One of the features of a content type that I like to use is the document template. When a content type is associated with a document library the template can be used to easily allow a user to create a new document based on the template for that content type. An example of a content type I might create with a document template is a contract. Having a standard contract template ensures that I am creating new contracts that meet my organizations predefined requirements.
In SharePoint I have two options for associating a document template with a content type. I can directly upload the template in the advanced settings section of the content type management page or I can set a URL to the document template. Directly uploading the template is a simple option that allows the site collection administrator full control over the template. Providing a URL enables the site collection administrator to store the template in a document library where he could give permissions to specific individuals to maintain the template. This second option can help reduce administrative tasks of the site collection administrator if there are many content types with templates that need to be managed.
If you choose to configure the content type with a URL to a document template stored in a document library you must also complete a few more steps to ensure that everything works as expected. If you do not complete these next steps you will end up having issues with the document information panel in Microsoft Office when creating new documents based on the templates. Some issues you may see as a result of an incorrectly configured template library are:
- The document information panel doesn’t show all of the metadata fields defined in the content type
- After filling out the fields in the document information panel and clicking save for your document you receive a message that you didn’t complete all of the required fields
- After saving your document you notice it is associated with the wrong content type
- After saving your document you notice that some of the metadata is missing
To ensure you do not run into these issues you must:
- Enable the management of content types for the document library holding the content type document templates
- For each of the content type document templates, associate the content type to the document library containing the templates
- Set the content type metadata property for each of the document templates to the appropriate content type
Once you have completed these few extra steps your document templates will work as expected.