SharePoint Online: Create a Document Set - Step by Step

What is Document Set in SharePoint Online?
As it's name indicates, document set is a set of related documents wrapped inside a special folder that allows multiple documents to be managed together and treated as if they were a single item. In other words, Document Set allows you to group documents together based on some criteria and then work with the group of documents as a single entity. A document set can have: Shared Metadata columns, Template, Information management policies, Workflow, Versions, etc.
In real world example, Consider "Project Proposal" as a document set for your organization that consists of a Requirement specification Word document, Project portfolio PowerPoint presentation and Budget specification Excel spreadsheet.

How to Create a Document Set in SharePoint Online?
Here is how to set up document sets in SharePoint Online step by step. Creating document set in SharePoint Online is a Four step process:
  1. Enable "Document Sets" Feature if not enabled already
  2. Create a Content Type with metadata and document templates.
  3. Add Document Set to Document Library's Content Type
  4. Create a New Document Set

Step 1: Enable "Document Sets" Feature in Site Collection
To begin using Document Sets, first you need to activate the "Document Set" feature for your SharePoint Online Site Collection. To do so, follow these steps:
  • Navigate to your SharePoint Online Site collection >> Click on Settings >> and then click Site Settings.
  • Click on "Site Collection Features" link under Site Collection Administration group
  • Click the Activate button next to the "Document Sets" feature. sharepoint online activate document set
Step 2: Create a Content Type with Metadata Columns and Document Templates:
Once the Document Sets feature is activated, you can start creating the content type.

Create new content type from "Document Set" Parent
Document Set is nothing but a special content type. Create new content type as:
  • Navigate to Site settings >> Click on "Site content types" link under web designer galleries
  • In Site Content Types page, Click on "Create" link
  • Provide the title for the content type, Select parent content type from as "Document set Content Type" and Parent content type as "Document Set".
  • Select the Group and Click OK to create the content type. 
Add Site Columns to the Content Type 
After the content type is created, start adding metadata to it by clicking "Add a new site columns" link from content type settings page. In my case, I've added site columns such as, Project Name, Project Description, Project Start Date, etc to the content type.
sharepoint online csom create document set

Upload Document Templates If needed:
On the content type settings, Click on "Document Set settings" and upload document templates. Optionally, you can set Shard columns and Welcome Page columns.
sharepoint online document set content type

Step 3: Add Document Set Content Type to Document Library
The document set is a special content type that must be enabled within a library for it to be used. Once the Document Set content type is ready, You can add it to any SharePoint Online library, such as the most common document library in SharePoint Online: Shared Documents library! You can add the Document Set functionality to the Shared Documents library by following these steps:
  1. Navigate to the library where you want to enable document sets functionality.
  2. On the Library Settings page, click on "Advanced Settings" link under General Settings section.
  3. On the Content Type section, select Yes to allow the editing of content types. Click OK Button. You'll notice a new section "Content Types" in library settings.
  4. Click the "Add from existing site content types" link. On the Add Content Types page, Select the Document Set content type you created in step 2, click the Add button, and then click OK. add document set to library sharepoint online
Now that the Document Set functionality has been added to the library, you can create a new document set.

Step 4: Create New Document Set
To create a new Document Set, do the following:
  • Click "New" from the Document Library >> Select the document set we added to the library
  • This opens a page where you can fill the properties with the document set and click OK to create a document set.
  • It creates the document  with folders and document templates we uploaded in step 2 (Creating content type).
Once the Document Set is created, you can manage the document set features, such as editing the properties, capturing versions, changing security permissions, sharing the documents, or pushing all the documents through workflow in a batch.

You can also create document set in SharePoint Online with PowerShell: How to create a document set in SharePoint Online using PowerShell?

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