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Document Information Panel Overview in SharePoint Server 2010 (ECM)

Learn about SharePoint Server 2010 document information panels, which are forms that appear within the client application and that contain fields for document metadata.

Last modified: April 18, 2011

Applies to: SharePoint Server 2010

Often in document management systems, users are asked—usually at the point when they are saving their documents—to provide metadata (properties) for their documents. In many cases, users do not give the request any serious consideration, perhaps because of the placement or timing of the request. Document information panels are designed to enable users to specify all the properties on a document at once, in one place, at any point when they are working with that document.

A document information panel is a form that is displayed within the client application, and which contains fields for the document metadata. Document information panels enable users to enter important metadata about a file anytime they want, without having to leave the client application.

For files stored in document libraries, the document information is actually the columns of the content type assigned to that file. The document information panel displays a field for each content type property, or column, the user can edit.

Users can edit document column values either at the document library level, or from within the Microsoft Office 2010 client application for the document. The metadata values are stored in the document itself, and in Microsoft SharePoint Foundation. If the user updates the document metadata in the document, the new column values are promoted into SharePoint Foundation when the document is saved back to the document library. In the same way, if the user updates the content type column values in the SharePoint Foundation user interface, the new values are demoted into the document itself.

Document information panels are available in Microsoft Word 2010, Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, and Microsoft Excel 2010. For SharePoint documents, these client applications autogenerate the document information panels for a document, based on the metadata schema of the content type assigned to the document.

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