SharePoint Document Library: Your Ultimate Guide

Are you tired of wasting time sifting through disorganized files and struggling with version control issues? The chaos of scattered documents can hinder productivity and collaboration in today’s fast-paced workplaces. Luckily, SharePoint Library is here to rescue you.

But what is a SharePoint document library? How can you create it?

In this guide, we quickly answer these questions and explore how SharePoint libraries can solve all of your document storage problems.

Grab your favorite snack, and let’s get started!

What is a SharePoint Library?

A SharePoint Document Library is a special type of library that stores and organizes files and documents. It allows you to store, organize, share, and track versions of documents. It also provides collaboration features such as document co-authoring and site columns for categorizing your content.

You can even set up automated alerts to notify users when changes are made to the library.

Teams use SharePoint Document Libraries for various purposes, including project collaboration, team document storage, and long-term archiving. They are especially useful for teams or organizations that need to store documents in an organized fashion.

Let’s consider things this way!

Improving content management and collaboration is a top priority for many large and small organizations. But the problem is they deal with so multiple files, documents, and other digital assets.

Thus, it can be challenging to manage everything effectively.

This is where SharePoint Libraries come into play. And thanks to the modern SharePoint document library, teamwork has become easy for many companies.

Customization options such as metadata, views, and workflows in SharePoint libraries can significantly streamline processes and make teamwork more efficient.

What are the types of SharePoint Libraries?

SharePoint Libraries come in seven basic types, each with its own unique set of features and benefits.

Document Libraries

Document libraries are the most commonly used type, ideal for organizing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. We will focus on this type in this article.

Form Template Libraries

Form template libraries allow users to create and manage a collection of forms users can fill out based on the same template within SharePoint.

Asset libraries

They can manage multimedia files like images, audio, and video.

Site Page Libraries

Site page libraries store and manage SharePoint site pages.

Style Libraries

As the name suggests, Style libraries are ideal for storing style formats of SharePoint sites.

Wiki Libraries

Lastly, wiki libraries store allows users to create and store Wiki pages to serve as a knowledge base.

Choosing the right library type for your organization’s needs can improve collaboration and streamline workflows.

How to Create a Document Library in SharePoint

By default, SharePoint team sites include a document library. However, you can create additional libraries for your SharePoint site as needed.

The process of creating a document library in SharePoint is relatively straightforward. You can create it from a SharePoint Team Site in the steps below:

  1. Navigate to the desired site where you want to create the library.
  2. On the menu, click “New” and choose “Document Library” from the dropdown menu.
  3. Name your library and add an optional description.
  4. Set up permissions for your SharePoint document library and add additional settings, such as metadata or update email notifications.

Recommended reading: How to Create a SharePoint Team Site?

How to Upload Files in a SharePoint Library

Users can improve efficiency and streamline teamwork effectively by uploading and organizing files in a SharePoint document library. Supported file types for SharePoint libraries include images, videos, PowerPoint slides, Excel sheets, and more. Note that to be able to create and upload files and folders in a library, a user must have contributor permissions to the library.

So, here is how to upload a file a Sharepoint document library:

  1. Open the SharePoint site library where you want to upload files
  2. Click the Upload button in the Documents tab and navigate to the file or folder you want to upload
  3. Alternatively, you can drag and drop files into the documents section. The library will show a “Drop here” when you hover a file over it.

If you have synced your SharePoint or OneDrive account to your device, you can directly upload files using File Explorer. Simply use the following steps:

  1. Select the file you want to upload in File Explorer
  2. On the toolbar, select Cut
  3. Select the OneDrive or SharePoint folder within File Explorer you want to place the file.
  4. On the toolbar, select Paste.

Define and Create Views in Your Library

When managing your documents in SharePoint, views are essential to help you organize and access information quickly and efficiently. A view is a page that displays several documents within your SharePoint library.

Views allow you to customize how information is presented in your document library by filtering, sorting, and grouping files based on specific criteria.

To set a default view for your document library, you’ll need to navigate to any view you want to set as your default and click Set current view as the default.

Creating a custom view allows you to tailor how you interact with your library to suit yo”ur needs and preferences. This can save time and streamline workflows, making it easy to find the information you need when you need it.

Users can create custom views for SharePoint libraries in several ways, e.g., highlighting columns they want to display, arranging specific columns, filtering and grouping items, etc.

