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December 16
SharePoint 2013 Reusable Content - Overlooked and Underused

Reusable Content is a built in feature within SharePoint 2013 that is often overlooked. Simply put, this feature allows you to store pre-formatted html or text within a list and gives you the ability to reuse that content within any page content area within your site at the mere click of a button.

For example, let’s say you have manually added disclaimer text to the page content area on numerous pages throughout your website. To make an update you would then have to go into each page that features your disclaimer and make the same tedious updates to every single disclaimer throughout your site. Depending on the size of your site, this could be a very daunting and time consuming task.  The “Reusable Content” feature was designed for exactly this type of scenario.  Instead of manually adding your disclaimer to every page that needs it, you can store your block of disclaimer text within the “Reusable Content” list, and use a dropdown button to  insert it anywhere throughout your site in the matter of seconds. Pretty cool huh?

We’ll take some time to walk through the functionality of this feature, but before you get started, there are a few things you should know first before attempting to use the Reusable Content feature:   

·          “SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure” feature must be activated within your site collection. This feature is disabled by default in Office 365.

(Go to “Site Settings”, then “Site Collection Administration”, then select “Site collection features” to ensure this feature is enabled.  If this feature is not enabled already, enable it. Note: Once this feature has been turned on it will take a little time to activate on the site, especially on Office 365. Don’t get discouraged, just check your environment again in a few hours to ensure the activation process has been completed before moving to the next step.)

·         “SharePoint Server Publishing” feature must be activated within your site collection. This feature is disabled by default in Office 365.

(Go to “Site Settings”, then “Manage Site Features”. Activate the “SharePoint Server Publishing” feature if it is not already active. Note: This may also take additional time to complete.)

Now that you have enabled both Publishing features, let’s get started.

Creating Reusable Content:

      1.       Navigate to the “Reusable Content” list stored at the root of your site by clicking “Site Contents”, then “Reusable content”. 

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      2.       Click “New Item” to create new reusable content.

***Note: Byline, Copyright, and Quote are content options by default. You may edit and use these if desired, or discard.

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a)      Enter values for Title, comments, and reusable HTML.
Title: This is the name for this particular block of content.
Comments: This is where you can store use cases for each block of content (see screenshot below).
Reusable HTML: This is where you create the block of content that will actually appear on your site. You can style this text anyway you would like and it will retain those styles for that particular item.

b)      Click the “Automatic Update” check box if you want this particular block of reusable content to update automatically any time there has been an update made to that item.  If this is not checked when the content is created, the content will not update when changes are made.

c)       Click “Save” when you are done creating your reusable content.

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Once you have saved your content item, you should be able to see it within the Reusable Content list: 

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Utilizing your “Reusable Content”

Now that you have created some “reusable content”, let’s reuse it!

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      3.       First, navigate to the page where you would like to add the “Information Disclaimer” you just created.

      4.       Click “Edit page” from within the Site actions menu and place your cursor within the page content area.

      5.       Click the “Insert” tab at the top of the ribbon, then choose the “Reusable Content” drop down list. Note: As long as you check the “Show in drop-down menu” option when creating your content, you will see the Titles for them here.

      6.       Click the “Information Disclaimer” content block we created previously. It is now placed within your content area and retained the styling you gave it during its creation. Voila! You’re finished!

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In closing, the Reusable Content feature can be an extreme time-saver when used properly, but it is not the best solution for every case. You may find a need to use your “reusable content” in different areas other than just the page content area. Your first thought might be to use a “content editor” webpart to achieve this, but Reusable Content does not work within a Content Editor webpart. The option to use it is disabled by default when editing a “content editor” webpart. What a bummer.  But wait, there’s a workaround… with a few tweaks to your page layout, you can achieve the same effect. Just place a Rich Text field within your page layout (also known as the column “Full HTML Content with formatting and constraints for publishing”). Once you have added this field to your page layout, you may begin using your “Reusable Content” feature within that area.

Happy content authoring.​

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