Removing the Default Document Content Type from the Allowed Content Types for a Document Set

I’ve been searching on and off for days on this one. When you create a Content Type based on the Document Set Content Type, it’s fairly common to want to restrict the Content Types which are allowed to be added to the Document Set.

Here’s an example. Say you have a Document Set Content Type called “Analyst Report”. You’d like to only allow documents to be added with the Document-based Content Types “Analyst Report Document” and “Analyst Report Critique”.

SharePoint actually gives you a nice dialog for this in the Document Set Settings. To get to it:

  • Go to Site Settings in the site where you created the Document Set Content Type
  • Click on Site content types
  • Choose the Document Set Content Type you want to work with
  • Click on Document Set settings

Allowing other Content Types is easy: you simply highlight them on the left and click the Add > button. Note that the order in which you do this matters, as the Content Types will be listed under the New Document button in the ribbon in the order in which you add them.

The problem is that you can’t remove the Document Content Type after you add the other Content Types you’d like to allow. When you try to do so, you’ll get this pop up alert:

Given that you’ve just created the Document Set Content Type and you haven’t even made it available in a list anywhere, how can this be? I tried everything I could think of – even blowing away a bunch of content I really didn’t want to blow away – to try to get rid of the darn thing.

I finally found the answer embedded deep in the comments on a post called Document Sets – SharePoint 2010 – Part 1 by Slava Gorbunov, who seems to be based on Sydney, Australia. It’s a good post, in that it gives a nice overview of how Document Sets work. The money was in this comment, though:

Good old Anonymous. I tell you, I’ve learned more from that guy…

Right below the Allowed Content Types section, you’ll see a section headed Default Content.

This provides another cool feature of Document Sets, allowing you to pre-populate them with documents. It’s really useful. The problem is that the way it starts out causes the problem. It looks like there is nothing set, but in fact, the Document Content Type is selected, and there is one “item” listed there.

What you need to do is to click on the Delete button to remove the default item which is displayed.

Then you will see no item listed…

…and you will be able to remove the Document Content Type from the Allowed Content Types.

Thanks again, Anonymous!