A few words about Drag and Drop

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I keep getting fingerprints on my tv screen, forgetting that its not a giant touch screen. It’s funny how quickly we adapt to certain interfaces. My laptop doesn’t have a touchscreen either, and I’ve caught myself trying to multi-tap or move something on screen….usually after moving from my iPad over to my laptop to get some “actual work” done.

When Microsoft announced tighter integration with the Office products, one of the first things that came to mind was the ability to drag and drop files to folders. It’s one of the most simple, yet universal experiences about modern computing – and yet SharePoint has been without this capability. And so when I saw that SharePoint 2013 included this capability, I was excited. As Corey Roth pointed out in a post this summer, its supported in all of the browsers, but some older versions of IE require Office 2013 preview to be installed.

The functionality is pretty simple: grab a document from your desktop of a file folder, and drag it into your browser, like this:

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The file will begin uploading immediately. You can drop multiple files at once, and it will give you a status on each – but while uploading a large file, it will not allow you to drop another file or files until the first drop is complete. Kind of annoying for those who are used to Windows Explorer allowing you to kick off multiple file moves, opening up separate windows for each item of grouping. Ah well, room for improvement.

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Once the file has been uploaded, you can grab and move others.

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What about moving files in between lists? You can do that too, although the messaging is a bit confusing. When I see the word “move” I assume it means it is going to a new location, and will no longer be found at the old location, whereas “copy” means it will create a new version of the same item. So when you drag an uploaded file over to a new list or library, SharePoint 2013 calls it a “move” as shown here:

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What would be helpful would be a quick context menu asking if I want to move or copy the item. Then again, to get that message each and every time I moved a file would get annoying. At least if you try to move a file of the same name back to the original library, SharePoint 2013 knows enough to ask you whether to replace it, or not upload it.

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The questions I have are around Document IDs and custom content types. I’m not sure whether the move creates an instance of the same document, or an entirely new document – which, logically, would create an entirely new Document ID. As for applying custom content types, as Corey and others have pointed out, a move to a library with a custom content type does not prompt you to add the missing metadata. Bummer.

And for those of you who are wondering whether you can drag and drop out of SharePoint 2013 back to your desktop – you sure can.

Very cool. Chalk up a huge win to Microsoft on bringing this productivity enhancement to fruition.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of revealit.io, a blockchain-based video technology company.