What is ContentTypes in Sharepoint?

Content Types

One of the new concepts in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 is content types.

Content types enable you to manage the metadata and behaviors of documents within a document library or items within a list, in a centralized, reusable way.

If you implement multiple content types for a library or list, you can enable your solution to store multiple types of content in the same place, without losing information and functionality for that content.

A content type is a reusable collection of settings that you want to apply to a specific category of content.

A content type can include metadata implemented as columns in a list or library; the document template for creating new documents of that content type; Custom New, Edit, and Display forms; Workflows; Records management policies such as deletion or retention policies; and custom information required for specific solutions.

You can define this custom information in the content type using one or more XML documents.

Content types are completely independent of file formats.

For example, you could define a content type called Product that has the required metadata and workflows, and apply that content type to both Microsoft Word documents and Microsoft Excel workbooks.
You could also create a similar content type for simple list items.
Alternatively, you could define two content types called Purchase Order and Invoice, and define different metadata, policies, and workflows for each type.
This would then enable you to apply both of these content types to a document library that stores Word documents, and the users could choose the appropriate type when they create a new invoice or purchase order.
To provide a modular, reusable structure for your content types, you can define generic base types.
You can then develop more specific content types by inheriting from those base types.
As a developer, you will typically define content types by using the site administration tools, but you can also interact with content types programmatically by using the Windows SharePoint Services object model.

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