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Announcing new file template management for document library content types

In Microsoft 365, SharePoint is at the centerstage of document-centric collaboration.  And SharePoint content types are essential tools for managing content at scale.  Content types can be used to enforce standards for custom metadata, document lifecycle, templates and more. 

 

Content types are essential to our vision of how we’ll continue to deliver content services innovation in Microsoft 365.  We’ve modernized information lifecycles in Microsoft 365 with data governance labels to establish retention and record policies.  But templates have been obscure and hard to use. 

 

That’s why we’re excited to announce the ability to add document templates to SharePoint document library content types.  We’re also adding the ability to edit the New menu - to add, hide or reorder the new file options.

 

In a modern library, you can add a template directly to your document library via the New menu drop down.

DocTemplates.pngDocument template editing

 

With this new capability, you can also maintain the default Word Excel, PowerPoint etc. templates along with any newly added templates and content types.

 

You can also choose which templates are shown in the library by easily configuring the New menu in a modern panel.

 

 

You can configure the New menu by selecting (or deselecting) which templates you wish to see and by using drag and drop to re-order the templates in the menu. Within this pane you can edit the template directly in the Office client, change the template's content type or delete the template.

DocTemplatesNew.pngEditing the "New" menu

This experience fully integrates with existing templates created via content types and supports any existing ‘New’ menu configurations.    This gives you the freedom to adjust the template for single library without overwriting any other library’s templates from the same content type.

 

You can also easily change the content type of the template at any time, as shown below.

DocTemplatesCT.PNGMapping templates to content types

We will start the roll out of this capability to our Targeted Release customers in early September 2018.  Thank you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: I've always been able to manage the display of content types in library settings. how does this new capability work with that?

Answer: The new template controls for editing the New button on the command bar provide an additional measure of control for new templates loaded on top of the existing content types. In the future, we will integrate the library settings functionality directly into the modern configuration experience for unified management.

 

Question: If I have a centrally defined content type in the content type hub, and I change the templates there, will they be automatically extended to any libraries where local use template has been loaded?

Answer: For the moment, the content type hub will not update any locally defined templates linked to that content type. However, we will soon introduce the ability for a centrally managed content type, along with its custom metadata rules and templates, to be published to all locations, including locally defined templates, with full reporting visibility.

 

Question:  What happens if I change the default content type in a library? Will the new templates still point to the original content type?

Answer: The new templates are always mapped to the default content type. If you change the content type, the templates will follow.

 

Question: What happens if I delete the default content type in a library?

Answer: Nothing changes from prior behaviors. You cannot delete any content types that are still in use. Every library requires at least one content type, so any preexisting templates would be mapped onto the new default.

 

Question: These features look great for a single library, but how can I distribute templates to multiple libraries throughout a wide-ranging information architecture?

Answer: Again, for the time being, these features are scoped to a single document library. In the future, we will expand these capabilities to allow you to distribute and publish content types, with associated templates and metadata definitions, to multiple site collections and libraries in a single transaction.

 

 

 

41 Comments
Valued Contributor
From reading the FAQ, quite a lot needs to be unbundled into the ‘now’, ‘soon’ and ‘in the future’ timelines. Hopefully this will be clarified at Ignite. In any case ‘modern’ and ‘classic’ co-existence is ongoing for the foreseeable future.
Occasional Contributor

Great start for this new feature. I agree with John Wynne where the clarification of what’s available now, soon, not so soon explained at MS Ignite and due to to these types of enhanced feature sets still being developed, classic and modern will definitely co-exist for the foreseeable future 

New Contributor

Can we still embed the columns within the document(like on prem)?

Regular Visitor

Will this functionality also show up in Teams when working with the "Files" tab and the New-button?

Occasional Contributor

Hi Chris,

 

can this change be stopped at tenant scope using PowerShell or other means?

 

PnP Provisioning bespoke solution is used in our tenant and want to prevent site admins/others adding ContentTypes/Templates from UI.

 

Thanks,

Raju

New Contributor

Will this functionality be added to the pages library and the "new" menu when viewing a page within a communication site?

Microsoft

This feature will appear in communication sites during the same rollout. We are currently building this functionality in Teams, but it will ship after this initial roll out. 

 

Embedding columns in the document will function the same as the current experience.

 

This experience cannot be turned off via PowerShell. Note, all permissions for content type and template creation will remain the same. 

 

When is this available? 

