SharePoint 2010 – Activating the Document ID Feature

SharePoint 2010 has now included an excellent out-of-the-box feature that allows you to automatically assign a unique document ID to all of your documents that are uploaded to your SharePoint site. This is a site-collection scoped feature, so the document IDs are guaranteed to be unique across the site collection that the feature has been activated for. In order to ensure that the document ID is unique across your entire farm, they have included a configuration setting that sets a specific prefix for all of the document IDs assigned in your site collection. By setting a different prefix for each site collection that uses this feature, you can ensure that each document ID is truly unique across your farm.

Activating the Feature

Since the document ID feature is scoped for an entire site collection you need to be the site collection administrator. If you go to any site in the site collection and go to the Site Settings, you should see a Site Collection Administration section. Under this section click on Site Collection Features. In there, you will see the Document ID Service feature.

Document ID Feature

This is the service that you need to activate to enable this feature. Once this feature is activated you can edit the view of any document library (through the Library Settings) to include the new Document ID column. When you first activate the feature, you will notice that there are no document IDs assigned to the documents that were already in your document libraries. This is because the task of assigning document IDs to existing documents is performed by a timer job on the server. I will explain how this timer job works later in this post. First, I will explain how to configure the document ID prefix settings.

Setting the Document ID Prefix

Once you’ve activated the Document ID Service, you will see a new entry under the Site Collection Administration section called Document ID Settings. This is where you can configure your document ID prefix.

Document ID Settings

By default, SharePoint will assign a non-sensical hash as the Document ID prefix, so for usability purposes I would highly suggest changing this value before applying document IDs to all of your existing documents. The settings contained in this page are pretty self-explanatory… the “Assign Document IDs” checkbox is used to turn the document ID assignment ON and OFF, the text box just below that is used to set the prefix for all of your document IDs, and the checkbox just below that is used when you wish to propagate the changes you made to the prefix to all existing documents in your site collection.

One important thing to note (as is indicated by the red text) is that any changes made to these settings will not be applied to existing documents until the timer job on the server is run. This brings me to the next step in activating the Document ID feature: Running the timer jobs.

Running the Timer Jobs

Any changes you make to the prefix, in the settings above, will be applied immediately to any new document that is uploaded to your document library. However, changing the document ID of existing documents is done by a timer job on the server. In fact, there are two timer jobs that are set to automatically apply your configuration settings for the Document ID feature: the Document ID assignment job and the Document ID enable/disable job. You can find these timer jobs on the Review Job Definitions settings page in Central Administration, under Monitoring –> Timer Jobs. Once here, look for the jobs that are registered to your web application.

Review Timer Jobs

The “Document ID assignment job” is the job that takes your configured prefix, and assigns a document ID to all of your existing documents. By default, this job is run daily between 10:00PM and 10:30PM. If you checked the checkbox in the Document ID settings named “Reset all Document IDs in this Site Collection to begin with these characters”, then this job will go to all of your existing documents and change their prefix to the new one that you have set. The “Document ID enable/disable job” is the job that essentially “saves” any newly configured settings for the Document ID feature across all sites. By default, this job is run daily between 9:30PM and 9:45PM. Sometimes, it may be necessary to see your changes immediately. In order to do this, you simply need to click the link in the Job Definitions settings page and then click the Run Now button.

Timer Job Settings

* * * * *
Important: If you have made changes to the Document ID prefix, you may need to run the “Document ID enable/disable job” first before you run the “Document ID assignment job” in order to see your changes.
* * * * *

Once you have run these two jobs, you should now see the Document ID column filled out with your newly configured Document ID:

Document ID

Accessing Documents

Once all of your documents have IDs assigned to them, you can then reap the benefits of the Document ID feature. There are two ways that you can access documents using their Document ID: (1) Through a well-formed URL, or (2) through the “Find by Document ID” web part.

To access Documents through a well-formed URL, you simply need to type a URL in to the address box of your browser that is of the form: http://<Server_Name>/_layouts/DocIdRedir.aspx?ID=<Document_ID> . Or alternatively, you can copy a document’s URL directly from the Document Library by right-clicking on the link under the Document ID column and clicking “Copy Shortcut” (in IE).

In order to use the “Find by Document ID” web part, you simply need to go to any editable page in your site, and add the web part to the page. The web part can be added through the Insert –> Web Part ribbon menu, under the Search category. Once the web part is on a page, you can simply enter a Document ID in to the text box and click on the arrow button. This will find the document you are looking for and automatically download it for you.

Find by Document ID

By using the Document ID to access your documents, you are ensuring that your users can always access frequently used documents through a single URL, even when a document is moved to another location. This can save a lot of time and questions whenever your document libraries are undergoing some refactoring. If you are using the Foundation edition of SharePoint 2010, unfortunately you do not have access to this feature… however, if you are using the Standard or Enterprise editions of SharePoint 2010, then you can (and should) take full advantage of this new feature.



  1. Posted August 8, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink | Reply

    Good Post

  2. Art
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink | Reply

    Excellent and clear summary of this feature

  3. Posted May 15, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink | Reply

    Howdy! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the great work!

One Trackback

  1. […] SharePoint 2010 – Activating the Document ID Feature […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: