Understanding the Benefits of SharePoint Content Types

In this session, I covered SharePoint Content Types. In a continuing series around "Understanding SharePoint" I took the time to demystify a bit of everything around this complex notion of Content Types.
You can find the previous recording on "Understanding what's inside a SharePoint Site" on this blog. I strongly recommend viewing it before listening to this session.

Based on the feedback I received, we might look at Publishing Sites (Intranets), InfoPath Forms and Workflows in the coming sessions.

Everything You Need to Know About SharePoint Content Types

Thank you for coming, for everybody that was able to take the time out and actually come. My name is Benjamin Niaulin, and we will be starting over here. Last time, we covered understanding what's going on inside a SharePoint site. So we went really over the structure, the lists, the libraries, the sites, and basically everything that's going around inside your SharePoint site or site collection. This time, I wanted to go a little bit deeper inside content types. It's something that's quite often placed as being complex or very difficult. So I want to see if we can demystify it a little bit and see what we can do with this.

So this is going to be a continuing session. I'm going to try to do different sessions each time. This one is on understanding SharePoint content types. So, of course, this is me so you get a feel of who's talking on the other side of this little application. Again, I'll say it again, I may have a little accent. I am from Montreal, so I do have a little French accent and I'm sorry in advance for that. Feel free to contact me directly via email or Twitter or anything you would like on my blog. I'll be happy to help.

So today what I really want to show you, so we're going to take about an hour, an hour and a half, I'll try to leave a good 15-20 minutes at the end for questions. So hopefully we'll be able to get through all the content quickly so I can answer anything or any questions that you may have. So today we're going to look at a recap of what we saw in the last webinar, which is columns and site columns. Try to get a feel of what's the difference, but I know we already covered it. I just want to make sure that everybody that's joining is on the same page and then we'll skip right to it and we'll go and look what is a SharePoint content type. How do you create a SharePoint content type? How do you associate it? So how do you use it, now that you've created it? What do you do with it? How is it useful? And then finally we'll try to understand the ones that exist already in SharePoint, and you'll see that you've actually been using them for quite some time and just haven't really realized it.

SharePoint Lists and Librairies Recap: The importance of Columns and Site Columns

So let's recap. So if you were here last time, we talked about SharePoint lists, libraries, and these are things that are inside the site and we saw that we have something called columns that are inside your lists and libraries. So don't worry if this feels like a very high overview. It is. I'm just doing a quick recap. So we know we have a document library here and we know that we have some columns, and thanks to these columns, I'm able to get additional information on all of these documents that are in my document library inside of SharePoint.

Now, we remember that when we're creating a column, it's very important to look at the different types that we create. When you create a column, it's usually stored directly inside that list or that library that you've created. So if you want to reuse it, it's going to be quite a pain because basically you can't. Every type of column that you create, we said, is very crucial. Because if you don't tell SharePoint what's going to go in this column as a date and time, then SharePoint is not going to be able to use it to create a calendar for example.

So we said that the types of columns are very, very important when you're creating them. So you must know when to use the right one, but that will come with practice. Views will be created based on columns, workflows can be triggered based on columns, and of course, SharePoint allows you to validate the content that's inside. So this is what we saw last time. If you have any questions, we can talk about it afterwards, during the Q&A. Then we said, "Well, hold on a second." If you don't want to use the list or library column because if you have 200 lists or 200 libraries, you'll have to recreate the column each and every time, and this can lead to error, mistakes and that's not what we want.

So then we talked about creating what we called site columns. So we saw that we could create a column directly in our site and then associate it to the list or the libraries that we want around our entire site collection. So all the sites link together. We said that I strongly recommended site columns, of course, as a scenario when to use them and when not to use them, but most of the time I'll use a site column so that I'll be able to reuse this column in the same site and all of the subsites below it. So this is very fun when you're doing, for example, a lookup column, right?

So you have a list of customers, for example, and you create a site column of type lookup. This will allow you to look up your customers in all of your subsites. So this can only be done with a site column and it's very, very interesting, very practical. So usually what I said is to create your site columns directly at the root. So as a quick little recap, this is how it looks if you're looking at the hierarchy. If I have a top site, so this is the top, top, top site and then I have some subsites, if I create a site column called A, all the way at the top, then all of my sites will automatically have site column A, available in their site to be associated to their lists and their libraries, perfect.

However, if I come somewhere here, in this subsite, and create a column called site column B, it will only be available in this site and his subsites. So this is a way of creating reusable columns and if I have a very, very large hierarchy I can decide where I want to store these. So the last part of our little recap is the differences between columns versus site columns. So we saw this slide in the last presentation. I'll stop referring to the last presentation. But basically we have lists and library columns. Yes, they're fast to create. However, they're not reusable, so you'll have to recreate it all the time. If you're offering 3 choices or 10 choices in a choice column, and you have 200 libraries, you'll have to go through 200 libraries and edit those 200 columns to add a new choice in the future. Now, it does not permit cross-site lookup, whereas you'll be able to with the site column, not available in all content query web part, but that's a little bit advanced. But basically yes, it is easy to use for power users, I agree.

The site column however is reusable. You can do a cross-site lookup column. It's all the fields are available directly in special web parts called the content query web part, for example. You can easily organize them and they are very useful to provide an advanced solution, even if you're in SharePoint Foundation and you want to do some complex stuff. All right, everyone. We did the recap. Everybody's on the same page. What we really wanted here and what we want to look at today is, "What is a content type?" So this thing that we've been hearing and talking about everywhere, what exactly is it?

What is a SharePoint Content Type

Well, to put it simple and this is really putting it simple, it's a way to actually group a bunch of site columns together in a way that makes sense so that they're always used together. We call this a content type. So I'll give you an example. If I have a site column called Contract ID, I have a site column called customer and another site column called Is Active, for example, is the contract active, if I know that every time I use these columns together it's a contract, then I'm going to create a content type that's always going to group these columns together so that instead of going to a new document library and adding the columns one-by-one manually, I'm going to say, "No, no, no, no, this is a content type." So a contract automatically includes this site column and that site column and that site column that I created. So this allows you to reuse a group of site columns together. Now this is really an oversimplification. The content types will allow us to do many, many different things and can be a lot more complex. But at the core, it's really a way for you as a power user to group your site columns together and always call them using the name of the content type. So don't worry. I'll be doing a lot of demos. I'm not going to just be showing you slides here.

So one of the first things is, "Well, what's a content type," right? So if here we said that it's a group of columns, so we said it's a reusable set of columns used together, perfect. But there're a little bit more things. So these are things I'm going to demo too, so don't worry if you don't understand right away what they are. For example, one of my favorite parts is a customer will ask me, "Well, Benjamin, do you know how I can have a document template in my document library? If I click in the ribbon and click new document, a Word document opens. How can I have different document templates in the same document library? How can I have users say new contract, new invoice, new memo and a document template pop up?" Well, this is thanks to our content types over here.

Another way is to associate document policies. For example, if you create a document of type contract I want to make sure that it gets deleted within seven years. Now these are the type of rules I'm going to associate to a content type. So wherever I have a document associated to that content type, well, I'm going to find the policies, I'm going to find the retention policies and I'm going to make sure that wherever it is, in no matter document library it is, as long as the user that uploaded the document has specified that, yes, this is a contract, then these policies are going to apply. This is one of my favorite one, but it'll be hard to explain what the document information panel is. This is really a fancy word that Microsoft put in SharePoint.

For those of you that have been using SharePoint for quite some time now, you may have noticed that when you edit a document, for example, a Word document that's stored in SharePoint and you open it directly in Word, at the top right below the ribbon, you're going to have this little pop up menu that allows you to modify the columns directly from the Word document. So there is a way to modify the way that it looks, so you can add your logo, add a disclaimer, add some kind of information, and this can be done through the content types.

SharePoint Content Type Live Demo

So let's get some demo here. I'm tired of PowerPoint slides. So here I have a little SharePoint and I hope everybody can see it. Normally everybody should. So here I have this SharePoint site that I've created, made sure it's ready, and what I did is, I have this little document library here, and as you can see I have a bunch of documents. Now this library shows me documents for Customer A, Customer B, and Customer C, but they're not all the same kind of documents. So if you look, I can see the different documents in this library for the same customer are different content types. I'll explain how I did that afterwards. But basically if I look at the properties, so I click on edit properties for this document and I'll see that this is the contract ID is CTR-15. I just made that up. The customer is Customer A and it's not an active contract. However, I'm in the same document library and I'm going to edit the properties of this document that's an invoice. If I click on edit properties, look, it's not the same columns. It's not asking me the same questions, except for customer.

So this is very, very useful. If you're in a document library some people will do a different document library for different types of documents. So they'll do a document library called invoices. They'll do a document library called contracts and this can be very, very long and painful. I'm not saying that it's bad. Sometimes that's the way to go. It depends on what you need to actually do.

So if I know that I'm pretty much going to have the same permissions for the entire team to use the documents in the document library, I know that I'm pretty much going to be working with all these documents based on the customer, so I want to be able to say, "Hey, for Customer A show me all the contracts and show me all the invoices, the way that I've set it up here." Well, what I'll have is in the same document library I'll have the two content types, but they share the same site column.

Don't worry if you don't understand what I'm exactly explaining right now, we're going to be covering, that's the point of this session today. So because they both have the column customer, whether I'm uploading a contract or I'm uploading an invoice in this document library, I'm going to be able to group them together here by their customer. This is very, very fun. Another thing that I was able to do by having two document content types in this document library is that when my users will actually go to documents here, and click on new document, look at that. The user can either create a contract or he can create an invoice.

So it doesn't say new document anymore inside of here. So if I click on new invoice, look what happens. The Word is going to open up and I'm actually going to show you this is what I was talking about when I meant we can have a document information panel. So as you can see, I've pulled a template, so this is obviously a fake. This is not a real invoice, but you can take any of your templates, PDF templates, and have that as a template as soon as the user creates a new invoice and this is what we call the document information panel. Remember I referenced that earlier? This is something that you can change per content type. So I can say that whenever a user is creating a new invoice...and sorry if you hear some background noise. Apparently there's something going down in the street and I'm very close to the street. So what I was able to do was actually add my logo directly in the document information panel. This could be one of your...sorry. Obviously the sound is very distracting. It shouldn't take too long and I apologize for that. So I'm going to be able to add my logo. I'm going to be able to add a disclaimer and we'll see how to change that if we have time at the end.

Same thing when we upload a document. If a user uploads a document, what's going to happen now, so if I choose a sample document that I probably have on my desktop already, so for example, this one. If I upload a document as a power user, SharePoint is going to ask me, "Hey, is this a contract or is this an invoice?" So these are the things that you can do with content types is, basically within the same document library have 2 or 3 or 10 different kinds of content that you can manage, but they still live in the same libraries, so that you can put your workflows in the same place. So I can have one workflow for this library. I can have one view that shows everything. So this can be very, very useful.

Creating SharePoint Content Types, and How They Can Benefit You

So we'll see how I did all of this by understanding how to create a content type. So that brings me to the next section here. So how do you create a content type? Don't worry if you still didn't understand, really. It's really going to come as we go, especially through the demos. What I'll do is we said so far that, "Hey, we can do a document library, yes. We can do columns or site columns even better because a site column can be reused across all of our sites." Now I'm saying, "Hold on a minute. What I can do is take these five site columns and group them together because together they make sense, together they are an invoice. Together they are a task. Together they are an announcement in my company."

So this is what a content type will do for your SharePoint site. So how do you create it? Well, to be honest, it's fairly simple. You go to your site settings, and there's a section called gallery and under this gallery section, you will have the site content types. Why? Because when you create a content type, it belongs to the site. This is where it's created. If you click on site content types, you will arrive on a new screen that's going to show you all of the content types that exist in this site. So quickly you will see, yes, there is a button to create one, and we'll see that in a few seconds, but first you will see the list of content types. So first here, this is our decide content types that exist in your site, some you might already recognize. For example, have you done a document before? Have you seen an image in SharePoint? So these are the document content types that you may have already seen, and the next column and this is probably the most important part of your content type, especially when you're creating it. So one thing to really remember is that every content type inherits from a parent content type. Okay. I know, it kind of doesn't make sense right away. What do you mean by that then?

Well, let's say I create a document content type and I call it marketing, and I want to make sure that every time somebody uses a marketing document, he is going to tell me two information. Inside the column, I want to make sure that he tells me which marketing program it is, so I'm going to have a column called marketing program. And I'm going to have another column called the owner of this marketing document, for example. Now this will be a new content type. If ever I want to create a more specific content type later on, so if in the future we create specific marketing content types and I call this a sales marketing...that doesn't make really much sense, does it? Let's go with something else. We can tell that I don't work in marketing. I should have chosen something else. Okay. So inside of marketing I will have finance marketing or accounting marketing or a specific product that we have marketing. Well, what I can do is create a new content type that inherits from my more global, more general marketing content type that I've done earlier. What will happen is that automatically it will inherit from the columns that I had created earlier. Okay. So I know this doesn't make much sense.

Let's go back to this page and let's keep it simple. We have all of your site content types listed. Every time you create them they have a parent from which they inherit. So for example, the form content type as you can see inherits from the document content type which is over here. So if in this content type I have two, three, four columns, automatically these two, three, four columns will automatically appear in my form content type because it inherits from it. In the last column you will see where this content type was actually created, which is the source.

Because if you remember earlier, we can say that if I create my content type all at the root site, it is copied to all subsites, just like site columns. It's available in all subsites. So this column tells you exactly where it's from. This is the screen, and don't worry, I'm going to be doing a demo right after this slide. This is the screen that comes up when you choose to create a new content type. So you're done. You've done a little bit of work. You created your site columns, and then you realized that, "Hold on. This makes sense to be a content type of invoice," for example. So what you're going to do is you're going to pull this screen and you're going to say, "Well, I'm going to give it a name." This is the name that every user's going to see. So you have to make sure that this is something that speaks to the power user. It's not for you, although it is a little bit, but especially for the power user. It's what appears in the dropdown menus. It's what is going to appear in the columns, as well. You can put a description. It's always good to put a description and then this is where everything about the content type is stored. It's really important that you don't make a mistake here. Because once you choose which is the parent content type or which one do we inherit from, you cannot change it afterwards, all right?

