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Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Workflow User's Guide

Office 2010 can act as the front-end to a full-featured enterprise content management solution using the metadata and workflow capabilities of SharePoint 2010.

Microsoft Office 2010 In Pictures
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Microsoft Office 2010 In Pictures
The power of SharePoint as an ECM tool stems from its ability to assign metadata to Office 2010 documents and other items, to trigger automatic actions based on that metadata, and to enforce approvals, sign-offs and other collaboration and workflow rules.

Metadata can be associated with a document in several ways:

-- Office documents include automatic metadata, such as the creator of the document, the time and date created.

-- Smart templates ensure that every document of a certain type contains metadata that describes exactly what it is.

-- You can require Office 2010 users to fill out metadata fields before submitting a document into a SharePoint folder.

-- Permitted values for metadata fields can be pulled from the "Managed Metadata" service application, a new feature in SharePoint 2010. Managed Metadata allows an enterprise to define and maintain taxonomies of allowable values for metadata fields across the enterprise.

-- In addition to a strict, top-down taxonomy, you can also implement a user-driven "folksonomy," letting people tag documents with terms that make sense to them. The centralized Managed Metadata service application will prompt users to reuse tags that other people have created, avoiding multiple spellings and duplicate entries to the extent possible.

-- "Location-Based Metadata Defaults" are assigned to documents based on where they're placed on the SharePoint server.

With these metadata elements assigned to documents in a reliable manner, SharePoint 2010 can initiate appropriate actions and workflows in response.

One such action is copying a file to one or more locations based on its metadata. A new feature in SharePoint 2010, "Content Organizer," allows an organization's content stewards to define rules that operate on documents based on their metadata as assigned through the methods described above. For example, you can set up a rule stating that a copy of every document tagged "Legal" gets automatically moved to a secure external SharePoint site to be reviewed by the company's attorneys.

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