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Did you make your connection? – Setting up in-place records management in SharePoint Online

We at 3Sharp have been very busy the last few months creating demos for SharePoint Online, including a nice one on Enterprise Content Management (ECM). Hopefully, these demos will be coming to a site near you very soon. In the meantime, I wanted to provide a tip to those who wish to enable in-place records management, but have not found a way to get the right-click “Send to” option working when trying to send a document to the Records Center. This had me going for a while, since it is not covered in an otherwise thorough Microsoft article describing how to implement records management on your SharePoint Online tenant. (By the way, if you need broader coverage of records management, there are some excellent articles on TechNet, for example those that are linked from this site) since it could be one of many good ways to help with your document management workflow.

It turns out that in order for the “Send to” feature to work, you need to set up a “Send-To connection” which is part of the Content Organizer feature in SharePoint. This feature must be activated and properly configured. You can learn more about the Content Organizer here, but the tip I really want to share was to make sure you properly configure the Send-To connection. A good reference for this is here; below are some slightly more detailed steps and screen shots.

The following steps assume you have an Office 365 Enterprise tenant and that you have created a site using the Record Center template. If you do not yet have a record center, create one using these instructions.

To begin, log into your SharePoint online tenant with Administrator permissions. Then follow these steps:

  1. At the top right, click Admin and select SharePoint to navigate to the SharePoint admin center.
  2. In the left navigation page, click records management.
  3. In the Send To Connections list, if you see more than one connection and one of the list is highlighted, select New Connection. Otherwise, continue with the next step. You should see a set of blank fields next to Connection Settings. Graphic1
  4. In the Display name text box, type To Record Center. Note: You can enter any text here; Content Organizer will display this name as an option for users when they right-click on a document.
  5. In a new tab, navigate to the record center. For example, Center
  6. Click SharePoint settings (gear icon at the upper right) and then click Site Settings.
  7. Under Site Administration, click Content Organizer Settings. Graphic2
  8. Scroll to the bottom and copy the Web Service URL next to “Submission Points”. Graphic3
  9. Return to the Configure Records Management tab and next to Connections Settings, copy the URL into the Send to URL: box.
  10. Click Click here to test. Click OK to close the verification window.
  11. Ensure that the box next to Allow manual submission from the Send To menu is checked.
  12. In the Send To action drop-down, select Move and Leave a Link. Optionally, you can enter text to explain the Send To action. The form should now look like the following: Graphic4
  13. Click Add Connection.
  14. Close the Content Organizer: Settings tab.

OK, let’s test this out. We’re going to navigate to our document center, from which we will declare a document as a record. Then, we’ll go to the Record Center to confirm the document has been moved and locked down.

  1. In a new tab, navigate to a document library on your tenant. For this example, we will go to the Document Center. Make sure you are in a document library view.
  2. Select a document by clicking to the left of its title. Graphic5
  3. In the ribbon, click FILES and then click Send To.
  4. In the drop-down, click To Record Center. Hint: if you don’t see this option, there is another potential “gotcha”: the library must be configured to allow users to declare records manually. Here’s how to do it (if you see the option correctly, skip to step 8):
  5. In the ribbon, click LIBRARY and then click Library Settings.
  6. Under Permissions and Management, click Record Declaration Settings.
  7. Select Always allow the manual declaration of records, and then click OK. Graphic5a
  8. The To Record Center option should look like this: Graphic6
  9. After clicking To Record Center, Click OK to confirm.
  10. Click OK when you see the “Operation Completed Successfully” page.
  11. Notice the document has been replaced by a link. Graphic7
  12. Let’s see where the document landed. Right-click the document and select Open in new tab. You should see a page that contains a link to the new location. In this example, the document was dropped in the “Default Storage” folder in the Records Center. Graphic8
  13. In a separate tab, navigate to the Record Center, and then to the folder indicated in the link (Default Storage). Do not click the link.
  14. Select the file you just declared as a record, and then in the ribbon, click FILES.
  15. Note the lock icon on the file, indicating this file cannot be changed; it is now a record. The Check Out, Edit Document, and related icons are greyed out. Graphic9

Well, that’s a whirlwind tour of in-place records management. I hope that it helped at least some of you!

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