How to Use CollabSpaces


User Topics

Create a New CollabSpace

Only internal users can create CollabSpaces.

Note: You need to have at least VES rights to create a CollabSpace AND you need to be in the group of internal users that has been designated by the Cabinet Administrator to create CollabSpaces in that cabinet.

  1. Navigate to the workspace where you want to create a new CollabSpace. You should see a CollabSpaces tab in the workspace:


  1. In the CollabSpaces tab, select Add CollabSpace:


Below are two possible workflows.

Request a CollabSpace

After clicking on Add CollabSpace, the Request a CollabSpace dialog box appears:


This means you do not have sufficient rights to create a CollabSpace, at least in that workspace.  Enter the name of the CollabSpace you wish to be created and send the request. An administrator or support team member at your firm will handle your request and create the new CollabSpace for you.

Create a CollabSpace

Alternatively, after clicking the button, the Add CollabSpace dialog box will appear:


Entering the CollabSpace name is required. You may optionally add a description and a logo. If a description is added, in the created CollabSpace it appears truncated, below the name of the CollabSpace. Hover over the displayed text to view the full description:


If a logo is added, it will appear in the upper-left corner of the CollabSpace page and in the upper-left corner of any CollabSpace folder page:


The sort order of content added to the CollabSpace will be set to Name by default, but you can select a different column. 

The only restriction on creating a new CollabSpace is that the name of the CollabSpace must be unique among all of the CollabSpaces in the same workspace.

The following confirmation dialog appears after the new CollabSpace has been created:


It indicates that when you create a new CollabSpace, it will by default inherit all of the internal access rights of its workspace. Select OK, and the Access List dialog box for the newly created CollabSpace appears. Here you can remove any internal groups or users from accessing the CollabSpace and add or elevate internal users and groups.


Note: After a CollabSpace has been created, it cannot be moved or reprofiled to a different workspace. If you create a CollabSpace in the wrong workspace, your only option is to delete it, which requires VESA rights to the CollabSpace.

Multiple CollabSpaces per Workspace

Multiple CollabSpaces can be created per workspace.  There is no fixed limit to the number of CollabSpaces that can be created per workspace.

Troubleshooting: The CollabSpaces Tab Does Not Appear

The CollabSpaces tab is not visible in every workspace, which will block you from creating a CollabSpace in that workspace. There are several reasons why this might happen. First, not every NetDocuments customer has opted to enable CollabSpaces for their repository. Alternatively, the CollabSpaces feature may not have been enabled in the cabinet that the workspace is part of. The NetDocuments administrator at your firm can confirm if either of these reasons applies.

Another possible reason is that the CollabSpaces tab has not been enabled for that workspace. If you have VES rights to the workspace, then select Customize workspace from the workspace menu, and in the dialog that appears select the CollabSpaces checkbox. Then, select Save Changes.


The CollabSpaces tab should now appear. 

Modify a CollabSpace

After the CollabSpace has been created, it is possible to modify any of the settings that were available at the time the CollabSpace was created. Any internal user with VES rights to the CollabSpace can select Customize and modify the settings:


In addition, the profile of the CollabSpace can be set or modified. Select Edit Profile, and the dialog box appears:


Setting the CollabSpace profile is useful because any new content added directly to the CollabSpace will inherit the CollabSpace’s profile by default. It is not possible to change the CollabSpace’s workspace attributes in order to reprofile the CollabSpace to another workspace.

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Set Access Rights on the CollabSpace and its Content

CollabSpaces have several unique features when it comes to setting access rights:

  • Access rights inheritance applies to all of the containers in a CollabSpace and to the CollabSpace itself. That means if you add a new document (or move an existing document) or a new folder to the CollabSpace, or to a folder in the CollabSpace, the document or folder will automatically inherit the access rights of the CollabSpace or CollabSpace folder. (The access rights of those documents and folders can be changed later.)
  • External groups called CollabSpace groups can be created by everyday internal users who have VESA rights to the CollabSpace, and those external groups given access to that CollabSpace, in order to facilitate sharing the content in the CollabSpace externally. Those same internal users can create external users and add them to the CollabSpace groups.
  • When external groups and users are given access to the CollabSpace or to content in the CollabSpace, those external groups and users will be given View rights by default. To give external users and groups greater access rights to content requires a deliberate decision and action.
  • Only the external groups and users given access to the CollabSpace itself can be given access to any of the content inside the CollabSpace.
  • External users, even if they have VESA rights to a document or folder in a CollabSpace, cannot remove or reduce the access rights of internal groups and users from that content.

