Using custom content types, with metadata and the default New item behavior

Occasional Contributor


This has been bothering me for a while, and this week I've finally had to confront it due to some project work I am involved in.  

Here's my situation.  I have a document library for proposals we send to potential customers, there is a custom content type added to the library with a highly branded Word template which has metadata embedded in the template for things such as Customer Name, Customer Contact etc.  All this works fine, though it could be easier to create templates with metadata included.

Now, from my library I have 2 options.

1. I set the library to open in the browser.  

A user clicks the New drop down, selects 'Proposal' from the options.  The document is created in the library with a default file name and is opened in the Word online browser app.  Any images from the template don't show, and the layout looks a bit rubbish.  I also can't see the metadata unless I either, immediately closer the document and edit the item in the SharePoint library or click the Open in Desktop App link and launch Word proper with the document in.  Both options work but there unnecessary steps for a simple user to do, they'll keep asking why they have to click through unnecessary steps and from the UX point of view they're completely right

2. I set the library to open in the desktop app

A user clicks New, selects 'Proposal' from the options.  Word launches with my template in, the SharePoint properties panel opens on the right with an endless spinning arrow.  Looking at the library the file hasn't actually been created there, it only exists in Word, hence word doesn't have any awareness of the metadata.  If I click save, Word also doesn't know that the file was created in that library so I have to browse down into the right location and save it.  After that, I have to close the SharePoint properties panel and reopen it to see the metadata.  Again, it works but its a dreadful user experience.

I can't believe this is an unusual requirement of mine to achieve, is no one else trying to do this. 


Why cant the second option create the file in the library first, like the Word online option does, and then open it in the application.  Then it would be perfect 

2 Replies

@AndyTuke  - completely agree ... we are currently rolling out Sharepoint and preparing libraries for users, who are really confused as you mentioned.


I have where possible used Document Sets so that 'New' documents added to the document set will inherit all the properties of the Document Set as opposed to retyping them.  For example we are an NGO who receives grants from funders.  We create a new document set for each Grant which prevents the users from typing in the Funder Name and Grant name and details (which are metadata we need for searching this library efficiently) ... they now only have to type in the document type. 


I am sure others have more experience and have more helpful suggestions too ... I am relatively new to Sharepoint :smile: