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Webucator's Free SharePoint 2013 Tutorial

Lesson: Site Columns and Content Types

Welcome to our free SharePoint 2013 tutorial. This tutorial is based on Webucator's SharePoint 2013 End User Training course.

One method of customizing SharePoint, in a way that can be reused throughout the site or site collection or even the whole farm, is to create Site Columns and Content Types. Site columns are the simplest element; they are essentially the same as list and library columns except that you create them at the site level and then they can be used throughout that site and any child site. Content Types are a combination of Site Columns as well as additional settings and information such as document templates and workflows. Content Types, once created, can then be linked to lists and libraries.

Lesson Goals

  • Learn about Site Columns.
  • Learn about Content Types.
  • Learn how to create Site Columns.
  • Learn how to create Content Types.
  • Learn how to create a document template for a Content Type.
  • Learn how to assign a Content Type to a list or library.
  • Learn how to create new items based on a custom Content Type.

Site Column Gallery

Explore the Site Column Gallery

This walk-through will explore the columns available in the Site Column Gallery.

  1. Open a browser window if it is not already open and navigate to your root team site.
  2. Click the Settings menu and select the Site Settings option from the list.Site Actions
  3. Click the Site Columns link in the Web Designer Galleries group on the Site Settings page.Site Settings page
  4. Take a few minutes to browse the list of Site Columns and their groupings. The image below is a partial list of Site Columns.Site Columns page
  5. Leave the Site Columns gallery open for the next walk-through.

Creating Site Columns

Create a Custom Site Column

In this walk-through, you will learn how to create a custom Site Column. Follow the steps in the previous walk-through to navigate to the Site Column gallery.

  1. Click the Create link at the top of the Site Column gallery.Site Columns page
  2. Enter Favorite Colors in the Column name field and select Choice (menu to choose from) from the The type of information in this column is: option field.Create Site Columns page

    Note that the column type choices are the same as for creating list or library columns. The main difference with Site Columns is that they can be reused on multiple lists and libraries throughout the site.

  3. Note in the Group region you are leaving the default setting set to Existing Group and Custom Columns Create Site Columns page
  4. Scroll down the Site Column page and enter some color values in the list box field labeled Type each choice on a separate line. Use the following image as a guide for what to enter.Create Site Columns page
  5. Click the OK button at the bottom of the form to save your work.
  6. If you scroll down the list of Site Columns, you will find the new column Favorite Colors under the Custom Columns group.Site Columns page

Add a Site Column to a List

In this walk-through, you will learn how to add a Site Column to a SharePoint list. This walk-through will use the Demo List that was created in an earlier walk-through but any list or library would work.

  1. Click the Demo List link in the site's Quick Launch menu.Site Quick Launch Menu
  2. Click the LIST tab to open the toolbar and then click the List Settings button. List tab toolbar
  3. Scroll down the List Settings page and to the Columns region. The list already already has a column named Favorite Color, but for the walk-through you want to replace that with the Site Columns version. Click the current Favorite Color column link to open the Change Column page for the column.List Settings
  4. Click the Delete button at the bottom of the Change Column page.
  5. Click the OK button to confirm that you want to delete this column from the list.Message from webpage

    Normally you would want to be very careful deleting a column from a list with data in it. Since this is just a test server and site, you should not be concerned about the potential loss of data.

  6. Verify that the Columns list no longer shows the Favorite Color column and click the Add from existing site columns link under the list of columns.List Settings
  7. In the Add Columns from Site Columns page, change the Select site columns from drop-down field to Custom Columns, and click the Add button to move the Favorite Colors column to the Columns to add list.Add Columns from Site Columns form
  8. Click the OK button to save our change back to the list's columns.
  9. Navigate back the items view of the Demo List by clicking the link in the Quick Launch menu or in the breadcrumbs.
  10. Click the new item link in the list to create a new item and test the Site Column.
  11. Verify in the Demo List - New Item form that the Favorite Colors drop-down list has the colors that you defined in the Site Column. Click the Cancel button to close the form without saving.New Item form

Site Content Type Gallery

Explore the Site Content Types Gallery

This walk-through will explore the content types available in the Site Content Types Gallery.

  1. Open our browser if it is not already open and navigate to your root team site.
  2. Click the Settings menu and select the Site Settings option from the list.Site Actions
  3. Click the Site content types link in the Web Designer Galleries group on the Site Settings page.Site Settings page
  4. Take a few minutes to browse the list of Site Content Types and their groupings. The image below is a partial list of Site Content Types.Site Content Types page
  5. Leave the Site Content Types gallery open for the next walk-through.

Creating Content Types

How to Create and Use Content Types

In this walk-through, you will learn to create a custom content type and apply it to a new document library.

  1. Follow the previous demonstration to navigate to the Site content types gallery.
  2. Create a new content type in the Contoso Home Site that extents the Document content type.
    1. From within the Site Content Types gallery page, click the Create link at the top left of the page. Site Content Types page
    2. In the New Site Content form, use the following information to complete the form.
      Field Data
      Name: Type "Work Order"
      Description: Type "Contoso custom content type for work orders"
      Select parent content type from: Select Document Content Types
      Parent Content Type: Select Document
      New group: Type "Demo Content Types"
      The completed form should look similar to the following image.New content type form
    3. Click the OK button to complete the new content type creation process.
  3. Add columns to the new Work Order content type.
    1. Click the Add from existing site columns link below the Columns region on the Site Content Type Information page.Employee Reviews content type information page columns region
    2. In the Add Columns to Content Type form, select Core Task and Issue Columns in the Select columns from drop-down box. From the Available columns list box, choose both Due Date and Date Completed then click the Add button to add them to the Columns to add list box.Existing Site columns selection form
    3. Click the OK button to complete adding the site columns to the Work Order content type.
    4. Click the Add from new site column link below the Columns region on the Site Content Type Information page.EsEmployee Reviews content type information page columns region
    5. On the New Site Column form, enter Estimated Price in the Column Name field. Note the Additional Column Settings available to the Currency column type but leave everything at their default settings.New site column form name and type region
    6. Click the OK button to save your changes and complete the creation of the new site column.
  4. Assign a document template to the new Work Order content type.
    1. Click the Advanced settings link under the Settings region on the Work Order content type information page.Content Type information page Settings region
    2. Click the Upload a new document template option on the Advanced Settings page and then click the Browse button to find the file.Content Type Advanced Settings page
    3. Navigate to the folder you downloaded the class files to and select the work-order.docx file. Click the Open button to complete the file selection.
    4. Click the OK button on the Advanced Settings page to save your changes to the Work Order content type.
  5. Create a new document library named Work Orders.
    1. From the root team site, click the Settings icon and select Add an app from the menu.Site Actions menu
    2. Click the Document Library link in the Your Apps template choice page. Document library app template.
    3. Click the Advanced Options link on the Adding Document Library dialog. Advanced options link.
    4. Type "Work Orders" in the Name field on the New form and leave the rest of the settings at their default values. Note that the default Document Template is set to Microsoft Word document.New document library form
    5. Click the Create button on the New Document Library form to complete the new library creation process.
    6. Click the FILES tab to open the toolbar in the new Work Orders document library. Work Orders documents tab
    7. Click on the New Document text and arrow, careful not to click on the icon above, and note there is currently only one choice in the drop-down menu titled New Document. Don't click on it; all you are doing is verifying that the library supports only one content type at this point.Work Orders library New Document menu
  6. Add the Work Order content type to the Work Orders document library.
    1. Click the LIBRARY tab to open the toolbar in the new Work Orders document library.Reviews Library tab
    2. Click the Library Settings button on the LIBRARY tab located in the Settings group.Library tab with Library Settings circled
    3. Click the Advanced Settings link on the Document Library Settings page in the General Settings region.Library Settings page with Advanced Settings circled
    4. Click the Yes option under the label Allow management of content types? and then click the OK button at the bottom of the page to save the change.Content Types Management region
    5. You should now see a Content Types region that was not being displayed before you made the change in the previous step.Reviews library content types region
    6. Click the Add from existing site content types link at the bottom of the Content Types region.Reviews library content types region
    7. In the Add Content Types form, select Demo Content Type in the drop-down box labeled Select site content types from. Select Work Orders in the list box labeled Available Site Content Types and click the Add button to move it to the list box labeled Content types to add. Click the OK button to save your changes.Work Orders Add Content Type form
  7. Add a new document to the Work Orders library based on the Work Order content type.
    1. Click the Work Orders link in either the Quick Launch menu or the Site's Breadcrumbs to take you to the Browse view of the Work Orders library.
    2. Click the FILES tab to open the toolbar in the Work Orders document library.Work Orders documents tab
    3. Click on the New Document text and arrow, careful not to click on the icon above, and note that now there are two choices of document types to create. Click the Work Order link.Work Orders library New Document menu
    4. Microsoft Word will open a new document based on the template we loaded into the Work Orders content type. Also note the Document Information Panel at the top of the Word document that has fields for the custom columns you defined with the Work Orders content type.Work Orders Word document
    5. Use the following information in the table to fill in the Document Information Panel fields.
      Field Data
      Title: Type: "Fix Printer"
      Due Date: Select 5 days from the current date
      Date Completed: Leave empty
      Estimated Price: Type: "250"
      In the document body, change the title text "Your Company Name" to "Contoso". We can optionally fill out any additional information in the document we like.
    6. Click the Save icon in the top-left corner of the Microsoft Word window.
    7. Click the Work Orders link in the Save As view. Word Save As
    8. In the Save As dialog window, enter Fix Printer for the document file name and click the Save button.Word Save As dialog window
    9. Close Microsoft Word.
    10. If the new Fix Printer document item does not show in our Work Orders library, you need to refresh your browser view of it. We can do that by clicking the Work Orders link in the Quick Launch menu.
    11. Click the ellipsis button next to the Fix Printer item then click the second ellipsis in the balloon pop-up. From the drop-down menu, select the View Properties link.Fix Printer item menu
    12. Note the properties that are displayed, especially the properties that were added by the Work Order content type. These properties represent additional meta data that is stored by SharePoint outside the document itself.Fix Printer item properties
    13. Click the Close button to close the properties for Fix Printer.

