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What is a SharePoint Term Store?

What is a sharepoint term store?

This article outlines:

  1. What is a SharePoint Term Store?

  2. How does it work?

  3. What are the Structure Options Available for your Term Store?

  4. How to create a Term Store.


The SharePoint Term Store is a global site directory of common terms that are used in your organization. The purpose of the term store is to build consistency in the way that users enter and manage data in your SharePoint environments. The term store allows you to maintain consistent metadata throughout your sites. Creating the term store should be a one-time set-up, so users do not have to recreate metadata columns every time new metadata is added. Users can simply go back into the term store and modify it as needed.


The Term Store follows a hierarchy structure which is comprised of 3 basic levels:

  1. Term Groups: are sets of term sets that hold all terms. It defines security boundaries as it can only be accessed by users who have access.

  2. Term Sets: are collections or groups of related terms such as Departments found in an organization.

  3. Terms: are specific words that are associated with their Term Set or the previous level’s term. ​​​​​​​

Structure Options

There are 2 main structure options which can be replicated in the Term Store and can be implemented based on the organization standards.

Term Store Open Structure: This structure is built on the premise that all managed metadata is shared and accessible across the entire organization. As an example, users from the Human Resource Department can view and/or utilize managed metadata found in other departments such as the Operations Department, and vice versa.

Open structure term group, term set, term level

Term Store Private Structure: This structure is built on the premise that the managed metadata is only shared and accessible depending on the user’s role/group. As an example, all users in your organization can have access to the “Organization” Term Group terms and only Human Resources users could have access to the Human Resources Term Group terms.

Term Store Creation

Once you have chosen a structure that best fits your organization, and standardized your metadata, you are ready to create new Term Store Entries. Step 1: Access the SharePoint Admin Center. Step 2: Select “Content Services” Step 3: Select “Term Store” Step 4: Select “Add term group” Step 5: According to the Term Store Structure you want to implement, fill in the name of your new Term Group in the box that appears below “Taxonomy”.

  • Open Structure Term Group: Organization Name

  • Private Structure Term Group: Organization Name and Department Name

Step 6: Select your new term group. Step 7: Select “Add Term Set”. Step 8: Then, fill in the name of your new Term Set in the box that appears below your Term Group. (E.g. Clients).

Step 9: Select your new term group. Step 10: Select “Add Term Set”. Step 11: Then, fill in the name of your new Term in the box that appears below your Term Group. (E.g. ABC Corp.).

Step 12: Once your Group, Set, and first term is created, repeat the steps covered above to create your new Term Store structure.

Note: If you have a lot of new managed metadata you would like to add in your Term Store, there is an import new term set feature which allows you to Import a templated list into your term store to design it automatically. (You must create a Term Group before you can import).

import new term set using the csv, organization metadata


About Cadence Solutions

Jordan Uytterhagen founded Cadence Solutions starting on the client side of the table. His mandate has been to help organizations struggling with digital transformation implement projects without losing their trust and confidence. Our solutions include automation of human resources, finance, accounts payable, contract management, document capture, drawing and records management, as well as managed services. Cadence Solutions has proven, time and again, that our client's projects will be successful because we are authentic with unmatched experience.


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