SharePoint Content Type bits of tips!

What is SharePoint Content Types ?

Just for a recap, a SharePoint content type as a summary, is a groupings of data category. It pulls together an item and information about the item. It identifies the type of an item, could possibly be one of many different kinds of files, a document, an excel workbook, or even a status indicator for a progress report. It could also be a list or a folder. A content type associates this item with key metadata or other information such as a template.

We could think of defining an Announcements content type as an example, and add it to a custom list. Then, any time someone wants to post an announcement, they just choose Announcements content type that we created from the New Item menu to create one.

Types of Content Types

I’ll name the first type of content type as ‘Tenant wide content type‘. In SharePoint online fortunately as it evolves with the hub concepts, they provided a centralized place on where we can publish content types and use it any where inside the tenants SharePoint sites! They have reserved a URL called {tenent name} as a place to create a tenant wide content types. From the contentTypeHub we can create a reusable content types. If your plan to create a list with common metadata that will be deployed in many tenants. From the contentTypeHub, we can ‘Publish‘, ‘Unpublish‘ and ‘Republish’ your created content types! Just be sure to finalize your content type before publishing it cause it will give you trouble later when you try to Publish and Republish the changes. Sometimes it takes time before the updates in your content types get rolled up in all of the sites content type list. One factor that affects on how long the republish takes is the number of sites your tenant has.

The second type is the ‘Local / Site collection level content type‘. These are the content types that will only be used in the current site collection. That way you won’t be publishing content types that are unnecessary for the other sites to have. A sample scenario is when site /sites/IT site collection, we needed to have an IT specific custom list that is meant for user licenses logs and their expiry date, If we are gonna create it inside the contentTypeHub site, we will be publishing the content type that is only meant for IT and is unnecessary for the other sites or lets say HR for instance.

When do we use tenant wide content types?

There are many cases where using this approach is a lot more better and less exhausting. Most types that were created here are the higher level types, the generic or the common types. When your designing a structure in your organization and your solution includes more than one sites or lists items or data will be crossing over from one site to another, I would recommend creating your content types at a higher level just so you can create a common / reusable content types that can be published and accessed to any other site inside your tenant. You will just create it one time then its good go! Imagine instead of creating the same metadata to tens and hundreds of sites, that is exhausting! Good thing you have this tips! 😉

When do we use local / site content types?

If your solution only needs a single site or data crossing to one site to another is not an issue, then I recommend you the local one (Just be sure this site will small as it is when you first design it, cause if this is supposed to be a lot more bigger structure than you originally plan, you will be having trouble adjusting to different scenarios / changes you might have). This type of approach is also neat. Your created content type will only be visible in that site collection, isolated. I could say if the type is not meant for the other site, then you better isolate it. I mean we don’t want to show content types that are only meant for IT show up inside the Sales site right?

Breakdown your content types as specific as possible!

As for the above example, we have created an Announcement content type that has the metadata for ‘Title‘ and ‘Description‘. We can say our content type right there was a very generic one right? But it still depends if its enough for what you need then its fine. Content types are meant to describe your items as specific as possible. It really depends on what you really need. Lets take the Announcements content type for example, from it we can actually create another content type to describe specific items of our announcements. We can have a birthday announcements, a wedding, a promotion, a kudos announcements and a lot of types we can think of.

Now that is one tip! For questions and clarifications, please write it as a comment below. Have a nice day! 

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