I am using power automate to create a new sharepoint folder when a new 'team member' is created in our HRIS. The HR team uses these folders to store all HR files for this employee.

I also need to set a few additional custom columns on this folder, which I can do with power automate. However, any documents added to the folder also display these columns, with blank values, which is confusing for users.

Is it possible to either a) hide the columns in subfolders b) inherit the value from the parent folder

Note that there are no security implications. The same users have access to parent folder and subfolders.

These folders are in their own document library, so I can fully customize the library. The library is in a site that has other HR content as well, so ideally the customizations would be scoped to the library only.

I have tried using custom views, but cannot find a way to set a different default view for the main folder vs the subfolders. I have tried creating a custom folder content type for the site, and enabling it for the library, but it does not change the view.

This post indicates that there is some functionality in the older on prem version called 'per-location view settings' that would allow setting different views for folder vs subfolder, but I cannot find anything about this for sharepoint online.

Any tips / suggestions?

1 Answer 1


Rather than focusing on configuring the views to have a different view inside the subfolders than for the main library view, I think the easier path here would be to focus on getting the documents to inherit the metadata from the folders they are in.

This is very easily achievable if you use Document Sets instead of plain folders.

There are a number of features that Document Sets provide, such as a custom "welcome page view" that allows you to display specific metadata fields from the folder (not necessarily all of them), the ability to automatically deploy/provision certain documents/templates inside new Document Sets when they are created, etc, but the main one that applies in this case is that you can specify exactly which metadata fields from the Document Set should be inherited by the files within.

Here's an intro to Document Sets on Microsoft, and another blog post about them, but you can certainly find plenty of information about them by searching for "SharePoint Document Sets".

  • thanks that has potential. if the parent metadata is updated, can the metadata on the document set update? the goal is to not only set but update the metadata (ie employee status = active/terminated) - previously the team would manually move folders into different parent folders as people left, and i'm hoping to move them to a single folder with views to filter by status.
    – gorav
    Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 18:44
  • I'm not sure if I understand your additional question correctly. Document Sets are essentially folders that you set metadata on, they then push down that metadata to the documents inside. In order for the Document Set itself to inherit metadata from its parent, the parent would also have to be a Document Set. Currently nested Document Sets are not officially supported, but people have found ways around this. If your Document Set represents an "employee", and one of the metadata fields on the Document Set is "employee status"...(cont'd) Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 19:03
  • ... I don't see why you would need a parent folder anyway. Just have all the Document Sets at the root of the library, and then yes, by all means, set up views to filter by status. Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 19:04
  • that sounds right - if the document set is the folder, all content inherits the metadata. now only if they were better supported by power automate - seems like i have to use http callouts to work with them...may be worth the lift.
    – gorav
    Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 21:20

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