Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Creating a Custom Content Type in SharePoint Designer

A Custom Content Type in SharePoint allows you to create a "reusable" item that is connected to Lists and Document Libraries.

For example, if you need to create multiple lists that all have the same set of columns, you can create this as a content type rather than having to re-create the required list structure each time.

You can also apply this same concept for Content Types to Document Libraries by creating Documents that serve as templates within a Document Library.  You can even apply the use of a Content Type towards the use of InfoPath Forms in a Form Library.

Therefore, as you can readily see, Content Types are extremely useful within SharePoint.  However, in order to create Content Types within SharePoint in order to make them truly "reusable", you must create a Content Type and then create any corresponding Site Columns that will be used as part of the Content Type.

Content Types are particularly required if you wish to leverage Reusable Workflows within SharePoint since, unlike List-based Workflows, are tied to Content Types.

Content Types MUST inherit from an existing Content Type within SharePoint.  After the initial Content Type is created, you can further customize it by adding Site Columns.

Content Types can be created either through the Web-based User Interface in SharePoint, or alternatively, created through SharePoint Designer.

I, personally, like creating Content Types in SharePoint Designer because SharePoint Designer allows jumping back and forth between screens seamlessly without the lengthy time delays typically associated with navigating through the web based UI in SharePoint.

The steps for creating a Content Type in SharePoint Designer are as follows:

  1. Create the Custom Content Type
  2. Create any necessary Site Columns
  3. Add the required Site Columns to your Custom Content Type
  4. Allow the management of Content Types within your List or Document Library


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