Content types are easily one of the most useful tools in SharePoint. However, if you have never created one before, the concept of a content type can be a little confusing.
In a nutshell, a content type is a set of reusable columns that represents a data set. With that said, we interact with built-in content types all the time; a document, for instance, is a content type.
In fact, you can create custom content types based on the ones SharePoint provides for you out of the box.
Here’s how to create a custom content type based on the built-in document content type:
- Click the gear icon for Site Actions.
- Click Site settings.
- On the Site Settings page, under the header Web Designer Galleries, click Site content types. (See Figure 1.)
- On the Site Content Types page, click Create.
Note: Take a moment here to look at all the built-in content types you already have. One of these might already serve your purposes, and you may not need to create custom content types.
- On the New Site Content Type page, choose a name for your content type that aptly describes its uses. Think about being able to repurpose this custom content type for multiple projects.
- In the drop-down list Select parent content type from, choose Document Content Types.
- In the drop-down list Parent Content Type, choose Document. (See Figure 2.)
Because we chose Document as the parent content type, this custom content type will be based on Word Documents. You will be able to leverage the Document Information Panel, and edit your documents using Office Web Apps.
- Choose to place your content type in either the general group Custom Content Types, or a newly created group. If you plan to create many custom content types, it is best to create a new group to house related content types.
- Click OK.
That’s great, you say, but how do I actually use my new content type? Well, you simply associate the content type with a list or a library, whichever is appropriate.
Here’s how to associate our new custom document content type with an existing library:
- From the Site Contents page, click on a document library app tile
- In the Ribbon, click the Library tab. (See Figure 3.)
- In the Ribbon, locate the Settings section and click the Library Settings button. (See Figure 4.)
- In the document library settings page, click Advanced settings. (See Figure 5.)
We have to get to Advanced settings first because we need to enable the management of content types prior to associating one with the document library.
- On the Advanced Settings page, click Yes under Allow management of content types and click OK.
- Back on the Settings page, click Add from existing content types.
- Use the drop down list to select Custom Content Types (or the new group you created).
- Select a content type and click Add.
- Click OK.