Moving documents around in the “modern” Document Libraries in SharePoint Online (Office 365) has certainly gotten easier. Instead of opening libraries in File Explorer, downloading the files, and then uploading them into the new location, we have nice options like Move to, Copy To, and Rename right in the toolbar. That’s a big upside.
Sadly, there are downsides. While the new capabilities are awesome, I’m finding that the UI is often confusing – both to me and my clients.
When you use one of these new file manipulation capabilities, you get a little feedback message ion the right side of the toolbar telling you how it went. Unfortunately, the message location isn’t all that obvious, and it usually feels as though the operation succeeded even when it didn’t.
Here’s and example of a Move to operation that failed for me. Note that the message says “1 item wasn’t moved”.
There’s no other feedback, and on my wide monitor, the message is way over to the right side. I don’t usually notice it.
In the case above, I did see the message, so I clicked on the message to see what was up. The reason I saw it was that I was looking for something wrong. A client of mine told me that a Move to wasn’t working. Every time she went back to the library, the documents were still in the same place, no matter how many times she moved them.
As you can see from the expanded message below, there was indeed an issue: there was a file with the same name in the destination location. I have two logical options, either to Keep both files or Replace the original.
The message really isn’t obvious enough, and I’ve been caught many times because I didn’t see that something I did failed. Even worse, to my client “SharePoint is broken”. I’m hoping the Product Group can come up with a more informative way to provide the feedback that something has gone wrong – which happens surprisingly often!
There is yet another “unfortunately” here, though. In my client’s case, even when there is no error in a Move to operation, the files are boomeranging right back into the original position after a few screen refreshes.
I also tried the Content and Structure page to see if moving the document that way would help, but still no dice. I checked to see if perhaps there was a workflow in play here causing issues, but that’s not the case. The only other thing I see which MIGHT be a problem is that the library has 4988 documents in it, which is pretty close to the 5000 list view threshold. I hate that threshold with a steaming passion (have I mentioned that here and here and here and here and here and probably tens of dozens of other places?), but I can’t think why it would matter in this case.
So we’re at an impasse. The error messages aren’t so great, and the Move to operations are failing when there aren’t errors. Maybe SharePoint really is broken.