SharePoint 2010–Error when deleting Content Type In Use


July 8th, 2011 -- I’ve been reading Chris Poteet’s blog for a while (probably since Day of .Net Ohio in 2008 or 2009) and he recently started a new blog covering odd user interface quirks and inconsistencies with SharePoint.  He’s titled the blog, Unexpected Error.  Well, today Chris was kind enough to mention me for follow Friday on Twitter and I followed the link to his blog again – and was stunned to see that I had written a post this week that is pretty much the same one he wrote two weeks ago.

I’m sure I read it when he published it, but I had forgotten about by the time I wrote my post this week. SO, my apologies to Chris for copying his idea.

Please read his post “But Where is the Content Type Used?”, along with the rest of his blog.

I’ve found another annoying user interface quirk you get when you try to delete a content type in SharePoint 2010.  If the content type is still being used, you’ll get an error.  (The message display will vary, depending on how the custom errors values are set in the web configs.)

There are a couple of options that the SharePoint team could use to make this friendly for the user.  First, they could eliminate the “Delete this content type” from the choices available.  Another option would be to grey it out, and use tool tips or an asterisk with footnote, to explain why it can’t be deleted.  Another useful option would be to list all of the ways that the content type is still in use.

This issue is similar to the one I documented in this post: Illegal characters for SharePoint 2010 Content Type name . In that post, I also detail how to get the full error messages to appear.

Anyway, here’s the sequence of screens that you’ll see.  First, you navigate to the content type settings and then select “Delete this content type”:


Once you click “OK”, you’ll see one of the following error messages:




None of them explain what the user needs to do in order to actually delete the content type – namely, removing all dependencies on it.

Print | posted @ Wednesday, July 6, 2011 7:15 PM

Comments on this entry:

Gravatar # re: SharePoint 2010–Error when deleting Content Type In Use
by Chris at 7/8/2011 8:21 PM

Thank you sir. I was planning on commenting when I read this earlier so I'll do it now.

I agree with your analysis, and I like your alternative suggestions to fix this issue. Error messages in SharePoint are one of the most frustrating aspects.
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