SIS created COMPASS to use the foundation of SharePoint and then build a structured site with custom components that specifically address challenges in the construction industry. One of these custom components is called the Drop Zone. Drop Zone allows the user to keep the advantages of loading multiple files into a document library while also allowing them to attach metadata to all of the files at the same time.

Before I jump into the specifics of how the process works using the COMPASS Drop Zone, let me first talk about what elements need to be set in COMPASS to make this work. For this process to work we need to establish a list that will be referred as the Log list (for example if it includes Bid documents, it might be named the Bid Log list).

This list will contain all the columns that you want to have as metadata for your document library. It will also serve as a record of the batch loading of files so you may also want to have a notes/comments column and other pertinent columns as well. These are columns that will not be attached as metadata to the documents that are being loaded.

Next we need to establish the Document library itself which will contain columns for the metadata that we decided on when we created the Log list. We may also add additional columns, a Notes/Comments column for instance, that will contain information specific to that one specific document.

Once both of these elements are created and the Drop Zone functionality is in place, we can then begin using it to simplify our workflow. Let’s talk about how that will work. We will start in the Log list and create a new item. This will contain all the information regarding the set of files to be loaded, as well as the choices for metadata. Here is an example of what you might enter at this point.

Once this is saved, we can now go back in and use the Drop Zone functionality. Below is a screenshot showing how the COMPASS Drop Zone will appear to the user:

Similar to using the native SharePoint Drag and Drop, at this point you will bring up a Windows Explorer window and select all the files that you want to load at one time (with the same metadata attached to each and every file). Once they are selected, drag and drop them into the Drop Zone window. Once the upload is complete, you will get a dialog box letting you know how many files have been successfully uploaded:

Once the upload process has completed, you can click on “View Uploaded Documents” to move to the document library and see the files you just uploaded. Notice that all of them have the same metadata applied to them.

Because we created the COMPASS Drop Zone functionality, we also have the ability to address additional challenges that our clients have in the process of uploading files into a document library. One of these has to with what are referred to SharePoint reserved characters. These reserved characters are the following: ” # % & * : < > ? \ / { | } ~. If you attempt to upload a file using standard SharePoint Drag and Drop functionality, the file will be rejected and will not upload.