Document Metadata, Aliases, and Editable Metadata and Other Settings


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Everlaw has three types of metadata: document metadata, aliases, and editable metadata. For an overview of how metadata is defined on Everlaw, and how it is viewed in the review window, see this article on metadata.

All metadata types can be viewed under the Metadata tab in Project Settings.

Document Metadata

These metadata fields are associated with documents during upload, usually via a load file. Example fields are Custodian, From, Subject, etc. Because they are considered part of the production, these fields can never be edited or deleted. They are always stored in the system, and you do not need to worry about users overwriting them.

As an administrator, you can hide certain fields if they are irrelevant to the needs of the project. For instance, some productions contain a "pgcount" field that mirrors Everlaw's own "Num Pages" display. To hide any particular field from users, click on the eye icon for that field, and the eye will become crossed out; hidden fields are not visible to users in either the search interface or the document review window. To unhide a field, simply click on the eye icon again. In the example below, the "Application" field is now hidden.


While fields are usually created during upload, you can also add a new empty metadata field directly from the metadata page. The dropdown will show a subset of Everlaw’s primary standard fields, or you can create a custom field. Adding metadata fields is not necessary prior to upload.


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An alias is simply a view onto multiple fields. You may want to use a single consolidated field to span conceptually related fields, e.g. "Creator" to be a combination of the fields "From" and "Author". All the fields in an alias must be of the same metadata type; for example, you cannot alias a Time and Text field together.

Once you create an alias, you can search within that alias by selecting it as a metadata search term. If you search on an alias, Everlaw will return documents that match the search term on any of the aliased fields, regardless of their order. 

To create an alias, first select the metadata fields you want included from the set of available Metadata fields. The chosen fields will be highlighted in yellow.


Once you have chosen all the metadata fields to include, click the “New Alias” button on the “Alias” section of the page. A text box will appear prompting you to name the new Alias. After typing in a name, press enter, and your new Alias, and its included fields, will appear. 

Aliases themselves cannot be added to other aliases as a field.


Once created, the alias will be visible to all users. 

If you would like to add another metadata field to an existing alias, simply check the box of the metadata field(s) you would like to add, and click on the green plus icon next to the alias to which you would like to add the field(s).


Click on an alias to expand it and view its fields. To reorder the fields in an alias, drag and drop the metadata fields to reorder them. Fields can always be alphabetized again with the Alphabetize button in the top row.

The order of the fields in the alias determines how metadata appears within that alias. In the example below, the alias “People” contains the fields “In Reply To,” “Author,” and “Custodian” (the fields have been reordered).


Below is an example of how three documents’ metadata would display in this alias. Note that the alias will prioritize whichever value is in the first field (in this case, “In Reply To”) for display. If a document’s “In Reply To” field is blank, the alias will display the value for the second field (in this case, “Author”), and so on.


If you were to run a search for the People alias and the term “gwood,” documents with “gwood” in any of the aliased fields would be returned in your search, regardless of how the alias displays for that particular document.


You can rename an alias using the pencil icon to the right of the alias title. 

To remove a field from an alias, click the red "x" to the right of the listed field. Please note that you will not see a red “x” if a field has the same name as its alias, or if it’s the only field within an alias.


By default, the alias and all of the fields within it will be visible to all users on the project. You can hide or show all the fields within an alias using the eye icons in the top row of the alias. To hide or show an individual field, click on its eye icon under “Show/Hide in Project” on the Metadata fields list.


There is no way to hide an alias. For an alias to no longer be visible on the project, you can delete it using the trash can icon.

If you delete an alias, any searches that reference that alias will return zero results. Thus, exercise caution when deleting aliases.

Also, please note that user groups must have at least View permissions on any and all aliased user fields in order to view the alias. If the group does not have View permission on any underlying user field, they will not be able to view or search on the alias itself.

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Editable metadata

Project administrators can make any metadata field editable by checking the box next to the metadata field's name that says "Make editable." This will allow users to edit the values of that field from the review window. This can be useful in correcting incorrect information in metadata fields or populating missing values. Additionally, project administrators can undo this by unchecking the "Make editable" field on any currently editable field. When doing so, project administrators will have the option to keep the edited metadata values or to revert the metadata back to its original values. For more information, read our article on editing metadata. Please note that edited metadata is specific to the project it was entered in and will not affect other projects in the database.



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Project metadata settings 

Primary Date field

Primary Date is an automatic Everlaw smart search term that orders date fields in file type groups. When applicable, a document's Primary Date will be its first available date field in its file type hierarchy. All date fields beneath the first value will not be considered for Primary Date. Read more about Primary Date as an Everlaw Smart Term

By default, Everlaw will sort the most relevant date fields on your project to the top of the file type group hierarchies. For instance, Date Created will default to the top of the audio, video, and image file type hierarchy, while Start Date and End Date will default to the top of the email, SMS, and chat file type hierarchy. This means that you can run a search for Primary Dates across multiple file types and collect documents with relevant date fields matching your search. 


Project admins can expand the file type group hierarchies and drag and drop fields to determine the list order. Admins can also click "Reset to default" to restore the original order for all the file type hierarchies. Changes made here will be reflected instantly on your project. 

Database Metadata Settings

Display Text-extracted Metadata

When this setting is enabled on your database, Everlaw will attempt to automatically extract email metadata from the text of documents for which metadata is not provided. Text-extracted metadata will include common email header fields like Subject, Date Sent, To, From, Cc, Bcc, etc. and will behave like typical metadata fields. This setting is enabled by default. If enabled after being disabled, a task will run to populate blank metadata fields if email header metadata is extractable from a document's text. This will apply to future uploads and may change some search results. The changes can be undone by turning off “Display text-extracted metadata.”

Attachment Grouping 

Many productions include metadata fields that can be used for grouping emails and their attachments together. Setting the Attachment Group here enables a reviewer to automatically see the number of documents in the Attachment Group of the document they are viewing in the Review Window.

In order to set the Attachment Groups, select the Metadata fields that represent an attachment or family group on the table. These will often have names like "Family Range," "Attachment Range," "Begin Attachment," or some related abbreviation (e.g., "FmlyRng," "BEGATT"). After you've selected the appropriate fields, click on “Attachment grouping”under “Database metadata settings” on the right of the page.. Then, click the blue plus button to add the selected fields to the attachment grouping criteria. 


Note: When a field like BEGATTACH is present, there is often a corresponding ENDATTACH. Because we simply search for documents with matching values in their Attachment Group fields, it is not necessary to put both BEGATTACH and ENDATTACH in the group. Using just one of them is enough.

Once an attachment group has been set up, please click the "Update" button to ensure that your data is now searchable throughout the project. Should you need any assistance setting up any project settings, please reach out to

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Admins can specify which fields to use to identify duplicate documents. By default, Everlaw uses the MD5 and SHA1 hash values. To add additional fields to the criteria for exact duplicates, first select them on the metadata fields table, then click the blue plus button associated with the “ExactDuplicates” setting. To remove a field from the criteria, click the red “x” next to the field’s name. Once the appropriate changes have been made, click "Update" to ensure duplicate identification is based on the new criteria.


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Email Threading 

Everlaw identifies email duplicates using email text content, metadata, and message IDs. You can change the metadata that is used to determine email threading through adding and removing metadata fields. Similar to the other editable database metadata settings, after editing your email threading metadata, click the blue “Update” button to begin rethreading. Please note that if threading is currently in progress, the “Update” button will be disabled. If you need to edit your email threading metadata while rethreading is in progress, please contact


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Raw fields

You can view all raw metadata fields in your database by expanding this section. Learn more about metadata on Everlaw.

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