Creating and Working with Content Types

Duration: 10 to 15 minutes.

In this exercise, you will learn to create Content Types and Site Columns. Additionally you will learn how to associate a document template with a content type based on the Document parent content type.

  1. Create a new Content Type for the Contoso Home Site.
    1. Open your browser if it is not already open and navigate to your root team site.
    2. Click the Settings menu and select the Site Settings link.Site Actions with Site Settings circled
    3. Click the Site content types link within the Web Designer Galleries group.Site Settings page
    4. Take a moment to read through the list of default content types. Note how they are grouped and there is a parent column that lists the parent content type of each individual content type.
    5. Click the Create link at the top of the list of content types.Content types list with create link circled
    6. In the New Site Content form, use the following information to complete the form.
      Field Data
      Name: Type "Employee Reviews"
      Description: Type "Contoso custom content type for employee reviews"
      Select parent content type from: Select Document Content Types
      Parent Content Type: Select Document
      New group: Type "Contoso Content Types"
      The completed form should look similar to the following image.New content type form
    7. Click the OK button to complete the new content type creation process.
  2. Add columns to the new Employee Reviews content type.
    1. Click the Add from existing site columns link below the Columns region on the Site Content Type Information page.Employee Reviews content type information page columns region
    2. In the Add Columns to Content Type form, select Core Contact and Calendar Columns in the Select columns from drop-down box. From the Available columns list box, choose both Full Name and Job Title then click the Add button to add them to the Columns to add list box.Existing Site columns selection form
    3. Click the OK button to complete adding the site columns to the Employee Reviews content type.
    4. Click the Add from new site column link below the Columns region on the Site Content Type Information page.Employee Reviews content type information page columns region
    5. On the New Site Column form, enter "Contoso Departments" in the Column Name field and choose Choice (menu to choose from) in the The type of information in this column is selection field.New site column form name and type region

      Note that this New Site Column form is the same form you get when you add a column directly to a list or library.

