I read hundred of articles for Content Type but still confused, can someone please put down few words that help me understand concept of it and how its being utilized in sharepoint, I already read hundred of blogs so don't provide any links.

Thank You

3 Answers 3


A content type is a like collection of data fields (columns) that can be used to categorize data. This allows content types to be added to lists and for users to create a new instance of a content type. From a data perspective, a content type is just the definition of data that makes up a like grouping.

For instance you could make a content type called person and give them the fields (columns, attributes, etc) of height, name, hair color, weight, sex, etc. Those are the fields that make up a person. A user then could come to a sharepoint list and add a person. A developer could use the content type in a Web Part to display people. And a person could be tied to other content types such as an office that includes a list of people in an office.

  • so in short its collection of columns that we can use in Lists or webparts :)
    – Change
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 14:33
  • Correct, data that can be grouped together and reused Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 14:37
  • You can also write workflows specifically for a content type. This is extremely useful for writing globally reusable workflows that can be copied and use on different sites that also have the custom content type. (Side note, if you ever want to delete a content type, every item using it has to be deleted or switched to a different content type, INCLUDING ITEMS IN THE RECYCLE BIN).
    – Erin L
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 21:24

A content-type is essentially a collection of meta-data. It is a definition that encapsulates all the information that you want to store for a particular set of items. When you define a content-type, the meta-data that you want to store are known as 'columns'/'fields'. These are fields that somehow relate to the type of item you are inserting into SharePoint. Content Types are unique, but different Content Types can share the same columns/fields. (ie. each content type can use the 'Title' column to define an items title)

For example: Let's say you want to store a list of all your companies patents in SharePoint. In SharePoint you would create a content type called 'PatentDocsCT', and in that content-type you would create 'Patent-Title', 'Patent #', 'Expiry Date', and 'Status' fields. So whenever you upload the patent document, you also enter its title, number, expiry date, and the patent's status.

All patents will have the same customizable meta-data, because they all are of the same content-type.


In simple terms a Content Type is a way to identify the following about the content in your SharePoint Site in a reusable way:

  • The kind of document or content you are identifying.  Some examples could include a Contract, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) or a Mutual Nondisclosure Agreement (MNDA).
  • The additional information (metadata) you could use to describe this document/content that users might use to search, use within the document template or could trigger a workflow.  For example, if a user is looking for an MNDA they might want to search by the Company that the MNDA was with.
  • The template that should be used when users create new documents of this type.
  • The workflows that should be associated with this type of content.  For example should the addition of a Mutual Nondisclosure Agreement (MNDA) trigger a sign-off process?

  • More detailed information and a link to a video tutorial can be found on our blog: Example of how to use SharePoint Content Types

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