Adding a document template to a SharePoint document library using a content type

Learn how you can use a content type to add a document template such as a Word template or Excel spreadsheet template to a SharePoint document library.

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You can use site content types to assign one or more document templates to a SharePoint document library.

This means that you can create document templates that define the structure of documents and then add these document templates to a document library, so that users can create documents based on these document templates.

Document templates assigned to a SharePoint document library

Figure 1. Document templates assigned to a SharePoint document library.

To add a document template as a content type to a SharePoint document library, you must:

  1. Create a site content type based on the Document parent content type.
  2. Assign a document template to the content type.
  3. Add the content type to the document library.

Create a site content type based on the Document parent content type

Content types follow an inheritance structure. When you create a custom content type, you must always select a parent content type to base it on. Child content types inherit the properties of their parent content types.

You can use the Document parent content type for any content type you want to use as a document template on a SharePoint document library.

To create a site content type based on the Document parent content type:

  1. On the Site Actions menu click Site Settings.
  2. On the Site Settings page under Galleries, click Site content types.
  3. On the Site Content Type Gallery page, click Create.
  4. On the New Site Content Type page, type a Name for the content type (for example Timesheet), select Document Content Types from the Select parent content type from drop-down list box, select Document from the Parent Content Type drop-down list box, select Custom Content Types from the Existing group drop-down list box, and click OK.

    The settings for a new site content type based on the Document parent content type

    Figure 2. The settings for a new site content type based on the Document parent content type.

Tip:

If you want to reuse a document template content type in multiple document libraries on multiple SharePoint sites, you must create the site content type on the top-most site in the hierarchy of sites so that the content type is accessible on all of the child sites below that SharePoint site.

Assign a document template to the content type

Continuing from the previous section, you can now assign a document template to the site content type as follows:

  1. On the Site Content Type page under Settings, click Advanced settings.
  2. On the Site Content type Advanced Settings page, select Upload a new document template, and then click Browse to browse to and select the document template you want to assign to the site content type. A document template can be any file such as an Excel spreadsheet, a Word document or template, a PowerPoint slide presentation, etc.
  3. On the Site Content type Advanced Settings page, click OK.

Add the content type to a document library

Once you have created the content type and assigned a document template to it, you can add the content type to a SharePoint document library as follows:

  1. Navigate to the document library to which you want to add the content type.
  2. On the Settings menu, click Document Library Settings.
  3. On the Customize page under General Settings, click Advanced settings.
  4. On the Document Library Advanced Settings page, select Yes for Allow management of content types?, and click OK.
  5. Back on the Customize page under Content Types, click Add from existing site content types.
  6. On the Add Content Types page, select Custom Content Types from the Select site content types from drop-down list box, select the content type you created (here: Timesheet) from the Available Site Content Types drop-down list box, click Add to add the content type to the list of Content types to add, and then click OK.

Now your document template should be listed under the New menu of the SharePoint document library. Similarly, you can add more document templates as content types to the SharePoint document library.

The steps outlined in this article can also be found in the following SharePoint video tutorial: Use a content type to add a document template to a SharePoint document library.

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