So you've chosen document, and I'll explain the parents very shortly. You cannot go back and say, "Oh, no, no, I made a mistake. I want it to be associated to announcement lists that I create." So make sure you take a good amount of time to choose over here. And lastly you can just group. This you can change later. This is in which group you want to organize. So this is really for you to organize your own content types. So where do you want to put them? You can put them in an existing group called custom content types or you can create your own custom group.

SharePoint Content Type Demo

So let's go through a short demo because we just said a lot of things. All right, so I'm here and how did I do all of this? Well, I went to site settings, as we said earlier, and then under site settings, we said that we had something called site content types. In the site content types we have all these content types we're talking about. See if you don't recognize some, folder, wiki page, document, if I keep going down, announcement. Does that make any sense, right? When you create a new list you have a list called the announcement list. You have a list called the contact list. Well, this is basically a list that automatically comes with a content type.

Let's take a peek. Everybody knows the contact list usually. Let's just look at it quickly. If I click on the contact content type, look at what happens. I can see that all of these columns, all of these site columns are grouped together to form what we call a contact, and this is why if I come to create a new list, create a new list, and I say I want to create a new contact list and call it contacts, if I create this, look at this. If I click on add new item, these are all the columns that were associated to this content type called contact.

So let's see how to create one of our own or see how I did the invoice one. Went to site settings, site content types and what I did is I created a new group and I've put my two content types here. So how did I do this to make sure that it goes under the right document library? When you create a new content type, the trick is...actually this is a blank site. I didn't do anything here, so I just change sites. I went to a new site collection. Nothing has been done here. No content types have been created, no site columns. The first one was really to demo what we can do.

Now let's go to site settings and let's start actually creating it. So I can click on create and it's going to ask me, "What is the name of this content type?" Well, let's go with that same example. We said, "Let's look at how we can do some invoices." Now do I want to call this invoices? Probably not because when users are going to be uploading a document, it's going to be a single document at a time. So I want to make sure that they understand that this is an invoice, not invoices. Finally, this is the most important part. We said, "Which parent does it belong to?" and this feels like it's talking Chinese to me. I don't understand anything of what's going on. So how do you choose the right parent? I'm going to give you a little secret. Nobody's an expert, so what you want to really understand is where do you want to use this content type, right? You're going to be creating these grouped site columns together and you're going to be reusing it across multiple sites, across multiple lists, or document libraries. You've got to choose where this is going to be available because something that works for lists will not work for document libraries. One's for documents. One's for lists. So they don't work the same way.

So as you can see, the most popular ones, the two that you really have to remember are do you want your content type to be available for document libraries? So usually I will pick document content types, or will it be belonging to the lists content types and be available on lists and libraries. Once you choose one, you can see under which already existing list content type do you want to inherit from? If I choose contact at this point, well, automatically my invoice library will only work for lists. It will not work for document libraries, and if it only works for lists, it will automatically inherit from all those columns that we saw for a contact. So we will see the last name, the first name, the email, and all of these other columns that will automatically be there in invoice. So this is not what we want to do. We want this to be available for documents. So again, remember the document content type and the list content type. The others will come with experience and more advanced stuff, but really we're going to stick to these two over here.

Now, which kind of documents or document, if you want, libraries, but which document content types do we want to inherit from? So there are many over here. But the one that is used by every document library that you have ever created in an out-of-the-box SharePoint, a brand new SharePoint team site, if you create a document library the basic content type that is used is called document. You know the one I'm talking about. The one that has only the column title, right? Have you ever wondered why every time you create a document library you have this column called title and maybe you would like to remove it?

Well, this is how we're going to be able to do it. So I'm not going to put it in the custom content types group. I'm going to create my own and I'm going to call it custom Sharegate, for example. I'm going to create this content type. So there it is. I've created a brand new content type and I can choose which columns I want to associate to this content type. So by default you can see that the column title is already available. Why? Because I've inherited from a content type called document which automatically inherits himself from another content type called item. That's why you have a column called title that automatically arrives.

If you want to create or add a new column, then simply create a new site column. So this is how I was able to create a new and say, "I want an invoice number as part of this invoice content type." So I'll just create it quickly so now I have a new column. Another thing that I can say is, "You know what? That title column, I don't really want it." You have to be careful when you say that actually, because the title column is used by every single content type. Because everybody inherits from item. If we go back and we look at all of our content types, you will see that item is probably the most popular one.

And if we find it, if we look at item, which is over here, this is the top, top, top content type because they all have a parent. There is no content type that has no parent, except if you want, the item one. So he has the column title and because everybody technically inherits from him, we all have the title column. This is why I have title here. Now, if you click to edit it, you have to be very, very careful. You see, it allows me to edit the title column, but it's not just the title column that I would be editing. It says, "Hey, Benjamin, do you want to edit the site column called title?" Now I've seen people click this and literally ruin a SharePoint site collection for hundreds of people. You have to be very, very careful. Because if it says edit the site column, you're really editing the site column that is being pushed or used by other content types around your SharePoint sites. So be careful. I don't want to edit it. I'm just saying that, "Hey, in this content type called invoice, I want you to hide this column. I don't want to see it in the forms," and click on okay, see update. So now I've created a new invoice content type that inherits from documents, so it automatically got that title column and every document library will be able to now use this content type.

Okay. If you have ask questions, again, we'll do some at the end. If you have something that you really don't understand and you want to cover right now try to put it in the chat. I'll try to answer it as I go. Sometimes it can help. All right, so let's go back. We saw how to create it. Let's see if we want to do a second one quickly. I got to site actions, site settings. I want to create and look at the site content types. If I want to create a new site content type, I click on create. I can give it whatever name I want, perfect. But I have to remember that the name that I give to a content type will be seen by everybody. What is the parent of this content type? So what do I inherit from?

So there are already content types that exist that belong to document libraries, lists, and other things that are more advanced. So if I wanted this to only work with lists, I will choose list content type. If I want this to only work or inherit from announcement lists or announcements, if you want, contacts, or an event on the calendar or if I want this to work all the way at the root from items, so if I say that my new content type called demo is going to inherit from the list content type item, basically I'm creating a new content type that's only going to have the column title that I'm going to be able to use in every single custom list or every list that I create in my SharePoint site. Okay. There we go. So we finished how to create.

Yes, the session is recorded. Somebody just asked, "It would be nice to have it recorded at the end." It's absolutely being recorded. The audio is being recorded for those that are maybe having a little bit of issues with the sound. It'll be available directly on this site. I'll send an email out as well. Okay. So I know sometimes I go very quickly. We've created a content type. It's basically a bunch of site columns put together. If you've created this content type we saw how to create it. We have to make sure that we associate it to the right parent.

Using SharePoint Content Types

Now that we've created our content type, the trick is how are we going to use it? How do we take that invoice content type that you created then, and how can I put it in my document libraries around my sites? Well, it's the first and probably the only time I usually go to advanced settings in your list or library. Now the funny thing is if you do associate your content type to your list or to your library it actually copies it to your list or library. I'll let you think about that for a second. Because it took me a little bit of time at the beginning to really grasp what was going on.

I created my content type in the site, but when I use it inside the list or library, it is actually copied there. So it becomes kind of independent, but still linked to the one that I'm managing at the site level, kind of complicated. So let's see what I mean by that. Well, first we're going to go to a list or a library and we're going to say, "I'm advanced. I want to manage my own content types. I know what they are now. So I'm going to do it myself." So once I do that, there's going to be a new section that appears in your library settings called content types and if you're in a document library you will automatically see one called document. I removed it for this example, or for this screenshot. So as I said, I created an invoice content type and a contract content type in my site. But when I created a document library and I told it to associate the content type to this document library it copied it over here. So it allows me the flexibility to change the content type if I want or need for this specific document library. So let's see what I mean by that.

Here, I've modified, I've clicked on the content type called dummy in my document library. And because it was associated to my document library I was able to associate columns that were only available in this list or in the site, and associate them in my new content type. So what do I mean by that? Don't worry. I know it's a bit complicated. It took me quite a bit to understand all of this content type stuff. So we said that we can have a bunch of site columns we group together. Yes, they're a content type and I call it invoice. Now I can use this in every single document library that I have in my site collection, perfect.

Now, I've taken that invoice content type and I put it inside a specific list or a specific library, okay? What happened is SharePoint copied this content type over to my library. So if I click to edit it from my library, I can actually change it without affecting the global sites or the global content type, if you want. So it's not going to affect all the content types in all the other sites that are also invoice, just this one on this library and I can actually add, if your users or yourself have created list columns or library columns previously, you can put them in your content type now. But obviously it will only be in this list or this library. It will not become global or generally available.

Okay. So let's go back to a demo. I said there would be a lot of demos, right? Okay. Let's go back to this. We went to this demo webinar site. We went to site settings and what we said is, "All my content types, there's a new group called custom Sharegate, and in there I want to create a content type called invoice," and it's going to inherit from documents and be available in all document libraries. Okay. Inside this content type called invoice I said, "Don't show the column title. I don't need it. It's not relevant to invoice, but put a column called invoice number."

Okay. What's my next step? Well, if I go to this shared document library that we created, if I go to documents and click on upload document, let's just go grab a random one here. Probably the same one...whoa, and can everybody still see? Okay. There we go. That was funny. So here I'm going to take this Excel document and upload it here. Now see what's going to happen? It's not going to ask me any questions. It's going to upload the document directly here and if I click on edit properties, it just makes me edit the name and the title.

Okay. So there's no content type associated. So every time you've ever used a document library, it's been using content type. But because there is only one already associated, it's not asking you which one you want to use. So this is how we're going to associate it. We're going to go to library. We're going to go to library settings, and this is when I told you we'll go to advanced settings here. In advanced settings one of the first questions is, "Do you want to allow the management of content types?" Yes, there are some other options. I'm not going to cover these today. But it'll be fun to look at them. Sometimes they could be very useful. I click on okay. Look what happens. In my document library settings, I have a new section now above columns called content types and by default I have this content type called document, and this is the one that's been asking me the title column all this time. So what I want to do now is add from existing site content types, and I will see mine called invoice. Now if you have too many content types, you can filter by the groups you've created, and that's where I have my custom Sharegate and this is where we've created invoice earlier.

So I can add this content type and now when a user comes, it's going to be asked, "Do you want to add a document or do you want to add an invoice?" What did I say happened once I did this? Because I associated my content type to this document library, it's actually been copied here. So let's see what happens. I go to my shared document, let me delete this quickly. So here I'll take this document and I'll open it and I'll bring it to my document library. So here now it's going to ask me, "Hey, Benjamin, is it a document or is it an invoice?" And if I choose invoice, notice the column title. If I choose invoice there is no column called title. It's gone. I didn't delete it. I said that for this content type I want to hide the column title and put the column called invoice number for me to put anything that I want. If I click on save, everything works perfectly.

So what does that exactly mean? What if I don't want to use the document content type anymore? So this is where it becomes very useful to know that a content type is actually copied to your list or your library. This means that if I go to this document library and I say it's only going to hold invoice documents, if I click on document and I say, "Delete this content type," now the first time, I'm not going to lie, the first time I probably stayed five minutes in front of this option, completely scared that if I click on this everything was going to blow up in my face. But look at where I am. I'm inside the shared document library, inside the document library settings, I'm looking at the document content type. So if I delete this content type called document, I'm not actually deleting it here in the site. I'm actually deleting it here in this document library, so perfect. I'll click on it. I'll delete it. Of course, you know why there's an error? Because I have a document in the document library that's still using it. So you can't delete a content type that's still being used by a document. So this document, I would have to either edit to put it as an invoice or would have to delete it. This time, I can actually do the demo that I wanted to do, which is go to my library settings. Tell me if I'm going too fast. Look at my content types and see that I have this document content type in this library and I can absolutely delete this content type without any errors this time. So the option is disappearing on me. There it is.

So if I look in my content types here, there is no more document content type, but it still exists. If I put a site setting and I go to site content types, document is still very healthy, living and no problems. It's just that for the shared document library and if users upload documents now, I'll just refresh here, if a user uploads a new document and click on browse and this time the window popped up, look at what happened. If I go get the session that we're doing right now, click on open and upload, it's not even going to ask me, "Hey, do you want this to be a document? Do you want this to be an invoice?" No, directly there's only one content type in this library now. It's not going to ask me the title and it's just going to put the columns that I said to put.

So let's look at what we did in the first demo. Do you remember here I created a customer document's library? Perfect, and then here when a user came here, he had the choice to upload documents, and then he would have to choose between...so let's just go grab one. He had the choice between contract or invoice. So that's how I did it. I went to site actions. I went to site settings. I went to site content types. I created a new group, when I created my first content type called contract that inherits from documents to make sure that it's available in document libraries.

I then went and created some columns. So I say, "Hey, I need a column called contract ID. I need a column called customer and I need a column called active contract," okay? I said that the column called title I want to hide it because I can't really edit or delete that column, I would break SharePoint. So I'm just going to hide it. I could create some new ones and later we will see that we can also associate workflows to it and we can change the document information panel as well, which I'll show very shortly.

Once I created this document content type called contract, and I also created the invoice content type and I put my columns as you can see, title was still available in this one, I was then able to go to my customer documents library. I went to library settings. I said that in the advance settings, I want to allow the management of content type. Once that was done, I was able to say remove or rather add contract, add invoice, and delete the default document content type. So this means that for this library I have all of these columns available now.

The beauty of it is that for the contract content type, I have a column called customer, which is a site column, and then the invoice content type, and for the invoice content type I also used the exact same column. Now, please take note, I did not create a new column called customer. I am reusing an existing site column that I had already created for contracts called customer. So it's the same column, which means it's reusable. If I go here at the site settings, and I go to site columns, and I go to the column that we created which was called customer, which I put under custom, which I just skipped, there, if I change it here at the site column level and I just add a new choice, Customer D, every single content type that's using this column will be updated. Do you know what just happened? You just had 500 document libraries in different sites all over your site collection, just be updated in a single instant with a new choice. This is a single site column that's used in the invoice content type, in the marketing content type, maybe in a list content type even, for tasks. When you want to assign a new task, maybe you want to assign it to a customer or reference a customer, the same customer list that's available in the invoices. Simple, do a site column and then associate it to your content types and then go to your document libraries and just simply associate your document content type to those document libraries. That's how I did customer documents here and that's how I was able to go to the library settings and add contract and invoice, have two different types of content within the same library. So I have two different forms, right? This is what we saw. When a user uploads a document here, which we saw many times, actually what we'll do is we'll edit the properties of one that's already here. When I come and edit the properties for the same document or for the same document library rather, I can have these columns. Or if it's an invoice, I will have different columns, and this is how you have different columns within the same document library for different types of content. Content types, took me a while to get that.

All right, so we figured that one out. The next step and time is passing by super quickly, the next step is now that you've created these content types is, "How am I exactly going to be able to go a little bit further with this, Benjamin? You showed me that here I can have new contract and new invoice," and if you go to shared document over here, the new one that we created earlier, if I click on document and I click on new, it says new invoice. But if I click on it, it's a blank Word document, very boring, and this at the top is completely blank. So how can we fix this? Well, let's see what we can do. A content type is a lot more than just site columns that I group together that I'm reusing. Already for just that, it's amazing. You can reuse all of this information and have it centralized in one place, so you have one user changing site columns, adding some new choices or adding a new item, and a lookup column or changing the format of the date, and have it reused in all of the content types.

So I just saw a question pop up that I thought was interesting. "What if you edit or delete a column, would you lose information from all documents?" So you can't really, as you saw earlier, you can't delete the whole content type as long as the documents are still using the content type. However, you can delete the columns. So you have to be careful. Yes, you will lose the information if you remove the column. Because the information is really stored in the column. It's not associated to the document, so when you put a document in SharePoint, what's stored here and what's stored here is in SharePoint. It's not inside the document.

So if you delete this column from SharePoint and the content that was associated with it will be gone. However, I said that when you associate a content type to a document library it is copied to that document library. So if you delete the column of the content type from within the library, it will only affect that library and not all of the libraries that are using the same content type. Okay. So we've understood what a content type is, I hope, and the second part was how to create a content type. So I think we've got that down.

The next thing we wanted to do is we saw how to associate the content type to your document library so that within the same document library you can have different forms or different columns, if you want. Then I said, "Wait. Hold on a minute. Content types can do a lot more." We can change the template and have different templates from within the same library. So here what I will do is I will go to my library settings. Go to my content type here called invoice and now I can change other settings that exist over here.

Now pop quiz, if I change anything here, will it affect other libraries that are using the same content type? No, very good. It won't, because if I change the settings of my content type here, it will only affect the content type used in this document library because it was copied. However, if I go to site settings and I find my content type called invoice which is used in that document library, if I change something here, if I create a new column, it will push the changes down to all of the content types that were copied before.

So it's a weird thing, right? When you associate a content type to a document library or to a list, it's copied over, but it's not really completely independent. It's still kind of linked to the one that you created at the source, at the site level. So that if you change it at the site level it will push down the changes, if you want. It's an optional...if I create a new column right now, it's going to ask me if I want to...so let's see it. Do you want to update all content types inheriting here? So basically that's what we mean. Do you want to push the changes the down? You don't have to, but we usually do.

So this is like an architectural choice that you have to make. Do I want this new column that I'm creating or this setting that I'm about to change only for the content type used in this document library or for this content type that's used in this document library and all other document libraries? All right, so one of the cool things that we can do, if you go to advanced settings...you didn't think we'd be going through so many advanced settings, but once you get to know them, they're not really advanced. If you go to advanced settings, it's going to ask you if you want to use a document template with this content type. What does that mean? Let's go back to my demo here, the one with all the customers. If I click on new contract, a Word document template is going to pop up. So there's already things written and then I can just come here and start typing a street address, a city, and fill out the document. So this is called the document template, right? So what if I want a document template to be associated just like that with the content type that I created? So I'll go back to our new site.

So let me just recap what I did and at this level I'm at the site content type. I went to advanced settings and what I can do is upload a new document template. Click on browse, again, it's popping behind. No? Interesting, try again. I'll do a refresh. I'm having some...my browser. It might be appearing okay for you guys. There it is. So here I'm going to upload and I can upload any document. It doesn't matter. For this example I'm going to use a sample document that I have. I have a bunch of documents here and here I'm going to use a PowerPoint document, for example. I'm going to click on open and I'm going to click on okay.

Now what happened is that for the invoice content type that we created, there is now a new template that's been associated to it. So here if I go to my shared documents, if I go to library settings here, and I go to the content type that I associated to this library, which is the one I just updated, and I go to advanced settings here as well, you will see that the document that I had added as a template at the site level has been pushed down to this content type that's been copied over to this document library. Do you know what this means? This means that users can now go to this document library, click on document, new invoice, and you can see it's a PowerPoint. It knows it's a PowerPoint now. I click on create a new invoice. Obviously an invoice would probably not be a PowerPoint, bear with me, and it would be a template. This is obviously a blank PowerPoint, but you get the idea. So think about this two seconds. You can actually have PDF templates that you may have created. You can use Word documents. You can use Excel document templates that you may have. This gives a lot of possibility for a user to just come here and click on new invoice.

Now sometimes you can even cheat and take the URL that this calls and put it directly on your homepage. So you can put a link, the same link here, and say when users click on it, it's going to open the template and want it directly saved, in this shared document library as an invoice. Now I see that I have quick question, so let me just read it out to everybody. "What happens to column data if you have a column used only in one library on a subsite, that you decide that column is useful as a site column? If you don't identify the site content type, what happens to the existing subsite that already has this column name?"

Okay. Basically if I understand correctly, you already created a column somewhere down below and then later on you go up top in a parent site, and you decide to create a content type with a column that's going to have the same column name as the one that's being used below. SharePoint has a way of dealing with it. So you can have that issue happen without actually having an issue. So you will have two times the column with the same name. It'll be two different columns actually because inside of SharePoint, he's going to do something that's going to change the name a little bit for himself. For youm it's still going to have the same column name, but technically it's going to be a little bit different at the core.

Okay. So this is one of the options that we can do, is add a document template. So what I did here in the first demo is that I went to the contract content type. I went to the invoice content type. I uploaded two documents in the advanced settings, so that when users come to my document library, they can choose to either create a new contract or create a new invoice based on my templates, and you can have as many as you want. Okay. What are some other settings that we can do with content types? Well, let's go to library settings, sorry, contract content type.

There's also the document information panel. So for this, I'm going to go to the one that I haven't touched yet, which was the invoice content type. So sorry about that. I know I'm clicking everywhere. Library settings, I'll go down to invoice that we created and here I'm going to say, "No, no. I want to change the document information panel" and this is actually going to call...you need a program called InfoPath to be able to change this. It usually comes as part of Office. So you usually have it. It might not be installed on your computer, but it's part of Office.

So here I'm going to say, "I don't have an existing custom template. I'm just going to create a new one." So I'm going to click on create a new custom template, and just as a recap, the document information panel is this thing here. Let me show it to you one last time. Let me click on this. How's the audio? Still okay? I'm hearing I may be breaking up? Okay. Perfect. So here at the top this is the document information panel. See how I added my logo over here? You can add your disclaimer and you what I like to do? I like to add maybe some text, like a legend explaining to the user what he has to fill out and how, and what's important, and what's not important.

So this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to go to our new one here and I'm going to say create a new custom template. If I click on this, it's going to launch InfoPath. Now, it looks fancy. I'm going to click on the only button that I can click, which is finish. It's going to do a bunch of stuff. I'm going to resize this a little bit so you can see, and you can see that by default I have the site columns that I've created in this content type except title because I said to hide it and it automatically shows up over here. Now there're tons of stuff going on here.

