Create or customize a site content type

This article explains how to create and customize site content types.

To create site content types for a site, you must have Full Control for that site. To create site content types for the top-level site in a site collection, you must be a site collection administrator.

In this article


About site content types and inheritance

Content types are organized into a hierarchy that allows one content type to inherit its characteristics from another content type. This allows categories of documents to share attributes across an organization, while allowing teams to customize these attributes for particular sites or lists.

Content types are first defined centrally in the Site Content Type Gallery for a site. Content types that are defined at the site level are called site content types. Site content types are available for use in any subsites of the site for which they have been defined. For example, if a site content type is defined in the Site Content Type Gallery for the top-level site in a site collection, it is available for use in lists and libraries in all of the sites in that site collection. Site content types can be added individually to lists or libraries and customized for use in those lists or libraries. When an instance of a site content type is added to a list or library, it is called a list content type. List content types are children of the site content types from which they are created.

When you define a new custom site content type in the Site Content Type Gallery for a site, you start by choosing an existing parent site content type in the Site Content Type Gallery as your starting point. The new site content type that you create inherits all of the attributes of its parent site content type, such as its document template, read-only setting, workflows, and columns. After you create this new site content type, you can make changes to these attributes. Whenever you make changes to site content types, you can specify whether you want these changes to be applied to any other child site content types or list content types that inherit their attributes from these site content types. Only the attributes that the child site content types or list content types share with a parent content type can be updated. If a child site content type has been customized with additional attributes that the parent site content type does not have (for example, extra columns), these customizations are not overwritten when the child site content type is updated. Changes that you make to a site content type do not affect the parent site content type from which the site content type was created.

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Create a site content type

  1. Go to the site for which you want to create a new site content type.
  2. On the Site Actions menu, click Site Settings.
  3. Under Galleries, click Site content types.
  4. Click Create.
  5. On the New Site Content Type page, in the Name and Description section, type a name and a description for the new site content type.
  6. In the Select parent content type from list, select the group from which you want to select the new content type.

 Note   The Special Content Types group contains content types that change the behavior of your list or library when added.

  1. In the Parent Content Type list, select the parent content type on which you want your own content type to be based.

 Note   The list of parent content types differs depending on the option that you selected in the previous step.

  1. In the Group section, choose whether to store this new site content type in an existing group or a new group.
  2. Click OK.
  3. The Site Content Information for your new content type appears. You can choose options on this page to further define your new content type. For information about how to customize your site content type, see the other sections in this topic.

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Add a document template to a content type

You can associate a document template only with a document content type (any content type derived from the document parent content type). By associating a document template with a content type, you can help ensure that when authors create new documents of this content type, the documents are all based on an identical template.

For example, your organization might use a particular document template for legal contracts. If you associate this document template with the content type that your organization uses for legal contracts, any new legal contracts created by using this content type are all based on this legal contract document template.

  1. Go to the site for which you want to change a site content type.
  2. On the Site Actions menu, click Site Settings.
  3. Under Galleries, click Site content types.
  4. Click the name of the site content type you want to change.

 Note   If the site content type names are not hyperlinks, then it means that this site inherits its site content types from another site, and the site content type will need to be updated on that site.

  1. Under Settings, click Advanced settings.
  2. If the document template you want to use is stored somewhere on your site, click Enter the URL of an existing document template, and then type the URL for the template you want to use.

 Note   You can use a URL that is relative to a location on a site or resource folder. Document templates may be stored in either the default site resource location http://Server Name/Site/Document Library Name/Forms/Content Type Name/ or a library location that has been set up specifically to store document templates.

The following table provides examples of the types of URLs that you can use. The examples assume the existence of the default document template resource folder (the folder that contains the files for site content types) located at http://Server Name/Site/Document Library Name/Forms/Content Type Name/, and that the document template is named Docname.doc.

URL Type Example
Site relative Server Name/Site/Library Name/Forms/Docname.doc
Resource folder relative Docname.doc
  1. If you want to upload the document template that you want to use, in the Document Template section, click Upload a new document template, and then click Browse. In the Choose File dialog box, browse to the location of the file that you want to use, select it, and then click Open.
  2. In the Update Sites and Lists section, under Update all content types inheriting from this type? click Yes if you want to update all content types that inherit from this content type with the document template.
  3. Click OK.

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Make changes to the columns for a content type

You can specify the properties or metadata that you want to collect for an item of a specific content type by adding columns to the site content type. For example, your organization might want to track a specific set of metadata for all of its purchase orders, such as account number, project number, and project manager. If you add columns for account number, project number, and project manager to the purchase order content type, users are prompted to provide this metadata for items of this content type.

There are several ways you can change columns for a content type. You can:

Add a column

  1. Go to the site for which you want to change a site content type.
  2. On the Site Actions menu, click Site Settings.
  3. Under Galleries, click Site content types.
  4. Click the name of the site content type you want to change.

 Note   If the site content type names are not hyperlinks, then it means that this site inherits its site content types from another site, and the site content type will need to be updated on that site.

  1. Under Columns, click Add from existing site columns.
  2. In the Select Columns section, under Select columns from, click the arrow to select the group from which you want to add a column.
  3. Under Available columns, click the column that you want to add, and then click Add to move the column to the Columns to add list.
  4. To add additional columns, repeat steps 6 and 7.
  5. In the Update List and Site Content Types section, under Update all content types inheriting from this type? click Yes if you want to update all content types that inherit from this site content type.

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Remove a column

  1. Go to the site for which you want to change a site content type.
  2. On the Site Actions menu, click Site Settings.
  3. Under Galleries, click Site content types.
  4. Click the name of the site content type you want to change.

 Note   If the site content type names are not hyperlinks, then it means that this site inherits its site content types from another site, and the site content type will need to be updated on that site.

  1. Under Columns, click the name of the column that you want to remove from the content type.
  2. Click the Remove button, and then click OK when you are asked if you want to remove the column from the content type.

 Note   The Remove button may not be available for all columns associated with a content type.

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Change column order

  1. Go to the site for which you want to change a site content type.
  2. On the Site Actions menu, click Site Settings.
  3. Under Galleries, click Site content types.
  4. Click the name of the site content type you want to change.

 Note   If the site content type names are not hyperlinks, then it means that this site inherits its site content types from another site, and the site content type will need to be updated on that site.

  1. Under Columns, click Column order.
  2. In the Column Order section, click the arrow next to column that you want to reorder in the Position from Top column, and then select the order number that you want.
  3. In the Update Sites and Lists section, under Update all content types inheriting from this type? click Yes if you want to update all content types that inherit from this site content type.

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Make a column required, optional, or hidden

  1. Go to the site for which you want to change a site content type.
  2. On the Site Actions menu, click Site Settings.
  3. Under Galleries, click Site content types.
  4. Click the name of the site content type you want to change.

 Note   If the site content type names are not hyperlinks, then it means that this site inherits its site content types from another site, and the site content type will need to be updated on that site.

  1. Under Columns, click the name of the column that you want to make required.
  2. In the Column Settings section, do one of the following:
    • To require users to specify information for a column, click Required.
    • To make it optional for users to specify information for a column, click Optional.
    • To hide a column so that it does not appear in any New, Edit, or Display forms for the content type, click Hidden.
    • In the Update List and Site Content Types section, under Update all content types inheriting from this type? click Yes if you want to update all content types that inherit from this site content type.
  3. Click OK.

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Add a workflow to a content type

Workflows (workflow: The automated movement of documents or items through a specific sequence of actions or tasks related to a business process. Workflows can be used to consistently manage common business processes, such as document approval or review.) make it possible to specify a business process for items and documents in a site. Organizations can use workflows to automate and manage certain common business processes, such as document approval or review. By adding a workflow to a content type, you can help ensure that all items of that content type are subject to consistent business processes. If a workflow has been added to a content type, that workflow can be started on individual items of that content type.

 Note   You can add a workflow to a content type only if a workflow has been deployed for your site or workspace. If workflows do not appear to be available, contact your Central Administrator.

  1. Go to the site for which you want to change a site content type.
  2. On the Site Actions menu, click Site Settings.
  3. Under Galleries, click Site content types.
  4. Click the name of the site content type you want to change.

 Note   If the site content type names are not hyperlinks, then it means that this site inherits its site content types from another site, and the site content type will need to be updated on that site.

  1. Under Settings, click Workflow settings.
  2. Click Add a workflow.
  3. On the Add a Workflow page, in the Workflow section, click the workflow template that you want to use.
  4. In the Name section, type a unique name for the workflow.
  5. In the Task List section, specify a task list to use with this workflow.


 Notes 

  • You can use the default Tasks list or you can create a new one. If you use the default Tasks list, workflow participants can find and view their workflow tasks easily by using the My Tasks view of the Tasks list.
  • Create a new Tasks list if the tasks for this workflow involve or reveal sensitive or confidential data that you want to keep separate from the general Tasks list.
  • Create a new Tasks list if your organization has numerous workflows or if workflows involve numerous tasks. In this instance, you might want to create Tasks lists for each workflow.
  1. In the History List section, select a history list to use with this workflow. The history list displays all of the events that occur during each instance of the workflow.

 Note   You can use the default History list or you can create a new one. If your organization has numerous workflows, you might want to create a separate History list for each workflow.

  1. In the Start Options section, specify how, when, or by whom a workflow can be started.

 Note   Specific options may not be available if they are not supported by the workflow template you selected.

  1. In the Update List and Site Content Types section, click Yes if you want to add this workflow to all content types that inherit from this content type.
  2. Click either OK or Next.
  3. On the Customize Workflow page, select any additional options that you want, and then click Save.

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Make a content-type read only

  1. Go to the site for which you want to change a site content type.
  2. On the Site Actions menu, click Site Settings.
  3. Under Galleries, click Site content types.
  4. Click the name of the site content type you want to change.

 Note   If the site content type names are not hyperlinks, then it means that this site inherits its site content types from another site, and the site content type will need to be updated on that site.

  1. Under Settings, click Advanced settings.
  2. In the Read Only section, under Should this content type be read only?, click Yes.
  3. In the Update Sites and Lists section, under Update all content types inheriting from this type? click Yes if you want to update all content types that inherit from this site content type.
  4. Click OK.

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Specify an information management policy for a content type

You can apply an existing site collection policy to a site content type. Alternatively, you can create a new information management policy that applies only to a specific site content type.

Apply a site collection policy to a site content type

If information management policies have already been created for your site as site collection policies, you can apply them to individual site content types

  1. Go to the site for which you want to change a site content type.
  2. On the Site Actions menu, click Site Settings.
  3. Under Galleries, click Site content types.
  4. Click the name of the site content type you want to change.

 Note   If the site content type names are not hyperlinks, then it means that this site inherits its site content types from another site, and the site content type will need to be updated on that site.

  1. Under Settings, click Information management policy settings.
  2. Under Specify the policy, click Use a site collection policy, and then select the policy you want to apply.
  3. Click OK.

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Create a new information management policy for a list content type

You can define an information management policy that applies only to a specific site content type. If you create an information management policy this way, you cannot reuse this policy for other content types, sites, lists or libraries.

  1. Go to the site for which you want to change a site content type.
  2. On the Site Actions menu, click Site Settings.
  3. Under Galleries, click Site content types.
  4. Click the name of the site content type you want to change.

 Note   If the site content type names are not hyperlinks, then it means that this site inherits its site content types from another site, and the site content type will need to be updated on that site.

  1. Under Settings, click Information management policy settings.
  2. Under Specify the policy, click Define a policy, and then click OK.
  3. On the Edit Policy page, in the Name and Administrative Description section, type a brief description for the policy you are creating.

 Note   When you define a policy for a list content type, the name of the list content type becomes the name of the policy. You can specify unique names only for information management policies that are defined in the Site Collection Policies list.

  1. In the Policy Statement section, type a descriptive statement that explains the purpose of the policy to users. This statement displays to users when they open documents or items subject to the policy. It should explain what policy features apply to the content or what special handling is required for the content. A policy statement can be up to 512 characters long.
  2. In the next sections, select the individual policy features that you want to add to your information management policy.

For more information about configuring the features of the individual information management policies, see the links that appear under See Also.

  1. When you have finished selecting options for the individual policy features that you want to add to this information management policy, click OK to apply the policy features.

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Change the Document Information Panel settings for a content type

The Document Information Panel—which is displayed in the following Microsoft Office 2010 programs: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint—enables users to view and change the content type properties for a document saved to a document management server directly within the Office program they use to edit the document. For example, if the document content type for a specific library has a Status column, users can view the Status property in the Document Information Panel in Word when they edit the document. They can also use the Document Information Panel to change the value of the Status property from Draft to Final. When the document is saved to the server, this property is automatically updated in the Status column for the library.

  1. Go to the site for which you want to change a site content type.
  2. On the Site Actions menu, click Site Settings.
  3. Under Galleries, click Site content types.
  4. Click the name of the site content type you want to change.

 Note   If the site content type names are not hyperlinks, then it means that this site inherits its site content types from another site, and the site content type will need to be updated on that site.

  1. Under Settings, click Document Information Panel settings.
  2. In the Document Information Panel Template section, do one of the following:
    • To use a default template that displays the properties (columns) that have been defined for the content type, click Use the default template for Microsoft Office applications.
    • To use an existing custom template, click Use existing custom template (URL, UNC, or URN), and then type the path to the location of the template.
    • To upload an existing custom template (XSN), click Upload an existing custom template (XSN) to use, and then click Browse to locate the template that you want to use.

 Note   If you plan to upload a template this way, you must remove the publish URL from the template in InfoPath before you publish and upload the template.

  • To create a custom panel in InfoPath, click Create a new custom template.

 Note   If you select this option, InfoPath starts and displays the default template, which you can customize to create a custom panel.

  1. In the Show Always section, specify whether you want this Document Information Panel to display automatically when documents of this content type are first opened or saved within an Office 2010 program.
  2. Click OK.

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Manage document conversions for a site content type

Site administrators can enable document conversion so that end users can convert documents of one file type into another format. Document conversion for site content types also enables site administrators to configure content types to store settings that define which converters are available and how those converters work on documents of that content type. A number of document converters are included with the application, and your organization might have additional custom converters as well. After document conversion is enabled in Central Administration, the converters are available by default for all site content types that can be used in a document library. This includes the following content types:

  • Document content types, such as Basic Page, Document, Form, and Picture
  • Page layout content types, such as Article Page, Redirect Page, and Welcome Page

Converters that have been enabled are available to end users when they select a document of a given content type, and then click Convert document from the context menu. Only the converter or converters specific to the document's file type (for example, .docx) are listed.

If there are multiple converters for a file type, such as XML, you might prefer to edit the list of converters to ensure that users see only converters that are relevant for documents of this content type. Also, you might want to change configuration options for a converter. For either of these situations, you can use the following steps to make changes to document converters.

  1. On the site collection home page, on the Site Actions menu, click Site Settings.
  2. Under Galleries, click Site content types.
  3. Click the name of the site content type for which you want to manage document conversion.
  4. Under Settings, click Manage document conversion for this content type.

 Note   Document converters are available only for document content types.

  1. Clear the check box for any converter that you do not want to be displayed to end users. Make sure that all converters you want to use are selected, and then click Apply.
  2. If the converter you want to use has a Configure option next to it, you can click it to define new conversion settings.

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Delete a site content type

You may not be able to delete a site content type if it is in use on the site.

  1. Go to the site for which you want to delete a site content type.
  2. On the Site Actions menu, click Site Settings.
  3. Under Galleries, click Site content types.
  4. Click the name of the site content type you want to delete.

 Note   If the site content type names are not hyperlinks, then it means that this site inherits its site content types from another site, and the site content type will need to be updated on that site.

  1. Under Settings, click Delete this site content type.
  2. When you are asked if you want to delete the site content type, click OK.

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Related tasks

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Applies to:
SharePoint Server 2010