How to show the folder path of a file in library views

Introduction

This post looks at ways in which you can show the folder path of a file as a standalone column within a SharePoint document library view.

UPDATE: I’ve updated this post after some comments asking how to do this for modern SharePoint libraries. Click here for more.

Classic SharePoint

The scenario

A common request I get is:

How do I see what folders/ sub-folders my files are in at a glance

– all users everywhere

Out of the box, there aren’t any columns available that you could potentially leverage to display this information in a standard SharePoint 2010 library.

The solution

So, just by adding one value in SharePoint Designer, here’s how you do it:

  • Navigate to the library you wish to change, create a new view under Library Tools > Library > Create View
  • Choose the relevant format of your view, give your view a name and press OK
  • Open SharePoint Designer > Open the site > open the library you were just working in
  • In the Views pane > click to open the view you just created
In SharePoint Designer, clicking on the view name will open the view in edit mode
  • In the code editor window, scroll down until you see something like the following:
<ViewFields>
	<FieldRef Name="DocIcon"/>
	<FieldRef Name="LinkFilename"/>
	<FieldRef Name="Modified"/>
	<FieldRef Name="Editor"/>
</ViewFields>
  • Add the following field reference in between the opening <ViewFields> and closing </ViewFields>
  • Add the field reference in the display order you would like it to appear in the view
Add the field reference to the View Fields list
  • Press the Save icon to save your changes
  • Press the Preview button to see your view in action in the browser

Now you will notice there is a new column being displayed “Path”, that is showing us the full location of the file or folder in the libary. You’ll also notice that this path will display data when at the library root, or in any folders or sub-folders in the library.

Library root displaying a files path
File in sub-folder displaying relative location

Bonus

Taking this one step further, what if we wanted to show files of a certain type, then create a view that groups these files by their folder location? Guess what, that’s exactly what I did!

  • Navigate to your library > create a new view as before, this time base your new view off the one you just created
  • If you wish to only show files of a particular type, use the filter by settings (for example below is filtered to only shows Word documents)
  • Make sure “show all items without folders” is selected
  • Press OK
Filtering to only show word documents, also showing items without folders
  • Back in SharePoint Designer > Open up the view you just created
  • Scroll down until you see the opening <Query> tag and add the following beneath it:
<GroupBy Collapse="FALSE" GroupLimit="30">
	<FieldRef Name="FileDirRef"/>
</GroupBy>

Save and preview your view, it should now be grouping by the Path field:

I know this has proven really useful for my company, so hopefully this helps out someone else too 🙂


Modern SharePoint

The scenario

With Microsoft retiring SharePoint 2010 designer workflows, plus the movement away from SharePoint Designer in general, a few readers have asked for a solution that works with modern SharePoint.

When researching this I considered whether suggesting to use SharePoint Designer 2013, as the above solution would still work in SharePoint Online using SPD 2013. But, as Microsoft say themselves although SPD 2013 remains supported, it’s depreciated – so I decided to go in a different direction.

The below example walks you through how you can create a flow in Power Automate to update a file after it’s been created to have the folder path shown in the document library view:

The solution

For this solution you will need to have access to create Flows in Power Automate, as well as an existing Document Library created in SharePoint Online:

  • Navigate to the document library you wish to show the folder path for
  • Add a single line of text column to the document library > give it a name (I called mine FolderPath)
  • Under the ellipsis, press Automate > Power Automate > Create a flow
  • In Power Automate, either use an existing, relevant template or start from blank
  • The trigger action should be When a file is created (properties only)
  • Set the Site Address and Library Name where you want to add the folder path
  • Insert a new step > select Update file properties.
  • Set the following values for the update file properties step:
    • Site Address: same as previous step
    • Library Name: same as previous step
    • Id: ID
    • FolderPath: Folder path

NOTE: The FolderPath within the Update file properties step is the custom column we created earlier. The Folder path (highlighted in red) is dynamic content available within the step in the flow. The folder path dynamic content is the path to the folder the item is in, relative to the site address.

Ensure you select the system Folder path dynamic content to pull the right data into the custom FolderPath column.

Here’s the flow in it’s entirety:

At this point test and save your flow to make sure it is working as expected 🙂

Bonus #1 – turn your folder path column into a hyperlink column

So if like me you want to take this one step further, wouldn’t it be good if we could easily make our newly showing folder paths, actual hyperlinks to the folders? Well the good news is you can!

