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Alternative to Public Folders

Posted on 2010-11-18
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Hi All,
I have an issue that i was hoping to get some help. My Construction department currently has a system where each person takes all of the emails that come to them and manually drag and drop the emails to a public folder called "Projects" with a sub folder for every project. This has gotten very large (Currently at about 45 GB in that projects folder) and we recently outsourced our email so dragging and dropping takes much longer now. I am looking for an alternative for this that is still relatively simple (or even better, automatic) and easy to learn. My original idea was to use Sharepoint somehow but i noticed you cannot drag emails to a documents library and a discussion board works strangely. I would greatly appreciate any help you can give.

Thanks!
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Question by:rhenry-ez
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nsyyoung earned 2000 total points
ID: 34167667
You could email-enable a SharePoint doc library and forward those messages to it, using workflows to assign metadata based on the subject line or filename.

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by:rhenry-ez
ID: 34167723
Interesting. Ive never used an email enabled document library as of yet so that would be new for me. As for the metadata, how would that work, would it simply be a field it fills in based on subject line that they could search by?

Thanks for your help, my overall experience with sharepoint is limited
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by:rhenry-ez
ID: 34167750
hmm, another thing i would like to point out is that i am trying to remove the public folders from the equation after this is done. It looks like mail enabled documents libraries simply sync the public folder data. is this correct?
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:nsyyoung
ID: 34167874
No.  This could skip the public folders altogether.  You woud "drop" it into SharePoint, instead.

If there are a lot of projects and subprojects, I'd for simplicity's sake just forward the message to the library, then go into the library and change the metadata manually (there would be a lot of conditional statements in a workflow that dealt with all of the possible projects/subprojects, and that doesn't even consider new projects/subprojects).  Once the metadata is complete and the next crawl has taken place, the file would be available in search results.  

If you have only one content type in the library with Name, Title, Project, and Subproject columns, they would already be there waiting for values.  If there are more than one content type, then you would have to choose which content type and go from there.

Alternatively, you could have the files emailed to the library directly instead of individuals, but then there are permissions challenges that must be addressed.

Does that help?
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by:rhenry-ez
ID: 34167904
That definitely helps, We have about 48 project sub folders so it may be worth it to just set the meta data manually. Out of curiosity, what is the downside to setting up 48 Document libraries each with their own email address?
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by:nsyyoung
ID: 34168041
--That would take a bit more time, but you could create one the way you like it, then template that list and create the other 47 based on it.  You'd have to change the email address for each one.
--Sending to the wrong one and having a hard time finding it is always annoying, but allowing the crawl to happen and then searching for it is less painful than opening all 48 libraries.
--48 new email addresses.
--Having to set up a new one with each new project.

Best practice here would be to settle on a naming convention for the libraries, the email addresses, and the filename, and then (here's the hard part) make everyone adhere to it.  

You could also restrict permissions by library if not everyone needs permission to all of them; a person could have contribute permission to a couple of libraries and read permission for the rest of them.

Do the email messages have file attachments or is the message itself the important part?
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by:rhenry-ez
ID: 34168094
Both are important, The attachments can sometimes be contracts that need to be signed or construction drawing PDFs. The message may say something about that attachement that we need to know or else it would not make any sense. I am going to mess around with the mail enabled Document Library. Do you happen to have any good documentation or an internet link on how to set this up in sharepoint?

Thanks!
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Expert Comment

by:nsyyoung
ID: 34168270
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint-server-help/enable-and-configure-e-mail-support-for-a-list-or-library-HA010082307.aspx  - That's the 2007 link; you can use it as the starting point for support for other versions of SharePoint if you need it.

Good luck!
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