I think my question is general enough to not be version-specific, but if not, we're running Foundation 2010 with minimal development (SPD, Vis Studio, etc.) capability.

I have a 3500-document repository that recently got converted to a SharePoint library. Our metadata is almost non-existent and we're relying on full text document searches to find content. Since keywords were not part of the initial repository, they were created from scratch in a spreadsheet a few years ago. Col 1 is the document name, Col 2 is a column delimited list of keywords. This is the data I'm trying to populate into SharePoint's metadata columns.

Here's where I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around things.

Let's say that an Excel record is this: document_foo.doc; keyword_foo1,keyword_foo2,...,keyword_foo8. I plan to cut-and-paste the records from Excel to a Datasheet view of my library.

My question is this: if I paste a list (keyword_foo1,keyword_foo2,...,keyword_foo8) into an empty metadata column does that whole string of 8 keywords become the sort value? or would Sharepoint recognize keyword_foo1 as a seaparate and distinct keyword from keyword_foo2? That's out intention, but I suspect it won't.

But if I create ten distinct keyword columns, and reformat the single Excel keyword field into up to ten separate keywords in ten separate columns, I end up potentially missing something if I search in keyword_foo2 and the value lives in keyword_foo4. With that, I run into the potential of having a list of thousands of keywords from which users get to choose when creating a new document--that seems needlessly unweildy to me.

In a perfect world, I'd like to see multiple choice check boxes created from the keyword list; but then I'd have to add a carriage return instead of the spaces in the filename, right? And I'd have to figure out a way to prevent a list of a few thousand keywords from accumulating over time.

I'm a little too close to the project too see it clearly. Does anyone have any suggestions or strategies for me?

1 Answer 1


If you were to use an enterprise key words column, and separate the existing keywords with a semicolon instead of a commar it would nicely separate them. However this would still be more editing than it sounds like you want to do...

  • Ah, but I can do a global replace in the Excel keyword column to replace "," with ";". 2 clicks, 2 keystrokes, another click. e viola--a properly formatted column to cut-n-paste. Is there a specific column type into which you'd recommend loading this data?
    – dwwilson66
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 16:34
  • Follow instructions here: office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint-help/… Using enterprise keywords rather than just adding a text metadata field means you can easily refine your searches later using the bar down the left hand side of the search results. Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 16:38
  • AWESOME! I've been looking for this for a while. Just hoping that our admins have it enabled in our installation. But that's my issue....
    – dwwilson66
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 16:45
  • Cool :) Good luck. Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 16:48
  • ...aaaand buzzkill. Enterprise keywords not available in Foundation. :| Back to the ol' drawing board.
    – dwwilson66
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 16:54

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