CollabSpace Groups

One of the most powerful features of CollabSpaces is CollabSpace groups. Any internal user who has been granted VESA rights to a CollabSpace has the power to create one or more CollabSpace groups – an external group that is added and uniquely associated with that CollabSpace – and also to create external users to add to those CollabSpace groups.

Newly created cabinet external groups in CollabSpace-enabled cabinets may optionally be associated with a top-level workspace attribute value (for most customer, this would be the Client attribute).

(Other types of external groups that have been added to that cabinet can also be given access to the CollabSpace.) This means that the CollabSpace groups created for one CollabSpace cannot be given access to any other CollabSpace.  Any number of CollabSpace groups can be created for a CollabSpace.

Create CollabSpace Groups

Assuming you have VESA rights to a CollabSpace, in order to create a new CollabSpace group, from the CollabSpace menu, select Modify access.  In the dialog that appears, select Modify Access. In the Access List dialog, select Create CollabSpace Group:


The Create CollabSpace Group dialog appears:


Give the group a name, configure any other group settings that apply, and add external users to the group, either external users that already exist in the repository or create new external users. Then select OK to save the group. The new CollabSpace group will appear in the Access List dialog with View rights by default:


Change the rights of that group, if desired, and select Close to save the changes.

Note that the same CollabSpace group name can be used for different CollabSpaces, just not to other groups within the same CollabSpace.

Manage CollabSpace Groups

Any internal user with VESA rights to the associated CollabSpace can manage all of the existing CollabSpace groups associated with that CollabSpace, regardless of who created them. This can be done in one of two places:

  • In the Modify Access dialog box, select the name of a CollabSpace group and the Modify CollabSpace Group dialog appears:


  • Alternatively, open up the full Access List dialog, select the name of the CollabSpace group from the list on the right, and select Details:


In the Modify CollabSpace Group dialog, you can change the settings or membership of the group.

Also, note that a Cabinet Administrator has full rights to manage or delete any CollabSpace group.

Delete CollabSpace Groups

Any internal user with VESA rights to the associated CollabSpace can delete any of the CollabSpace groups associated with the CollabSpace, which will have the impact of not only deleting that group but removing that group from the access rights of any content in the CollabSpace. However, if an  external user in a CollabSpace group is given individual access rights to content in the CollabSpace and the group that user is a part of is later deleted, that individual’s access rights will not be affected as long as that user is a member of another group given access to the cabinet.

To delete a CollabSpace group, from the Access List dialog box for the associated CollabSpace, select the group’s name from the list on the right, select Deselect, and then Close:


(The group will not be shown in the left pane when you click Deselect.)

The following confirmation prompt appears:


Select OK to proceed. 

Add & Create External Users and Send Email Invitations

At the time a CollabSpace group is created, or at any time later, an internal user with VESA rights to the associated CollabSpace can add more external users to any of its CollabSpaces groups. The Create CollabSpace Group and Modify CollabSpace Group dialog boxes have the same interface. Use those dialog boxes to add to the group an external user who is already a member of the repository by selecting the user from the list on the left and selecting Add to move that user to the right list, then select OK:


Alternatively, select Add User to create a new external user:


Note that whether creating a new user or adding an existing external user, you can choose to send that external user a welcome email, to let them know they have been given access to the CollabSpace. This welcome email will include a button to login or activate their account. 

On the Create/Modify CollabSpace Group dialog, there is a Send welcome email checkbox.  Select the checkbox to send a welcome email to every external user selected in the right list (or to every external user if none of them are selected.) Similarly, when creating a new external user, on the Create External User Account dialog box, select Send welcome email (which is selected by default) to trigger sending out a welcome email to that new user.

The welcome email looks as follows and references both the name of the repository (and shows the firm’s logo) and the name of the CollabSpace:


If the external user does not already have an existing account, then when they select Activate, they will be asked to set a password.

Apply Access Rights Changes to the Content of the CollabSpace

When you add a CollabSpace group – or any other user or group – to the access rights of the CollabSpace, or change the rights of any users or groups that already have access, those changes will NOT by default be applied to the existing content of the CollabSpace. The primary way to apply those access rights changes to the content of the CollabSpace is to select the Apply this access list to all documents and subfolders in this CollabSpace check box:


An additional confirmation dialog box then appears:


In those situations where different groups and users have been given different access rights to different content – which is often the situation with external document sharing – you should not select this checkbox. Instead, after changing the access rights of the CollabSpace, close the Access List dialog box and instead apply access rights changes at a more granular level, such as in a subfolder of the CollabSpace or in individual documents.

