A project generates a lot of data and lives from data. Without data and communication, projects and our economy would not be possible. There is a lot of data on your SharePoint site, such as specifications, contracts, quotes, business cases, etc. Metadata is generated automatically by your SharePoint site, on the other hand some is created manually by you. Especially the Choice Columns, where you select metadata from a list, can be created in three different ways. But most SharePoint users know only one way. Read on to learn about all three types and how they differ.
The Difference Between Choice Columns and Site Columns
You can define metadata directly in a library or list as a choice column. But then you can only use them there and not in any other library or list on your site. A second possibility to define metadata with a choice column are site columns, which can then be used uniformly on your entire site. This is especially an advantage if you need to adjust this metadata, then you only have to do this in one place, and in all libraries and lists the new value is then available.
The SharePoint Term Store
But there is a third way to define metadata with Choice Columns, and this is in the SharePoint Term Store. You probably haven’t heard of this one, but it’s good to know it at least, because it has a special advantage when changing metadata.
Metadata in the term store is called managed metadata. In the term store, the SharePoint administrator usually defines metadata for the entire company, which can then be used on all sites of the company. Here, for example, the sensitivity labels are defined (Public, Internal, Confidential, Highly Confidential) or, for example, the departments of the company. You can learn more about the Term Store in these articles:
Even if you have Full Control permission to your whole site collection, you would not have access to the Term Store. It is controlled separately, via the Office 365/SharePoint Admin Center. And only the Office 365 Global Administrator or SharePoint Corporate Administrator role can access the Term Store.
Probably you are disappointed now! But wait, there is still a possibility, and these are the Site Level Term Groups. They are located in the same place as the metadata in the Term Store, but you have access to them and you can define Choice Columns yourself. This article will show you how to do that:
But the SharePoint Corporate Administrator can also grant you authorization for specific Managed Metadata in the Term Store, if this makes sense. You can then maintain this managed metadata yourself. However, this will tend to be an exception.
The Advantage of Metadata in the Term Store
You might be wondering, what is the advantage of Managed Metadata or Site Level Term Groups in the Term Store for my project site, since they are identical to Site Columns? This is a good question, because there is a significant difference here.
It is not uncommon to need to change metadata in Choice Columns. This is because, for example, a supplier has changed his name or a department in your company has been renamed. The big advantage of Managed Meta Data in Term Store is now when you need to customize such a Choice List.
Let’s assume you have defined your suppliers in a normal Choice Column. If you now adjust the name of a supplier in this selection because the company has changed its name, you then have to correct this manually afterwards in your library for already existing entries. This means that you can now select the new name in the list, but already existing, incorrect entries are not automatically adjusted.
The situation is different when you define the metadata in the Term Store. When you adjust the name in the Term Store, SharePoint will then also modify already existing entries. You will not see the new names reflected in already existing entries on your list or library right away, but it will adjust within several hours. There is a timer job that runs behind the scenes in SharePoint Online that takes care of such changes. This is great reason to define metadata in the Term Store! More details about this topic you find in this great article.
And Now Here the Short Summary
Normal Choice Column in a list or library: Only accessible in the respective library or list. Changes in Choice Values are not reflected in already existing entries.
Site Columns: Accessible in all libraries and list in your site. Changes in choice values are not reflected in already existing entries.
Managed metadata in the Site Level Term Groups: Changes in choice values are reflected (with a time lag) in already existing entries.
I have to admit, this was not an easy topic. But it’s good to know these possibilities, when to use them and how they behave.
Here You Can Find More Knowledge
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