Workspaces vs. Cabinet Folders



NetDocuments provides two ways to organize documents in a cabinet: Workspaces and Cabinet Folders. This article will compare and contrast workspaces and cabinet folders. From here, an Administrator can decide which one to use and will be directed to posts regarding each option individually by using the links on the left hand side.  

What is a Workspace?

NetDocuments has the ability to provide shared Workspaces that are based on a specific table-based profile attribute which, for example, in a law firm, would be a Matter-centric view of documents, emails, etc. Another type of firm/organization might choose to base the workspaces on Accounts, Projects or Properties. In short, a workspace is a web page that shows all items (documents, emails, etc) related to a particular matter, project, or account.

For example, if you are using this as a law firm, the Cabinet Administrator would setup Workspaces to be based on a Matter profile attribute. You can then go to a Workspace for any Matter that you choose. The Matter Workspace will provide one view of all of the documents, messages, folders, categories, etc. for that specific Matter which is seen by all users who select that Matter. Any changes made by anyone to a Workspace, affects the view of the Workspace for all users accessing it. This feature is also referred to as a Matter-centric view or approach to managing your documents.

If you see a menu option (called Matters on the example below) in the Navigation Pane, titled Matters, Customers, Clients, Projects or Workspaces, etc., then you have the ability to use Workspaces in at least one of your cabinets.  


Nature of Cabinet-level Folders

Cabinet-level Folders can be used to organize documents through a hierarchy.  Organizations with a larger number of documents may choose to just use the custom profiling and Workspaces to organize their documents and not use cabinet-level folders.  Cabinet Folders are stored in a cabinet and can be displayed using the Navigation Pane.  Only folders you have access to will be displayed in the Navigation Pane.

A NetDocuments folder functions similarly to the folders you use in Windows Explorer to organize documents on your local PC. However, NetDocuments folders are virtual, meaning documents are not actually "contained" or stored in the folders. Documents actually exist in the Cabinet and can be "filed" in a folder.

Typically, for Basic Accounts, the organization will create a set of top-level firm-wide folders where all documents are filed so that all users can easily locate the documents.

If the account is a Professional Account, the organization will generally use only a few cabinet-level folders for common firm-wide company documents. The remaining Cabinet-level folders are generally personal top-level, non-sharable folders which are created and used for personal organization as opposed to shared folders across the organization. 

These personal folders are generally accessible only by that individual and cannot be shared with others. Subfolders under these personal folders can be shared with small workgroups in the organization. 

If your firm chooses to use folders to organize clients and matters or projects, firm-wide, instead of using Workspaces and custom profile values, then you need to ensure that you do not have too many subfolders and/or documents in any given folder.

We would suggest when firm-wide folders are used for clients or projects, that the top-level folders be letters of the alphabet, or a subset of the alphabet and then the client folders would be created as subfolders under the related letter and then a set of subfolders under each client folder for the matters. This will keep the top-level folder from containing too many subfolders and/or documents. If a particular matter within a client folder has too many documents, then you may want to further subdivide the documents by date range for a specific matter. Also if you have a lot of matters or projects under one client folder, you may want to subdivide them in a logical way.

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