Content Type - Advantages, Creation, Association

In this article I would like to reveal the advantages of Content Type in real-world scenarios.

What is Content Type?

A content type is a reusable collection of metadata (columns), workflow behavior and other settings for a category of items or documents.


We can manage Content Types through the "Site Actions" > "Site Settings" > "Content Types" page.

Advantages of Content Type


We can create a content type & reuse it across the site. For example, we can create a content type named Expense & reuse it in multiple departments like HR, Marketing, Research and so on.

In addition to columns, we can reuse the workflows and custom forms associated with the Expense content type. The reusability feature helps to reduce the amount of time required to create redundant items.


Content Type allows quick standardization of items through definition in one place.

Centralized Control

We can apply changes to existing content type & the associated list or library will reflect the changes automatically.

For example, if we add a Description column to the preceding Expense Content type then the change will be reflected in all associated libraries.

In another example, we can create custom new/edit forms for a content type & the changes should be reflected everywhere. So, quick standardization is possible through content type.

Default Content Type

We can add a new content type to a library or list & make it the default. The default Content Type will be invoked while using the Add Document or Add Item links.

Multiple Associations

We can associate multiple content types to a list or library. For example a Project Library can have a different content type associated wit it, like: Plan, Expense, Meeting, Discussion and so on.

Creating Content Type

In this step, we can quickly create a content type. Open "Site Actions" > "Site Settings" > "Site content types" link as shown below:

In the page that appears, click the "Create" button.

You should get the screen below to enter the Content Type detail. You can create a content type inheriting from existing content types like Item, Document, Folder and so on.

For the time being, please select the "Item" content type from the "List Content Types" group. Enter the name of new content type as "Expense".


Click the "OK" button to save changes. You will see the new content type created in the content types page, make sure you check under the "Custom Content Types" group.


You can edit the preceding Content Type & add remaining columns Amount, Date & Person.


Now we are ready to associate the preceding content type to a list. Since we have created a List Content Type, we can associate it with the list. (For a library, we need to create a Document content type.)

Open an existing list & choose List Settings. From the Advanced Settings, check the option Allow Management of content types.


Returning to the List Settings page, choose the "Add from existing content type" link.


In the page that appears, you can select our Expense content type & click the "Add" button.


After clicking the Add button, click the "Ok" button to continue.

Now you are ready to use the new content type. Go to the list and click the "New" drop down. You will see the Expense item listed there.


We can make a content type as Default that will set the New command to the specified item.

On clicking the "Expense" item, you will see the dialog box with "Expense" fields.



Please note that wise usage of Content Type, in the long run, should save time, save effort and increase the quality of Content Management.



In this article we have explored Content Type and its advantages, creation and association.