What I'm going to do is I'm going to put my cursor, I'm going to say go before, I'm going to click all the way at the left, for example, and I'm going to say, "What if we insert a picture?" So I go here, maybe picture's online. Now my Internet might not be superfast in this here. I can go look inside Office, so maybe I don't know, test, I don't know if we have some to test. Perfect, so I say I want to take this image here and I'm going to insert it. So now I have this image as part of my document information panel. I'll take this. I'll resize it a little bit. Of course, I'll do it here, size, maybe put it 120%. You can resize it yourself if you want. There you go, and then at the end, this is some text to help the users. So this could be a legend, some message that you want to pass along, a disclaimer, and when you're done, look how easy this is going to be. Click on this thing, it's called quick publish. That's all you have to do. You click on okay. You can save a copy on your desktop somewhere. It doesn't really matter. It's going to publish it and tell you it's okay and that's it. This is a little bit of an extra. It's not part of content types, really. But I go back to my document information panel. You can see that it was uploaded successfully. Click on okay and now if we go back to our shared document library and a user decides to click on new invoice and launches our PowerPoint presentation, I'm going to have my little logo, the column the user has to fill out, and some text. That's it. So you can actually...I've seen some people actually do an entire form. So it's an entire huge form with disclaimers, with choices, and it basically fills out the metadata or the columns for you. So the user just fills out the form.

There's lots of help and validation and tons of things you can do using InfoPath. The only thing is that you do require InfoPath. That's the only thing. It isn't provided if you have an Office, I believe it's Professional, but I don't remember the license. It's not available in the Home Office version license, for example. So there we go. So look at what we've done. We've seen that we can create content types and we've seen what a content type is, right?

We said, "Hey, a content type is my site columns grouped together with some other options, like for example, I can add a template. I can change the document information panel. I group all of this together and now this becomes a content type, perfect." With this content type I can associate it to lists and libraries to be used and reused. But when I associate them to lists and libraries, they are copied over, and if they are copied over, they are independent, but not really.

So I'm getting some little questions and I'm going to make sure everybody gets them, so "can you have a place at the top of documents...let me just go back, scroll here. "Can you have a place at the top of documents that individual users can answer comments about their documents?" Yes and no, right? If you put it like I just did in the document information panel, it's just going to be a comment box. So it's going to be the same box for everybody. Again, sorry. Obviously we're having construction on the side of the building. Next time, I'll try to go see what's going on before. The second question, sorry. "Do the people filing the info need InfoPath filler?" No, you don't need InfoPath to actually fill out the information. It's part of Office. So as you saw, I had PowerPoint and I was able to fill it out with PowerPoint, Word, Excel, you don't need InfoPath to actually enter the information. You only need InfoPath to create the form. Oh, somebody actually answered that for me already. Thank you. "Can you apply content type to documents already in SharePoint?" Yes and no. I mean the answer is yes, but it's definitely going to be very painful if you already have a million documents in a document library.

For example, if I have these three documents and you decide you want to change the content type for these three documents, you have the datasheet view. Unfortunately it will not allow you to change the actual content type. So you will actually have to go one-by-one, click on edit properties, and change the actual content type yourself. So it would be above here. Obviously this is going to be a shameless plug, but if you use tools like Sharegate, we have something called the bulk editor. It's a tool that, yes, it does cost money. It's $395, but it'll allow you to bulk edit. So if you have a very large document library, you have a bunch of list items, a bunch of documents and you want to change them, then you can use other tools that actually will change the content type for you, for all of the items. Otherwise it's going to be very long and painful. There are ways. Let me say one last thing. You can do it with PowerShell, but this is really advanced. This is for your admins. It's really not available at the power user level. So there are ways with PowerShell and scripting otherwise to make sure that you have all the information needed.

Okay. So that brings me to my last piece of information. I hope this has been helpful so far in helping understand content types. There's a lot more to content types. I can use them with page layouts and very more advanced stuff. But if you understand what a content type is you'll be able to see how you can use it in very, very fun and flexible ways. So you've already been using content types. Whenever you created a task list, whenever you created a contact list, it's a basic, custom list that's automatically associated to a content type that Microsoft created with SharePoint. So task lists we saw the content type contacts together.

So let's browse a little bit and see what we can do and there's one last thing I want to show you after and then we can start the questions. I know everybody's has the time until 3:00 o'clock. So here I'm going to be able to go to library settings. Sorry. Let's go to site settings, actually, site settings, and then we'll go to site content types and you'll see that you already have many, many content types that exist. A word of advice, it's probably a good idea never to edit the ones that come with SharePoint. You don't want to change the content type called announcements, announcement list that you create. So if you come here and you say, "I want to create a new announcement list," every time you're going to do this it's going to have the new updated columns that you've created. So sometimes you may want this. Sorry. I don't recommend it, right? What you can do is you can create a new content type called your company announcements or Sharegate announcements that inherits from announcements, and what you can do after is you can say, "Well, you know this document library that I created and I associated the content type to it?" So go to library settings. I associated the invoice content type.

So in your case, you'd be associating the new announcement content type that you created, for example. What I recommend instead is to then say, "I want to save this document library as a template, but I do not want to include the content." So if you save this new document library as a template, and call it, for example, company announcements, well, it's always going to create a new document library or a new list with the new content type that you created. So that's my advice. Don't edit the out-of-the-box content types. Don't modify these ones.

But what you can do is you can create a new one saying that it's for list items, for example, and say that it's for announcements, so it's going to inherit the same columns, and then add or remove the columns that you want or you don't want. Associate it to a custom list. Save the list as a template and reuse it across the board. So a user can actually come to your create list or create document library and say, "I want to create a Sharegate announcement list," or "I want to create a marketing document library," and everything's going to be already set up, all the content types, you only have to do it once instead of every time create a new document library, add a new content type that already exists, delete the document content type and then start working, that could be very painful. And when you save the library as a template, it includes the views that you may have done. So I'd probably recommend doing that instead, otherwise you're going to be doing a lot of work, manual work, again.

Okay. So if I go site settings, site content types, there're some out-of-the-box ones that we've seen, that you probably know - comment, contact, announcement, document, and some others that you might recognize. We understand, I think we understand what the parent means, right? It means that you're going to inherit from the previous one that you created. So for example, let's do one right away. If I want to inherit from the invoice content type that I have but be more specific, so marketing invoice, I want this to inherit from the custom group that I created where the invoice content type that I created was stored. See what happens this time? Let's put it in custom Sharegate as well, so I'm creating a marketing invoice that inherits from my invoice content type that we've created in the last hour. If I click on okay, I already have the column called invoice number. Title is already hidden and it tells me where it comes from. So now I can manage my invoice content type, that's going to be the general one. Aand then for each department, I can create a new content type of invoice that's specific to that department, but still have the parent called invoice that allows me to in one shot, modify everything across the board again. So you know what I recommend? What I usually do is I usually use it with a tool called XMind. It's free. You can use MindManager as well, or Visio and I do a map, a chart, an org chart that shows what I'm planning on doing. Then I'm like, "Okay. Well, I want to do an invoice, but I'm probably going to have different invoices per department." So then I see, "Well, yeah. I'm going to need a marketing invoice. I'm going to need a sales invoice," and then that's starting to form into content types. So I recommend doing the architecture before you start doing all of this creation because, again, when you create a content type you can't change the parent afterwards.