You can also select multiple documents from a CollabSpace and make access changes in bulk.

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Add Content to the CollabSpace

Types of Content to Add to a CollabSpace

Documents (including similar objects, like conversations), folders, and Saved Searches can be added to a CollabSpace. (Neither filters nor ShareSpaces can be added.) 

The ability to add child content directly to a CollabSpaces requires the same or similar access rights to the CollabSpace as is required to add the same type of content to a folder:

  • To add (or move or copy) a document to a CollabSpace you need VE rights to the CollabSpace
  • To add (or move or copy) a folder to a CollabSpace you need VES rights
  • To add a saved search to a CollabSpace you need VE rights (although to use the Add saved search action of the CollabSpace requires VESA rights)

To add a new folder directly to the CollabSpace, select Add folder.

Up to 500 folders can be added directly to a CollabSpace (the existing subfolder limit that applies to a folder). There is no limit to the number of documents that can be added to a CollabSpace or CollabSpace folder.

Sources of Added Content

Content added to a CollabSpace can come from the same source as content added to any other area in NetDocuments.  New content can be added:

  • From your computer (using the +Add button or by dragging and dropping documents),
  • By copying existing content into the CollabSpace from another area in NetDocuments, or
  • By moving existing content into the CollabSpace from another area in NetDocuments.

Copy Existing Content

Copying documents and folders into a CollabSpace works the same way as copying documents and folders to any other location in NetDocuments, with one notable enhancement: when a document is copied, either directly or inside a folder that has been copied, NetDocuments will track inside the copy information about its original document. 

Documents and folders can be copied to a CollabSpace using the Move/Copy dialog box and selecting the Copy button. Alternatively, documents can be copied using the Share Externally action and selecting the Copy button.

Move Existing Content

Moving documents and folders into a CollabSpace works the same way as moving documents and folders to any other location in NetDocuments, with one notable difference:  every document and folder that is part of a CollabSpace will be flagged as being part of that CollabSpace. That requires edit rights to all of the moved content. Therefore, a user must have at least VE rights to every document or folder moved (and every document in a moved folder) to a CollabSpace or moved to a CollabSpace folder, or the move will be rejected.

Documents and folders can be moved using the Move/Copy dialog box and selecting the Move button or by dragging the content to the Navigation Pane. Alternatively, documents can be moved to a CollabSpace using the Share Externally action and selecting the Move button.

Access Rights Inheritance

The CollabSpace and CollabSpace folders utilize access rights inheritance.

Therefore, when individual documents are copied into a CollabSpace or CollabSpace folder, the system will attempt to modify the access rights of those documents to match the access rights of the destination. If you do not have VESA rights to the moved documents, the move will fail. (The system does not attempt to change the access rights of a moved folder, and therefore VESA rights to the moved folder are not required when moving it.)

Similarly, when copying the content or adding new content to a CollabSpace or CollabSpace folder, the copied or newly added content will inherit the access rights of the destination.

CollabSpace Content Remains Profiled to the Workspace

Content in a CollabSpace, in particular documents, is profiled to the workspace and therefore will appear inside the workspace in two different ways:

  • When you are viewing the contents of the workspace in list view, the CollabSpace documents will be included, typically with the externally shared indicator:
  • When you are viewing the contents of a filter, any CollabSpace documents that are also profiled to that filter will also be listed, likely with the externally shared indicator.

Other workspace actions that affect workspace documents will equally impact documents in CollabSpaces in that workspace, such as making bulk changes to access rights and profiles. Therefore, be careful when applying these actions in bulk.

Filing Documents to a CollabSpace Folder is Not Permitted

It is not permitted, either explicitly or implicitly, to file a document that is already in one folder into a CollabSpace folder. Therefore, filing a document from a workspace folder to a CollabSpace folder with the intent to share that document externally will fail.

Automatic Auto-Versioning for External Users

Auto-versioning is a flag that can be applied to individual documents by selecting Auto-version. Auto-versioning will automatically create a new version of a document when the next user who edits the document is different from the last user who edited the document. By creating a new version automatically, the changes made by the prior user will not be lost.

