SLIM Companion Explorer mimics File Explorer in a browser. It is easy-to-use, easy to deploy, cost-effective and fast.
View common file formats such as pdf, msg, eml, jpg, zip, mht, … directly in your browser. View and edit Office files (docx, xlsx, pptx) in your browser or view/edit Office files in your local Office application. Copy / move folders and documents within sites and between sites. Support for Check in / Check out.
Extract metadata from different file types (pdf, jpg, png, docx, tiff, dwg, psd, doc, xls, …) and capture the values into SharePoint columns.
Drag emails from Outlook into SharePoint and extract email metadata (e.g. Subject, From, …). Fast previewing of emails in SharePoint using your browser and view/open email attachments (docx, xlsx, pptx, pdf, jpg, …) directly in your browser.
Explorer provides tight integration with Google Maps. Upload images (e.g., jpg photo) containing GPS coordinates and populate a SharePoint location column. The tool will automatically detect the presence of the location column and provides options to display all (or selected) items on a Google Map.
SLIM Companion Explorer works with main stream browsers and is supported with SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2016, and SharePoint 2019.
View email attachments in 3 steps
Open Attachments option
|Key feature||File Explorer||OneDrive for Business client||SLIM Companion Explorer|
|Upload documents and folders||o|
(only with Edge)
|Copy / Move folders and documents within sites and between sites||✓||✓||✓|
|Search (full text + metadata)||x|
(only document names)
(only with SharePoint Online and OneDrive)
|Support for Content Types||x||x||✓|
|Extract document properties (e.g. pdf, docx, msg, jpg, png, doc, xls, ...)||x||x||✓|
|Integration with Google Maps||x||x||✓|
|Upload emails (and/or attachments) from Outlook||✓||✓||✓ |
(Chrome, Edge, Opera and Safari)
|Preview emails and directly open/view email attachments (docx, xlsx, pptx, pdf, jpg, ...)||x||✓||✓|
|Easy to deploy||o|
(only with Edge and configuration changes on SharePoint and the clients)
|Check in / Check out||x||x||✓|
|Local content||No||Yes, previously accessed or synced files||No|
(sync problems and unintentional deletions are common)
|Support for macOS||x||✓||✓|
SLIM Companion Explorer transforms your browser into a powerful tool for SharePoint and OneDrive. It mimics File Explorer (or Finder) so users will require minimal training to use the tool. Explorer offers the same basic functionality as File Explorer (e.g. browse folders, view/edit documents, upload folders/documents, rename items, move/copy folders and documents, download, properties, …) but it also extends the functionality offered.
The tool does not require any software installs on SharePoint servers or the user’s computer. Explorer consists of a few small files (total size 1.5 MB) that need to be uploaded to a SharePoint library. Access to the tool can be easily restricted by using SharePoint permissions. The optional Explorer App adds a button to all document libraries, picture libraries and assets libraries in a site. To start the tool simply open the aspx file in SharePoint or use the button in the library’s ribbon.
SLIM Companion Explorer in-depth
This section describes specific features of Explorer.
Simply drag and drop documents or folders from File Explorer into the Explorer tree, select a Content Type and click “Proceed”. The progress for each item is shown. Item names are greyed out when they have been uploaded successfully.
The Explorer tree by default shows the same columns as File Explorer (Modified, Type and size) and provides the same sorting functionality.
The tool can be configured to show custom SharePoint columns like email from details, presence of an attachment or the version number. This allows for the use of SharePoint metadata by Explorer which is not possible with File Explorer or OneDrive for Business client.
The option “Quick Search” in the context menu allows for quick selection of items without using search.
Copy/Move folders and documents
Explorer supports copying/moving folders/documents using the context menu (e.g., cut + paste) or using drag and drop. Folders and documents can be copied/moved within a library, to a different library in the same site or to a different library in a subsite or another site.
Users with SharePoint Online can choose to view/edit office files using Office Online or use a local Office application.
Browse zip file
The contents of zip files is shown by clicking the expand icon. This shows the zip file’s contents without downloading the entire file and individual files (incl. Office and pdf files) can be directly opened / previewed.
Each item the tree has a context menu with options relevant for that item. It behaves in the same way as File Explorer and contains option to preview an item, copy, move, rename, delete, etc… The menu options are configurable.
Edit non-Office files (e.g., PDF)
Explorer extends SharePoint functionality by simplifying the process to edit non-Office files such as PDF and DWG files. The option “Edit in app” downloads the selected document with a unique name to allow editing of the file using local client applications (e.g., Adobe Reader DC). Explorer provides instructions to the user and shows a form to simplify uploading of the modified file to SharePoint.
The “Edit in app” functionality can also be used in libraries configured with “Require Check Out”, files are automatically checked out / checked in by the Explorer tool.
If the user has forgotten to upload the locally modified file (or has closed the browser window) then Explorer will show a window with files being edited by that user during startup.
Explorer can extract email metadata from emails (To, From, Subject, Conversation, …) and capture the values into SharePoint columns for filtering, viewing and advanced searching. The tool also supports previewing emails in a browser and view/open email attachments (docx, xlsx, ppt, pdf, jpg, …) directly in the browser without downloading emails to a local computer. This has a positive effect on the adoption of SharePoint and increases user productivity. It also allows use of SharePoint on a devices without Office applications (e.g. iPad) and reduces compliance risk by keeping the attachments in the cloud instead of storing a local copy.
Office attachments (docx, xlsx, pptx and vsdx) can be directly viewed in the browser without downloading. This increases user productivity, has a positive effect on adoption and also reduces compliance risk by not downloading content to local machines where it is out of control.
The attachments are also listed in the email’s context menu under “Attachments”:
The tool also supports attaching SharePoint document(s) (of folders) to a new email.
