Document Information Panel
The Document Information Panel is a component of Office 2007 that appears in the client applications such as Word or Excel to allow users to enter relevant metadata that is then saved with the document in SharePoint.
Standard SharePoint columns can have data entered from within the Document Information Panel such as text fields and lookup columns. It is also possible to create a Business Data Column and select data from the Business Data Catalog within the Document Information Panel to save against your document.
For example you could be creating an invoice document and you’d like to pick the customer the invoice is for from data already stored in SQL Server. If you setup the BDC for this customer entity and create a BDC Data Column then when creating the invoice your users can select the customer in the Document Information Panel.
One issue with the Document Information Panel when using the Business Data Column is that you need to know the primary key (or identifier) for the particular row of data (or customer in the case above) that you want to bring back. This isn’t so bad if it the customer id is a number or code that users can easily remember but it’s not so good if it’s a Guid such as ded5e478-e9e4-479d-bb91-39e54722918f!
To get around this problem though, make sure you check out our walkthrough: