Microsoft has announced they are rolling out a new content type sync enhancement. This comes after the release of the modern experience way to manage SharePoint enterprise content types. Basically, this enhancement will introduce a new sync mechanism for content types that moves from a “push everywhere” model to a “pull as needed” model, making it faster and more reliable.

The content type syncing mechanism allows us to create content types in a specific site where they are then synced (copied) to all other sites in your tenant.

What is Content Type?

Content type basically refers to “the type of content”. It is essentially a unique collection of metadata columns for a specific type of content. For example, if you create a Content Type called Vendor, it might contain the following metadata columns: Client Name, Amount, Due Date.

Why use it?

SharePoint content types is a great feature that you can incorporate into your company’s enterprise document management strategy.

If you have certain types of content that you store in SharePoint, say Invoices, Policies, Forms and want to make sure that no matter where they are stored, users tag the same metadata fields for each – than Content Types to the rescue! You create that specific content type and you can reuse in multiple sites.

You can associate specific workflows with them. That means anytime you make a specific document library or list inherits your content type, they automatically inherit the workflow.

Another reason to use Content Types will be if you need to set specific retention and deletion policies on certain type of content.

How was syncing previously done?

In the past, we had what we called Content Type Hub. It is a hidden site collection that you can access via URL. It is a site for publishing content types to all other sites in your tenant. This was modernised through the new Content Type Gallery which is now part of SharePoint admin portal. However, the way published content types was synced to other sites remained unchanged.

Syncing relied on a Timer Job that runs once in a while and publishes the Content Types to all the sites in your tenant. So published Content Types won’t appear in the receiving sites immediately. You need to wait anywhere between a few hours to 24 hours.

How it is going to be done now

Content type publishing will now sync to sites “on-demand”. When a content type is published in the content type gallery in the SharePoint admin center, it becomes visible immediately for addition to lists or libraries through the modern experiences to add content types.

Only upon addition to a list or library does the content type get synced to the site. This makes published content types available quicker to libraries and lists where they’re needed and reduces the copying of newly published content types to sites where they are not desired. If a published content type is not used in any list or library in the site, the site will not receive republished updates until the content type is used again.

Be aware that newly published content types will be visible for addition to lists and libraries only via the modern experience.

Programmatic addition of published content types

There is now a quicker way to add published content types to a document library or list. The new Add-PnpContentTypesFromContentTypeHub cmdlet allows for direct reference of content types in the content type hub, so there is no need to wait for the content type to be synced to the site.