  • Navigate back to your document library > click on the FolderPath column > Format this column
  • Under Apply formatting to make sure FolderPath is selected
  • Paste the following JSON into the custom formatting box:
{
  "$schema": "https://developer.microsoft.com/json-schemas/sp/column-formatting.schema.json",
  "elmType": "a",
  "style": {
    "color": "blue",
    "font-weight": "bold"
  },
  "attributes": {
    "target": "_blank",
    "href": "='YOUR SHAREPOINT SITE URL' + @currentField"
  },
  "txtContent": "@currentField"
}

NOTE: for more information on turning field values into hyperlinks, check out this awesome sample from sp-dev-list-formatting.

  • Press Save
  • Your FolderPath column values should now be legitimate hyperlinks that click through to the relevant folders

Bonus #2 – update existing files in the document library

This was another suggestion from a reader with regards to how to update files that existed in the document library before the flow was created.

Running a flow manually for individual files

When I began to consider how to do this I started by looking at ways to manually start the flow.

It appears the only real way to do this is to create a new column that adds a button next to each file, that allows you to run the flow. I’m not really enamoured by this approach as it doesn’t seem ideal to have an extra column to run a flow showing on every file in your library. If this is something you would like to pursue then I would recommend this great article by WonderLaura who has the process of creating a button to trigger a flow covered!

Update our flow to update all files if folder path is empty

My solution to this problem was to update the flow we created earlier to get the properties for all files in the library, then add a condition that checks if the FolderPath column is empty, then if yes runs our flow as before.

  • First, I added a Get files (properties only) action which gets all the files from the source library
  • Then I added a new Condition action, which simply checks if the FolderPath column we created is equal to null. You will also notice a new Apply to each action will be created
  • I then moved the previous Apply to each action into the “If yes” condition
  • I left “If no” blank, as it is ok to leave a condition blank if you don’t want it to do anything

Here’s the updated flow in full, which changes highlighted in red:


Microsoft 365 update for April 2019

Another bumper post for April, in this months update:

Let’s get started!

SharePoint updates

Files restore for SharePoint and Microsoft Teams

Files restore offers a self-service recover solutionthat allows administrators and site owners to restore files from any point in time during the last 30 days. Look for a new “Restore this library” option within the library settings panel.

Files restore example for SharePoint document libraries
Find out more:

Modern Document Sets

Long awaited modern document sets will update the user interface to bring them inline with modern sharepoint. Document sets allow you to group related documents together using shared metadata. Modern document sets also unlock the same intuitive user actions like drag and drop content, link to content that lives outside the document set, pin files and much, much more.

Modern Document Sets in SharePoint
Find out more:

News Audience Targeting

Audience targeting is a new feature within the news and highlighted content web parts that enables authors and site owners to tag news articles with Azure Active Directory groups to filter content through web parts to people within those groups.

Find out more:

Author reply emails for comments, replies and likes

Now when someone comments on your page or news post, SharePoint notifies you via email. Multiple comments will be batched so that you receive a single email. This feature will start rollout to targeted release in April, with worldwide rollout currently scheduled to be completed in mid-June 2019.

Find out more:

Connected web parts for SharePoint

Coming soon are three new connected web parts for SharePoint Online that allow you to display data from list and library web parts. With the List Properties, File Viewer and Embed web parts you can now connect to a data source and interact with lists and libraries in new ways.

Find out more:

Multi-Geo in SharePoint Online and Office 365 Groups

SharePoint Online and Office 365 Groups now joins Exchange Online and OneDrive in having the ability to enable where SharePoint sites and their content is stored.

Multi-Geo in SharePoint and Office 365 Groups enables global businesses to control the country or region where shared resources like SharePoint Team Sites, Office 365 Groups content (associated SharePoint Sites and Groups mailboxes) are stored at-rest.

Introducing Office 365 Multi-Geo
Find out more:

Autodesk AutoCAD integration for SharePoint and OneDrive

New integrations with Autodesk connect OneDrive and SharePoint to the drafting tools available through AutoCAD. As you work with DWG files across these applications, you can open and edit them in the AutoCAD desktop application, the AutoCAD mobile app, and the new AutoCAD web app.

Find out more:

You can now use larger, more flexible image types to upload your company logo in the Office 365 navigation bar. You will be able to upload a custom logo of any file size/ format via a URL in order to improve the clarity of the logo image that your users see.

Find out more:

Office 365 Group card enhancements

Improvements to the Office 365 group “hover cards” so that you can act on the group within the context of what you’re doing, rather than going to a separate page. You can search through all group members, renew the group per any set expiry, and approve pending members.

