I have a SharePoint Online environment with content types being published by the content type hub.

It works OK but the content type hub keeps publishing old content types, that we have deleted several days ago, to all the site collections.

Even in newly created site collections the old content types appear. It's annoying since I want to reuse the names of some content types and fields but I can not remove them.

Any idea's?

1 Answer 1


I know the reason why it's happening, but I'm not aware about the right solution for SharePoint Online.

When you are publishing content type, SharePoint crates a some kind of copy inside managed metadata service database. This copy is distributed around all subscribed site collections. When you update content type in the hub and click "Publish", it updates copy inside metadata service and later updated copy is distributed.

Now you deleted content type from hub, but the copy still exists in metadata service database. Even for new site collections this copy is distributed. The right way to delete content type is unpublish it first, and then delete.
To fix this issue for SharePoint on-premise there is a server side script, which unpublishes this "orphaned" content type:

$ctPublisher = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Taxonomy.ContentTypeSync.ContentTypePublisher($ctsite) 

But corresponding methods for client object model don't exist.
May be as workaround it's possible to re-create this content type with exact name and ID, then publish, unpublish and delete.

  • Thanks, I was already on the recreate and unpublish path myself. Now waiting for the content type hub publishing to kick in.
    – Wout
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 7:53
  • 2
    Solved. In the content type hub, I recreated the old content types again with the same, group and ID using CSOM. Republished the content types and set all the site collections to get the content types again. Had to wait 24 hours before they were published. When they were published I could successfully unpublish them in the content type hub. Lucky this time it only took 2 hours. After unpublishing was done I was able to delete the old content types from the content type hub and reuse the content type names.
    – Wout
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 12:02

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