M-Files views: Folders when you need them

M-Files is already widely praised as folderless storage the way it’s meant to be, and for its fast free search function. But it does allow you to have folders when you need them. “Views”, virtual folders that show files according to different properties, can be configured and promoted to users very easily in M-Files. Continuing our story about what small companies love about M-Files, we come to the interesting point of balancing free search and views.

M-Files is a document management system that let’s you find the right document when you search for it, every time, with no worry about which version is correct. But that is now just common knowledge about the product. There are many useful ways to find and promote files for the right people.

No actual folders

When you save a file to M-Files, it goes straight into the vault. But before it is stored you receive a prompt where you fill in some properties like which company it is related to, what project it’s related to, type of document (project plan, contract, etc.) and such. This ensures the file is named correctly and connected to the right places. So if you search for “all contracts” or a specific client, you will also find your files that way. Truly folderless!

Only when you want them

But there are times when you do want folders. But not the usual way: looking through a structure, clicking away to get into “z:\\company share 1\documents\clients\client_X\legal_documents\contracts\2014…” and so forth. A shortcut doesn’t help much, because there’s still the need to manually manage that folder. A view (while not a new invention), is a “virtual folder” that reads metadata and fills itself with files that correspond to some criteria. They give you the ability to just package some files and promote them to your users, continuously updated on their front page. Documents like “Contracts soon to expire”, “My clients”, “Upcoming reports”, etc. in folders tailored to the specific user/role and automatically updated as new files that fit the criteria arrive.

Helping you keep track of your workload

Our small M-Files clients make good use of this feature to keep track of their workload and make sure important documents and tasks are dealt with in time. Swedish company Fernemo Information & Grafik, who’s case story sparked this series, instantly enjoyed the great search function and the other ways of finding and promoting files. “Everyone has been very positive about the new system. Even from those who are not at very good terms with computers, the feedback has been remarkably positive,” says Ivar and smiles. “What they think is great is that each one of them have gained a much better overview of what they are doing. Both what material is coming in and what they’re working on right now, but also the work that is already done, which has been appreciated.”