A Basic Guide to Term Store Management in SharePoint Online

Topics: SharePoint Tips, SharePoint Online, SharePoint Site

Written by Quentin Russell

SharePoint Online offers you a wide variety of ways to sort and organize your data. One of the most effective ways is to use the Term Store Management Tool in order to organize your metadata.


In this article, we will be taking a look at term store management in SharePoint Online and what you need to do to get started.


What is a Term Store in SharePoint Online?

A term store in SharePoint Online is a global site directory of common terms that are used in your organization. The point of the term store is build consistency in the way that users enter and manage data in your SharePoint environment. The term store allows you to maintain consistent metadata throughout your sites. It's a one time set-up, so you don't have to worry about building a new one each time. You can configure term sets for both managed metadata and navigation in SharePoint. Qualified users can also go back into the term store and modify it as needed.


Term Store Management

In SharePoint Online, you modify a term store by using the Term Store Management tool. This tool displays all the global term sets and any local term sets available for the site collections you used to access the tool. With it, you can create terms in a set or manage a term which includes copying it, moving it, or reusing it. There is a hierarchy to to the term store, and it is as follows:

  • Managed Metadata Services
  • Taxonomy Term Store
  • Term Group
  • Term Set
  • Term
  • Subterm

Let's take a look at each step in the hierarchy so you can understand just what this means.

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SharePoint Managed Metadata Services

Put simply, metadata is data about data or "information about information." Generally this information includes the title and author of a piece of data. Managed metadata is a set of a predetermined set of values that allows sharing content types on-site collection, web application, and farm level. You can find managed metadata using the Managed Metadata service application.

SharePoint Taxonomy Term Store

The taxonomy term store is accessed using the Central Administration Site. This is a formal classification of the system that holds taxonomy groups, labels, and terms that describe something. The taxonomy term store also arranges the groups into a hierarchy.

SharePoint Term Group

A term group in SharePoint Online is a set of term sets that hold all terms that can be accessed or shared by site collections and subsites. Only users with authorization for a specific group can manage terms sets that belong to that group or create new term sets in it.

SharePoint Term Set

A term set in SharePoint Online is a collection of related terms. This can be created either globally or locally. Which one it is depends on where the term set was created. Term sets can differ in size depending on where you create it.

SharePoint Local Term Sets

A local term set is created within a site collection. It's only visible and available to use by users in that site collection. You can only use this in a site collection that has a list or library.

SharePoint Global Term Sets

A global term set is available to use across all sites within a specific Managed Metadata Service application.

SharePoint Terms

A term is a word or phrase that is specified to be associated with an item on a SharePoint site. This constitutes a single item in a term set. Each term has a unique ID and can have several text labels. There are two types of terms - Managed terms and Enterprise keyword.

Managed Terms

Managed terms are terms that are pre-defined sets of values. These can be organized by administrators into a hierarchical term set.

Enterprise Keywords

Enterprise keywords are words or phrases that a user adds to items on a SharePoint site. A site's collection of enterprise keywords is called the Keywords set, and for the most part, users can add any word or phrase to an item as a keyword.

Now that you know what term store management is, let's take a look at how to do it and what all you can do.


Create and Manage Terms in a Term Set in SharePoint Online

Before we continue, we should note again that in order to create or manage terms, you have to be a contributor, a group manager, or a term store administrator. Additionally, if you are adding a term to a local term set, you have to open term store management at the site level.

Create a Term in a Term Set

  1. Go to the SharePoint admin center. Under Content services, click Term store.
  2. In the view pan, select the term set you want to add a term to.
  3. Click Add term.
  4. Type a name for the term and press ENTER.
  5. Update any of the term settings that you need to update.

Now that you know how to create a term, let's look at some of the things you can do with terms in term sets in SharePoint Online.

Rename a Term

  1. In the term set, click Rename term.

Copy a Term

  1. Click Copy term. This shows the name of the new term as Copy of (term name). This does not copy subterms.

Move a Term

  1. Click Move term. The Move to panel should come up.
  2. Select the intended destination for the term.
  3. Click Move.

Delete a Term

Note that if you delete a term, this will also delete all of its subterms. If this term is shared with other terms sets it will be placed in the Orphaned terms term set under System.

  1. Select Delete term.
  2. Select Delete.

Pin a Term

Pinning a term makes linked copies of the term and its subterms available at the destination. You can only create or edit the subterms of a pinned term at the source and the changes will reflect everywhere the term is used.

  1. Select Pin term. The Pin term to panel appears.
  2. Select the target term set or term where you want to pin the term.
  3. Select Pin.

Reuse a Term

Reusing a term makes linked copies of the term and its subterms available at the destination. You can create subterms for a reused term anywhere it is used but will exist only in the term set they were created.

  1. Select Reuse term. The Reuse term to panel appears.
  2. Select the target term set or term where you want to reuse the term.
  3. Select the term, and then select Reuse.

Merge a Term

Merging this term with another will collapse its synonyms, translations and custom properties into the other term.

  1. Select Merge term. The Merge to panel appears.
  2. Select the target term set or term where you want to merge the term.
  3. Select Merge.

Deprecate a Term

This action makes any instances of this term in any term set to which it belongs unavailable for tagging. Subterms of the term are not deprecated.

  • Select Deprecate term.



With that, you should know everything that you need to know to get started with term store management in SharePoint Online. Just make sure to follow the instructions above to get started today.

If you are interested in learning more about SharePoint, or you're looking to get more out of Office 365, feel free to fill out the form to the right. Our team would love to schedule a time to talk with you about making SharePoint Online environment work perfectly for you.


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