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Managed Metadata Column Limitations

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Categories:Managed Metadata; SharePoint Designer; Workflow; InfoPath; Site Manager/Power User; MOSS; WSS; 2007; 2010; Taxonomy

 

By now we have all heard about the new Managed Metadata features in SharePoint 2010. Most of it is good news, great news actually. However there are some limitations that you should be aware of so that you can make the right choice for your organization.

So here is my list of some of the limitations of Managed Metadata Columns. If you have any more let me know so that I can add it and hopefully this can become a pretty good reference for all you good SharePoint people out there!

1) No InfoPath Support

There is no InfoPath support for Managed Metadata columns. Regardless of whether this is an InfoPath form that is hosted through Forms Services or a list form, it is not supported.

Yes I know that people are angry (see this thread on the MS Forums), but it simply does not work. If you try to customize a form with InfoPath that has a Managed Metadata column you will get this:

2011-06-29-ManagedMetadataColumnLimitations-01.png

This is really, really important if you intended to use InfoPath to start customizing all of your forms and intended to also leverage Managed Metadata. Put simply, you can’t 2011-06-29-ManagedMetadataColumnLimitations-02.png

2) No SharePoint Workspace Support

There is also no support for Managed Metadata columns in SharePoint workspace, as pointed out in a blog from Paul Culmsee. So if you have requirements around taking content offline with Workspace be careful on deciding whether Managed Metadata is right for you.

2011-06-29-ManagedMetadataColumnLimitations-03.png

3) No Support in Office 2007

This is another one that gets many organizations. You cannot edit Managed Metadata columns from the Office 2007 client, or 2003 for that matter. If you want to be able to edit Managed Metadata columns you need to have Office 2010 installed.

This can be a major pain, especially if you have Managed Metadata columns set to required on a particular Content Type or library. For more information Corey Roth did a great point over at nothingbutsharepoint.com. Go check it out and don’t get caught like many organizations have.

4) Cannot Edit Managed Metadata values in Datasheet Mode

You cannot edit Managed Metadata columns in datasheet mode, the selected cells are read only. Therefore for bulk changes you need to either go through each item one by one, or you can also get some of the functionality of bulk metadata changed through Document Sets as I describe in this article.

2011-06-29-ManagedMetadataColumnLimitations-04.png

There also seem to be quite a few third party solutions that are making their way on the market to tackle this issue as well.

5) Limitations in Views

There are also some limitations in the operators that you can use for views with Managed Metadata fields. You cannot use the ‘Begins With’ or ‘Contains’ operators for filters in views. Try that and you will get this:

2011-06-29-ManagedMetadataColumnLimitations-05.png

6) Extra care required in SharePoint Designer Workflows

Many people assume that Managed Metadata columns do not work in SharePoint Designer workflows, when in fact they do.

However you cannot simply plug in the name of the term that you want to use but need to use the GUID of the term.

If you are comparing fields you need to compare the value with the following format:

"TermLabel|xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx"

So for setting values you are looking at a format of:

"-1;#TermLabel|xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx"

or you might have something simpler like:

"xx;#TermLabel"

You can find out the correct format when you look at the field in Datasheet view and then use it in your workflows. So if I have a label of “Compliance” I need to find out what the format is and then use that in my workflow:

2011-06-29-ManagedMetadataColumnLimitations-06.png

Yes its not fun, and I am sure that there are cases where this might not work or break. However it is possible but requires extra planning.

7) Feature deployment of Managed Metadata requires care

Once again this isn’t a limitation per se but it does require some extra care and knowledge. I am not the guy to get into the details of how this should be done but have a look at the following articles that explain some of what you need to consider:

8) Cannot be used in calculated fields

You cannot use a Managed Metadata Column for calculated fields. So if you have a requirement to do a calculated field you will need to use another column type

9) Maximum of 250 terms selected per Managed Metadata Column

This was pointed out to me by Kelly D Jones on his blog post entitled SharePoint Managed Metadata Column Limitation. Turns out that you can only have a maximum of 250 terms selected for a particular column otherwise you get an error.

10) Caution when restoring a Local Term Set to another Content Database

Another suggestion, this time from Bobby Chang from a post entitled Beware Local Term Store. When you create a customized Term Set for a Managed Metadata column you will experience issues if you then try to back up and restore it into another content database.

