How to Make it Mandatory to Attach a File in a SharePoint List

SharePoint_iconI had a request this week for help creating a SharePoint list on our Intranet that would make it mandatory to attach a file when completing a list form. People promise to send requested information at a later time and then neglect to do so. By making the file attachment a requirement of submitting the list, the problem disappears.

It seems from the information I found on the Internet that code can be written to make SharePoint do this but it will not work out-of-the-box. I found a workaround that works for our purposes and thought I would share it.

  • First I created a site for the project. I gave all staff Read permission.
  • I created a Library and gave all staff Contribute permission. This is where staff will upload the required document.
  • I created a Custom List in the site with Contribution permissions for all staff.
  • For the first column of the list I put in a mandatory field list item and chose Hyperlink. This forces the person to fill in an URL address (of the document they uploaded) or they can’t submit the form.

I anticipate that there might be some users that will be confused about the address of the document. Most people understand that on their computers files have addresses. Files also have addresses when they are in the cloud or online. That URL address needs to be provided so viewers can find it. Here is what I did to help confused workers:

  • I created a Screencast-O-Matic movie showing how to find the URL address of a file.
    • Either right click on the document and copy the address from Properties, or
    • Open the uploaded Word or Excel file and look under File, Info, and then copy the URL address at the top under the Information area.
  • I uploaded the movie and provided the link right next to the form so people could watch it.

Hopefully the staff that complete the form will be happy because it’s easy to upload a document and then complete the form and administrators will be happy because the information they need is right at hand.

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