Metadata-based routing and storage overview (SharePoint Server 2010)


Applies to: SharePoint Server 2010

Metadata-based routing and storage can use the Content Organizer Feature in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 as part of a document management solution.

This article provides an overview of metadata-based routing and storing and helps solution planners and designers understand how to use the Content Organizer Feature in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 to plan a comprehensive document management solution.

In this article:

  • About metadata-based routing and storage

  • Content Organizer Settings

  • Content Organizer Rules

About metadata-based routing and storage

SharePoint Server 2010 introduces metadata routing and storage by using Content Organizer. Content Organizer builds upon document routing features that were introduced in the Records Center site template in SharePoint 2007.

With Content Organizer, new site level features make it easier for administrators and users to classify, route, and store content by using rules based on metadata. After the site administrator activates the Content Organizer Feature and configures settings and rules, instead of directly uploading a document to a library or folder, users can then save, route, and thereby apply rules to a document, by using one of the following methods:

  • Upload a document to a Drop-off library. A Drop off library is created in every site in which the Content Organizer Feature is been activated.

  • Use Save as from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint client applications.

  • Use Send To from other SharePoint sites.

  • Use the Web service object model.

  • Use an E-mail drop-off zone. By using Exchange, documents can be e-mailed to the site, where metadata then must be applied before being routed by rules.

  • Submit to a Record Center site as part of a document’s life cycle or expiration. For example, as part of a workflow or retention policy.

Once a document is uploaded, based on the document's metadata, Content Organizer can route the document to a specified folder or automatically create a new folder. For example,

  • A new folder can be created as a child of the target folder, because the target folder of the routing rule grew too large.

  • Folders are created for each new value in a field (must be a required field for the content type). For example, if you have taxonomy with 100 terms, folders can be created automatically for each of those 100 terms, each folder being created the first time Content Organizer evaluates a document that has a particular tag.

New folders will inherit settings from the parent folder. New folders can then also have additional rules that define additional parameters such as permissions, default metadata, retention policies, and workflows that the documents in them will inherit. For example;

  • By tagging a document with "Corporate Affairs", the document is routed to a folder that has more restricted permissions than other documents in different folders in the library. This lets metadata to effectively apply permissions to a document in SharePoint.

  • By tagging a document with "Accounting", the document is routed to a folder where it is subject to a retention policy insuring the document is saved.

  • By tagging a document with "Human Resources", the document is then routed to a folder where any number of additional metadata tags is applied. This can reduce the need for users to apply lots of metadata tags reducing time that is spent tagging and potential errors when tagging.

By tagging content with metadata and by using Content Organizer settings and rules, in combination, you can effectively determine, route, store, and apply additional content parameters to any document in your organization.

Content Organizer Settings

Site administrators can configure Content Organizer settings that will determine how content uploaded to the site is routed. These settings apply to all content routed using Content Organizer. Content Organizer includes the following settings:

  • Redirect Users to the Drop Off Library   If enabled, this setting specifies that users are redirected to the Drop Off Library when uploading content in a site that has one or more content organizer rules applied. If this setting is disabled, users can bypass using the content organizer and upload files directly to a library or folder. This setting applies only when uploading a document by using the document library page or by using a client application.

  • Sending to Another Site   If enabled, rules can be created to redirect uploads in the current site to be sent to another site that also has the Content Organizer Feature activated.

  • Folder Partitioning   If enabled, subfolders will be created when a specified number of items in a folder is exceeded.

  • Duplicate Submissions   This option specifies whether to use SharePoint versioning or append unique characters to the end of duplicate file names if a document is uploaded that has the same name as a document that is already in the destination library.

  • Rule Managers   This setting specifies users that can create rules and respond to and manage uploaded content that do not match any rule.

  • Submission Points   This non-configurable setting provides Web service and URL, and an E-mail address that you can use to set up other sites or e-mail messaging to send content to the site. When creating a new Send To location in Central Administration, this is the service URL that you specify as the destination for files submitted to the Send-To location. Send To locations must be configured before they can appear as a submission point.

Content Organizer Rules

Rule managers can create rules. A rule determines whether the rule should be applied to the incoming document, and then performs actions specified in the rule. Rule options include the following:

  • Rule Name   The name of the rule.

  • Rule Status and Priority   Specifies this rules priority on a scale of 1 to 9 if more than one rule is applied. You can also specify that this rule is inactive and will not be applied to any incoming content.

  • Submission's Content Type   Specifies the content type group such as Document Content Types, Publishing Content Types, and so on. Based on the content group type group, you can additionally select a content type for the rule. If a content type in your organization uses a different name, you can specify an alternative name.

  • Conditions   Applies additional property-based filters for the rule to process.

  • Target Location   Specifies where to put content that matches the rule.

  • Submission Points   Where the item that has met all the criteria above will be saved. If you checked the Sending to Another Site option in the Content Organizer settings, you will see a drop-down box that has a list of other locations outside the current site to which a document can be routed.

Activating the Content Organizer Feature for a site

In order to use Content Organizer in a site, the Content Organizer Feature must be activated. Once activated for a site, Content Organizer Settings and Content Organizer Rules will appear under Site Administration on the Site Settings page.


When creating a site by using the Record Center site template, Content Organizer is activated by default.

To activate the Content Organizer Feature for a site

  1. On the Site Settings page, under Site Action, click Manage site features.

  2. On the Features page, for Content Organizer, click Activate.

After the Content Organizer Feature is activated, you can create metadata based rules to move submitted content to a library or folder.

See Also


Metadata navigation overview (SharePoint Server 2010)

Other Resources

Resource Center: Managed Metadata and Taxonomy in SharePoint Server 2010