Here is a post about what happens when files are moved in SharePoint which caught my attention on Twitter yesterday: What happens when files are moved in SharePoint? – Records about the world
The post is a great summary, but I would like to add a few comments:
- Search implications;
- Keep original sharing and permissions;
- No indication of who has moved the file and when.
Let’s see each of these in details.
Before we start, here is my original document library, with two documents created by “Adrienn”. I am logged in as “Agnes”:
In this example, I’m going to move one of these files to another site (IT).
When copying or moving files, there’s always an important implication in search.
After a document is updated, it takes time until the index gets refreshed, and during this time, search will show the old location. In SharePoint Online, it’s typically only a few minutes, but depending on the search settings, it can be hours or even more in SharePoint on-prem.
Even if it’s just a short period of time (hopefully!), there might be temporary inconsistencies in search results.
In the example above, the search result will point to the “Communications” library instead of the new one on the “IT” site.
Also, search shows the results to the users who have access to it. So if you move a document to a new location where permission settings are different – users who had access to the document will still see it in search even though it’s already removed; and users who have access to the document in the new location, will not see it in search – until the index gets refreshed.
Of course, in case of SharePoint Online, most probably this is such a short time that users won’t even notice, but it can be confusing when they do.
Keeping the original sharing settings (permissions!)
Talking about permissions…
When moving the file, the user can also select to keep its original sharing settings (permissions!), even if the destination library has totally different permissions.
This might mean a compliance risk. Also, makes it harder to maintain and govern clear permissions and sharing settings.
No indication of who has moved the file and when
Last but not least, there is no indication of who has moved the file and when after moving the document. The “created”, “created by”, “last modified”, and “modified by” fields remain unchanged – therefore tracking (and correcting) mistakes when documents moved by accident, or to an incorrect location, becomes an extreme challenge.
Being able to move documents in SharePoint is a super useful feature, indeed. However, we need to use it carefully – and also educate the users how to use it properly.