Explorer also provides a search bar at the top of the page (SharePoint Online) to provide users will a fast and robust way to access their content. The search bar provides easy access to your content and works in the same way as File Explorer by only searching from the current location downwards. The search result list contains search results for folders and documents (full text and metadata).
The tool can extract properties from different file types (msg, eml, jpg, pdf, docx, dwg, doc, xls, …) during uploading and capture the values into SharePoint columns. The following document types are supported:
– email file formats (msg and eml)
– PDF file format (e.g. Title, Author, Keywords, Modify Date, custom properties, AutoCAD SHX Comments, …)
– image file formats (jpg, png, gif, tiff, bmp, svg and psd)
– Office files (docx, xlsx, pptx, vsdx, docx, xlsm and pptm)
– Binary Office files (doc, xls and ppt)
– HTML files (htm and html)
– Audio files (mp3 and wma)
– Video files (wmv, mp4 and mov)
– Drawing files (dwg)
The context menu option “Properties” shows all properties present within the document.
The tool caters for metadata from different schemes: EXIF, XMP, IPTC and ICS.
By default documents and folders are uploaded using the “Document” Content Type and the “Folder” Content Type respectively. Explorer allows the user to select different Content Types and also to set values for metadata fields used in these custom Content Types. Properties in source files (e.g. keywords in PDF files, GPS coordinates in jpg files, ..) can also be mapped to columns in the Content Types. The tool can also be configured to bypass the “metadata form”.
Explorer supports commonly used metadata types like single line of text, choice, dates, … but also managed metadata (incl. Enterprise Keywords), lookups and location columns. The tool can be configured to skip the metadata dialog and upload the documents using the default content type.
Check in / Check out
Explorer will automatically detect if a library uses Check in / Check out functionality. Checked out documents are marked and indicate which user has checked out the document. The context menu contains options to check in, check out or discard check out per document. The tool also supports bulk actions. Site collection administrators can also use discard check out on documents checked out by other users.
The labels can be displayed as custom columns in the Explorer tree.
The ellipsis option “Properties” also shows the sensitivity label.
Thumbnail view (only available for SharePoint Online and OneDrive)
SharePoint content can also be viewed using thumbnails.
The bread crump at the top of the page allows for easy navigation through your content. The thumbnails can be sorted by name, modified date, type and size. Clicking on a thumbnail opens a dialog window with the full file.
The integration with Google Maps allow organization to combine the power of SharePoint Online with the capability of Google Maps. The tool can automatically populate a location column when the uploaded documents (e.g. photo) contain GPS coordinates. Use the Google Maps integration to show one or more items on a map. The marker preview shows a thumbnail preview and key properties.
Items in the same location can be previewed using the previous or next links or by using the keyboard’s left and right arrows. The thumbnail preview provides a link to view the full item with all metadata.
Using Google Maps in SharePoint is made simple by removing the need to add web parts or scripts for individual libraries. The tool will automatically detect if a library contains a location column and then show the Google Maps option in the context menu.
Hub sites (only SharePoint Online)
Explorer support hub sites. Hub sites have a different visual appearance and the associated sites are shown as nested sites. Search will automatically search in the hub site and associated sites.
The tool allows users to create a basic inventory of the content of a SharePoint Document library, Picture library or Asset library. For example, list the number of documents, the number of folders, content types used, number of major versions, diskspace consumed by document versions, … The inventory of documents and folders can be exported as a CSV file. Major and minor document versions can be deleted in a controlled way. For example, delete all major document versions apart from the 3 most recent versions. Explorer also allows a user to create an inventory report of source system (e.g file share) which can be downloaded as a csv file.
Explorer supports migration of large document volumes (10’s of GB’s). Larger data sets can be easily split into smaller parts by excluding folders. The maximum file size supported is 100 GB on SharePoint Online, 15 GB for SharePoint 2019 and 10 GB for SharePoint 2016. For SharePoint 2013 the maximum file sizes are browser dependent (see release notes at the bottom of the page). Unlike many migration tools there is no limit in terms of the data volume uploaded or downloaded.
The SharePoint modern view allows downloading of folders. This functionality is not available when using the classic view or SharePoint on-premise. Explorer allows downloading of multiple documents and/or folders into a zip file. Very large document volumes are supported (e.g. 10’s of GB’s) by using multiple zip files. The “Export” feature extends the functionality of “Download & Zip” by including the metadata for each document as a separate json file into the zip file(s).
5000-item List View Threshold (Large Lists)
The 5000-item List View Threshold prevents access to content unless special measures (e.g. views using indexed columns) are used. Explorer caters for Document (and Picture and Asset) libraries that exceed this limit. The content is retrieved in chunks and does not require any changes to SharePoint. Using Explorer it is possible to browse through large lists, download the list’s contents or report on the list’s content.
SLIM Companion Explorer App
The optional App adds an “Explorer” button to the standard SharePoint ribbon of Document, Picture and Asset libraries.
This way the Explorer tool is easily accessible for users across an entire site or tenant. The App is available for Office 365 Business and Enterprise plans.
NB: Microsoft has announced that IE11 will no longer be supported with Office 365 as of 21 August 2021 and Microsoft will no longer support Internet Explorer from 15 June 2022 onwards. Organizations need to find alternatives ways or start using the standard SharePoint browser interface.
Explorer supports migrations to SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2016, SharePoint 2019, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online.
The tool can be used with Document Libraries, Picture Libraries and Asset Libraries. The latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge and Safari are supported (on Windows clients, macOS and iPadOS).
For further information check out the following sources:
Or contact us directly (here).
To summarize, SLIM Companion Explorer transforms your browser into a powerful tool to improve productivity and increase adoption.