharePoint fields;
  • the ability to apply SharePoint 2010 managed metadata;
  • the ability to unravel the folder hierarchy for those users that want to maintain their content in SharePoint without using folders; and
  • many more small conveniences or other features that fill gaps left by SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010.

One commonly requested feature that kept coming up (and one that we have resisted to implement) was the ability to use a spreadsheet for file import. The idea seems straight forward. Create a spreadsheet that catalogs you files. Let users input field values into the spreadsheet. Then import the files using the spreadsheet for your metadata.

My past experience, inspired the MetaVis team to think of ways we could improve upon the process and satisfy the market demand for using a spreadsheet/CSV file that is simple and effective. Here is what the MetaVis team came up with:

Begin by generating the spreadsheet from the target list

Step 1) Start by identifying the files and folders that you want to import into SharePoint. There are two ways to do this. The first way is to expand and navigate through the My System area in the product. If you double click on a folder or drive, the contents will be displayed in the Contents area. You may drag-and-drop or copy/paste from My System or Contents areas directly to the destination. Alternatively, MetaVis provides the same capabilities directly from Windows Explorer

Step 2) After you have selected the content and dragged/copied it to your SharePoint destination, a familiar wizard will be displayed. This is the same wizard that is used to copy SharePoint content from one place to another. The first window will confirm the destination

Step 3) The second window will give you an ability to apply metadata values. It is a good idea to take advantage of this feature and apply as many metadata values as since all the data is validated against SharePoint. There are many capabilities for intelligent and auto tagging available including mapping to NTFS values such as folder names, file names, owners, etc.; or to select values directly from SharePoint managed metadata, choice and lookup lists.



Step 4) The final screen of the wizard has a new check box towards the bottom of the page. Selecting the Create CSV File for uploading files option will generate a comma separated values file compatible with Excel or any text editing software

Step 5) Although the file content may vary based on selected metadata and options the basic structure will always have the following layout:


Source File

SharePoint File Name


Field 1

Field 2

Created By

Created At

Modified By

Modified At



Your Value

Your Value

Your Value

File Owner

Created Date

File Owner

Modified Date



The layout must notbe changed or otherwise the imported file will not be recognized. However, the content may be edited to your preferences. Remember that any values that are modified or edited must be valid to SharePoint. Otherwise they will be ignored or an error will be generated.

Step 6) Once you finish working with your spreadsheet, you are ready for the last step in the process. The ability to Upload Files Using CSV is available at any library or folder right-click menu. Identify the destination for your files and select this option. In theory, the same destination as was chosen in step 1 should be used, but there is no such restriction. So, if you have more than one library into which you want to import your files and they have the same or similar metadata structure, the.csv file can be reused

Step 7) Next the Open File for Import screen will be generated. Enter the location of your .csv file

Step 8 ) The contents of the file will be loaded in the space provided below. You may stretch and scroll the screen to view the contents.

Step 9) You may check individual items or the Check All button at the bottom to select everything. In addition if you are using a custom character set, select it in the provided field.

Step 10) To start the import, press the Finish button.

In ten easy steps you can bulk upload content from File Shares using a spreadsheet for metadata. Give it a try and let us know what you think. Any and all feedback is always appreciated and welcomed!