So some questions that we may have, "Can you repeat the piece about how to protect existing parent site columns by not clicking the edit site column?" Yes, so I was saying to never click...if I want to change the title column inside my invoice content type, I click on it. Never click on this, as simple as that. Because what it's doing is it's modifying the actual site column, not the column inside your content type, and it wasn't copied over this. So if you click on this, you're actually modifying the real site column that's being used probably by every single content type in SharePoint. So be very careful when you click on that modifying a column and it says, "Do you want to edit the site column?" Unless you know what you're doing, unless you know that this is your site column and not one used by SharePoint or used somewhere else, don't click this. Instead play with, "I want it required, optional, or hidden."

Another question was, "Can you please review the relative advantages of creating a new content type versus saving a list as a template?" That's a very good question and it's actually very simple. The answer is very simple. A content type is a configuration that you do in a site that's reusable. So if I go to site content type, here is an invoice and these are all the settings for invoice. This I can change at any time that I want and every single list and every single document library that uses this content type will be updated instantly. If you do all of your configuration in a list or in a library and you save it as a template, once you start creating all these lists and all these templates, there is no way for you to add a new column and have it apply to all of these lists or libraries. Because now they've become independent lists and libraries that don't use the content type, right? So what happens here is that if I create a new column right now and I have 300 document libraries using the invoice content type, they will all have that new column in a heartbeat. However, if I didn't do that and I created a document library that I saved and I pushed it out, I have no way to essentially manage it. That's the difference.

"Can you disable, edit site content type based on permissions?" Well, you need specific permissions. It's not necessarily disabling this. It's based on the level of permissions that you have in the site. So a site administrator will be able to do this. A list library contributor will not be able to do this. So you really have to go to your site permissions and you can look at the different permission levels that you have. So let's say look at full control or let's look at edit. If you give somebody edit, these are the permissions that they will have. You have all of them explained over here and one of them, when you're managing the website is really the one that's allowing you to create content types. So you don't have one that says create content types, for example. But it's going to be the manage the website. So it depends on what access you have at the site level. You have to be very careful. It's a good question. It's a good point. You have to be careful with everything related to permissions in SharePoint.

Okay. Since we have a little bit of time before we go to the questions, I know some of you already asked some questions. If I go to site settings, there's one last thing I would like to show you about content types. If I click on site content types and I click on the invoice content type that I created, there's one last thing that we didn't cover. There's information management policy settings. Now this will not be available in all versions of SharePoint. You will not have this in Foundation, which is the free version of SharePoint. This will only be available if you have Standard or Enterprise. So you can just go check. If you have it, great. If you don't, then unfortunately you have a version of SharePoint that doesn't have it. So if I click on information management policy settings, for this content type I'm going to be able to create different policies: retention policy, auditing, barcodes, and labels. To be honest, they all sound very cool. I've probably only used retention policies. The other ones sound cool. I've had some scenarios that customers where I actually used them, yes, but most of the time it's the retention policies and this is actually very, very simple.

Can everybody still hear me, yes? Oh, okay, so I'll continue. So yes, you can add custom policies. If I click on enable retention, now again, remember, it's associated to my invoice custom content type, I can add a new retention stage. Click on add a retention stage and now it's going to ask me, "Ben, what do you want to do?" And it will show you all of the columns that you've created in this content type that are type, date, and time.

Remember, if you were in the last presentation I did, I said that it's super, super important that you choose the right type of columns when you create columns. You can't create a single line of text column and expect SharePoint to know that it's a date. So you create date and time columns, they will appear here. So you can that whenever a document of an invoice...remember a content type can be associated to all your document libraries, another benefit of using content types instead of saving document libraries as templates.

So for invoices, I want whenever it's created, plus seven years, I want you to move it to the recycle bin, permanently delete it, transfer it to another location, this you'll have to talk to your admins, start a workflow. Let's start an approval workflow. Let's start something. Then there is delete the previous drafts. For example, I like to delete my drafts after a year, for example, because it takes up space. Delete all previous versions. Only keep the last major one. So this is very cool, so after a year, after three months, you can clean up your SharePoint based on your content types, your invoices, but not your marketing documents, not your contracts. But they're in the same document library. So within the same document library you can actually do some different management with it. So I can say, "Yes, I want you to move it to the recycle bin," and click on okay, and there you go, "Create it for seven years. Move to recycle bin, no recurrence." Then I can add another stage.

So, "And after this, after 14 years..." Well, it's already deleted, so that doesn't make sense. But I can do many things. So I can say after three months delete the previous versions. After a year delete all previous versions, not just drafts, and then after three years, just delete it. "Can you move it to a different library?" I'm not sure exactly what you mean. These policies are associated to the content type. So it's the content type that you associate to your different document libraries. So these policies, yes, I could make these policies for a document library. But for the purpose of this session, I'm explaining a policy. So if I go back, I went to my content type. I clicked on my content type called invoice and for this one, I decided to do a new information management policy. So you can see it's really associated to this content type. Then another question is, "How to archive a document and get it out of search?" I'm sorry. I'm not sure you can. Yes, you can definitely move it to a different library. So that's the enable retention and then I said that you can move it to a different location, transfer to another location. But for this to work, one of your SharePoint administrators has to create a registered location. So this is usually an archive center or just a repository where you want to place everything so that it's still available with search. There are very different ways to do it. This is more of a records keeping course. We could do a session at some point, but this will have to really be registered by an administrator first.

"Can you just delete a specific number of versions?" Unfortunately, it only says delete previous drafts or delete all previous drafts. You can try to start a workflow that you've created yourself that will do this, but it will be much more advanced. So unfortunately, the answer to "can you delete a specific number of versions," the answer is no out-of-the-box.

Okay. So I don't want to put out too much information. I think that we covered quite a bit of information already. We said that a content type is the grouping of site columns put together. They're grouped. We can associate them to lists or libraries depending on the parent content type that we had chosen. Once they are associated they're actually copied, but will still inherit from the source content type, the one that's created in the site or the parent site, even.

Then you can create document information panels, so those are the little forms with InfoPath. We saw that we can create information management policies. You can even associate workflows to the content type if you want, which allows you to put in the same document library, or in the same lists, different types of content, so different forms, different columns. And this can be very, very useful exactly in this scenario, the first one I explained where I have one document library but I can do a single view because they share a single site column. So I can show all the documents for Customer A that are contracts and invoices, even though they don't have the same columns or the same properties together.

SharePoint Content Type FAQ

That's it for this session. However, it is time for questions. So for everybody that still wants to stick around for questions, we'll do it in chat. Otherwise, I will be putting the recording of this session through my blog. It'll be available. I'll send an email to everybody. Otherwise, I'll also put it on nothingbutsharepoint.com for those that have heard about this session. Thank you for coming and I will look at the questions. Thank you very much, guys. I know I've taken some of your time and I hope it really helped. So let's go and see some of the questions that I have.