Office 365 Group card enhancements
Find out more:

Microsoft Teams updates

Praise badges

Praise in Microsoft Teams is the new way to show your appreciation and encourage each other at work. Send in a 1:1 chat or post it to a channel for the entire team.

Find out more:

Teams PowerShell module GA

The Teams PowerShell module is now generally available. This PowerShell module allows you to manage the lifecycle of teams within your organisation.

Find out more:

Request to add on behalf of

You can now request on behalf of someone else to join a private team. Teams can be created as either private, where admins control membership, or public, where anyone in the organization is welcome to join.

Increased member limits

Organisation wide teams now have higher size limits, so they can have up to 5000 members in a team. Global administrators can easily create a public team that pulls in every user in the organisation and keeps the membership up to date with Active Directory as users join and leave.

Org-wide teams now have higher size limits

Show/ hide teams

It’s now much easier to keep your teams list tidy. What used to be Favorite and Remove from favorites is now Show and Hide. Choose which teams and channels you want to show in your teams list and hide the rest. You’ll still get notified when @mentioned, they just won’t clutter your teams list.

Hiding a team from a list view
Find out more:

OneDrive updates

Golden folder icon design

OneDrive is introducing golden folders with subtle, yet noticeable clues emblazoned on the icon to remind you of the contents and sharing status of each folder. Golden folders are being rolled out across mobile and web in OneDrive, SharePoint and connected experiences in other apps.

Golden folders in OneDrive and the OneDrive mobile app
Find out more:

OneDrive sync client improvements

The OneDrive sync client lets you can access and share all your files directly from your desktop in Windows File Explore or macOS Finder. Some new updates for the sync client include:

  • Self-help option: “Illegal files names not syncing” 
    A new in-app resolution to sync errors – like when using an Asterix “*” symbol or any file name starting with “~$” – to help avert and solve naming blockers, to then rename the file and continue with upload
  • Request assistance
    Look for a new “Get Help” option in the OneDrive activity center on your desktop. This enables people to initiate a support ticket.
  • Prompt for pending uploads
    And one last “wait, before you go” feature… the OneDrive sync client will also notify users when they have pending uploads when the computer is shutting down or going into standby
Find out more:

Block download option for specific people sharing link

You are now able to use the “Block download” functionality that allows people to block recipients from downloading, copying and pasting shared content when using the “Specific people” style sharing links.

Find out more:

Office client apps – required document properties updates

Users will now be able to save Office files with missing required properties. This change only applies to the Office files synced by the OneDrive sync client. Additionally, users can add, or update required properties for a document by navigating to the file in the SharePoint document library and entering the appropriate value.

Find out more:

Other, related updates

Yammer conversations & highlights web part

The Yammer conversations wep part enables you to integrate topics, groups or users into SharePoint. This combines the social nature of learning across organizations with the content and knowledge management powers of SharePoint.

The Yammer Highlights web part, provides a quick overview of active conversations and a targeted portal to specific groups or conversations in Yammer.

Microsoft Search in Bing Preview includes Yammer conversations ​

Yammer conversations or conversations between co-workers will now start appearing Microsoft Search in Bing. Microsoft Search will only return information and files that you have permission to see.

Find out more:

New icons in Office 365 apps

Microsoft have updated their available icon set, with nearly 350 new icons being added to choose from. You are able to rotate, resize, and recolor the icons without any loss in the quality of the image. You can also separate the icon into its components and use only the pieces you want.

Find out more:

Power BI web by example connector

The Power BI web by example connector allows customers to scrape data from HTML pages. It supports ingesting any data element on the page, beyond just HTML tables. You can now automatically suggest Power BI tables based on HTML element repetition patterns.

Find out more:

Custom assessments in Compliance Manager

Compliance Manager now allows you to create custom risk assessments of any application used in your organization. This customised assessments capability enables IT to import their own security and compliance controls into Compliance Manager, including those for corporate policy, local law, and industrial standards.

Find out more:

Security Policy Advisor

Office Security Policy Advisor is a new intelligent service, now available in preview, that uses behavior-based analysis to help IT admins to quantify the risks and benefits of applying a tailored policy, and monitor policy health over time, for their Office clients.

Admins can now deploy policies with a single click and easily update, or even roll back, policies.

Find out more:

Links and resources

Microsoft 365 blogNew in Microsoft 365 – April 2019
New in Microsoft 365 video – April 2019
SharePoint Roadmap Pitstop –
April 2019
What’s new in Teams –
April 2019
OneDrive Roadmap Roundup –
April 2019