If you’ve used SharePoint at all, hopefully you’re familiar with metadata within lists and libraries. One nice aspect of such metadata is that you can set certain fields to be required and other fields to be optional. Required metadata simply forces you to fill in these fields before the file can be checked in to SharePoint and available for others. The screenshot below is what you’re used to seeing when uploading a document or entering data into a SharePoint list that contains required field. Then we got the modern UI…

Along Came the Modern UI

Recently, Microsoft has come out with the modern UI for SharePoint lists and libraries. This is a fresh new design that sites on top of the lists and libraries we have all grown to love. It has a much better mobile experience and, in my option, provides a much need update to lists and libraries. I love what they have done with it and how easy it is to update and create new views, both those you want to save, or just a temporary view you may want to “throw away” once you’re done. They also overhauled some other aspects of the view, but the aforementioned update is on my clients like the best. Ironically, this aspect relies heavily on metadata which is where the issues lies, specifically with required metadata.

So what’s the issue?

In a nutshell, the issue is that required metadata is no long required, it’s more of a strongly recommended or suggested type field. If you upload a document, it is checked in, editable, and you can even update the metadata all while leaving the required fields blank as you can see in the screen shots below. This is the case when both editing properties as well as when using “details” (the blade that slides in on the left side of the screen). The only time you are prevented from making changes to the document is if you try to remove metadata from a required field. If I upload a new document to a library with required metadata or create a new documenting a library with required metadata, I can do everything I need to around collaboration with that document without ever being forced to enter the required metadata. Again, making this more of a strong suggestion than an actual requirement.

Why is this an issue?

First of all, usually when something is set to be required, it’s set that way for a reason. It could be for Records Management, or for workflows that run on your documents or simply to make sure people can find certain files when needed based on the metadata. Maybe you have views based on the required metadata.

I know, the modern UI isn’t technically the new standard. Microsoft has left around the classic UI for a reason, the modern UI isn’t full baked yet. What concerns me though is this conversation that I jumped in on. The gist of it is that Microsoft knows about this and this is by design with no plans of changing it. This did come from an MVP and not Microsoft themselves, so I would love to hear Microsoft’s official take on this. I do know the tech community site is monitored by Microsoft regularly, so their lack of response may mean something? I don’t know.

In Conclusion

I would love to get an official response from Microsoft on this on what their plans are. Or, if any of you have any insight, feel free to leave a comment here or on the thread reference above and maybe we can get a more definitive answer here.

Either way, I know that while the behaviors of the modern UI remains this way, I hae several clients that will have to stay with the classic UI for the time being and hope Microsoft doesn’t pull the plug on the classic UI before making some change to make required metadata actually required.