How to succeed with document management in Microsoft 365

Use the apps for their intended purpose

There are many applications in Microsoft 365 that manage documents and it is easy to get lost. This article guides you on how to do and think about managing documents in a smart way in Microsoft 365.


OneDrive replaces your home directory and desktop with a personal document library. OneDrive is mainly used to save personal content, early drafts that you don’t feel comfortable sharing with others, or documents that don’t need to be shared with others.

OneDrive ensures that documents are synchronized between your devices and the cloud and that you can access the files from any device. However, it is a bad idea to store documents in OneDrive that everyone in the company needs to access. When an employee leaves, OneDrive is deleted and so are the documents stored there.

Use OneDrive

  • For personal documents
  • To save early drafts that you don’t feel comfortable sharing

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is well suited for a work or project group that collaborates temporarily on a small number of documents that are not important to the organization as a whole. One of the benefits of Teams is that you can use collaborative features such as shared calendars and project plans and chat with your colleagues.

Use Microsoft Teams

  • You need to collaborate on documents where reuse is not the main goal
  • You need other collaboration features such as communication, tasks, calendar, etc.
  • If you have a defined group of users (internal and external) who will collaborate on the content in the team.

Consider this when it comes to document management in Microsoft 365

Use metadata

Metadata is present in our everyday life without us thinking about it. For example, most e-commerce sites use metadata to make things easier for users. When shopping online, metadata helps you find what you want to buy by filtering and searching for the item.

Provide homogeneous metadata fields for all document libraries in Microsoft 365. Use managed metadata fields that are linked to the SharePoint term repository. The term repository is a kind of conceptual database that can be reused in all Microsoft 365 collaboration spaces. For example, you can define common document types, processes or keywords.

Create unified workspaces

Start by defining different categories of collaboration spaces, e.g. shared department, team, project and set rules for these regarding metadata.

By default, Microsoft 365 is not configured for document management. When you create different teams in Microsoft Teams or SharePoint sites, a unique document library is created. In order to avoid having to configure each library separately and to ensure a uniform approach, a solution for ordering collaborative spaces should be in place. This is known as commissioning.

4 reasons to create new collaborative spaces

It is easy to fall into the trap of keeping all documents in one place. For example, to stay within the technical limitations of Microsoft 365 or to adapt the system to different stakeholders, it is useful to create multiple collaboration spaces. Some examples of reasons for doing this are:

Access and authorization reasons

For example, the documents of the management team should only be accessed by members of the management team.

Reasons for cooperation

In project areas, you may want to see only the documents related to a specific project. Moreover, in projects there is often a need to have individual access rights.

Logical reasons

Documents of certain types, such as contracts, can be saved in a specific workspace so that you have a logical structure of all contracts regardless of which area they belong to.

Volume reasons

In Microsoft 365, you get limited functionality if you store more than 5000 documents in a single library. If you have a large number of documents, these should be stored in a separate collaboration area to ensure the best possible experience.

Discover MetaShare – pioneering document management in Microsoft 365

Our MetaShare solution is installed on top of SharePoint and allows you to manage documents in a completely new way in Microsoft 365. MetaShare does not replace SharePoint. MetaShare uses SharePoint’s powerful engine and adds features that improve and simplify SharePoint’s interface.

Some advantages of MetaShare:

  • Gives you an overview of all the collaborative spaces you have access to.
  • Makes it possible to create and manage existing collaboration spaces without involving IT.
  • Creates unified collaboration spaces, SharePoint sites and Teams.
  • No development costs involved.