My institution is working on a SharePoint 2013 rollout, and we've heard many recommendations not to use folders, and instead to use views.

We're also planning to implement a limited taxonomy (because we're going through a lot of other organizational changes right now). I had a question today from a user, which was: how can I set a default value for a managed metadata column that would change depending on the role (or view) of a particular user?

Ideally, we'd like to create views for staff, administrators, etc., using a metadata column to identify the role that document pertains to. Then, when a user adds a document to the staff view (for instance) have that document tagged with "staff". Is this beyond SharePoint's OOTB capabilities? Is there any way to do this, even programmatically?

2 Answers 2


With metadata, you need to change your thinking a little, because it works different to folders.

You can add a document to a specific folder in a library. But you cannot add a document to a view that is filtered by a metadata field. The only container that the document can be added to is the library.

The user needs to supply the metadata for the uploaded document.

If you want a metadata column to contain a specific value automatically, based on environmental conditions like the filter of the current view, then you will need code of some kind. This is definitely not something that SharePoint does out of the box, but could possibly be done with Javascript/JQuery.


I guess I'd suggest putting SharePoint's container naming aside for a minute and just look at everything as a folder. You could accomplish your goal by creating a content type and applying it to individual libraries that are each exposed to the relevant role(s). Once added to the individual libraries, the columns from the content type can be independently defaulted.


  1. Create content type
  2. Create libraries instead of views and add content type to each library
  3. Set defaults for columns from content type
  4. Assign permissions to each library.

I'd stay away from writing code for something like this. I really think you can do it leveraging what's there OOB.

Hopefully this at least gets the wheels spinning some.

  • So, I realize now that I left some details out of my original question. In our organization, we have documents that would need to be shared (if we followed your answer) between document libraries. How can we still maintain a preference for a one-time document upload while using more than one document library?
    – jwiscarson
    May 23, 2014 at 14:17
  • Why would you have to share them between libraries? Why can't a user have access to each library. Again, just view the library as a folder with the benefit of being able to set library specific defaults...something you can't do at a folder.
    – Rob D'Oria
    May 23, 2014 at 14:37
  • I've been stuck on this because our governance group came up with a taxonomy based on the audience for a particular document. This started with public/internal/department, but grew from there to also focus on specific roles within a department. After thinking about this, I realize we're trying to manage security through metadata, instead of using the actual tool to handle that. I think I'm still at a loss for the best practice here, because our users hate managing document security, but tagging documents in a library is much easier for them...
    – jwiscarson
    May 23, 2014 at 14:51

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