SharePoint 2010: Significance of Content Type management in List

02 May, 2012 | | 0 comments |

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For those who have worked with SharePoint Lists must be familiar with Advanced Settings feature of the List available under List Settings (for document libraries, known as Library Settings). Under the Advanced Settings of the List, you can choose whether to allow management of content types. By default, it is turned ON for every List. In this post, I am going to highlight the significance of ‘Allow management of content types?’ when it is turned ON and when turned OFF.

Where is ‘Allow management of Content Types?’ found?

List Settings on the Ribbon

Advanced Settings in List Settings

When ‘Allow management of content types?’ is turned ON:

When turned ON, it will allow multiple content types to be added, modified or removed over the currently available content types associated with the List. So basically it means you can display columns from other content types along with the columns available in the List. The settings for Content Types are available under the List Settings. See following snapshot –

Content Type setting in List Settings


Consider a custom List named ‘Employee’ with an associated content type created having the following columns:

Name | Age | Address | Designation

Consider another custom List named  ‘Employee Bank Details’ with an associated content having the following columns:

Employee Bank Details
Bank Name | Branch Name | Account Number

In this case, for the Employee Bank Details list we would also like to have the Name, Age, Address and Designation of the employee from the Employee list so that the information looks complete. Rather than creating columns with same name again, we can add the associated content type with Employee list in Employee Bank Details using the ‘Add from existing site content types’ setting so that the same columns from Employee list are utilized in Employee Bank Details. When this is achieved, the Employee Bank Details look like following –

Employee Bank Details
Bank Name | Branch Name | Account Number | Name | Age | Address | Designation

When ‘Allow management of content types?’ is turned OFF:

You might wonder if allowing management of content types is beneficial considering what I described above, why would you turn it OFF! Well, Microsoft SharePoint does enable some features, when it is turned OFF. So it is important to know them.

1. In the List Settings, two settings - Column ordering and Indexed columns are enabled. Column ordering allows columns to be ordered as per your wish in any view. I am not sure what Indexed columns setting does.
You can change the order of the columns by arranging them in ascending order based on the indexes.

Column Ordering in List Settings

2. In the View Settings for a particular view, in the Folders section at the bottom some advanced settings pertaining to view display are enabled. They are pretty relevant when choosing which view you want to use for the discussion topic and which one to be used for the discussion topics and replies.

Folders settings in View Settings

Key Learning: ‘Allow management of content types?’ is an important setting which enables some features both when it is turned ON and when turned OFF. In case, you want to use both the features simultaneously when it is turned ON and turned OFF, there is no option but to make the changes first when turned ON and then switch it OFF and make the changes. It works vice-versa too and the changes you make do persist.

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