You can create or change the view of a SharePoint library in the following steps:

  1. Select a view or view type by clicking the View Options menu in SharePoint Online
  2. Choose a view type, e.g., List, Compact List, or Gallery, and save it as a new view
  3. To add columns, hover between any two columns, click the + sign and choose the type of column you want to add from the drop-down list. Alternatively, you can add a column by clicking the + Add Column in the top right corner.
  4. You can sort your SharePoint list by selecting the heading for the column you want to sort on and selecting “Asset Tag” to choose a sort order.

How to Set Permissions in Your SharePoint Libraries

Ensuring proper security and access control is crucial for SharePoint Libraries. You can limit who can view, edit, and delete files within your SharePoint document library by setting permissions.

Note that by default, SharePoint libraries in a site collection will inherit permission settings from the site directly above them in the site hierarchy.

SharePoint offers different levels of permissions, such as Full Control, View Only, Contribute, Edit, Read, and Limited Access.

Site owners or admins can set up permissions for SharePoint libraries in the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the library you want to set up permissions for
  2. On the library ribbon, click List Settings or Document Library Settings
  3. On the Settings Page, under Permissions Management, select Permissions for this document library and edit the permissions as needed

Assigning permissions based on user roles or groups is essential to avoid confusion and maintain proper access control.

Additionally, you can modify or remove permissions at any time to accommodate changes in your organization’s structure or policies.

Properly setting permissions ensures that sensitive information stays secure while allowing users to access the necessary files.

How to Organize Libraries in a SharePoint Site

Organization is crucial for maximizing the benefits of SharePoint Libraries. By developing a straightforward naming convention and folder structure, you can ensure that your libraries are easy to navigate and search.

Metadata can categorize and tag documents within your libraries, providing greater context and making it easier to locate specific files.

Ensuring proper security and access control is also key, and you can do it by setting up permissions and regularly reviewing your organization to ensure it remains effective and efficient.

With these steps in place, you can take full advantage of the power of SharePoint Libraries to streamline your workflow and boost productivity.

How to delete a document library in SharePoint?

To delete a document library in SharePoint, use the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the Quick Launch bar and choose the library you want to delete
  2. Click Settings and select “Library Settings” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Under Permissions and Management, click Delete this Document Library and confirm the deletion when prompted.

Deleting a document library is permanent, so double-check before confirming the deletion.

What is the Difference Between a Library and a Folder in SharePoint? 

A library is an organized collection of files that offers advanced features such as version control, document collaboration, and metadata customization.

On the other hand, a folder is a container for related files without any additional functionality.

A folder is like any folder you create on your computer to group things that are similar, like similar videos, photos, etc. Well, folders in a document library do the same.

When working with SharePoint Online, it’s essential to understand the difference between a library and a folder. While both serve as containers for documents, some distinctions exist between them.


SharePoint document libraries are essential tools for organizing and managing files in an organization. Libraries provide a secure, centralized location for storing, sharing, and collaborating on essential documents.

Their purpose is to improve your SharePoint document management and collaboration among team members.

By understanding the different types of SharePoint Libraries and how to create and organize them, you can unlock the full power of this valuable tool.

Some Frequently Asked Questions on SharePoint Libraries

What is a SharePoint library used for?

A SharePoint library is used for storing and managing files and documents. It allows for easy collaboration among team members by providing access to files from multiple locations. Customizing metadata in SharePoint libraries helps better organize and search for specific documents.

Additionally, document libraries enable the storage of multiple document versions, making it easy to track changes over time. All in all, SharePoint libraries are valuable for efficient document management and collaboration within organizations.

Does SharePoint create a Default Library?

Yes, when you create a new SharePoint site, it automatically creates a default library. This library serves as a repository for files uploaded to the site. You can customize its settings and permissions to suit your needs better. It is also possible to delete or rename the default library if necessary.

What is the difference between a SharePoint list and a library?

The main difference between a SharePoint list and a library is its purpose. A list is used to store and manage data in a structured format, similar to a spreadsheet, while a library is used to store and manage documents or files.

Data is organized in rows and columns in a list, whereas in a library, files are organized in folders and subfolders.

However, both lists and libraries can be customized with metadata, workflows, and views to improve organization and collaboration within SharePoint.

Recommended reading: How to Create a SharePoint List?

How many Sharepoint document libraries can you create?

You can create multiple document libraries. Typically, you can create up to 2000 lists and libraries combined in each site collection.

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Ikimi O. is an experienced technical writer passionate about software, technology, and engineering. He has a background in engineering and has written content on a wide variety of topics and niches. His hobbies include reading, watching movies, and traveling.