If an external user edits a document in a CollabSpace (and that user was not the last person to edit the document), a new version will automatically be created. It is not necessary to individually flag a CollabSpace document for auto-versioning to achieve this result. The automatic application of this rule ensures that changes made by an internal user will not be overridden by changes made later by an external user.

CollabSpace is Listed as a Location

Any content added to a CollabSpace or folder in a CollabSpace will display the CollabSpace in the Locations section of the Details pane:


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Remove Content from a CollabSpace

If content no longer needs to be shared externally in a CollabSpace, then remove it from the CollabSpace, which will automatically remove the content’s external access rights; at the same time, the content will remain part of the workspace. However, taking this step requires that the user removing the content have VESA rights to the moved content (to remove access rights), otherwise the content cannot be removed.

There are several ways to remove content from the CollabSpace:

  • For documents and folders, use the Move/Copy dialog box and select Move.
  • For documents and folders, drag the content to another location in the workspace.
  • For one or more selected CollabSpace documents, select Unfile, either from the CollabSpace or CollabSpace folder page, which will show the confirmation prompt:


Note that it is not possible to file CollabSpace documents to another folder, either explicitly or implicitly, which ensures that externally shared documents do reside outside of a CollabSpace.

Also, deleting a CollabSpace and choosing to unfile its documents is another method to achieve the goal of removing the contents of a CollabSpace.

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Delete the CollabSpace and the Contents in the CollabSpace

Content in the CollabSpace can be deleted the same as any other content in NetDocuments. Deleting content will remove it from the CollabSpace and remove any external access rights. If that content is later restored, it will not be part of the CollabSpace (unless specifically added there on restoration). If an external user deletes a CollabSpace document, the external user will not be able to permanently delete it (even if all regular users have been given the right to purge documents) because the external user will lose access to the document after it was deleted.

An individual CollabSpace can be deleted by an internal user with VESA rights to the CollabSpace. It is not possible to delete multiple CollabSpaces at the same time. When you select Delete for a CollabSpace, a dialog box appears:


You have two choices:

  • Delete the CollabSpace and its folders but unfile its documents. Unfiling the documents has the effect of removing the documents from the CollabSpace and removing all external access rights from those documents but keeping those documents in the workspace.
  • Delete the CollabSpace, its folder and all of the documents in the CollabSpace.

Whichever choice is selected, deleting a CollabSpace will also delete all CollabSpace groups associated with that CollabSpace.

Deleting or Resetting the Workspace

If you delete the workspace that the CollabSpace is associated with, then the CollabSpace, all of its contents and associated CollabSpace groups will also be deleted. 

Resetting the associated workspace (which can only be achieved using the REST API) will also delete the CollabSpace, its folders and associated CollabSpace groups, but not the documents in the CollabSpace.

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Search within CollabSpaces and Search for CollabSpaces

Search the Contents of a Single CollabSpace

There are two ways you can limit a search to the contents of a CollabSpace. First, when you are on the CollabSpace page, from the quick search box at the top of the page, enter your search term (the search can be limited to names or everything can be searched) and press Enter or the search icon:


If the search is run while viewing the CollabSpace content in the Folder view, then only the immediate child content of the CollabSpace will be searched. If the search is run while in the List view, then all of the documents in the CollabSpace will be searched.

Alternatively, starting from the CollabSpace page, select the ellipses in the quick search box:


The Advanced Search page appears:


Notice the appearance of the CollabSpace search filter, which will limit the search by default to that CollabSpace. (That filter can be cleared if desired.)  Limiting a search to a CollabSpace will search all of the contents of the CollabSpace, no matter how many folder levels deep or wide.

Search the Contents of Any CollabSpace

It is also possible to search for content that is located in any CollabSpace by using the In a CollabSpace search filter, which is located in the Show more options section of the Advanced Search page:


In that same section of the Advanced Search page, it is possible to limit a search to content that has been shared externally.  Typically, the only content in a cabinet that has been shared externally will be inside a CollabSpace.  All of the content in a CollabSpace will be shared externally, but not always, such as in situations where content is first added to a CollabSpace and later is access given to external users.

Search for CollabSpaces

CollabSpaces can be returned in any search, but it is possible to explicitly limit a search only to CollabSpaces.  From the Advanced Search page, ensure that the search scope includes at least one CollabSpace-enabled cabinet and also that CollabSpaces only is selected in the File extension search field:


The search results look like this: