A new update has been added into Syntex Content Assembly to allow the fields (placeholders) used when generating a document to be mapped to document library columns. In the modern template settings on publishing users are now prompted to choose which fields to map to document library columns. This is a great new feature as now when a document is created by a user it will be tagged with all the metadata values used when creating the document.
So now for example you might create a Syntex modern template to send a letter to different companies. You could then specify company, fee amount etc to placeholders and to be copied to document library columns on generation. Then create lots of different letters to different companies and each letter with be then tagged with the company name & fee amount. You could then filter the document library to only show certain companies or letters requesting a fee amount over £1000 for example.
Previously I have got around this by either:
- Creating a Syntex model to read the metadata from the created documents so they are then labelled when added to a library.
- Creating the document library columns manually & then using the Syntex document generation Power Automate action to create the documents. Then using an update SharePoint document metadata action to update the document metadata fields with the placeholder values returned from the document generation action.
It’s so much simpler now and with the generated docs nicely labelled we can do filtering, searching etc. Another use case is to use the metadata in a workflow i.e. lookup company name and then find their email address in CRM system before emailing the letter to them.
Testing Copy Metadata Values From Generated Document to Document Library
I will now show you what has changed to allow this great new functionality. A new menu has been added to the create modern template page (see image below) for publishing the template.
Create a new Modern Template from a document library, I am not going to go through all of these steps as I have covered them before & Microsoft have covered the steps too. The links are below:
- Testing out SharePoint Syntex Content Assembly aka Modern Mail Merge – Leon Armston’s Blog
- Create a modern template in Microsoft Syntex – Microsoft Syntex | Microsoft Learn
I will now focus on what’s changed:
After the user has created all of the placeholders in the modern template they then need to Publish it. On clicking the Publish button a new menu appears allowing the user the ability to rename the template along with choosing which template fields will be added to the a custom view in the library. So users have a choice which fields to include and also whether they want this new custom view to be the default view of the library. In my example I chose that I only wanted the name field to be copied over & I did not need the date field I was also using.
Now when a user creates a document using this template the metadata value for Name which is Ronnie Sinclair will be copied over to the document library column.
After creating the document specify a filename for the generated document
We can now see the letter has been created that it has been tagged with the name I used in the document “Ronnie Sinclair”.
Bonus: Use Metadata values with Syntex Copy/Move Library Rules
You could also use these metadata values on the generated documents with the new Syntex Copy & Move document library rules. The rules can be configured to run when something changes in the library
I’m going to use the “A column value changes” action
Then I need to build my rule – first I specify a metadata column from my library i.e. Name to monitor for a value and then a matching value “Ronnie Sinclair”. I am then able to specify any site and a document library to copy or move the document to.
The created rule is then displayed – if I wanted to I could create up to 15 different rules so for example could route documents to different libraries depending on the Name used.
I can now see the newly created document has been auto-moved by the rule to the the “Documents” library in the Project Asteroid site.
A very welcome nice new feature and one that will be very powerful for identifying generated documents and doing post generation workflows with the metadata values. It is also great with the new Syntex Copy & Move document library rules. Often generating documents is part of a multi-stage process so ensuring the documents are labelled is very useful for the next stage. That next stage could be manual i.e. a user finding a tagged file or automated i.e. a process picking up a tagged file then using the metadata to make decisions.
Let me know in the comments if you are using Syntex Content Assembly & are excited about this new functionality and what use cases you are using it for?