Reusable Content

I’ve worked on a lot of different SharePoint portals in my time and one of the main features of SharePoint that people seem to overlook, or are not aware of, is the reusable content feature that is part of the publishing infrastructure. This post will hopefully help to make some more people aware of this underused feature.

As mentioned, the reusable content feature relies on your site having the publishing infrastructure enabled. More specifically, the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure site collection feature.

Publishing Infrastructure Site Collection Feature

and the SharePoint Server Publishing site feature.

Publishing Feature

The site collection feature is required to create the Reusable Content list in the root of the site and the SharePoint Server Publishing site feature to be able to use publishing pages and insert the reusable content.

Once you activate the site collection feature, you’ll notice a new list in the root of your site called Reusable Content.

Reusable Content List

Using this list you can create plain text or HTML that can be reused throughout the site. This includes not just the root site but any child site as well. Any content added to this list can also be set to automatically update pages that reference it after modification. I’ve seen Portals with custom developed Web Parts that pull information from lists which could just as easily have harnessed this functionality and saved some time, effort and money in the process.

To add custom content to a publishing page is pretty straight forward. First go to the Reusable Content list and create either a new text or HTML item.

New Item

Create the reusable content, in my example, a simple list based on a HTML item.

New Reusable Item

Next, go to, or create, a publishing page that contains a page content field and go into page edit mode. In the ribbon, change to the Insert tab where you will see an item titled Reusable Content. Clicking this displays all items in the Reusable Content list that have the Show in drop-down menu option set.

Insert Reusable Content

Save the page and the custom HTML, or plain text, will now be visible on the page. If you set the option for automatic updating to true, any changes made to the item’s content will automatically be reflected in this page (and any others that reference it).

Saved Publishing Page

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