Most readers would be aware of the SharePoint “publishing” functionality available as part of SharePoint 2007 (MOSS). However, this is a relatively new addition to SharePoint (via merge of MCMS into MOSS).
The historical cornerstone of SharePoint is for document management, and well-suited to intranet functionality, as well as for public-facing internet pages.
The traditional “file server” (shares/folders) is giving way to a “smart server” (SharePoint), making use of document libraries, versioning, security, workflows, policies and much more.
It follows that many organisations have specific templates for documents, such as DOTX files within Microsoft Word 2007 (or .DOT for Word 2003).
This allows a user to create a document with a specific look & feel, with the corporate branding, colours, fonts, etc.
With the traditional file server scenario, the user would create the document using a .DOTX file (such as a func spec), and save this as a .DOCX file, and move/copy to the file server.
A better way – making use of SharePoint – is to implement these DOTX template files using “content types”.
This will allow the user to simply click “New Functional Spec” (for example) – rather than create a document using a template, and then uploading the document to SharePoint – as a two-step process.
Further advantages of using content types include “metadata” for a document, allowing for searchable parameters, and workflow for approval – just to name a few.
So – with that in mind – let’s see how you could achieve that. To start with, I’m going to create a simple “Team Site” – entitled Grumpy Developers Portal (GDP).
Document Library – Shared Documents
When the site is created, there is a “Shared Documents” library created. The user can upload a document – or click “New” to create a Word document, using the default Content Type assigned (which is entitled “Document”).
But – we want to be able to have a “New Functional Spec” option in the menu – so need to jump into the SharePoint settings – for the document library.
Document Library Settings
- Click “Settings”
- Choose the option for “Document Library Settings”
The first thing you may notice is that there are no Content Types listed – just the specific columns to use. While you can add/change the columns, this will be for the default “Document” content type.
To allow changes to the content types, we need to allow for “management of content types”.
- Click “Advanced Settings”
- Flip the top switch to “Yes”
- Scroll down and click OK
When SharePoint re-directs back to the “Settings” page, you will notice that there is now a section detailing the “content types”.
Create Content Type
The next step is to go elsewhere to actually create the content type, that will be used by this particular document library.
- Click on the “Site Actions” dropdown menu
- Choose “Site Settings”
- Click on “Go to top level site settings”
- Click “Site content types”
Within the content type “gallery”, we can create a content type, and add the word document template file (.DOTX). And, any metadata that might be needed.
- Click “Create”
As you can see within the following screenshot, I’ve entered some values for the content type – initially just the “name” and “description” – as well as the parent content type.
Then, just need to click “OK”, and SharePoint will create the content type.
After the content type has been created (using the name, description), SharePoint will re-direct to the “properties” page for the newly created content type.
From here, ALL attributes for the content type can be modified – including any site columns, workflow, information policy, etc.
For now, we have to simply set the Microsoft Word template file (.DOTX).
- Click “Advanced Settings”
All that’s needed is to upload the DOTX template (or could use .DOT from Word 2003) – and then click OK.
That’s all – with regard to the content type. Now, we can switch back to the document library to USE this newly created content type.
Manage Content Types (for document library)
Within the Settings page for the document library, need to do the following :
- Click “Add from existing content types”
- Scroll through the list and add the new content type
- Click OK
When the list of content types is shown, the Grumpy Functional Spec content type is now shown as well.
The next step is to “remove” the default document content type :
- Click “Change new button order and default content type”
- Un-check the box for “visible” next to the Document content type
- Click OK
And – that’s it ! <done/>
Just should verify that the new content type is “Visible on New” and “Default Content Type” :
The finished product
Now, the user will be able to easily create a Word document using the prescribed template – simply by clicking “New”.
If there were multiple content types applied to the document library, the user could easily create which ever document was required – complete with the associated workflow, meta data and so forth.
Hope you can make use of this in your intranet environment, and document management & collaboration solution – yay SharePoint !