One that's starting to go down. "When you open a document that is a template and want to save it..." Hold on. "When you open a document that is a template and want to save it, can it be saved to a subfolder that is listed in a document library?" Yes, absolutely. So basically when you open a document library that's open from a template, if you click on save, it's automatically going to save it in the document library at the root. If you click on save as and you're using Office 2007 or higher, you'll be able to browse your document library from the save as menu. So if you click on save as you will see your folder structure and you can just navigate inside it and put your document in the right subfolder. Let me see if there's another address of the blog. It'll be on the Sharegate site. So I'm typing it right now. There we go, /blog. This is where it's going to be. Don't worry though, I have the email of everybody that joined. So I'll send it out to you guys. Is there any other questions?

Remember, content types are very, very useful. I definitely recommend using this with site columns instead of just putting lists and libraries. It's going to be a pain when you're migrating, when you're restructuring. So "Do content types surface in search?" Yes, they can. By default they don't. So you would have to talk to whoever is configuring the search because it's a bit complex, especially in SharePoint 2010.

Another question...no, that was just a compliment. Thank you. "What other webinars will you be putting on?" You know what? I'm going to do a survey at the end of this to everybody that subscribed. If you didn't subscribe and you just popped in the session, great. Just send me an email. I'll send out a survey and I'm going to ask you, "What would you like to hear about next?" I'm going to do this series of Understanding SharePoint. So we've done Understanding a Site. Now we've done Understanding Content Types. If you have a preference, I will definitely cover it in the next one.

"Can the Sharegate product be used to assign metadata with the same values as the file share folder?" Yes, absolutely. Sharegate can actually map properties from PDF, from your Office file and put it in SharePoint while you're uploading them. You can send me an email. We could talk. I can even do a demo if you want. I don't want to bother everybody with the product stuff. "Do you recommend any books to become a super user?" Yes, I actually have quite a bit, so I don't want to say one and forget one, and give too many props to somebody and not the others. So either send me an email, ask me for the books, and I have quite a bit that I have to show you or tell you. Actually some small, but light reading.

"I'd like the ability to insert a SharePoint property in the Word document, like a mail merge." Yes, for those that are still in the session, check out on Google something called...if I'm not mistaken, it's Quick Parts, yes. Look for something called Quick Parts in Word and what it allows you to do it allows you to put your columns directly in your Word document, but throughout your content. So you can put your column somewhere in the footer, you can put it at the conclusion of your Word, so it's only for Word, however. It doesn't work with Excel. It doesn't work with anything. So if somebody edits the document directly inside Word and you use the Quick Parts, it will change the column value for you. Very, very cool, especially if you're playing with the document information panel and you turn the document information panel into a form, so that while people fill out the form, it's filling out your document template for you, very cool.

"You mentioned MindJet or something like that. What was that and what is the use of that with SharePoint?" Okay. So this is completely another tool. The one that I use is called XMind. I'll type it up. XMind is a free tool that's pretty much exactly like MindManager. It has some less features, but perfect for what I need and allows you to quickly create org charts and other kind of charts. So what I use it for is to organize my content types.

There's no link between SharePoint and MindManager or XMind. It's only to help me create a structure of content types before I start creating them. Because if I start creating them, then I have no option to edit the parent content type. I would have to actually delete the content type, recreate it, restructure it. So I use these tools to organize myself before I actually start creating the content types. Don't forget that content types will be pushed down to your subsites. So depending on where you create your content type, it might change everything. So MindManager is not free. XMind is free. Now that's really up to you guys, see whatever you want to use.

"How strongly against the use of folders in SharePoint are you? Are they really that bad?" That's the golden question. Yes, I am definitely against using folders in SharePoint. We're trying to move away from that. Am I super strongly, extremely against folders? I wouldn't say so. They have still a use, but I don't use them for the same reason anymore. The only reason I will use folders is to change permissions for a group of documents within the same list or library. There are no other purposes to folders. Some will argue that, yes, you will use folders for performance of your SharePoint. If you have one million documents in your document library it's helpful to put them inside folders so that SharePoint has less to query. But that's really advanced stuff. If you're talking about information architecture within your library and you're not worried about performance, I will only use folders to assign permission.

Because once you start creating folders and you want to create filters based on columns, it won't work because it will only filter for whatever you see in the current folder. It won't show you everything that's inside these subfolders. So if you look at the SharePoint we created earlier and I said, "Is it an invoice or is it a contract?" if you start doing folders for that and you say, "Give me all the documents for Customer A," that's never going to work. Because some will be in the folder called contract. Some will be in the folder called invoice, so you won't be able to say, "Show me all the contracts and invoices for Customer A," unless you play around with certain views that don't show folders. There are ways around it, but I will say stay away from folders as much as you can. They still have a role in SharePoint. Mine is specifically to assign different permissions within the same library. Otherwise I have no reason to be using it. I use content types. I use site columns to enter the metadata and information, and then I use views to only show what I need to show. Yes, it's more work, but if you know how to use site columns and you put them in content types, then you create your document library, you associate your content type, you create your views, you create whatever workflow and settings that you need, then what I do is I save the list or the library as a template so that I don't have to worry about doing this work again. So it's a lot of work at the beginning, but it saves me a lot of time and it allows me to centralize everything later on. So it's really your call.

"Can you provide your email address?" Yes, I'm going to put it, it's the first slide. So let me go all the way to the first slide. A few seconds, play from the start, and there is my email address. There it is. There's all the information that you may have. Let me see the other questions. "Are there any limitations in SharePoint Online and the use of content types?" No, SharePoint Online will allow you to use content types. It's really a core SharePoint feature.

If you think about it, every time you've created a task list, a contact list, a document library, you've been using content types. It's just that the checkout advance settings allow management of content type was not enabled. So you don't really see it or you didn't really understand. Any other questions? "For search, can you only use content types or can you use the metadata value for a search filter?" Search is a whole other ball game. Either in 2007 and 2010, think of it like this. Search is going to go through all your content in all of your sites. It's going to get all of the information for your documents and your list items. So it's going to get what is the content type value for this document, what is the metadata value for this document, and then it's up to the search admin to decide what he wants to do with this information, how he wants to display it. So the answer is yes, you can use everything with search. Search is very, very powerful and if you start looking at SharePoint 2013, everything is based on search already. They've not eliminated other stuff, but they put a lot more value on search because it will get all the information, including the content type, including the metadata value and then it's up to you to show it using the search. I hope that answered your question because I can go very, very large and talk for hours on it.

"So the only way to damage out-of-box content type is to edit them directly? You cannot damage an out-of-the-box content type if you're only working a copy that you create." I am not sure exactly what you mean by damage out, sorry. So you're saying that you already have a content type and you want to edit it? Sorry. Yeah, so the out-of-the-box content type, my recommendation is never edit them, as much as possible. Because you're really changing the core SharePoint at this point. You can, it won't break, but what you need to do is you need to create a new content type, make sure that it inherits from the content type you want to use, and then associate it to a list or a library and then save this library as a template, and tell your users that that's what they have to use. I haven't had too many problems using this because you only have limited users creating lists and libraries usually.

Thank you. Thanks for staying. I really appreciate it. Any other questions? Feel free also to send me emails, contact me on Twitter, anything. I'm always available to answer questions. Sometimes it can take up some time. I won't lie. I can be quite busy. But I always try to get through everything. Does that answer everybody's questions? Looks like it. If you have any other questions, again, send me an email. I wish you a great day, great evening, great morning, for whatever time zone you're in and thank you again for coming.

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