Nothing sends a chill up your spine quite like saying something in public and then finding out that you were wrong. Well, there is one other thing, doing something, or telling other people to do something that you’re just not sure you should do. A strange sequence of events on this blog has me dealing with so many chills; I’m reaching for my Steeler hoodie. Last April, I wrote an article about using Document Sets where I talked about the features I liked. In one of the comments I received, a person asked how to create a folder inside a document set. I don’t usually dabble in the art of “how to” on this blog, but I thought I’d research that one a bit. I thought I found the answer, and I replied that as long as the parent library supports folders, you would be able to create folders in a document set – wrong!
A few days ago, somebody replied to the person who asked the original question, stating simply that “folder cannot be added to document set.” Seeing that comment caused chill #1, but it also inspired a bit of investigation. I was pretty sure I gave my original answer based on something I read, mainly because it was a statement of fact that I didn’t have the knowledge to support (I don’t usually make those). I couldn’t find anything to support my earlier conclusion, so I decided to see if I could find a solution that would work. By work, I mean “is there a way to add a folder to a document set?” The answer is yes, and the title has telegraphed the method. While you cannot get your document library to offer you the option to “create a new folder”, you can create a new folder in the parent library; open the library in explorer view and drag the folder into a document set. You can drag document sets into other documents sets and, if you like living on the edge, you can drag document sets containing folders into the folders you previously dragged into a document set. You can see in the image that ‘New Folder’ is disabled but my document set includes a folder and another document set. I’m not sure why I would ever want to create these organizational elements inside themselves, but suffice it to say, it can be done. That brings me to chill #2 – should I offer this as a solution to someone? I poked around and I found others who have offered explorer view as an option, but I’m stopping short of saying that here.
I’m also getting a chill from what I consider the worm-hole nature of explorer view. Explore view provides us with an unfiltered opening into otherwise cloistered containers. In the TV series Star Trek Next Generation (STNG) worm holes were featured in several episodes. A “stable” wormhole between the Alpha and Gamma quadrants spawned a seven-year spin-off Deep Space Nine. In a different episode, “The Price” two people are lost for decades in the Delta quadrant because a worm hole they were exploring was only stable on one end – you could always enter at point A, but you might emerge at point B, or C, or Z on any given day. Using explorer view to nest folders and document sets inside document sets makes me feel like I’m traversing an unstable worm hole. I have users who might like to put folders in document sets, but before I offer this solution, I am going to conduct a little more research. I am going to start with asking them “why?” It seems to me that I’m more likely to find a disconnect between the user’s goals and the intended nature of this library than I am to find a valid request.