Storing Templates for Content Types in a Document Library

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:

  1. Enable the management of content types for the document library holding the content type document templates
  2. For each of the content type document templates, associate the content type to the document library containing the templates
  3. 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.

0 thoughts on “Storing Templates for Content Types in a Document Library”

  1. Is their a recommendation for not exceeding a certain number of content types for one library. In this scenario, if you wanted to store all of your templates in one library to be used with content types, will you run into an issue if you have 50, 100, 200 content types for example?

  2. Hi

    Fantastic with this information. It solved a mysteri for us.
    The optimal solution for us will most likely be to upload the templates directly to the content types (in advanced settings). However we would like to keep track of our templates, and have therefore enabled versioning and in the template library.

    Our creative workaround was to us the upload directly function, and then upload from the document template in the template library. Very creative I think, but unfortunately it did not work. We stil get properties from the the wrong content type when we save our documents.

    Are we doing something wrong or can you see an obvious reason why this little cowboy-trick will not work?

    (i realize that even if i get it to work i will still need to upload the templaes to the content types again when a new version is created)

    Regards
    Nikolaj

    1. The only way I have seen the templates to work properly is if they are placed in a document library that has the content type enabled as I mentioned in my post. I would be interested in any other work arounds you may discover.

  3. Thanks. I doubt we will find a way. We decided to go with the content type enabled library. Works like a charm.
    Only challenge is that we have required properties on the CTs. Even if we make these optional at the time of template creation, we still have the problem when we want to update our templates, since we have versioning and check-in/out enabled on the template library in order to control the templates. And ofcourse we dont want our document properties prepopulated.

    🙂

  4. It makes a lot of sense to have multiple Document Templates for a single Content Type.

    A firm may have a single “Contract” Content Type (with a Site Column for Counterparty etc) but they may have separate Document Templates that they want to use (depending on which office the member of staff is based at perhaps).

    The out of the box SharePoint user interface assumes that each Site Content Type or List Content Type will have only one Document Template.

    Our Templates Enabler product addresses this issue and avoids the need to create multiple Content Types just to workaround the issue.

    http://www.darkblueduck.com/Products/TemplatesEnabler2010.aspx

    We would appreciate feedback and encouragement.

    Kind regards

    Dark Blue Duck

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