Reasons Not to Use SharePoint Folders

SharePoint is a great collaborating tool and helps big enterprises to manage and share their documents well. But you must be aware of the fact that migrating to Microsoft SharePoint often comes up with the risk of low user adoption.

A big change in the working process often sees resistance from the users. Since most users are comfortable with folders, this shift is not so easy and needs proper training and education.

Reasons Not to Use SharePoint Folders

Folders and their sub folders often come up with limited ways to store the documents. Since they present only a single way of document grouping, it may not work properly for everyone. Organizations may have different approaches to storing or managing their information depending on their search preferences, role in the organization or professional background.  Some users prefer to see documents categorized by business area while other may love to view it based on year.

Let’s discuss in this article the limitations of the folder structure and why you should avoid using them in a SharePoint application development.

Duplication of files:  With folders, you may have multiple copies of the same document in different locations and this will result in duplication. This is not a good practice for version control as you cannot see the file already existing somewhere else.  If you want a single version, then folders may restrict you in this.


Missing out on views: One great feature of SharePoint development is that it has the ability to offer multiple views of the content.  You can enjoy the flexibility to modify, filter and customize a view that enables you to easily access the documents or files that you need. By using folders, you can get only one view. But if you use metadata instead of folders, you can easily create many views by using the properties that you choose. This will increase the speed of your workflow.


Usability:  If you create a folder structure in SharePoint, then only one or a team may be aware of it. With too many subfolders, there is always a possibility of many hidden or lost documents. This makes it impossible for the users to search a particular document and both productivity and efficiency are affected.

Why Prefer to Use SharePoint Out of the Box Features?


Issues with URL:  The length of the URL is limited to about 259 characters and if you have too many sub folders and you go deep down, then the URL also becomes incredibly long. The spaces used in the folder name also lengthens the URL. To manage this, if the user shortens the URL or moves the file from one folder to another, the link will break.


Poor user experience: The user experience of finding the documents is worse than it is on file servers. Content remains hidden until you open a folder and it is also very slow. Moving the content within the folder becomes terrible within the browser, and navigation between folders is also poor. When files are buried under other folders, the filtering and sorting become limited to the particular folder.


Security and integrity of the data: When you use folders in SharePoint application, the ongoing management becomes a big nightmare for the administrators. Again establishing a consistent naming convention that can be understood easily by the users can become a challenging task. contributors may have too much control on creating, deleting or even renaming the folders.