Best practice with the structure in SharePoint is to keep things as flat as possible. This typically means avoiding multi level folders within Document Libraries because doing so reduces the visibility of information and make it hard for people to find information if they don’t understand the folder structure it lives in.
However, best practices is not what always happens I appreciate. So is there any easy way to see all in the file in a structure with a SharePoint Document Library? There certainly is and it requires working with Views.
The recommended starting point is to navigate to the Document Library in question and then in the top right select the All Documents button. This should display a menu like shown above.
Select the Save view as option to create a duplicate of the way the Document Library is currently being displayed.
For this example, I’m looking for Visio files in my folder structure so I’ll call this new view Visio as shown above.
You should now see that the menu option on the right now show an item called Visio as shown, with a check to the left. This indicates that we are viewing the Document Library with a View called ‘Visio’.
Because the ‘Visio’ view is simply a copy of the default All Documents view, we now want to go in and customise what is displayed with this View. To do this, select the Edit current view option from the menu as shown above.
You are now taken into an area where you can customise all sorts of aspects of the current View.
If you now scroll down to the bottom of all these options, you will find one called Folders, which you should expand as shown above. There you will find an option, Show all items without folders, which you need to select.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select Save to update your preferences.
You should no be returned to the list and you should no longer see any folders but every file in the structure shown together as shown above.
With this new list of just documents, you can select the Type column (first from the left) and from the menu that appears the Filter by option as shown above.
On the right hand side a filter menu will appear as shown above. Here, select Visio and then the Apply button.
You should now only see Visio files as shown above.
This has achieved our aim but, all the filtering options are temporary. If we return to this Document Library later we’ll again see a full list of files. If we want our new View to continue to show just Visio files we’ll need to go in a edit the View again and make some changes.
Once we are again editing the Visio view we can locate the Filter section and set conditions for what we want to see. Here, I’m adding filtering on the Type column in that I only want to see VDW or VSD file types.
Again, make sure you Save you changes before exciting the editing options.
Now, every time I go to that Document Library and select the Visio vie win the top right I will see my filtered list of all Visio files in that structure. If you want to make this new filter View the default, just go back to editing the View and select that option. Easy.
SharePoint views therefore allow to easily view your Document Libraries the traditional way with folders or roll up to single ‘non-folder’ View.