There are two options for creating metadata, you should understand the requirements while creating and choose between list/library level or the site level.
SharePoint List Column
List level column method is a commonly used one, you might be already following the same. To create metadata, move to list/library level and in settings, you can create columns based on your requirements. You can even choose different types of columns according to the tasks.
SharePoint Site Column
The drawback of using a list column is while creating metadata in the list/library level the saved document stays local to the same list or library. For instance, you have created task types with a dropdown in the SharePoint document library. The same list of task types in the dropdown cannot be used in a different document library. You have to edit or create new dropdowns for the new library.
The answer for the above-mentioned disadvantage is using the site column. The site column allows you to modify the data in one place and the changes are reflected in other documents as well. Once you define your metadata, you can use and reuse them on all lists and libraries as per your requirements.
Steps to create and use SharePoint Site columns
01. Choose the site where you want to create a site column
Depending on your site hierarchy you should create your site column. Site columns can be created in more sites/lists/libraries.
Majorly there are two ways to create your site.
A. Finance Department Sub-site
B. Root (Top-Level Site) of a site collection
While creating in Finance Department Sub-site, you can only reuse Finance site and its subsites, but if you create at Root (Top-Level Site) of a site collection, you can take advantage of all sub-sites in site collections/Intranet in site column.
02. To create Site Column
A. Move to Gear Icon > Site Settings
B. On the Site Settings page, select Site columns
C. Appears a long list of default site columns that is present in SharePoint (don’t select any of them), just select Create to create a new site column
D. Type in the name of the column, select field type, provide other necessary information. The steps are similar to creating a “regular” list or library column.
E. Click OK
03. Inclusion of site column to the list or library
A. Move to document library (or list) where you want to add that column
B. Select Library Settings (or list settings)
C. Below Columns section, select Add from existing site columns
D. On the other screen, select the column you want to add and select the Add button. Now select Custom Columns or another group, which helps you in not scrolling through multiple numbers of columns
Main Usage of Site column and List columns
List Column Uses
- When the Columns are particular to the list or library
- When the Columns are not used by anyone else
Site Column Uses
- Global (company-wide) metadata such as Department names, Client Names, Document types
- During Enterprise or custom search for intranet portal
- When SharePoint Columns are reused by others