What are Content Types

An overview of Content Types in SharePoin 2007

#SharePoint 2007

Monday 27 Mar 2006

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For me, one of the coolest new features of SharePoint Server 2007 (or MOSS) is Content Types. In this article, I’ll aim to give a brief overview of what they are and why you should be getting excited about them (especially if you are from a SharePoint 2003 background). It is worth noting that this article is focused on the implications of Content Types in a document management scenario. Content Types are used throughout MOSS and have benefits throughout, but it was too much to cover in one article, so I decided to focus on DM. What is a Content Type then? A content type is an object that is stored within MOSS that defines several elements of a piece of content, including:

This picture shows the site-wide admin interface for managing content types Every piece of list or library content in MOSS is created from a content type. There are a load of out-of-the-box content types like ‘Blank Document’ or ‘Announcement’ and you can create your own (without any code or customisation, it is done through the admin UI). So how do you apply them? Content Types are created centrally and then they can be applied to lists and libraries throughout your site. This picture shows the list-based interface for adding content types to a list or library What does this mean for users? This means that users can now create an expense report by simply choosing ‘expense report’ from the new item button on the library. Their new expense report will be created from the central content type with the document template and all the columns and workflow that are associated with the content type. This pictures show the net result of content types; the ability for users to choose what type of content they wish to create The important thing to note here is that the content will inherit all of the columns and workflow that comes with the content type – even if the library does not. For example, if you have a standard document library that just has the ‘blank document’ content type associated with it (which is the default) it will not have any columns or workflows. However if you add the ‘expense report’ content type to the library, items created from that content type will have all of the columns and workflows that are required by the content type. These columns can be used in the same way as list-based columns. Why should you get excited? The easiest way to demonstrate this is to compare SharePoint Server 2007 against SharePoint Portal Server 2003 functionality.

Document Templates:

Metadata (Columns):

Workflow:

Search:

This was only a brief summary, I hope it was useful. Please comment if you need clarification, found it usefull, good but do this different etc ….

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