Overview of file plan manager

File plan manager provides advanced management capabilities for retention labels, retention label policies, and provides an integrated way to traverse label and label-to-content activity for your entire content lifecycle – from creation, through collaboration, record declaration, retention, and finally disposition.

File plan page

Accessing file plan manager

There are two requirements to access file plan manager, they are:

  • An Office 365 Enterprise E5 subscription.
  • The user has been in assigned one of the following roles of the Security & Compliance Center:
    • Retention Manager
    • View-only Retention Manager

Default retention labels and label policy

If there are no retention labels in the Security & Compliance Center, the first time you choose File plan in the left nav, this creates a label policy called Default Data Governance Publishing Policy.

This label policy contains three retention labels:

  • Operational procedure
  • Business general
  • Contract agreement

These retention labels are configured only to retain content, not delete content. This label policy will be published to the entire organization and can be disabled or removed.

You can determine who opened file plan manager and kicked off the first-run experience by reviewing the audit log for the activities Created retention policy and Created retention configuration for a retention policy.


Due to customer feedback, we have removed this feature that creates the default retention labels and retention label policy mentioned above. You will only see these retention labels and retention label policy if you opened file plan manager before April 11, 2019.

File plan manager makes it easier see into and across the settings of all your retention labels and policies from one view.

Note that retention labels created outside of the file plan will be available in the file plan and vice versa.

On the file plan labels tab, the following additional information and capabilities are available:

Label settings columns

  • Based on identifies the type of trigger that will start the retention period. Valid values are:
    • Event
    • When created
    • When last modified
    • When labeled
  • Record identifies if the item will become a declared record when the label is applied. Valid values are:
    • No
    • Yes
    • Yes(Regulatory)
  • Retention identifies the retention type. Valid values are:
    • Keep
    • Keep and delete
    • Delete
  • Disposition identifies what will happen to the content at the end of the retention period. Valid values are:
    • null
    • No action
    • Auto-delete
    • Review required (aka Disposition review)

Label settings in file plan

Retention label file plan descriptors columns

You can now include more information in the configuration of your retention labels. Inserting file plan descriptors into retention labels will improve the manageability and organization of your file plan.

To get you started, file plan manager provides some out-of-box values for: Function/department, Category, Authority type and Provision/citation. You can add new file plan descriptor values when creating or editing a retention label.

Here's a view of the file plan descriptors step when creating or editing a retention label.

File plan descriptors

Here's a view of the file plan descriptors columns on the labels tab of file plan manager.


Export all existing retention labels to analyze and/or perform offline reviews

From file plan manager, you can export the details of all retention labels into a .csv file to assist you in facilitating periodic compliance reviews with data governance stakeholders in your organization.

To export all retention labels, go to file plan manager > file plan actions > export labels.

Option to export file plan

A *.csv file containing all existing retention labels will open.

CSV file showing all retention labels

Import retention labels into your file plan

From file plan manager, you can bulk import new retention labels as well as modify existing retention labels.

To import new retention labels and update existing retention labels, go to file plan manager > file plan actions > import labels.

Option to import file plan

Option to download a blank file plan template

Download a blank template (or start from an export of your current file plan).

Blank file plan template open in Excel

Fill-out the template (coming soon: reference information about valid value combinations for a single retention label).

File plan template with information filled in

Upload the filled-out template, and file plan manager will validate the entries and display import statistics.

File plan import statistics

In the event there is a validation error, file plan import will continue to validate every entry in the import file and display all errors referencing line/row numbers in the import file, copy the displayed error results so that you can easilly return to the import file and correct the errors.

When the import is complete, return to file plan manager to associate the new retention labels to new or existing retention label policies.

Option to publish labels