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I think metadata is much better than folders when it comes to finding files using search and metadata navigation but...

But if I have a document library that uses metadata and does NOT use folders which means all documents are stored on the root of the document library, I can see issues occurring with file names being same.

Any advice on this?

  • You are correct, you can not use duplicate filenames. And watch out, because duplicate filenames might be processed as new versions for existing files. – Danny '365CSI' Engelman Jan 11 '16 at 12:52
  • Do you have any advice on the best way to setup document libraries from a information Architecture point of view? Maybe a combination of metadata and folders etc – Matt Saunders Jan 11 '16 at 12:54
  • Sketch everything on whiteboards for the first sessions. Try to find all edge cases (focus on the things the team does not know) in an Iteration-0 project / Proof of Concept. Involve Business Users, learn, throw the PoC away (don't fall into the trap we can re-use this), Start from scratch. If this is not guided by someone who knows SharePoint in and out then you will be doing multiple Re-Do cycles. Rest assured, 90% of the projects get this wrong. – Danny '365CSI' Engelman Jan 11 '16 at 13:56
  • As for strict SharePoint advice; Learn all about Document Sets – Danny '365CSI' Engelman Jan 11 '16 at 14:02
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Consider using a workflow to rename items, perhaps including metadata fields you have available.

Prior to SP2016 you have to be careful not to break links so if that's important to you, I'd immediately ensure that immediately after upload you generate a name based on the ID field and prevent the user from changing it.

You can also modify views to use a different display field, and JSLink to remove the now "ugly" Name field from forms.

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