Since I hosted a Mindsharp webinar last week on document content types, I thought I would follow that up with the steps to create, configure, deploy and test a new document content type.
All content created new in SharePoint is driven by content types. Most new SharePoint users don’t understand this concept, as until exposed, these content types act from “behind the scenes.”
When a user creates a new task in SharePoint by selecting New à New Task from the ribbon, they are executing a content type called “Task.” When in a Shared Documents library, the default content type executed when a user selects New Document, is called “Document.”
When site owners enable the management of content types in the document library settings, they can now add custom content types to further enhance the usage of the library.
For example … let’s say that your company wants to have a document library with several customized forms available to all users. One of those forms is an employee expense report. The form itself is just an Excel spreadsheet. However, there are several key pieces of metadata the accounting department needs to capture for each report, and there is an approval process involved with each new expense report submitted. Let’s create, configure, deploy and use a new content type to make this happen …
NOTE: You must be in the site owners group (or have full control) of the site to create site content types.
1. Create the new content type:
a. Select à Site Actions à Site Settings
b. Under Galleries, select à Site Content Types
c. At the top of the page, select à Create
d. In the Name field, enter à Expense Report
e. In the Description field, enter à Use this form to create all company expense reports.
f. In the Parent Content Type section, under Select Parent Content Type from dropdown box, selects à Document Content Types.
g. In the Parent Content Type dropdown box, select à Document.
h. In the Group section, you can choose to either store this new Expense Report content type in the Custom Group, or create your own group. Leave as the default à Custom Content Types.
i. Click à OK. You have now configured the shell of the new content type.
2. Configure the new content type:
a. Add the appropriate form/template to the content type
i. In the Settings section, select à Advanced Settings
ii. In the Document Template section, select the radio button for à Upload a new document template and click à Browse
iii. Navigate to where the expense report form is stored and double-click it to select it.
iv. Leave the remainder of the default settings, and click à OK. You have just added the form to your content type.
b. Add an approval workflow to the content type
i. In the Settings section, select à Workflow Settings
ii. Select à Add a workflow
iii. In the template selection box, select à Approval – SharePoint 2010
iv. In the Name box, enter à Expense Report Approval
v. Scroll down to Start Options, and check the checkbox à Start this workflow when a new item is created
vi. Click à Next
vii. Enter the name of the appropriate person in the Assign to box
viii. In the Duration per task box, enter the number of days you wish the approver to have to complete his/her task
ix. Click à Save
x. Use the breadcrumbs and return to the Expense Report configuration page
c. Add metadata columns to the content type
i. Scroll down to the Columns section of the page
ii. Select à Add from existing site columns
iii. Select the group à Core Contact and Calendar Columns
iv. Select à Department and click à Add
v. Select à Manager’s Name and click à Add
vi. Scroll down to the bottom and click à OK. You have just added the appropriate metadata columns to your new content type.
3. Deploy the new content type:
a. Navigate to the document library where you wish to use the new content type you just created.
b. Click on the library tab of the ribbon, and select à Library Settings
c. Under General Settings, select à Advanced Settings
d. In the Content Types section at the top of the page for Allow management of content types, select à Yes
e. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and select à OK
f. Scroll down to the new Content Types section, and select à Add from existing site content types
g. In the Select Content Types from dropdown box, select à Custom Content Types
h. In the box for Available Site Content Types, select à Expense Report and click à Add
i. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click à OK. You have just deployed the new content type to your document library
4. Test the new content type:
a. Navigate back to the document library
b. Click the New icon on the Document tab of the ribbon, and select à Expense Report. Click à OK when prompted to open the file
c. The Document Information Panel opens at the top of the form allowing you to complete the appropriate metadata à Manager’s Name and Department
d. Fill out the rest of the expense report form
e. Close Excel and Save the form
f. When you return to the library, you will see a new column in the document library called Expense Report Approval
g. Next to the new expense report, you will see a link stating that the workflow is In Progress
There are many, many ways in which you can utilize custom content types and many different types to choose from. Content types are a great way to extend the use of your SharePoint document libraries.
Join me again in the coming weeks to learn more about other SharePoint functionality!