Friday, February 02, 2007

Modifying barcodes in Word - uniqueness

SharePoint 2007 features supporting records management are very promising. Reading various MSFT whitepapers have convinced us that SharePoint can certainly be the core platform for Regulatory Document Management.

My experience with SharePoint has proved this as we have had a solution for regulatory document management based on SharePoint since 2001.

However, in SharePoint 2007 things are not as easy as we expected. As an example SharePoint build in barcodes - which I have assumed to be unique - can easily be modified by the end-user as sketched below.

First - take a look at the SharePoint document library:

Then we open the file in Word, and access the properties. Note that the barcode value has been synchronized with a Word property - which can be edited manually as sketched below:

When I finish editing my Word document and return to SharePoint document library the barcode has been modified:

The result is fairly disappointing as uniqueness of barcodes cannot be guaranteed by SharePoint.


Richard Harbridge said...

Did the Microsoft Team ever respond with a workaround, or did you discover a method for ensuring this is unique? Calculated values, or a custom solution?

I am curious to understand how much effort it would be to ensure unique'ness on the barcode. (Especially since it is used in searching).

Morten Marquard said...

Hi Richard,
Nope - no reply from Microsoft what so ever. We solved the issue by developing our own event handler ensuring unique document ids (=barcodes). Not easy. Would be great if MSFT could provide such a feature... They sort of set that expectation ...