Introduction to M-Files
- What is M-Files?
- What is Metadata?
- Intro to the M-Files Interface
- Accessing M-Files
- M-Files Terminology
How to Save Documents
How to Find Documents
- Finding Information with Metadata
- How to Use Quick Search
- Organizing with Views
- How to Use Views
- How to Use the Pinned Tab
How to Modify & Collaborate on Documents
Introduction to Metadata Cards
Every object in M-Files has a metadata card. This card gives you descriptive information about what this object is, what it relates to, and how it ought to be managed.
This lesson offers you an introduction to the M-Files metadata card.
Introduction to the Metadata Card
Under the object name, you’ll find automatic metadata. This is metadata that M-Files automatically captures when a document is created and modified over time.
- Object type, for instance, a Document (like shown in the image below).
- The ID and version number. The version number will increase as it’s modified over time.
- Who created it and when.
- Who last modified it and when.
The class is an important piece of metadata. It tells you what sort of object this is. For instance, in the example below this document is a project plan.
The classes in your vault are customized for your organization. Reviewing the different class options in your vault is a great way to get to know what sort of information your organization’s vault manages
Underneath the class, you will have other metadata properties that you fill out to give more information about what this object is and what it relates to. The metadata properties you see will depend on the class selected.
In the example below, the class is Project Plan. The metadata properties below ask for more information about this project plan, for instance, what customer and project it’s related to, who owns it, and it’s effective date. This is just an example. The class options and the metadata properties will be different in organization’s vault.
The Related Objects Icon
The related objects icon next to a property means that it is linked to another object in M-Files.
Clicking the icon will open the related object and its metadata card.
This demonstrates one of the big benefits of M-Files. Information is linked by relationship and context.
On the metadata card, you have the option to add more properties if you wish.
Permissions & Workflow
The bottom of the metadata card contains the object’s permissions and workflow. You can think of this area as giving key information about how this object should be managed.
The permissions dictate who can access this object and how. Whereas, the workflow guides a object, stage by stage throughout its lifecycle.
Document vs Non-Document Objects
In M-Files, objects can either have a document attached or they can just be metadata. This might be tricky to understand at first. Please refer to the examples below for more clarification.
Document objects in M-Files are attached to a document. For instance, the metadata card for this project plan below has an actual Word document attached to it.
Document objects can contain all sorts of files – images, PowerPoint presentations, documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, videos and so much more.
However, the project object below is just metadata. It’s just describing the project. It doesn’t have a document attached to it. This is how M-Files can serve as a database.
You cannot add or create classes directly from M-Files. The classes are set by your organization. You can speak with your M-Files business administrator if you’d like to add more classes that are suitable for your work.
We get it. If you’re used to just give a document a name and saving it somewhere, this can seem like extra work. However, we promise you that the seconds you invest in filling in this metadata will save you and your colleagues minutes, if not hours in the future when you need to find this document again.
The rule of thumb is to fill out enough metadata so that a colleague can easily understand what this object is and what it relates to.
M-Files is fully customizable. Therefore, every organization has its own tailor-fit version of M-Files. While the general layout of the interface might be similar, things like the create menu, common views, classes, and properties will be different and tailored for your organization. Even the colors might look different. It’s important to spend some time getting to know how your vault works.