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Content Type – Advantages, Creation, Association

Posted by Paul on July 14, 2013

In this article I would like to reveal the advantages of Content Type in real world scenarios.

What is Content Type?

A content type is a reusable collection of metadata (columns), workflow behavior and other settings for a category of items or documents.


We can manage Content Types through the Site Actions > Site Settings > Content Types page.

Advantages of Content Type

Reusability: We can create a content type & reuse across the site. For example, we can create a content type named Expense & reuse it in multiple departments like HR, Marketing, Research etc.


Additional to columns, we can reuse the workflows, custom forms associated with Expense content type. The reusability feature helps in reducing time effort in creating redundant items.

Standardization: Content Type allows quick standardization of items through definition in one place.

Centralized Control: We can apply changes to existing content type & the associated list or library will reflect changes automatically.

For example, if we add a Description column to the above Expense Content type, the change will be reflected in all associated libraries.

Another example, we can create custom new/edit forms for a content type & the changes should reflect everywhere. So, quick standardization is possible through content type.

Default Content Type: We can add a new content type to a library or list & make it default. Default Content Type will be invoked while using the Add Document or Add Item links.

Multiple Associations: We can associate multiple content types to a list or library. For example a Project Library can have different content type associated like: Plan, Expense, Meeting, Discussion etc.

Creating Content Type

In this step, we can quickly create a content type. Open Site Actions > Site Settings > Site content types link as shown below:


In the appearing page, click the Create button.


You should get the screen below to enter the Content Type detail. You can create a content type inheriting from existing content types like Item, Document, Folder etc.

For the time being, please select the Item content type from List Content Types group. Enter the name of new content type as Expense.


Click OK button to save changes. You can see the new content type created in the content types page, make sure you check under the Custom Content Types group.


You can edit the above Content Type & add remaining columns Amount, Date & Person.


Now we are ready to associate the above content type to a List. As we have created a List Content Type, we can associate it with List. (for library, we need to create Document content type)

Open an existing List & choose List Settings. From the Advanced Settings, check the option Allow Management of content types.


Coming back to the List Settings page, choose the Add from existing content type link.


In the appearing page, you can select our Expense content type & click the Add button.


After clicking Add button, click Ok button to continue.

Now you are ready to use the new content type. Go to the List, click the New drop down, You can see the Expense item listed there.


We can make a content type as Default which will set the New command to the specified item.

On clicking the Expense item, you can see the dialog box with Expense fields.



Please note that wise usage of Content Type, in the long run, should save Time, save Effort and increase Quality of Content Management.



In this article we have explored Content Type, Advantages, Creation and Association.


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