How do I switch from Folders to Workspaces?


There are two ways to organize your documents in NetDocuments - cabinet folders OR workspaces. If you are using a basic folder structure and want to upgrade to workspaces in order to take advantage of NetDocuments' powerful search capabilities and Matter-centric organization, then this article will help you configure workspaces step-by-step. This article may also be used to set up workspaces in a brand new cabinet where there are not any existing folders or documents. 

NOTE: There are almost an unlimited number of ways to configure workspaces. There is no ONE way to set it up. Our Help pages and Knowledgebase articles referenced below will help you configure workspaces in a more generic way. 

This short tutorial acts as a checklist to guide you through the steps to configure workspaces for your account. These steps are outlined below: 

1) Upgrade to a Professional Account. First, if you are using our Basic Edition, you will need to upgrade your account to a Professional Edition. Contact our Sales department to upgrade your account type. If you already have a Professional Account, you can skip this step.  

2) Create profile attributes. You will use profile attributes to organize and search for your documents. Common attributes include Client, Matter, Document Type, and Author. These attributes can be whatever meets the needs of your firm. You will need to be a Repository Administrator to define custom profile attributes. Go to Admin > Define Profile Attributes to set up your custom profile attributes. Learn More.

Typically, if you have both Client and Matter attributes, these will be linked into a parent-child relationship, so that one Client (or Account) may have multiple Matters associated with it. Each Matter then has its own workspace. Documents are then organized on each workspace according to Document Type using either filters, Saved Searches, or folders. In order to go on to step #3, you will need to select the "Use lookup table" option when creating each custom profile attribute.  

3) Create lookup tables. Lookup tables can be created for each of your custom attributes in order to provide a pre-defined "pick list" of profile values for users to assign to documents and emails. Learn More.

Go to Admin > Define Profile Attributes. Click on one of your custom attributes (Client, for example) and click Edit. You will see a spreadsheet-like view of the Client values. When you first get started, you can upload a .csv file to add all of your clients at once OR you can add them one-by-one at any time. 

Here are some sample profile lookup tables to help you get started.

4) Configure the Cabinet. Once you have created your profile attributes, you will need to enable them to be used within that cabinet. Learn More.

At this time, you may also want to configure the cabinet to be used with EMS. Learn More. 

5) Create a workspace template. The template is the pattern that your workspaces will be built from. Learn More. You will need to be a Cabinet Administrator to create and/or edit a workspace template. Be sure to finalize your template before you begin creating workspaces; any changes made to your template will not affect existing workspaces so they will have to be refreshed (or deleted and re-created) in order to reflect the updated template.  

6) Profile all existing documents. Keep in mind that workspaces are not "containers" as are folders; instead, workspaces provide a view of a certain set of documents related to a particular Client or Matter. Documents will appear in a workspace if they match the profile attribute(s) of that workspace. You can use our Quick Folder Profiler feature to easily profile all documents in your existing folder structure. Learn More.