Document Information Panel Overview

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 don't 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 Microsoft Office system client application.

For files stored in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 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 Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 document library level, or from within the Office system client application for the document. The metadata values are stored in the document itself, as well as in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. If the user updates the document metadata in the document, the new column values are promoted into Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 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 Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 user interface, the new values are demoted into the document itself.

Document information panels are available in Microsoft Office Word 2007, Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, and Microsoft Office Excel 2007. For SharePoint documents, these 2007 Office system 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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