11) Taxonomy feature is not activated on the Blank Site Template

This one comes from Andy Burns that talks about why the feature needed to create a Managed Metadata column is not enabled on the blank site template ( you can see it here).

Fortunately it is pretty easy to fix, you just have to enable the Taxonomy feature.

12) Know capacity boundaries

This was mentioned by Richard Harbridge that you should be aware of the capacity limits around Managed Metadata. For all of the limits check out the SharePoint 2010 capacity management: Software boundaries and limits TechNet article. Remember if designing for large clients, there are limits to how far you can push the Managed Metadata service.

Resources

Of course some good SharePoint folk have already read my brain and started documenting this already. Here are some people much smarter than I that have already looked at some of the issues above:

So that’s it for now. Let me know if you have anything to add or alter as I intend this to be a ‘living’ blog post! There are grumblings in the community, let me hear those grumblings!!!

Comments

Veronique Palmer

Wow

Geez, I had no idea there were that many "gotchas". I only knew about a few of these. Thank you Michael. It almost begs the question, is there any point in even using the service at all.

Posted 30-Jun-2011 by Veronique Palmer
Joan Resnick Ehrlich

Limitations are show stoppers

The InfoPath limitation alone is enough to put a halt to using MMS, how MSFT could let that happen is beyond...
 
Qite a number of listed limitations are making us rethink using MMS at all. The MSFT MMS team needs to rethink MMS, imho.

Posted 30-Jun-2011 by Joan Resnick Ehrlich
Jeremy Thake

V1.0 functionality

Don't forget guys, this is a V1.0 release of Managed Metadata Service. Expect this to mature in future service packs and major releases.
Be interested to see how many of these are dormant in SP1...

Posted 30-Jun-2011 by Jeremy Thake
Kim Frehe

Great info!

This was a great info and I can't wait for updates on when MS will be able to resolve these issues...i'm really looking forward to working with MMD

Posted 04-Jul-2011 by Kim Frehe
Daniel

SPD and MMS

Fantastic and timely article as I was initially bewildered as to why I could not see my terms in a SPD workflow I was writing - now I know! Any updates on what is fixed with SP1... I had a glance and I didn't remember seeing anything re the MMS cheers Daniel

Posted 05-Jul-2011 by Daniel
Henning Eiben

No spaces in Column Names

Just yesterday a co-worker pointed out, that you cannot have spaces in the column names of managed meta-data. Well you can, but once the crawler tries to index an item with such a meta-data associated, the whole item is *not* being indexed at all!

Posted 12-Jul-2011 by Henning Eiben
Kathleen

Struggling to create views

"There are also some limitations in the operators that you can use for views with Managed Metadata fields. You cannot use the ‘Begins With’ or ‘Contains’ operators for filters in views"

Well, doesn't that pretty much eliminate ALL views where your metadata column contains more than one term? 

Posted 10-Oct-2012 by Kathleen
Khushi

Whats the point in using MM

Thank you for your post. If I have known this earlier, I had not used it. Faced so many problems with it. My project went to scrap because of this.
 
 

Posted 19-Sep-2013 by Khushi
problem with outlook 2007

Good post..

This is amazing tutorial on the topic and I had no clue about how tofix these errors before this post was very much informative.specially the No SharePoint Workspace Support and all . thanks for this wonderfull tutorial. keep posting

Posted 17-Feb-2014 by problem with outlook 2007
problem with outlook 2007

Good post..

This is amazing tutorial on the topic and I had no clue about how tofix these errors before this post was very much informative.specially the No SharePoint Workspace Support and all . thanks for this wonderfull tutorial. keep posting

Posted 17-Feb-2014 by problem with outlook 2007
problem with outlook 2007

great post

wow it an amazing tutorial on the topic and I had no clue about how tofix these errors before this post was very much informative.specially the No SharePoint Workspace Support and all . thanks for this wonderfull tutorial. keep posting more.... !!!!

Posted 17-Feb-2014 by problem with outlook 2007
KOi

great post

wow it an amazing tutorial on the topic and I had no clue about how tofix these errors before this post was very much informative.specially the No SharePoint Workspace Support and all . thanks for this wonderfull tutorial. keep posting more.... !!!! problem with outlook 2007

Posted 17-Feb-2014 by KOi

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