Document management with SharePoint - part 4

Written By: Knox Cameron -- 10/6/2011 -- join -- contribute -- (2) comments -- printer friendly version

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Categories: Configurations, Design, Document Management, Programming and Customizations, Search, SharePoint 2010, SharePoint Foundation 2010

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Creating a parent content type

Once we have an inventory of the documents used in the product proposal, and the templates used to create them, we can define content types for them in SharePoint. We will create them under a "parent" content type, to take advantage of SharePoint's metadata management and content query capabilities.

We will create the parent content type based from the built-in "document" type, so it can be used in document libraries. To do this, select Create from the toolbar in the content types gallery.

Content type gallery with create link circled

Enter a name for the parent content type (in this case "Product proposal") and an appropriate description. Users will not be creating items of this content type, so the description is not so important. However, when we create the child content types, users will see the description on the new item menu in document libraries.

For the parent content type, select the Document content type from the Document Content Types group. For easy administration, create a new group for the content type, called "Product proposal content types".

  Screenshot of completed new parent content type

SharePoint creates the new content type, and shows you a summary screen for it. Here you can see that it has inherited two columns from its parent content types: (file) Name from Document, and Title from Document's parent content type Item. You can also see links to edit various settings associated with the content type, such as workflows, information management policies, Document Information Panel (the metadata summary panel that appears in Office) and document conversion.

Summary screen for new parent content type

In this case, we will be assigning general metadata about the product proposal to the document set later. Here, we only want metadata specific to the individual item. In this case, we want to be able to show the responsible author for each document, since different people will work on documents for a single product proposal. So, let's add an author field. Let's also make both author and title required so that we can use them in views. (The number of required fields should always be kept to a minimum, but these ones are very important!)

To make Title required, click on its name in the Columns list. SharePoint will show you some information about the column, and allow you to change it to required, optional or hidden for this content type. To make any other changes to the column you would need to use the link to edit the column itself. Select the Required radio button.

Selecting required for content type column

Note that you also have the option whether or not to apply this setting to child content types. In this case, we haven't created any yet. Select OK to apply the setting and return to the content type summary.

Note that Title is now shown as required. Author is also a built-in column, so select the link to Add from existing site columns. Select Author from the list of available columns and click Add. Note that you can add multiple columns in one go here.

Adding the Author site column to the content type

Again, we have the option to update child content types. Select OK to apply the change.

By default, the new column is added as optional. To make it required, click the link for the Author column and make it required, as we did with Title.

Both the Title and Author site columns are linked to the Office document properties of the same name. Changes to their values in the document properties in a document will be reflected in the document library, and vice versa.

Now we will return to the site content type gallery to create a child content type for the first proposal element. The quickest way to do this is to click on the breadcrumb control and select Site Content Types.

Selecting the content types gallery from the breadcrumb

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