SharePoint WCM Content Types with a Document Library

(c) Sean Bordner

(c) Sean Bordner

Another powerful use of SharePoint 2010 WCM content types is using them with document libraries. This combination gives you the ability to further organize your content into a theme relevant structure which is vital for quality SEO efforts. How? For starters, you can specify meta-data that will be tied to a specific document. Furthermore, you can re-use this across the entire SharePoint WCM site. If you need to add or remove a site column from your content type, your changes “can” be rippled down to all document libraries using the affected content type. I said “can” because changes do not have to be reflected across the board, this is an option available during the content type modification process.

Here’s the scenario: Your SharePoint WCM site has multiple document libraries with multiple contributors. You want to ensure that existing document libraries all have at least a handful of columns (meta-data) which will help organize information (or content) now and in the future. And lets also say you want any new document libraries to contain these same columns. You will need to start by creating the required site columns. A site column is a type of data which is available to the entire site collection. Think of it as a database field. It can be a simple text field called “Name” or a dropdown list of pre-specified options, number, multiple lines of text, etc… Site columns are created from the Site Settings page, under “Site Columns”. Note: when creating a site column, you will need to provide a “Group”. This is just a way of organizing your site columns so when you return some day it will make sense. You can create a group if you don’t want to place it under “custom”. I would encourage you to create a descriptive group here to help keep track of the original purpose of your site columns – but you don’t have to, if effects nothing.

The next step is to create the content type. A content type is a collection of site columns. You create content types from the “Site Settings” page under “Content Types”. During this process, you will basically specify why kind of content type you are creating. In other words, for use with pages, documents, etc… Then you just add the site columns you want the new content type to contain.

Lastly, it’s time to create the document library to your liking and then “clone it” by creating a template from it. You could just as easily modify an existing document library. To create a new document library, go to “Site Actions” / “View all site content” / “Create”. Then click on “Document Library”. From here just complete the form. To modify an existing document library, navigate to the actual document library (not a page that has a view of it, you will need to actually go to where it lives). You are in the right place if you see at the top of the document library list “Actions” and “Settings”. Drop down “Settings” select “Document Library Settings”. On the settings page of the document library, you will either see an existing content type section or you won’t. If you don’t see the content type section, the document library is not already associated with a content type. Now to add a content type to the document library: On the same settings page of the document library, click on “Advanced Settings”. From this screen, you will see a section for content types. This is how you associate a content type with a document library. Finally, when you have the document library the way you want it, return to the settings page for the document library and create a template. This template will be made available to users with permission to create document libraries. Give it a meaningful name and you are done. Note: the original out of the box document library template is still available, but can be removed if you don’t want users to even have that option.


About Sean Bordner

CEO, Solution Architect, Co-Author of SharePoint for Nonprofits, Contributing Author MCT, MCTS, MCSD, MCP, MCAD
This entry was posted in Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SharePoint. Bookmark the permalink.

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