Centralizing Document Templates in a library: Document Information Panel shows incorrect properties

Every once in a while I get the request to manage all document templates centrally in a Document Library. This can easily be done by configuring your Content Types to ‘link’ to the document template by location and then applying those Content Types to lists on several locations.

However there’s a gotcha in Word 2007 with the Document Information Panel.

Consider the following scenario:

  • You have a “MyTemplates” Document Library for storing the Word templates (.doc, .docx)
  • You have a “Documents” Document Library configured with Content Types linking to your templates as noted above. These Content Types have custom metadata (text fields, date fields, lookup fields, etc.)
  • You create a new document with a given Content Type

When the new document opens in Word 2007 the Document Information Panel is showing properties from the “MyTemplates” Document Library instead of your Content Type. Once you save the document it will refresh and show the correct set of properties. If you have required metadata it will prompt you to fill that in before actually saving.

I believe this to be a bug in Word 2007. It has been confirmed by Microsoft that this is a design limitation.

A workaround An alternative solution for some scenario’s could be to set the Content Type of your templates to the target Content Type.

This would of course still not work when you want to use the same template for multiple Content Types.

Definitely something to keep in mind when planning your setup…


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