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Better SharePoint Bulk File Uploads with UploadZen

Why Use UploadZen for SharePoint Bulk-File Uploads?

UploadZen provides a much more sophisticated upload experience for your SharePoint document management efforts than the rather "lightweight" out-of-box upload tools do.

  • The SharePoint 2013 & 2010 multi-upload function is based exclusively on the proprietary Microsoft Silverlight plugin, restricting the feature to a small sub-set of real-world users. UploadZen supports HTML5 if available, and both Flash and Silverlight as well as basic HTML4 to fall back on, supporting a much higher percentage (99+%) of your web site visitors and end users.
  • Just like the out-of-box uploader, administrators can simply allow uploading of any and all file types and sizes into any Library. Unlike the built-in uploader, UploadZen lets them also set up fine-grained rules prescribing exactly which file types (ie. filter by allowing images-only, documents-only etc.) and/or sizes are allowed into which types of Libraries.
  • UploadZen provides Chunking for uploading files of any size, including GB-sized files, regardless of your server-side request length or file size limits.
  • UploadZen allows for client-side on-the-fly image resizing prior to the upload, resulting in much faster upload times and substantial bandwidth savings.
  • UploadZen conveniently alerts end users about existing files with the same name in real-time upon file selection, prior to the upload. This lets end users decide individually, file by file whether overwriting is desired in the current upload context or not.
  • UploadZen conveniently alerts end users in real-time upon file selection about files that are blocked and will be refused by SharePoint, prior to the upload. This saves time and bandwidth so that no upload is attempted and performed only to fail after the transfer on the server side.
  • Resuming uploads that were cancelled half-way, or retrying failed uploads could not be easier and smoother than with UploadZen.
  • UploadZen lets you compress multiple selected files into a ZIP archive on the client-side prior to uploading it (Silverlight users only).
  • UploadZen lets your users extract files and sub-folder structures of uploaded ZIP archive files on the server side in-place into the target Document Library folder.
  • UploadZen provides both automatic check-out and batch check-in (supporting minor/major versioning), substantially speeding up your document work-flows.
  • SharePoint is picky about many characters it doesn't like in uploaded file names. UploadZen goes the extra mile and removes or replaces them automatically, so that your end users will never encounter SharePoint's "The file name is invalid or the file is empty. A file name cannot contain any of the following characters..." message — yet another time and trouble saver.

Added benefits specific to WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 sites

In Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007, the built-in, out-of-box functionality for uploading multiple files to a SharePoint Document Library relies on a proprietary Microsoft-supplied ActiveX control. The downsides to that approach:

  • it restricts multiple uploads to end users with Internet Explorer on Windows only — sub-optimal for Internet-facing web sites
  • it requires special end user Internet Explorer security settings to be set and confronts them with ambiguous confirmation dialogs
  • it is readily available without requiring further client-side installations only on client computers that have SharePoint Designer or at least one Microsoft Office 2007 or newer application installed (and selected certain SharePoint-related client components when they installed that Office application, hidden in some crowded setup customization tree view)

Once you do get this troublesome out-of-the-box ActiveX bulk-file upload control to work for at least some of your users, then they can only upload multiple files from a single directory in one bulk upload — but they cannot select files from various directories to bulk-upload in one go.

Once you decide that the out-of-the-box approaches to bulk document uploads is too fickle, or just not useful enough, for you and your end users, UploadZen offers a robust and compelling alternative.

Note: after installing UploadZen to SharePoint, deployment is not yet complete. UploadZen will not work properly unless and until you have taken all steps necessary to fully prepare a Web Application for UploadZen.