Microsoft

@Kushan Lahiru Perera it will be starting Targeted Release soon, and after that process completes, general release will begin - probably by end of September.

New Contributor

Great! Thanks @Chris McNulty, just the feature we've been waiting for, it will make it easier for content owners to manage their templates.  Just one question and a nice feature for us... Can we have more than 1 template per content type?

Keep up those intrazone podcasts 👍

Frequent Visitor

Our company's employees is used to working with the desktop versions of Office 365, and that's not likely to change anytime soon. We do however use Sharepoint to store all our files. If I create a set of templates through the Sharepoint Document library for our company, will these show up / be available through the Office 365 desktop applications?

Senior Member

Just tried this with Word documents and I get an error message 'Value does not fall within the expected range.' .  The document appears in the New dropdown but if clicked results in a blank page. 

 

If I edit New menu and then edit the Word document from the right hand menu, it DOES load (directly into Word).

 

If I try to upload the Word documents as templates, I get the same error message.

 

It adds the templates to the library but renames them as File, File1, etc.. The correct file type is retained.

 

@Chris McNulty, is there a missing step or pre-requisite for this to work?

Senior Member

Thank you for the update. However, I noticed that this update has eliminated the drop-down function of the 'New' button on SharePoint lists with pre-existing content types. I can confirm that the drop-down button was working fine yesterday morning, EST. However, sometime yesterday afternoon, this drop-down button stopped working. I opened a support ticket with Microsoft (#11396733). Please advise.

Microsoft

@Ben Murphy - thanks for bringing this up. I have a repro and we are working on a fix asap. One question, when the file does successfully appear in the New Menu, it is the wrong template? 

 

@Hassaan Ahmad - that should absolutely not be happening. I can not repro this bug in any of my environments. Could you message me a fiddler trace?

 

@Tormod Solem Slupphaug - Great feedback. We are working closely with the clients to create an experience that can leverage SharePoint's templates. 

Senior Member

Thanks for the reply @Miceile Barrett, much appreciated. I tested a word document again this morning and it's content type is set to Document. 

 

I can't now edit it from within the 'Edit New menu' dialog (I could yesterday) - it doesn't load. If I open the document from within the library (its name has changed to 'DOCX File1.docx' then I can edit it. 

Occasional Contributor

Hi Chris,

 

I've long waited for this feature (ability to set multiple templates to the same content type in the same library).

The only thing that is missing is the ability to specify the template url instead of uploading the template and keeping a copy in the Forms folder.

 

It would be the same as with content type template were it is allowed to put the Url. Normally I create a library accessible to everyone in the business where I place all templates to make it easy to manage (I have also integrate the location of this library in Office personalized templates so they can use these templates). This make templates accessible from everywhere and easy to manage.

 

Nice improvement!

Frequent Contributor

<edit> I think I understand. At this moment it only works for people in first release. This user isn't in first release.

 

 

I have a couple of problems with this new feature.

 

As an admin I can add new templates.

When I try to remove those templates they aren't removed and vissible.

 

When I add a template as admin. And I log in as a user I can't see the template. Even the templates I unchecked are still vissible.

See the screenshot.

 Template error.png

 

 

New Contributor

This new functionality is great, however modern SharePoint lists with multiple content types are broken now. There's no way to add a new item with a different content type other than a default one. The choice of a content type moved to the new item page, but selecting a content type from the drop down does not change the page to reflect new or missing fields in the content type! This very serious and our customers can't use modern lists for adding items. The same is true for edit forms when editing all fields. See below screenshot when adding a new item and selecting the content type with 6 fields - the form still contains only 1 field from the default content type:

 

 ListCTIssue.PNG

But it should like this (some fields were cut off in a screenshot): 

ListCTIssue6.PNGThe NewForm should look like this

@Chris McNulty, do you have any comment on this?

Senior Member

@Elena Nakhmanson: I have the same issue. See my comment above. I have an open ticket with Microsoft support (Ticket #:11396733). 

Trusted Contributor

@Chris McNultywhat determines if a new feature is rolled out through the Targeted Release program? Where can we find a complete an accurate listing of the features that are actually part of this program?

 

I would like to be able to communicate with the users who are in a tenants Targeted Release group, but it hard to ask them what they think about a new feature when I'm not even sure which features are in the TR program .

