You might have noticed how people in different regions or countries refer to an item by different names.  A handheld light might be called a “flashlight” by an American and a “torch” by someone in the British Commonwealth.  SharePoint can help make sure that no matter what you call it when you search for it, all users will find the appropriate item. This is done using tags or keywords (called “Enterprise metadata” in SharePoint).  This helps when an item is known by various terms (for more examples try car, auto, van, truck, etc. or for public rail transport: metro, light rail, subway, train, etc.; an office example: copier, Xerox, mimeograph….). I think you get the idea.

Once you enable this option in a list or document library, it will allow users to enter a word or a phrase for the item or document. Once the values are saved, they become metadata tags or keywords to search on no matter what you call them.  Users can be allowed to add additional keywords which is handy for regional dialects or terms (“greens” in the south vs “veggies” in the west).

To enable this option in a list or library –

  • From the ribbon the List or Library tab, click on List Settings or Library Settings. Then under Permissions and Management click on “Enterprise Metadata and Keywords Settings”.
  • Then in the “Enterprise Metadata and Keywords Settings” page, select the check box “Add an Enterprise Keywords column to this list and enable “Keyword synchronization” (see the screenshot below):

Now go back to the list and you will see it added a new column named “Enterprise Keywords” which will be the Managed Metadata type. It looks like the screenshot of the column list below with the new column highlighted in a red box:

Now go back to the SharePoint list and add a new item. In the Enterprise Keywords field, fill in the keywords and by default it will put semicolons between terms. It should look like the screen below:

After this, when other users add an item to the list and add terms to the Enterprise Keywords field to search on, it will suggest the previously added keywords that users might refer to find their item.

Here is what it looks like onscreen:

I hope this helps you understand how easy it is to add Enterprise keywords to your list or library. Keywords or tags add powerful search capabilities that addresses the different ways people might refer to an item. So now whether you call it a “flashlight” or a “torch”, an “elevator” or a “lift”, it will list the same item for American and British users.

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