The Document Library in SharePoint (Team Collaboration)

A document library is a collection of files you share with other users.  The easiest way to organize a library is by creating folders and subfolders.  You can also add columns to sort and filter files.  Most sites are created with a 'Shared Documents' library.  This library can be used for sharing several types of files.  You can create more libraries, such as a picture library for storing images if you have permissions.

  • You can add a file by uploading it from your Web browser.
  • People with the appropriate permissions can see the file.
  • If you have MS Office, you can create a new file while working in the library.
  • TIP: the 'Edit in MS App' command works best using Internet Explorer Browser.
  • Under Library Settings > Advance Options, you can change how the library opens docs - edit in app, edit in browser etc.
  • You can also save to the library from another program such as SharePoint Workspace.


Differences: SharePoint List

  • SharePoint lists are web based editable tables with structured data. 
  • List is going to store the same sorts of data that you would normally place into a spreadsheet.
  • A list contains items that are collections of fields/properties/columns
  • SharePoint list does not support check in and check out options.
  • When the user searches for a keyword in a document , if the document is in a list then search returns the list item as the result.
  • Example of SharePoint lists are Contact lists, Task lists etc.

Differences: SharePoint Document Library

  • SharePoint libraries are a list of files.

  • Library is used to store documents.
  • A library is a list, but only one and exactly one file associated with each item.  A library item also has fields/properties/columns.
  • SharePoint Library supports check in and check-out options.
  • When the user searches for a keyword in a document, if the document is in a library then they find the document listed in the search results.
  • Examples of Document Libraries are Picture Library, Form Library etc.


Differences: SharePoint Picture Library

Although you can store pictures in other types of Windows SharePoint Services lists and libraries, there are many advantages to using picture libraries. These advantages include:

  • Viewing pictures with one of three unique display styles,
  • Sharing pictures by using slide shows
  • Downloading pictures directly to a computer.

Differences: SharePoint Picture Library


How to upload a file to a library

  • In the library, click the Documents TAB on the ribbon.
  • Click Upload Document.
  • Browse to the document, then click OK.


How to upload multiple files to a library (Windows and Internet Explorer only)

How to upload multiple files to a library



  • In the library, click the Documents TAB on the ribbon.
  • Click Upload Document and a dropdown menu should appear, select 'Multiple Documents'.
  • An Upload Window will appear where you can drag and drop your files.



  • In the library, click the Libraries TAB on the ribbon.
  • Select 'Open with Explorer' - this will open a Windows Explorer Window:
    • You can drag and drop your files which is the fastest way to move a large number of files AND folders at once into a SharePoint library


User's note on Multiple Uploads: "It only works in IE and not Chrome or Firefox. On one machine I had to do an ‘allow add-on’ while on my office machine it was just there without any changes." 

If the Multiple Option is grayed out:

This is a feature which is a client integration component, which is available on machines with an installed Office 2010 client. So if you have a Windows 7 PC and Office 2010 installed you get the following:

  • The first time you navigate on the Document Library you get asked about a ActiveX Control Object - accept that.
  • You might get asked again so accept again (at the bottom of the screen) and the 'Multiple Uploads' should activate. 

User's note on 'Open with Explorer' Uploads: "One of my sub-site admins gave me a pretty cool solution to resolving the error message, 'Your client does not support this operation,' when attempting to open up a library with Windows Explorer. When it occurs, she opens a file, selects Save As… and then saves the document. After that, she's able to open with Windows Explorer without any issue. The same thing happened to me earlier today and this fix worked like a charm."


How to edit or delete a file in a library

  • Select the checkbox that appears next to the file.
  • On the Documents TAB on the ribbon, click either Edit Document or Delete Document.


Checking out or in documents

Checking out or in documents

  • Select the checkbox of the documents you want to check out.
  • In the library, click the Documents tab on the ribbon and click on Check Out. Green checkout arrows are appeneded to the selected files to indicate that they are now checked out to you.
  • Checking in the documents that are checked out:
    • Select the checkbox of the document.
    • Click the Documents tab on the riboon and click on Check In.


Discarding a check out document 

If you check out a file and make no changes to it, you can simply discard the checkout, rather than saving it. If your organization tracks versions, a new version is created each time you check a file back into the library. By discarding the checkout, you can avoid making new versions when you have not made any changes to the file.

In some cases, you might make changes that you do not want to keep. Rather than saving the file, you can discard the checkout and thereby lose the changes.

  • Select the documents you want to discard.
  • In the library where you want to check out documents, click the Documents tab on the ribbon and click on Discard Check Out.
  • Click Yes to confirm that you want to discard changes you have not checked in.


How to create a document library

  • Note: If you do not see the Site Actions Menu at the top left, of if the option to create docs does not appear, you may not have permissions to create a library.
  • To create a document library, click the Site Actions Menu and then click New Document Library.
  • Type a Name for the library, complete any other fields and then click Create.


Create another type of library

  • To see other types of libraries you can create, click Site Actions, and then click "More Optioins". Point to a library option to see a descriptions of it.


Other Document Options

If you never noticed this, there is a pulldown menu next to each folder or file in a library.

Folder (may differ based on permissions)

Other Document Options


Files (may differ based on permissions)

Files (may differ based on permissions)




Article ID: 2194
Mon 5/3/21 3:11 PM
Thu 1/12/23 8:47 AM