How to Set Up and Manage Document IDs in SharePoint Online

Topics: SharePoint Tips, Document Management, SharePoint Online

Written by Quentin Russell

SharePoint Online is a great tool for sorting and organizing data. While the out-of-the box options can be helpful, there are some features buried just beneath the surface that can really help you out. One of these is the Document Id feature. In our experience, the Document ID feature is a very effective way of tracking and locating documents in SharePoint Online. Let's take a look at what you need to do in order to get started using them today.

What is a Document ID in SharePoint Online?

Document ID is a feature that you can use on the site collection level in SharePoint Online. It automatically assigns each document uploaded to SharePoint a unique ID that lets you quickly locate files within SharePoint based on its unique number. Document ID also creates a permanent URL using the documents unique ID. This makes it so that even if the file is moved somewhere else in the site collection you can still locate it using the unique URL.

Why Should I Use The Document ID Feature

There are several reasons that you would use the Document ID feature in SharePoint Online. The first is that it allows you to search any document in your SharePoint site by looking up its Document ID. Second, the document will receive a permanent URL in case the document is moved - making it so you always can locate it. Third while relying on the Unique ID feature allows you to keep something distinct in a list or library, a Document ID is unique for the whole site collection. This means that you don't risk having any repeating IDs that could cause documents to get lost.

How to Activate, Enable, and Configure the Document ID Site Collection Feature in SharePoint Online

Setting up the Document ID feature for a site collection isn't difficult. All you need to do is follow the following instructions and you'll be able to activate, enable, and configure Document IDs in your SharePoint Online site collections. One thing to note before you begin is that you need to make sure that you are logged in as a site collection administrator to do this and any of the following steps.

How to Activate the Document ID Site Collection Feature in SharePoint Online

  1. Go to the top-level site collection.
  2. Click Site Actions and then click Site Settings.
  3. Under Site Collection Administration, click Site collection features.
  4. Next to the Document ID Service, click Activate. An active icon should appear next to the item and the feature that is activated for the current site collection.

How to Enable the Use of Document IDs in a Site Collection

Once you enable the Document ID feature for a site collection, all documents will automatically receive a Document ID. This process can take time, especially if you have a large number of files in your site collection.

  1. Go to the top-level site collection.
  2. Click Site Actions and then click Site Settings.
  3. Under Site Collection Administrations, click Document ID settings.
  4. On the Document ID settings page, in the Assign Document IDs section, make sure there is a checkmark in the Assign Document IDs box.

How to Configure Document IDs in a Site Collection

  1. To set a custom string of characters or numbers that are automatically appended to the beginning of each Document ID, enter the string under Begin IDs with…
  2. Select the Reset all Document IDs… check box if you want to automatically add the prefix to all existing Document IDs in your site collection.
  3. In the Document ID Lookup Search Scope sections, select the site(s) to use as the search scope for ID lookup.
  4. Click OK.

Once you've set all of this up, a column will be added to the Document and Document Set content types as the site collection level. This Document ID column is used to display the ID assigned to a document.

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What Do I Do If I Need to Move Files With a Document ID?

When you move a file with a Document ID, normally the Document will move with the file. However, if the destination site doesn't have Document ID enabled, your document will lose its ID. In order to ensure that your content retains its Document ID when moved is to use the Site Content and Structure administrative page in your Site Settings while moving documents.

What Do I Do If I Need to Copy Files With a Document ID?

You may be worried about overlapping IDs if you need to copy a document with a Document ID. Thankfully, SharePoint will automatically create a new Document ID for the copy. Even if a file is downloaded from one site and uploaded to another, it will have a new ID. Do note that if the destination site doesn't have Document ID enabled, the copy you create won't have a Document ID.

What Can I Do With The Document ID Feature In SharePoint Online?

There are a lot of interesting actions you can take with the Document ID feature in SharePoint Online. Here are some of our favorites.

Search For Documents By ID

We've talked about the Document ID feature giving you the ability to search for documents by their ID. Here's how you do it:

  • In modern SharePoint, you need to use the syntax DlcDocld:Doc ID # (the number attached to your document). Make sure to type the ID out completely or the search won't work.
  • In classic SharePoint, you can just use the Find by Document ID web part to search for the Document ID without needing anything else.

Use the Embed Property in Microsoft Word

You can use your Document IDs to embed them within Word documents. This is good for if you're organizing documents you share externally. You can check the ID on the documents to be able to quickly locate the original version of a shared document to check it for any changes or discrepancies.

Move Documents to Other Sites

As we said before, Documents ID move alongside a document when you move it to another site (so long as Document IDs are enabled at the destination). This allows you to see what documents originated where so you can keep track of them for later purposes.

Conclusion

Document IDs in SharePoint Online are a great tool for sorting and organizing you information. They allow users to quickly locate and use documents that they need - helping them save a lot of time in the long run. Make use of the directions above in order to get started using Document IDs in your organization today.

You can find more SharePoint tutorials like this on our blog so make sure to check back there everyday. If you are interested, you can also sign up for our mailing list and receive an email every time we publish a new blog.

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