Established Member

@Chris McNulty- it appears Visio files (VSDX or VSTX) are not currently working with this new feature. Any ideas when this will be resolved? 

 

 

New Contributor

Hi @Miceile Barrett,  I am experiencing the same thing as raised by Ben Murphy (above) on 12-09-2018 at 1:07pm and 13-09-2018 at 8.33am.  Are there any updates on this?

 

 

New Contributor

My users were thrilled to see this feature in our tenant, but unfortunately, the newly added templates (and edited 'new' menu) on the Document Library are not available when the library is added to a SharePoint page via the Document Library web part.  I have re-created in two different tenants.  Is anyone else seeing this behavior?  Hopefully a fix will be coming soon?

NewMenu.png

Occasional Visitor

Hi @Miceile Barrett,  I am experiencing the same thing as raised by Ben Murphy (above) on 12-09-2018 at 1:07pm and 13-09-2018 at 8.33am and a couple of other users. I'm trying to include this feature in a course. Are there any updates on this?

Established Member

This feature is long awaited, however it is VERY unpredictable. We are rolling out Office 365 for a Client currently and I just never know "when the templates decides to appear" when I press the new file option.   Perhaps 3 in 10 trys when I do new file the templates I uploaded appears, the other 7 times only the meny which I started with appears - this is very frustrating. Also where are the templates actually stored?  Anybody with @microsoft that can tell us why this is happening?

 

template1.pngScreenshots taken 3 seconds aparttemplate2.pngScreenshots taken 3 seconds apart

 

 

Occasional Contributor

So In addition to the new option to use New > Add Template. I also see there is a Upload > Template. I cant find any information about this feature anywhere and I'm confident it hasn't been there long. But it is broken when uploading normal office files or an actual PowerPoint Template (POTX) file I created. The files still upload but I get an error message every time. I'm not sure why there is a template option for the Upload and for the new menu. Seems hyper confusing. picture1.pngpicture2.png

 

 

Occasional Contributor

Separate Issue - The users we have in Korea specifically have a different UI than any other of our global users. I requested the client to open a ticket with MS but I'll post it here as well in case anyone else is seeing it. There are a few things wrong here so hold on. 

 

1) This is the "Members" view (Why can members see the edit options here? This seems totally wrong)

picture3.png

2) This is the Members view for multiple users in Korea (Link option is just missing for them, again can see the edit options inappropriately)

picture4.png

 

New Contributor

Hi @Chris McNulty, has anybody ever considered that the items created by using the Link template/content type, do NOT open on iOS? The link creates a .url files which are not supported on iOS devices, it just shows [InternetShortcut] URL=xxxx . Opening it in the SharePoint App seems to work but not all the time.  Could someone clarify what is the expected behavior for .url files originating in SharePoint on iOS? 

Regular Visitor

Being new to Sharepoint and hoping to implement the system as a springboard to change the way people work with each other in my office, I'm really disappointed that the functionality of templates is so limited. One of my major arguments for adopting Sharepoint and the way I want to get people comfortable with the idea is the documentary repository aspect. I know, not dreaming big, but it's a way to get a foot in the door and hopefully expand things from there.

 

Does my colleague need that reimbursement template form I emailed to them 6 months ago? Forget searching through thousands of emails, just click the Sharepoint link - ideally, that and many other useful documents will be at their fingertips. While I'm happy that more of an effort is being made to incorporate templates, it just isn't very user friendly for the average computer user. But perhaps I misunderstand the point of the functionality, and it's not so much being able pull up a form as much as it is choosing what letterhead you need.

 

In light of that, I do hope that you all consider the ability to have template files located as documents within libraries. And rather than creating a new document located in the library, it would ideally give the administrator an option to limit saving to a user's personal One Drive account. Again, as I am new to Sharepoint, perhaps I am overlooking or do not know of another solution that exists. On the other hand, if Sharepoint is being touted as an Intranet, it seems pretty basic to be able to store template files for different HR forms and other documents that won't necessarily involve collaboration. (Templates are big for me, one of my primary pet peeves is when people overwrite an original document that's meant to be filled in each time it's used, ha.)

