A useful Information Architecture feature in SharePoint is the Content Type Hub. This is a special site collection with the Content Type Syndication Hub site collection feature activated. The feature allows for the definition of site columns and content types in a central “hub” to be syndicated to any subscribing site collection. This allows the same site columns and content types to be used across an entire tenant.
There are a few things to note if you want to use the Content Type Hub in SharePoint Online.
The Content Type Hub site collection is automatically provisioned for each tenant but is hidden and will not appear in the list of Site Collections in the SharePoint Admin Centre.
You can, however, go to the Content Type Hub directly by browsing to this URL: https://<tenantURL>/sites/ContentTypeHub
Note: You will also find the URL of your tenant’s Content Type Hub if you browse to any site collection and select Content Type Publishing in Site Collection Administration. Alternatively, you can append /_layouts/15/contenttypesyndicationhubs.aspx to the end of your current site collection URL to view the Content Type Hub URL and the subscribed content types:
I tried browsing to the above URL for my company tenant and I received an Access Denied message. I am a tenant global administrator and was surprised that I didn’t have access. What I discovered is only the original O365 Tenant Account has access to the Content Type Hub and that account will need to grant administrative access to the site. For this particular tenant I am NOT the original O365 account so I did not have the required permission. Once I was put into the site collection administrators group for the site by that account, I could successfully browse to it.
In an on-premises SharePoint environment, you can control the timer jobs that run to syndicate the changes to subscribing site collections. In SharePoint Online, you cannot control these jobs. At the time of this writing, this can take up to 48 hours for the changes to be syndicated across all subscribing site collections although I typically see it within 24 hours. Yes… that’s a very long time.
Publishing the same
How do you publish content types from the Hub? The same steps are used in SharePoint Online as in an on-premises environment. Go to the content type definition in the hub and select the Manage publishing for this content type link. Then select either Publish(if this is a new content type) or Republish(if you’ve made a change to an existing content type) from this screen:
Once content types have been published from the Content Type Hub, all subscribing site collections will automatically receive updates of the content types. If you want to refresh all published content types on the next update (up to 48 hours) go to Site Collection Administration…Content Type Publishing on each subscribing site collection. You should select the option to Refresh All Published Content Types as below:
Once published, you can start using the site columns and content types in all consuming site collections.
Thanks for reading.