Fixing a Document Content Type that I could not change in SharePoint

I have come across a problem today, that initially had me stumped. A word document had a custom content type assigned to it, but it was the wrong one. The user was unable to change the content type. First, I thought it might be permissions, but I also couldn’t change the content type. The version number continued to go up, which indicates something was being saved, but the content type just wasn’t changing.

Steps to attempt to change the Content Type

  • On the library select the document you wish to change the content type for.
  • Go to the Information Panel and scroll down to Properties.

  • I first tried to change the Content type directly in the Information Panel, but it just flicked back. Next, I tried to click Edit all.

  • I clicked on the Content Type, and from the drop down I change the Content Type to Document.

  • The screen shot above, shows the document after 2 attempts of changing the Content Type. Notice how the version number has changed, but the Content Type still stuck.

How to fix

  • Open the document in the desktop version.

  • In the client application click File.
  • Note: You won’t be able to do the following if Protect Document is enabled, and you don’t have the password.
  • In the Info section, where is says Inspect Document click the Check for Issues button, then Inspect Document

  • On the Document Inspector dialog, Click Inspect

  • Once Inspected, click Remove All button under the Document Properties and Personal Information section.

  • Close the Document Inspector dialog.
  • Save the file (If Autosave isn’t on)
  • Close the Client Application
  • The SharePoint list will show that the file is now of Content Type “Document” (Or whatever is the first/default Content Type in your library) and the version number has gone up once more.

If you need to, you should be able to change the content type without any issues.

I’m not 100% sure, but I believe this is happening because the content type that has been saved within the document is corrupted/different from the same name content type with the one in the library. I believe this has happened in the user’s environment, where the document was originally in a library with an older version of the content type in a different site collection. Then moved to a newer library. The content type exists in the newer library (as we provision all our sites with PNP), but it has changed slightly, for example a column has the same name but different ID.

When you clear the content type from the document, when it is saved back to the SharePoint library, it grabs the information from the library and puts the new content type information back into the document. Going forward, there will be no more corruption or conflict. Although it might be possible to have the issue again if you move the document back to the other library in the other site collection with the older version of a content type.