Contributor

I totally agree with the above and have been struggling with this for the past year. But recently I discovered that Microsoft added the possibility of adding templates to the New button in a document library. So you should check that out! This is what I like about the new Microsoft, they keep improving the product. (Sorry, only read the comment, not th whole thread)

Regular Visitor

@Petra Van Horen I understand that, as this is what the blog post explains and I mentioned it in my own comment. I think it's great for documents that you need to repeatedly create that will stay inside the Sharepoint folder. On the other hand, it's not very useful in the sense of an Intranet, where I'd like people to be able to go to retrieve things like Reimbursement and insurance forms. I can't make them into PDFs because they're excel spreadsheets with dropdowns. But I don't want someone overwriting my original blank form. At this point the most immediate solution I can think of, and hoping is possible, is to make the file only available through download to a user's system as opposed to their being able to open and edit it in the Sharepoint environment. 

Trusted Contributor

one way to do that is to create a separate document library for your templates, then in the Content Type Hub site,  create Content Types that link to the Templates, then push the Content Types out, then in specific doc libraries, add the appropriate CTs, When someone clicks on the New button, they will be able to create a file based on your template. This functionality has existed for over 10 years, the new announcements should provide some more options and flexibility.

 

Visitor

Hello, with the modern library, when a user is uploading a file to a library with multiple content types, he is no longer prompted with the properties window for metadata and content type value selection while uploading the file. Will this be available? 

Senior Member

When uploading a new template using this new functionality, where is the template actually stored?

 

They don't appear in the "Form Templates" library - it's empty. If I go to Library Settings > (Content Type name) > Advanced Settings > Document Template it says "template.dotx".

 

I agree it would be preferable to have a central templates area and allow users to select a URL to assign pre-existing template. We don't really want to have to repeatedly upload copies of the same template just to make it available in multiple libraries.

Senior Member

Should add, I can't paste a SharePoint Online link into Library Settings > (Content Type name) > Advanced Settings > Document Template where it says "template.dotx". Neither can I navigate to a SharePoint Online library in the file picker dialog that pops up after I select "+New... Add Template".

Dear all, This feature is quite cool, but I have some additional points on it: - This solution is not supporting the Classic Experience and when you switch to, you retrieve the standard New button options - I tried to load a couple of templates (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and without any specific reason one of the files are not into the list and can't be retrieve by the "Edit New button" option I found the storage place of the template files using the Classic Experience and IE11 opening the library with "Open with Explorer". The files are placed into the subfolder (hidden folder by default) names "Forms". But when I deleted the templates from the "Forms" folder the items into the new button were not removed, and the Edit New Menu continue to show it into the available template items. So how can we remove an orphaned item ? It was only a 5 minutes test and I have yet some issues Fab
Occasional Visitor

Hi, as I've could sadly check, OneNote templates (.one file, just a section) is not working on SharePoint Online, neither modern nor classic way.

Microsoft

Thanks for the feedback.  A few points:

@Fabrice Romelard there are no plans to bring this (or any other updates) to classic - modern is our vehicle to delvier new capabilities.

@Keren Hopkins we also have announced new central CT/template management capabilities to be released in the next year.

@Nouha Mehio we are working to fix the prompting for required metadata soon

@Erin o'Rourke and @Petra Van Horen thanks!  Yes, we are working on extending this for more flexible ways to publish, use and reuse a template across multipole environements and into local machine, Office etc.

@Anne Svanhild Grønning you may be encountering a bug - and as @Miceile Barrett can attest, we want the "New" menu experience to be consistent  acrocss default pages and the web part.

Occasional Visitor

Is there any way to disable the feature on the new and upload menu? Suppose I have already created the templates, and don't want contributors to be able to add new templates. Or at least a permission level required for adding templates?

New Contributor

Hey everyone,

 

setting something up like this (see below) sounds pretty straightforward ... but I haven't figured out how to do it with the new Sharepoint document library. Basically, I just want to:

 

  • add several company templates (potx, dotx, ...) 
  • make sure people find them (on a modern page > by adding the 'document library' functionality)
  • user clicks a file so it opens in Powerpoint, Word, Excel (as a new document)
  • make sure they don't save their creation in this document library with the company templates

More or less the most basic form of template management ;-). But:

 

  • I can upload template files into a new modern library
  • but I can't 'see them' when i integrate the document library web part
  • if I click the standard Powerpoint-template ... my file saves itself inside the document library.

Has anyone found out how to do this? So basically: make a nice page with company templates in a visual way (present them as tiles or so) > people click > program opens > make something > store somewhere. 

 

Thanks for helping out! And sorry if it's a stupid question.

Occasional Contributor

Just tried this out today, and so far it's working great, thanks