    6. Locate the Additional Column Settings region further down on the New Site Column form. Replace the text in the field labeled Type each choice on a separate line with the following:

      Sales

      Accounting

      IT

      Marketing

      Training

      Click inside the Default value field and make sure "Sales" is set to the default value. Leave the rest of the settings set to the defaults.New site column form Additional Column Settings region
    7. Click the OK button to save your changes and complete the creation of the new site column.
  3. Assign a document template to the new Employee Reviews content type.
    1. Click the Advanced settings link under the Settings region on the Employee Reviews content type information page.Content Type information page Settings region
    2. Click the Upload a new document template option on the Advanced Settings page and then click the Browse button to find the file.Content Type Advanced Settings page
    3. Navigate to the folder you downloaded the class files to and select the Employee Review.docx file. Click the Open button to complete the file selection.
    4. Click the OK button on the Advanced Settings page to save your changes to the Employee Reviews content type.

Adding a Content Type to a Library

Duration: 10 to 15 minutes.

In this exercise, you will learn to associate the custom content type you built in the previous exercise with a new Document Library.

  1. Create a new Document Library.
    1. From the root team site, click the Settings icon and select Add an app from the menu.Site Actions menu
    2. Click the Document Library link in the Your Apps template choice page. Document library app template.
    3. Click the Advanced Options link on the Adding Document Library dialog. Advanced options link.
    4. Type "Reviews" in the Name field on the New Document Library form and leave the rest of the settings at their default values. Note that the default Document Template is set to Microsoft Word document.New document library form
    5. Click the Create button on the New Document Library form to complete the new library creation process.
    6. Click the FILES tab to open the toolbar in the new Reviews document library.Reviews documents tab
    7. Click on the New Document text and arrow, careful not to click on the icon above, and note there is currently only one choice in the drop-down menu titled New Document. Don't click on it; all you are doing is verifying that the library supports only one content type at this point.Reviews library New Document menu
  2. Add the Employee Reviews content type to the Reviews document library.
    1. Click the LIBRARY tab to open the toolbar in the new Reviews document library.Reviews Library tab
    2. Click the Library Settings button on the Library tab located in the Settings group.Library tab with Library Settings circled
    3. Click the Advanced Settings link on the Document Library Settings page in the General Settings region.Library Settings page with Advanced Settings circled
    4. Click the Yes option under the label Allow management of content types? and then click the OK button at the bottom of the page to save your change.Content Types Management region
    5. You should now see a Content Types region that was not being displayed before you made the change in the previous step.Reviews library content types region
    6. Click the Add from existing site content types link at the bottom of the Content Types region.Reviews library content types region
    7. In the Add Content Types form select Contoso Content Type in the drop-down box labeled Select site content types from. Select Employee Reviews in the list box labeled Available Site Content Types and click the Add button to move it to the list box labeled Content types to add. Click the OK button to save your changes.Reviews Add Content Type form
  3. Add a new document to the Reviews library based on the Employee Reviews content type.
    1. Click the Reviews link in either the Quick Launch menu or the Site's Breadcrumbs to take you to the Browse view of the Reviews library.
    2. Click the Documents tab in the Library Tools toolbar in the new Reviews document library.Reviews documents tab
    3. Click on the New Document text and arrow, careful not to click on the icon above, and note that now there are two choices of document types to create. Click the Employee Reviews link.Reviews library New Document menu
    4. Microsoft Word will open a new document based on the template you loaded into the Employee Reviews content type. Also note the Document Information Panel at the top of the Word document that has fields for the custom columns you defined with the Employee Reviews content type.Employee Review Word document
    5. Use the following information in the table to fill in the Document Information Panel fields.
      Field Data
      Title: Type "Homer's Review"
      Full Name: Type "Homer Simpson"
      Job Title: Type "Senior Technician"
      Contoso Departments: Select IT
      In the document body, change the title text "Company Name" to "Contoso". Feel free to fill out any additional information in the document you like.
    6. Click the Save icon in the top left corner of the Microsoft Word window.
    7. Choose Reviews in the Save As view in Word. Word Save As view.
    8. In the Save As dialog window, enter Homers Review.docx for the document file name and click the Save button.Word Save As dialog window
    9. Close Microsoft Word.
    10. Click the ellipsis next to Homer's Review item then click the second ellipsis in the balloon pop-up. From the drop-down menu, select the View Properties link.Homers Review item menu
    11. Note the properties that are displayed especially the properties that were added by the Employee Reviews content type. These properties represent additional meta data that is stored by SharePoint outside the document itself.Homers Review item properties
    12. Click the Close button to close the properties window for Homer's Review.