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We have a need for end users to see documents with additional 'live' columns, i.e. I would like to show a view of documents with employee id JOINED with data from sql server (for some additional columns).

The system is primarily document based but in the views that the users see I want to show a typical document list (from SharePoint with checkin/out functionality, open/edit etc.), along with columns from SQL Server related to employee.

How should this be done?

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As usual, there's several ways to pull this off, some better than others.

The "most SharePoint-y" way to do it is using Business Connectivity Services (BCS). That link includes a intro/tutorial on how to use BCS to create "faux lists" that are backed by an external data source, such as SQL (or much more exotic sources!).

Secondly, Sahil Malik wrote a great post on how to set up joins. This is a lot easier if you want to display the data in a web part. To pull it off in a custom view on an otherwise out-of-the-box list, you may just want to use Lookup Columns.

This should arm you with enough information not only to get this set up, but also do much more interesting and sophisticated things down the road.

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It seems that i can setup BCS for the external sql table, but how would i join this data with the data in a document library/list part so user sees sql data in line/row with the document (as well as the the functionality of document library -checkin/out etc.) thanks for your input in advance I do not want to use custom part/grid to show document name/sql data as then i do not get the oob functionality found with document libraries. – David Apr 20 '11 at 23:01

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