Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Team Discussion
All collaborative sites should have at least one discussion forum. The Discussion list
demonstrates SharePoint’s content type feature, in that the list contains two different types of list items:
The post that starts a thread, variously referred to as a
post , thread , topic , subject , or discussion
SharePoint is all about recycling. It has templates of sites, lists, and libraries so you can reuse them.
If you create or customize a list to perfection, SharePoint gives you the option to make a template
of it for the site collection, so you can reuse it too. No effort needs to be duplicated there.
In fact, if you create a field for a list that is ideal and you know that you will want to format a field
just like it for a different list, you can make it a site column first, which is sort of a template for a
field, so you can apply its formatting to other lists.
Given SharePoint’s proven interest in recycling, it stands to reason that SharePoint also goes one
step further and has content types. Content types are a sort of list item template and can be
created from list items that you really like: create a list, which will have a list item (which you know
is a record in that list’s underlying table) with all the fields, or metadata, that you want. If it really
works for you and you can see the need for it in other lists, you can then go to the Site Content Types
page to create that list item as a content type and use that content type in other lists. You can create
a new list, enable content types, choose the list item you want to use for that list, and never have
to re-create any of those fields.
Content types are usually based on an existing base content type (like the Item content type for all
lists, which contains a Title field, period). So to create your favorite content type, just pick the
existing content type that suits what you are trying to create, add some of those premade site columns
to flesh it out, and you have your own custom list item.
Hence, you can create a list that contains the list items from several other lists in it, such as a sales
quote, sales order, and bill of sale all in one list. You can create custom content type list items,
document library items, or folders for your new lists if you desire.
I will be covering content types as they relate to document libraries in Chapter 8.
So, SharePoint recycles lists, libraries, and sites with templates. It has a Recycle Bin (or two) to
protect the accidental deletion of items. It even allows the recycling of well-made list items with
content types and useful fields with site columns. That’s SharePoint, very effort-conscious.
I suggest you experiment with content types to see how they might improve your lists for your
Most lists and libraries have one kind of content. In a list’s case, this means that an
Announcements list has one kind of item, an announcement. Link lists have one kind of item, a
link, and so on.
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