It is Friday and it is very sunny and rather than enjoying the sun I’m struggling behind my laptop with document properties.

As some of you may know there are 2 different places where Word will store your metadata. Within Word you can add these Quick Parts


The other option is DocProperty:

The Document Properties gives the nicer drop down experience for your user

These kind of drop downs do not appear for the DocProperty fields, but that is not the problem that I will try to address in this post. My client uses exchange to scan documents fro their security level. So rather than Animals they have a choice column in SharePoint. This column is called Security Level.

When a document is created within SharePoint both the Document Property and the Doc Property are set however things are not completely right when you update the Security Level.


As you can see below the Security Level is set to “Open” and to “Low”. The only way the DocProperty can be updated is by getting users to edit these properties manually within the above dialog.

You might even have noticed in the above screenshot I added another column to my content type. This column is ignored by the DocProperties. You can add any column to the content types or lists and they are not being added to the document. I only found that when I created a new library with the content type that had both Animal and Security Level available that things started working. I guess the DocProperty feature in Word is older than the Document Properties and it might just be there for compatibility reasons, but this isn’t right. This feature in word might as well be removed if it doesn’t work any better, unless of course you use documents outside and SharePoint environment and all you have is DocProperties.

Knowing how SharePoint creates its files form Document templates files I decided to use SharePoint Designer to export the templates for both libraries. This resulted in 2 .dotx files. I compared these two templates and found that the DocProperties in my template matched the documents that I created earlier and whereas my Document Properties are updated with the actual columns in my library the DocProperties are never synchronized.

Ok, I could now of course update my document template on the library, however that we hardly be a solution as the DocProperties’ values are not updated by the SharePoint system. At the moment I don’t have a solution for this yet other than getting users to update the DocProperties when you rely on these value to be correct. As the values are currently simply wrong, I would hope that Microsoft either fixes the synchronization of the DocProperties or just removes these from the template files in the Document Libraries. Better no data than wrong data.





Pieter Veenstra

Business Applications and Office Apps & Services Microsoft MVP working as a Microsoft Productivity Principal Consultant at HybrIT Services. You can contact me using

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