Being able to drag and drop emails and attachments from Outlook into a SharePoint folder is one of the things that’s clearly missing in SharePoint and Outlook 2010. The lack of this functionality is a non-starter for any law firm that wants to manage emails and is considering SharePoint as their DMS. There’s a number of good solutions from third-party vendors to address this shortcoming, including Colligo, MacroView Wisdom, Accola DMS4Legal, and some other products that we’ve been beta testing. But what if you don’t want to spend any additional money, and are looking for a real basic solution? Here’s two ways to keep it simple, and be able to get your email and attachments into SharePoint…
1) Windows Explorer Folders
Any SharePoint library or folder can be opened in Windows Explorer. You can also write a script to deploy shortcuts to people, or ask users to create their own shortcuts. Users can create shortcuts to folders by opening the library in Windows Explorer, and right clicking any folder to create a shortcut. If you want to deploy shortcuts or create shortcuts by hand, they can be structured as follows:
Note, that you would have to open the Explorer window in a separate window, and then drag out of Outlook and into that Explorer window.
2) SharePoint Workspace 2010
If you’re using Office Professional Plus 2010, then you probably already have this program. SharePoint Workspace is the successor to Groove, and is a full client for SharePoint. You can sync any SharePoint site, list, or library to Workspace, and you get the advantage of being able to take files offline, add files offline, and sync any changes to and from the server. You can initiate the connection to Workspace either from within Workspace or from a button in the ribbon in the SharePoint web interface. As is the case with Windows Explorer, Workspace has to be open in another window outside of Outlook, but you can drag emails and attachments out from Outlook and into your folders in SharePoint Workspace. This also gives you the advantage of being able to do drag and drops while you’re offline.
Using either of these approaches, you won’t be able to “live” inside Outlook, as you could with a traditional DMS. But you do end up with a way to do drag and drops to a separate window, and not have to go through the SharePoint web interface. So this could provide some help for anyone who wants to do email management “light” and doesn’t want to invest in an addin for Outlook. But for the full blown email management experience, that you might be used to from FileSite or another DMS, then you should consider looking at one of the third-party addins.