Automatically Populated Metadata

You can specify automatically populated properties to be added to email messages when you save them to M-Files by dragging them to M-Files folders in Microsoft Outlook. These settings are folder-specific, allowing you to utilize multiple subfolders for a variety of use cases. The function is available in Microsoft Outlook versions 2016 and 2019, and in versions of Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise that Microsoft supports.

Note: These folders need to be added as subfolders under the automatically created M-Files folders (representing your M-Files vault connections). If you create a folder directly on the main level, you create a normal Microsoft Outlook folder, for which you cannot specify M-Files properties.

You can find the Specify M-Files Properties function in Microsoft Outlook by right-clicking an M-Files folder.

Properties dialog for setting up automatically populated, folder-specific metadata.

Click the Add button to define a new property.

You can, for instance, use the property Project and set it to have the fixed value Hospital Expansion (Miami, FL). This way, the messages dragged into that folder are automatically associated with the Hospital Expansion (Miami, FL). Alternatively, if you wish to save all job applications in the Job application class, select the folder property Class and set its value to Job application.

You can also specify M-Files folder properties to be read from the email message itself. In this case, select Add, then the Read from the e-mail message option and choose a suitable field from the drop-down menu.

Allow users to retain the property value for this folder

This setting (visible only to users with at least the right to manage common views) adds a Retain column to the folder properties dialog. The Retain option is available for all users, and also controlled by each individual user. Activating the Retain option for a property tells M-Files to remember the latest value provided by the user, ignoring the original fixed value set by the administrator.

Let's say the organization is connected to two projects with the same customer, and the default project has been set to Alpha. The project manager for project Beta would probably want to enable the Retain option, because this way the property needs to be changed only once. After this, M-Files remembers that the project manager wants to associate his emails with project Beta, not Alpha, even though the default project was set to Alpha.


The Permissions option enables you to define user permissions for the messages that are saved in this M-Files folder. This should not be confused with the view permissions for common folders (see below).

Prompt for metadata

You can specify whether the metadata card is to be displayed when messages are dragged into the M-Files folder. The metadata card should be displayed if you wish to check or modify automatically populated metadata during saving, or if you have not defined any folder-specific properties.

Specifying common M-Files folders

You can also specify that the M-Files subfolder you created is common to all users, in which case the folder will be displayed in Microsoft Outlook to all users. A common M-Files subfolder can be created and specified by a user with at least the right to manage common views. When the user drags a message to a common folder, the message automatically receives the metadata (properties) that have been specified for the common folder.

The common folder settings are applied once the user starts Microsoft Outlook while being logged into the vault.

Common folder view permissions

As soon as the Common to all users option has been enabled, the Permissions tab appears next to the Metadata tab. This allows you to select view permissions for the common folder. This should not be confused with the Permissions option on the Metadata tab (see above).

Defining Automatically Populated Metadata

  1. In Microsoft Outlook, select an existing M-Files folder or create a new M-Files folder:
    If you want to...Do the following...
    Define automatically populated metadata for an existing M-Files folder Right-click an existing M-Files folder in the navigation pane and select Specify M-Files Properties from the context menu.
    Define automatically populated metadata for a new M-Files folder Right-click a vault in the navigation pane, select New Folder... from the context menu, name the folder and press the Enter key.
    Result:The Properties dialog is opened.
  2. Click Add to define a new property.
    Result:The Define Property dialog is opened.
  3. From the Property drop-down menu, select an M-Files property that you want to automatically populate, and then select either:
    • Use a fixed value and enter or select a value in the field below if you want to populate the property value with a fixed value.
    • Read from the e-mail message and select an email header field to read information from by using the Field drop-down menu if you want to populate the property value with information read from the imported email message.
  4. Click OK to close the Define Property dialog.
    Result:The automatically populated property is added to the Properties list in the Properties dialog.
  5. Optional: On the Properties list in the Properties dialog, check the Retain check box of an automatically populated property if you wish M-Files to always remember the most recent value set by any user for this property, ignoring the original value set in this dialog.
  6. With the Permissions drop-down menu, specify the permissions for documents created through this folder.
  7. Optional: Select the Prompt for metadata if you want to display the metadata card and prompt for additional metadata when an email message is dragged and dropped to this folder.
  8. Using the Save as type drop-down menu, select the email message format for the messages saved to this folder.
  9. Optional: Check the Common to all users check box if you wish to display this folder to all vault users in Microsoft Outlook.
    If the Common to all users option is enabled, you can specify the users who may see this folder on the Permissions tab.
When an email message is dragged and dropped to the Microsoft Outlook folder for which you have just set automatically populated metadata definitions, the message is saved to M-Files with automatically populated metadata.